Jan 14, 2016
In an address to the nation marking the completion of two years of the Awami League led Grand Alliance government, HPM Sheikh Hasina highlighted the key successes of her government from the last two years. Noting the impressive progress the country has made in several economic, social and human development indicators, the Premier thanked the nation for their support. She also mentioned the carnage by BNP-Jamaat in the beginnings of 2014 and 2015 and the positive alternative her government has been.
Since being voted back to power on January 5, HPM Sheikh Hasina led Awami League government has seen an impressive record of successes. Prudent leadership has resulted in stunning economic growth, increase in national income and allocation of national budget, remarkable successes in MDGs and attained status of a lower middle income country from a low income one. Besides, progress has been achieved in different sectors including agriculture, education and health. Growing international recognition stands testimony to the country’s global significance too.
Bloomberg, an American news organization, forecasts that Bangladesh's economy will grow at 6.6% in 2016, a joint second rank with Vietnam. The rate is the second fastest pace after India, while other South Asian countries and many rising economies around the globe failed to gain such high optimism. Expressing wonder at the country’s growth rate, last month, World Bank Chief Economist Kaushik Basu, said that Bangladesh has the potential to reach 8% GDP growth.
According to WIN/Gallup International's annual global End of Year survey, the people of Bangladesh are the most optimistic people in the world. Moreover, the country secured second place in the economic optimism index and stayed ahead of global economic powers including the likes of India and USA. Over last seven years, a remarkable growth rate has been witnessed and hopes run high that the country will carve out its name as a developed nation by 2041.
Bangladeshi astrophysicist Rubab Khan, along with his team at NASA, has discovered five supersize stars in other galaxies on a par with the monstrous stellar system in our own Milky Way. This discovery will shed new light on the evolution of these stellar heavyweights. According to the findings, Eta Carinae is the brightest and most massive star system within 10,000 light-years. And the binary system is located in the southern constellation of Carina, a ship’s keel, and outshines our Sun by 5 million times.
According to the ranking released by AT Kearney, the world's leading management consulting firm, Bangladesh has moved four places up in Global Service Location Index (GSLI) this year, thanks to its significant gains in IT outsourcing, business processing outsourcing and back office jobs. The country secured 22nd position in 2015 from 26th a year before when it debuted on the index.
With all the preparatory works to build the first ever metro rail gaining full steam, plans are laid out to begin the construction work of the much-awaited project at the end of February this year. Works of half of a stretch will be completed by 2019 while the entire construction of 20-km line will cost $2.5 billion. Once realized, hundreds of thousands of city dwellers will enjoy a congestion free traffic and an improved, faster, comfortable and time-bound public transportation service will be established. As many as 60,000 passengers would travel to and from the said route in an hour.
Throughout 2015, under an ambitious development scheme as many as 113 projects worth $24.64 billion have been devised and are put in place by the government to transform the infrastructure outlook of the country. Remarkable progress is being marked towards building the country’s largest infrastructure project Padma Multipurpose Bridge and Dhaka Elevated Expressway, in setting up 856 km new rail tracks and realizing the dream of Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant.
Banking giant Citi, in its annual market update, stated that the year 2015 marked promising milestones for Bangladesh as the country gained 6.51% growth in 2015. 3% from the services sector, followed by the industrial and agricultural sectors with 2.7% and .5%, largely contributed to this attainment. Drop in the average inflation at 6.2%, food inflation slowing to 5.48 %, 7.8% rise in export earnings, overseas employment of 5,00,000 Bangladeshi workers and fulfillment of MDGs’ are some of the factors for this positive outlook.
As part of stepped up efforts to intensify monitoring in the financial management, the government is undertaking a massive automation programme for nine state-owned banks costing $200 million. With financial assistance worth $250 million to be poured in from the World Bank, the project is expected to see installation of a three-layer software and integration of all braches under a core online system.
In the first half of the current fiscal year, the country saw its income tax collection grow by 10% to $2.64 billion. Taxmen linked the growth in income tax receipts to increased monitoring, effective efforts to realise arrears and steps taken to ensure deduction of source or withholding taxes as devised and implemented by the current government. Total collection, including travel tax, stood at $2.7 billion during the period, up by 9.8% year-on- year.
At a discussion, held in the capital, representatives of South Asian countries unanimously opined that Bangladesh has emerged as one of the developing world’s biggest success stories in becoming an open defecation free country and taking sanitation coverage from 34% to 99% in the last decade. Lauding Bangladesh’s status as a role model for the world, the experts said that, formulation and implementation of visionary and time tested policies in ensuring sanitation coverage resulted in this stellar success.
Lives for the some 2,160 landless, homeless and floating families in the erstwhile seasonal famine ridden northern part in Bangladesh have taken a new shape, thanks to the initiation of Ashrayan project, as envisaged and supervised by Honourable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. This project has radiated the light of hopes in their lives as they got engaged in income generating activities, found shelter, address and assistance to become self-reliant.
According to recently released data, the inflow of foreign direct investment in the country has jumped 21.9% to $1.82 billion in the first 11 months of 2015 in comparison to the same period in previous year. Expansion of economic zones and introduction of incentive packages, coupled with friendly business environment, have made the country stand before the world as one of the most attractive investment destinations for international businesses.
Bangladesh Bank will form a $200 million fund to provide low-cost loans to textile and leather industries for switching to environment-friendly production. The move comes to help that the export-oriented industries take advantage of the current proclivity towards green products in the global markets. Under the scheme, low cost loans will be provided to textile and leather sectors for water conservation, resources efficiency and recycling, renewable energy and energy efficiency.
Target has been set by the government to make the ICT sector fetch a staggering $5 billion in the next six years. To that goal, over 500 Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) centres across the country will be set up by this year. Moreover, introduction of 1,000 innovative technology products, establishment of 7 IT incubation and training centers and 3,000 computer and language training clubs are also on the cards.
Exports from the RMG sectors continue to maintain an upwards curve as the earnings rose 14.56% year-on-year to $2.67 billion in December last year. Lower production cost, expansion of new export destinations, improved infrastructure facilities and rebound in international buyers’ confidence have contributed to achieve this milestone. The country now eyes to take the total earnings form this sector to $50 billion by 2021.
Tender is being floated to set up a gas-fired power plant in Shahjibazaar that would remain standby to pump in electricity whenever there is a supply drop in the national grid. It would be the first of four 100-megawatt "Sewing" power plants to be used to prevent sudden nation-wide power failure due to accidental drop in regular power supply. Local and international bidders are vying to get this contract.
Given that the power sector transformation will cost around $24 billion, the government plans to raise funds for state-run power companies by issuing bonds in Singapore's debt instrument market. A good country rating and presence of some big companies such as DESCO, DPDC, BPDB and REB hold a strong prospect for the move. Since assuming power in 2009, the government has brought 74% people under electricity coverage and is now working to ensure electricity for every house by 2021.
Bangladesh has witnessed a 102% growth in ICT sector over the period of last two years, owing to a number of stellar steps envisaged and implemented by the government. Around the country, the number of mobile and internet users has increased dramatically while most of the government services went digital. These steps and growth testify that the country is well on its way to become a “Digital Bangladesh”, as envisaged by the AL Govt.
The government has taken up massive plans to develop necessary infrastructure for the ICT sector and create skilled manpower. The aim is to increase internet penetration to 100% by 2021, with 50% broadband penetration, to lead the country to real digitization. Moreover, a pilot project has been initiated to digitise the judiciary, aiming to speed up the current time-consuming process in clearing the backlog of cases.
Bangladesh Awami League Bangladesh Insight Archives