July 14, 2016
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In the aftermath of the terror attacks in Dhaka and Kishoreganj, HPM Sheikh Hasina has reiterated her government’s strong commitment to root out the menace of terrorism and violent extremism from the soil of Bangladesh. She commented that her government will be very tough and do whatever is necessary to eliminate militancy and combat this man-made disaster along with natural calamities. She also reaffirmed her continuing commitment to uphold the spirit of the Liberation War and continue the war crimes trials.
As part of the government’s unyielding zero tolerance policy towards terrorism and violent extremism, the government has recently adopted a number of measures. Broadcast of controversial Peace TV channel has been banned and all the educational institutions have been instructed to provide information on students who have been absent for more than 10 days. Instructions have also given to prosecutors to strenuously object to bail being granted to accused in terrorism cases. Security measures have been beefed up at all key point installations and religious scholars instructed to deliver anti militancy speeches.
Heads of state and government and international organizations, diplomats and political leaders extended their firm support to the Bangladesh's steps to combat militancy, condemning the spate of brutal attacks on a Dhaka's restaurant and near the country's largest Eid congregation. With the offer of assistance to track down the mastermind of the terrorist activities to help Bangladesh root out militancy, the global leaders including UN Secretary-General, US President and Indian Prime Minister lauded the prompt steps taken by the government to contain the menace of militancy.
According to a research prepared by Fitch Group’s BMI Research, Bangladesh has been named one of 10 emerging markets that are set to become future drivers of global economic growth over the next 10 years. Possibilities run high that the export-oriented industrial sector will continue to develop as a global manufacturing hub in the coming years, given that the sector has already accounted for more than a quarter of the GDP.
Exports continue to be a beacon of hope for the economy, raking in $34.24 billion in fiscal 2015-16 -- the highest in the country's history. The amount, which not only beat the government's target of $33.5 billion but was an increase of 9.72% over the previous year, fueled by the strong performance of the garment and leather and leather goods sectors. Garment, which typically accounts for more than 80 percent of the country's annual exports, brought home $28.09 billion, up 10.42% year-on-year.
Bangladesh has been elected president of the Assembly of the 168-member International Seabed Authority (ISA). The election was held at the 22nd annual session of the assembly in Kingston, Jamaica on Tuesday. Rear Admiral (retd) Md Khurshed Alam, secretary (maritime affairs unit) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has taken over as the president of the 22nd annual session of the assembly. Established in 1994, ISA aimed at administering the mineral resources of the deep seabed beyond areas of national jurisdiction.
Growth and Development
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Dhaka south and north city corporations have taken a number of projects to bring their open spaces under greenery coverage through massive plantations as the capital is gradually getting denuded of its greeneries due to unplanned development works. Planting trees at households, decorating 56 footbridges, beautifying 46 roads and planting of 4 million saplings and initiating awareness programme in next three years are among some of such initiatives to be implemented within a space of next three years.
E-judiciary, a step towards modernization of the judicial system, is going to be launched in the country with a view to ensure fair trial, reduce stockpile of cases and sufferings of the people. At the initial stage, a pilot project would be implemented in 10 districts before launching the e-judiciary and then modern judicial system would be launched in all districts. Once the e-judiciary system becomes effective then the trial seekers would be able to know proceedings and judgment of the cases by mobile phones staying in the houses.
Trade and Investment
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Locally manufactured spices, biscuits, juices and drinks are fast gaining ground abroad thanks to a sizeable population of non-resident Bangladeshis. According to latest data, the four items accounted for about 65% of the total export earnings of $219.84 million in fiscal 2014-15. Exporters said the increase in the number of processed foods makers, cash incentive benefits provided by the government, better pricing and the quality of the locally made foods facilitated the growth. Bangladeshi foods are being sold in 130 countries, ranging from Australia to the US.
The government has given tax benefits to jute goods exporters to help the industry bring back its earlier glories. From this fiscal year, jute goods manufacturers will pay 10 percent corporate tax on their export earnings until fiscal 2019-20, down from 15 percent previously. Exporters will also enjoy 0.6% source tax on their export proceeds, as they did last year, until June 30, 2019, according to two separate orders by the National Board of Revenue.
FOOD and AGRICULTURE
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A draft law has been approved during a cabinet meeting last week to invigorate agriculture and pave the way for research on ways to deal with risks posed by climate change. Titled as “Bangladesh Agricultural Institute Act, 2016”, this act incorporated – starting of research on climate risk management, production and distribution of new types of seeds, use of technology in agriculture and the use of a new almanac for yields in the backdrop of climate change.
The government has launched a project to introduce prepaid metre system in Muhuri Irrigation Project, one of the country's important projects to help farmers avail of water for irrigation using cards. Under the Irrigation Management Improvement Project (IMIP) with financial support from the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Tk-457 crore will be spent to install around 800 meters at water pumps in the Muhuri project area. Once the project is implemented, farmers will be able to use prepaid cards to get water for irrigation during the dry season, which will cut their irrigation cost.
Newly commissioned solar-powered irrigation pumps have opened up a new door in the agriculture sector as farmers can boost their farming yields through irrigation facilities round the year in the Barind area. In addition to benefiting the farmers economically, the pumps will contribute to reducing the gradually increasing pressure on power supply grids. On successful completion of the works by December 2017, the scheme will help produce about 37,800 tonnes of food through providing irrigation to 3,780 hectares of land from the conserved water sources annually.
SOCIAL JUSTICE AND EQUITY
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In the wake of the demand for a better service to incoming and outgoing Bangladeshi expatriates at airports, the government has planned on enacting a new law to mitigate their problems and hassles. Works are laid out to introduce a special immigration desk for the expatriate Bangladeshis to get all clearance procedures done. Furthermore, efforts are put in place so that all ministries and departments engaged in providing services to the expatriates at airports arrange seminar symposium to train up their representatives to run promotional activities for the migrant workers.
Nearly 13,00,000 children under five years of age will be administered vitamin 'A' Plus capsules on National Vitamin 'A' plus campaign-16, on July 16 next in the city and district. Over 700 supervisors including Commissioners of 41 wards in the port city and 2100 supervisors in the 14 upazilas of the district will supervise the 'A' Plus campaign at their respective jurisdictions in the port city and district. A total of 4,861 temporary vaccination centres will be set up by Chittagong Civil Surgeon office. Over 20,000 volunteers and health workers including 4,848 by CCC would be engaged for the cause.
Power and Energy
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A target has been set to bring as much as 90% people under electricity coverage to supplement the government's ongoing development process up to the country's reaching its desired goal. According to the Rural Electrification Board, around 1,56,25,000 consumers gained access to electricity and new connections were provided to 1,59,000 till June this year through its 78-Palli Bidyut Samity across the country. A number of projects were undertaken for the REB to construct transmission lines, enhance its capabilities, reduce hassle of the customers and bring more rural people under coverage.
A Bangladeshi-India joint venture company last week signed an agreement worth $1.49 billion with India's state-run Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd, paving the way for the start of construction of the much-debated Rampal coal power plant. The construction for the project will start within three to four months while the plant is expected to go into commercial production by July 2019. Construction of the project would contribute immensely to the overall development of the country especially its power sector.
Bangladesh Awami League Bangladesh Insight Archives