March 30, 2015
#
Bangladesh has received the prestigious Women in Parliament (WIP) Global Forum award for women empowerment and reducing gender gap. State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam received the award on behalf of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at WIP’s Annual Summit at Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on Tuesday. The government has dedicated the award to more than 200,000 women violated in 1971 war of independence. This adds to the long line of awards received by PM Sheikh Hasina over the years due to her role in advancing causes of women in Bangladesh.
INFRASTRUCTURE AND MEGA PROJECTS
#
A Danish company, A.P Moller Terminals, part of the A.P Moller-Maersk Group, has expressed its interest to contribute to building large infrastructural projects in Bangladesh, especially in the Chittagong New Mooring Terminal and Paira Port Project in Patuakhali, under public-private-partnership. Visiting Danish Minister for Trade and Development Cooperation Mogens Jansen said this when he met Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at her official residence Ganobhaban last Thursday evening.
Plans for construction of Dhaka Metro Rail have now been finalized. The portion of Metro Rail that will run from Uttara to Farmgate will be complete by 2019 and construction of the remaining portion from Farmgate to Bangladesh Bank will end by 2020. Tenders for Metro Rail are being invited by dividing the whole project into eight packages. Tenders have already been floated for two packages of the project, while tenders for the remaining packages would be floated by December this year.
GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT
#
The World Bank will provide $200 million in loans to Bangladesh for alleviating poverty for around five million poor people in rural Bangladesh. The loan under the Nuton Jibon Livelihood Improvement Project will benefit people in poorest Upazilas of 21 districts and support livelihoods by increasing access to market through business partnerships and funding small rural infrastructure. It will also work on nutrition awareness, agricultural knowledge and continue to focus on youth job opportunities.
Bangladeshi business conglomerate PHP, has joined hands with Malaysian automobile giant Proton to manufacture the country’s first locally manufactured sedan cars, to be available from beginning of 2016. A deal in this regard was signed by the two entities last Thursday at Selangor, Malaysia. The industry will be set up at Anwara, Chittagong on 30 acres of land with a capacity of manufacturing 1,200 cars per year. The cars will be cheaper than reconditioned cars available in Bangladesh.
POWER AND ENERGY
#
The government has approved a US$ 170.5 million project for Rajshahi area to provide new power connections, improving power distribution systems and reducing system loss. Once implemented, the project would create new power connections for 200,000 subscribers and cut down system loss by 4%. The project also aims to improve the qualitative standard and distribution system by renovating some 1,808 km of existing distribution lines and set up 1,375 km of new distribution lines.
Russian energy giant Gazprom is eyeing a big role in Bangladesh's hydrocarbon sector under a joint venture (JV) with the latter's state-run oil and gas exploration company BAPEX on a government-to-government basis. They have already submitted a proposal to the government to create the JV to implement projects in exploration, development and production of hydrocarbon in Bangladesh under production SHARING contracts (PSCs), licences, service contracts and other means.
SOCIAL JUSTICE AND EQUITY
#
Bangladesh government has launched a project to introduce cash incentives for poor pregnant women and mothers of under-5 children in some selected districts to incentivize health and growth check-ups. Mostly funded by the World Bank, the project will cost more than $305.3 million and would be implemented in 42 Upazillas of seven districts in the next five years. The programme will cover at least 600,000 mothers and they will be tracked through the Bangladesh Poverty Database.
Bangladesh and Denmark have signed an agreement under which Denmark will provide assistance to ensure garment workers’ safety in Bangladesh by deploying a special adviser to work with the labour ministry in Dhaka with the view to improving the working conditions further. Secretaries of Labour Ministries of the two countries signed the deal at Dhaka last Thursday. Demark acknowledged the progress Bangladesh made in workplace safety and labour rights in RMG sector since 2013.
TRADE AND INVESTMENT
#
According to the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB), Bangladesh exported bicycles worth $84.7 million in the first eight months of the current fiscal year, registering a 30.23% growth compared to the corresponding period of previous fiscal year. Bicycle exports began only in 2000, and already Bangladesh is the fifth top bicycle exporter to the European market. Bangladesh is eyeing to get a large chunk of the global bicycle market, which according to a report by Lucintel, will reach $68 billion in 2018.
The government has been conducting a comprehensive study on the implications of signing free trade agreements (FTAs) with some major trading partners with a view to securing the maximum interests of the country’s industries in such commercial deals. The Commerce Ministry has already assigned the Bangladesh Tariff Commission for conducting the study on what would be the impacts on the economy, trade and business if FTAs were signed with India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Turkey and China.
Centre for Research and Information (CRI) Old Newsletter Archives