March 10, 2015
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Bangladesh’s expert earnings rose 5.46% year-on-year to US$ 2.51 billion in February 2015. According to data by Bangladesh’s central bank, export earnings in the first 8 months (July-February) of current fiscal year stands at US$ 20.31 billion. During the same period, the country also saw rise in its remittance inflow. During July-February of 2014-15, it received 7.63% higher remittance amounting to US$ 9.90 billion, up from US$ 9.20 billion during corresponding period of previous fiscal.
The government is going to purchase 10 ships from China and Italy at a cost of US$ 355.8 million under state arrangement. Of the ships, four will be bought from Italy to improve the naval capability of Bangladesh Coast Guard. The rest six will be purchased from China National Machinery Import & Export Corporation (CMC) for Bangladesh Shipping Corporation (BSC). The cabinet committee on purchase on Wednesday approved the two separate proposals for purchasing the ships.
Chief Minister of India’s West Bengal Mamata Banerjee has written to the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi assuring him of her full support in resolving all bilateral issues with Bangladesh including the Teesta Water Sharing Agreement. In a related development, PM Modi sent a letter to his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina expressing his willingness to visit Bangladesh soon. The letter was handed over to Bangladesh PM by Indian Foreign Secretary Dr. S Jaishankar on Monday.
Speaking at the UN Human Rights Council, Bangladesh Foreign Minister A H Mahmood Ali said that the government would tackle BNP-Jamaat’s violent extremism with its characteristic resilience and determination. He added that BNP-Jamaat was out to destroy the non-communal, non-confrontational and pluralist identity of Bangladesh. Since 5 January 2015, 85 people have been killed and more than 1600 injured in blockade violence, of whom 60 were burnt alive by BNP-Jamaat arsonists.
Growth and Development
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The European Union (EU) has increased its development grant assistance to Bangladesh for 2014-2020 timeframe by more than 70%. €690 million will be provided to Bangladesh as grants from 2014-2020, up from €403 million that the country received from EU between 2007-2013. The funds will focus on three sectors vital for poverty alleviation and inclusive, sustainable growth: democratic governance, food and nutrition security, and education and skills development.
The World Bank (WB) has pledged strong support for Bangladesh to achieve the goal of becoming a middle-income country by the end of this decade. Annette Dixon, WB’s Vice-President for South Asia region, stated this while visiting Bangladesh this week. She added that her institution would help Bangladesh clear bottlenecks that impede faster growth and connect to regional and global markets. She also praised Bangladesh’s progress in reducing poverty and advancing human development.
Qatar will recruit 150,000 workers from Bangladesh this year. Already visas for 50,000 workers have been issued in last 2 months and a further 150,000 people will be recruited for implementing different development projects ahead of World Cup 2022. The recruiting companies will bear the expenses of the workers and the fees of the recruiting agencies. This positive development resulted after the recent visit to Qatar by Bangladesh’s Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment Minister.
According to the Global Muslim Travel Index 2015 developed by MasterCard, Bangladesh has come out 18th among 100 top destinations for Muslim travellers from around the world. In a related development, the government has announced that 2016 will be the year of tourism in Bangladesh. To that end, they have embarked on a mega plan to develop present and potential attractions for foreign tourists in Bangladesh at a cost of US$ 25.6 million.
INTERNATIONAL AND REGIONAL COOPERATION
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Bangladesh has donated $1 million to the International Organization of Migration’s (IOM) emergency fund. Bangladesh Foreign Minister handed over the cheque to Director General William Lacy Swing on Wednesday. The D-G thanked the minister for the contribution and said it symbolised the growing partnership between IOM and Bangladesh. He also applauded the active and substantive role Bangladesh was playing in advancing role and rights of migrants in international forums.
The International Criminal Court (ICC) has shown interest to work together with Bangladesh in sensitizing young people about its activities. The visiting Deputy Prosecutor of ICC James K Stewart conveyed the message to Foreign Minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali on Sunday. The Deputy Prosecutor appreciated Bangladesh’s engagement with the court and showed interest for further engagements particularly in enlightening youths about what the court does and how it functions.
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