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Joel Ahmed

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  1. https://thefinancialexpress.com.bd/economy/bangladesh/outward-fdi-sees-big-jump-in-2021-1653131559 Outward FDI sees big jump in 2021 FE ONLINE REPORT | Published: May 21, 2022 17:12:39 The outflow of foreign direct investment (FDI) from Bangladesh recorded a big jump in the last calendar year of 2021. According to the latest statistics, released by Bangladesh Bank last week, the net amount of outward FDI reached US$91.71 million in 2021, posting some 209 per cent growth over the amount in 2020. In 2020, the net outflow of FDI from the country was only $11.60 million. It also showed that the gross amount of outward FDI stood at $94.69 million last year against $31.06 million in 2020. Outward direct investment (ODI) is defined as a business strategy in which a domestic firm expands its operations to a foreign country. This can take the form of a green field investment, a merger or acquisition, or an expansion of an existing foreign facility. Statistics compiled by the central bank also showed that the stock of outward FDI stood at $389.80 million in 2021 which was $327.14 million in 2020. In the last year, 57 per cent of the total outward FDI landed in the United Kingdom, followed by Hong Kong, Nepal, India and United Arab Emirates (UAE) respectively. These five countries received 94.9 per cent of Bangladesh's annual outward FDI. The highest amount of annual outward FDI from Bangladesh was recorded at $142 million in 2017. The amount in 2021 is the second highest in terms of net outward FDI. [email protected]
  2. https://www.tbsnews.net/features/panorama/what-delays-infrastructure-projects-bangladesh-423402?fbclid=IwAR3l-LPY5aKBqyiHMMOfbx0qx5XeA1nQEDSrEZJkspAmhZBzeCLb-E_c6VA TBS Report 20 May, 2022, 12:00 pm Last modified: 20 May, 2022, 12:13 pm What delays infrastructure projects in Bangladesh? Although mega projects - or public infrastructure projects (PIP) - look good on paper, quality is not always ensured while priorities and social goals of the project are often neglected. Bangladesh ranked 105th out of 141 countries in the World Economic Forum's Infrastructure Competitiveness Report 2020. The World Bank's Doing Business Report 2020 showed that Bangladesh ranked 168th among 190 economies with a score of 45. The major concerns and flaws pertaining to the mega projects include inadequate planning and feasibility studies, flawed coordination at the field level, lack of budgetary allocation for maintenance of the project, delays (and heightened cost from delays); and more. Subsequently, there is lack of proper preservation and supervision of infrastructures and absence of skilled human resources, resulting in lack of long term service agreements with foreign contractors. In a recent policy discussion at a programme regarding proper implementation of PIPs, experts in the field pointed out the flaws that impede infrastructure development in the country and ways to amend those shortcomings. The programme was based on the ongoing study by Dr Mustafizur Rahman and organised by Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) in collaboration with The Asia Foundation. The Business Standard spoke to Dr Mustafizur Rahman, Dr. M. Masrur Reaz, Dr. Md. Shamsul Hoque and Mohammad Mejbahuddin for their insights on the topic of public infrastructure projects and how Bangladesh can implement projects effectively on time.
  3. https://bangla.dhakatribune.com/bangladesh/2022/03/23/1648032522213?fbclid=IwAR2RgCGklJ24dmyvDzdmU3eiNeMZkUiq5q-1bUOdIMiN81IMwjab4Ifzal8 ডায়াবেটিসের নতুন কারণ আবিষ্কার করলেন বাংলাদেশি বিজ্ঞানীরা বুধবার দুপুরে রাজধানীর বারডেম হাসপাতালে আয়োজিত এক সংবাদ সম্মেলনে এ তথ্য জানানো হয়েছে বারডেম হাসপাতালে আয়োজিত এক সংবাদ সম্মেলন/সংগৃহীত ট্রিবিউন ডেস্ক প্রকাশিত: ০৩:০২ দুপুর মার্চ ২৩, ২০২২ ডায়াবেটিস রোগে আক্রান্ত হওয়ার একটি নতুন কারণ আবিষ্কার করেছেন দেশের বিজ্ঞানীরা বুধবার (২৩ মার্চ) দুপুরে রাজধানীর বারডেম হাসপাতালে আয়োজিত এক সংবাদ সম্মেলনে এ তথ্য জানানো হয়েছে। সংবাদ সম্মেলনে বিজ্ঞানীরা জানান, গত ৫ বছর ধরে বারডেম, ডায়াবেটিক অ্যাসোসিয়েশন অব বাংলাদেশ, রাজশাহী বিশ্ববিদ্যালয়, জাহাঙ্গীরনগর বিশ্ববিদ্যালয়, বঙ্গবন্ধু শেখ মুজিব মেডিকেল বিশ্ববিদ্যালয় ও যুক্তরাষ্ট্রের হার্ভার্ড ইউনিভার্সিটির একদল গবেষক ৩০ থেকে ৬০ বছর বয়সী ৫৭৪ জন মানুষের ওপর গবেষণা করে ডায়াবেটিসের এই নতুন কারণটি আবিষ্কার করেছেন। গবেষণা দলের প্রধান গবেষক মধু এস মালো বলেন, “ইন্টেস্টিনাইল অ্যালকেলাইন ফসফেটাস বা আইএপি কমে যাওয়া ডায়াবেটিসে আক্রান্ত হওয়ার অন্যতম প্রধান কারণ। ইতোমধ্যে ব্রিটিশ মেডিকেল জার্নালে প্রকাশিত নতুন এই আবিষ্কারটি ডায়াবেটিস প্রতিরোধ ও চিকিৎসায় গুরুত্বপূর্ণ ভূমিকা রাখবে বলে আমাদের আশা।” ডায়াবেটিক অ্যাসোসিয়েশন অব বাংলাদেশের সভাপতি ডা. এ কে আজাদ খান বলেন, “আইএপি কমে গেলে ডায়াবেটিস হওয়ার আশঙ্কা বেশি। এই আবিষ্কার থেকে বোঝা যায়, দেশের বিজ্ঞানীরাও বড় গবেষণা করতে সক্ষম।”
  4. https://www.dhakatribune.com/dhaka/2022/05/11/evercare-treats-thalassemia-patient-for-the-first-time-in-bangladesh?fbclid=IwAR0AMkdPjiH6Of5lzP58UUJsekyo-dcZ7tgvhSPRVqD0maZWUaLcL3apfZY Evercare treats thalassemia patient for the first time in Bangladesh About eight million people have thalassemia in the country The hospital authority held a press conference on the occasion on Wednesday, May 11, 2022 Courtesy Tribune Desk May 11, 2022 6:46 PM Evercare Hospital Dhaka has successfully completed the treatment of thalassemia in a 21-months-old child for the first time in Bangladesh. The hospital treated the child's disorder through a haploidentical bone marrow transplant (BMT) on May 5, said a press release on Wednesday. Dr Abu Jafar Mohammed Saleh, coordinator and senior consultant of the Hematology and Stem Cell Transplant, said: “In Bangladesh, about eight million people have thalassemia. However, because most of them are asymptomatic carriers of the disease, they remain unaware of it. “For this reason, the disease is sometimes called a silent killer. Among those who have thalassemia, there are 50 to 70 thousand patients for whom treatment is required.” The doctor also added that the only curative treatment option is a bone marrow transplant, but the biggest obstacle is finding a donor because the thalassemia family is generally smaller in size and the chance of a full match is less than 10%. Dr Arif Mahmud, deputy director of Medical Services, said: “All types of treatment modalities for blood cancer patients are available at the hospital at affordable price. So, no need to go abroad seeking any medical treatment.”
  5. Big Step Forward to Promote More Skilled ICT Engineer!! The University Grants Commission (UGC) of Bangladesh has published "Guideline for Preparing Standard Curriculum of BSc in CSE/IT/ICE/ICT (Modified)". JICA Bangladesh together with the Bangladesh Computer Council (BCC) has been supporting the syllabus formulation committee, including Prof. Sazzad Hossain, hon'ble member of UGC & the convener of the committee and other eminent academicians through “The Project for Skill's Development of ICT Engineers Targeting Japanese Market” by incorporating the essences of syllabus/curriculum of Information Technology Engineers Examination (ITEE). JICA hopes that the guideline will promote more practical education in CSE/IT/ICE/ICT departments of universities across Bangladesh, contributing to develop more rapid growth of ICT sector and achieve the vision of Digital Bangladesh. 産業界のニーズに即したICT人材育成へ向けて大きな前進!! バングラデシュの大学補助金委員会(UGC)が全国の大学コンピュター科学工学科(CSE)などIT関連学科に向けたカリキュラムガイドラインを発刊し、2022年5月18日に同ガイドライン作成委員会の委員長を務めたUGC Sazzad Hossain理事よりUGC Dil Afroza Begum理事長代理への献本式が行われました。 JICAは同国で実施している「日本市場をターゲットとしたICT人材育成プロジェクト」を通じて、同ガイドライン作成委員会の形成・運営を支援しました。また、日本の独立行政法人情報処理推進機構(IPA)が実施している情報処理技術者試験の基本情報技術者試験(FE)シラバスを参考にし、産業界が求めるIT人材育成に資する大学シラバス/カリキュラムとなるよう技術的な支援も行いました。 JICAは、同ガイドラインを通じて全国の大学ICT関連学科がカリキュラムを改訂し、産業界の求める多くの即戦力人材が輩出され、ICTセクターの更なる発展およびデジタル・バングラデシュが実現されることを願っています。 #UGC #Curriculum #Syllabus #Guideline #JICABangladesh #BCC #IPA #ITEE #FESyllabus (掲載写真候補は別添)
  6. https://today.thefinancialexpress.com.bd/first-page/july-april-pharma-export-soars-27pc-1653067794 July-April pharma export soars 27pc It reaches $163.83m riding on COVID drugs Saif Uddin | May 21, 2022 00:00:00 The country's export earning from pharmaceutical sector has marked a significant rise in the recent years following its growing capacity and access to new destinations. Local pharmaceutical companies brought in US$163.83 million in July-April period of the current fiscal year (FY), 2021-22, which was nearly 27 per cent higher than the amount in the corresponding period, according to available data of the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB). Official figures revealed that Bangladesh's pharma companies fetched $169.02 million in the FY 2020-21, and $135.79 million in the FY 2019-20, showing a strong growth trajectory. The sector also earned $129.95 million in the FY 2018-19, and $103.46 million in the FY 2017-18. Sources said the significant growth in the recent times has been possible due to an increased demand for COVID-related drugs from the country. Growing demand for anti-viral drugs, like Remdesivir and Favipiravir - used to treat COVID patients, has expanded the export basket of the local pharma sector, sources said. According to the Directorate General of Drug Administration (DGDA), Bangladesh has been one of the leading exporters of Remdesivir in the world. Bangladesh is enjoying several trade facilities, like duty-free access to international market for its drugs, and patent waiver on manufacturing generic items, the sources added. When contacted, Managing Director of One Pharma KSM Mostafizur Rahman said drug making has been a strong aspect for Bangladesh's export basket. "The world is now well aware of the possibilities of local pharmaceutical companies, as Bangladesh is now exporting drugs to around 160 countries after meeting almost 98 per cent of the local demand." He also said the time-befitting measures taken by the government have also helped the sector expand its international market amid the pandemic. "Unlike many other sectors, the pharmaceuticals sector has drawn attention of the international buyers." In addition to the regular items, export of the drugs related to the treatment of coronavirus soared in the recent times, he added. According to industry insiders, more than 20 Bangladeshi companies, including Incepta, Beacon, Square, Popular, Eskayef, Beximco, Opsonin, ACI, Renata, and Ziska, exported COVID drugs. Sources said the local pharmaceutical industry has grown to about $3.0 billion as of June 2020 - from about $25 million in 1982. It is likely to exceed $6.0 billion by 2025 - following rise in purchasing power of the domestic population. [email protected]
  7. https://www.tbsnews.net/bangla/অর্থনীতি/news-details-93950?fbclid=IwAR3H_WAI9hYpcVa-Ly9ZLDAW2zf_12ZkTGTBY-d6Jv4vj4pyV6LO3g3cFOk আবুল কাশেম 18 May, 2022, 11:35 am Last modified: 18 May, 2022, 04:29 pm আগামী বছরের জুলাই থেকে কার্যকর হচ্ছে সর্বজনীন পেনশন সরকারি চাকরিজীবী ছাড়া ১৮-৫০ বছর বয়সীরা সর্বজনীন পেনশন ব্যবস্থার আওতাভুক্ত হতে পারবে। প্রত্যেকে ৬০ বছর বয়স পর্যন্ত প্রতি মাসে নির্দিষ্ট হারে চাঁদা পরিশোধ করে ৬০ বছর পর থেকে আজীবন প্রতিমাসে পেনশন পাবেন। https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YJrUPL8rCO0 আগামী বছরের জুলাই থেকে সর্বজনীন পেনশন ব্যবস্থা চালু করবে সরকার। ২০২৩ সালের জুলাই থেকে ১৮-৫০ বছর বয়সীদের জন্য সর্বজনীন ব্যবস্থা উন্মুক্ত করাসহ ওই বছরের ডিসেম্বরে অনুষ্ঠেয় জাতীয় সংসদ নির্বাচনের আগেই বিপুল সংখ্যক নাগরিকদের এই পেনশন ব্যবস্থার আওতায় আনার পরিকল্পনা করছে অর্থ মন্ত্রণালয়। অর্থ বিভাগের সংশ্লিষ্ট কর্মকর্তারা জানান, সর্বজনীন পেনশন ব্যবস্থা কার্যকর করতে তারা একটি রোডম্যাপ প্রণয়ন করেছেন। তাতে আগামী মার্চ থেকে সর্বজনীন পেনশন ব্যবস্থার পাইলটিং শুরু করার লক্ষ্য নিয়ে কাজ চলছে। ইতোমধ্যে সর্বজনীন পেনশন ব্যবস্থা চালু করতে একটি অথরিটি গঠনের আইনের খসড়া তৈরি করে সংশ্লিষ্ট মন্ত্রণালয়গুলোর মতামত সংগ্রহ করেছে অর্থ বিভাগ। সোমবার অর্থ বিভাগের সিনিয়র সচিব আবদুর রউফ তালুকদারের সভাপতিত্বে অনুষ্ঠিত এক আন্তঃমন্ত্রণালয় সভায় খসড়াটি চূড়ান্ত করা হয়েছে। "চলতি মাসেই আইনের খসড়াটি অনুমোদনের জন্য মন্ত্রিসভায় উপস্থাপন করা হবে। সেখানে অনুমোদন পেলে জাতীয় সংসদের বাজেট অধিবেশনেই এটি বিল আকারে পাস হওয়ার সম্ভাবনা রয়েছে," বলেন অর্থবিভাগের একজন কর্মকর্তা। বিল পাসের পর দ্রুতগতিতে অথরিটি গঠন করার পরিকল্পনা রয়েছে অর্থমন্ত্রণালয়ের। এর পরপরই জরুরিভাবে দক্ষ ও টেকনিক্যাল লোক নিয়োগ দেওয়া হবে, যারা সর্বজনীন পেনশনের বিভিন্ন ধরনের প্রোডাক্ট তৈরি করবেন। এই সময়ের মধ্যেই সর্বজনীন পেনশন বিধিমালা প্রণয়ন করা হবে। আগামী ডিসেম্বরের মধ্যে প্রয়োজনীয় জনবল নিয়োগ সম্পন্ন করে জানুয়ারি-ফেব্রুয়ারির মধ্যে পেনশন প্রোডাক্ট তৈরি করা হবে। মন্ত্রণালয়ের সংশ্লিষ্ট দু'জন কর্মকর্তা নাম প্রকাশ না করার শর্তে দ্য বিজনেস স্ট্যান্ডার্ডকে বলেন, এই মুহূর্তে সরকার দু'টি বিষয়ে সবচেয়ে গুরুত্ব দিচ্ছে, যার একটি ইউক্রেন যুদ্ধের প্রভাব মোকাবেলা করা, অন্যটি আগামী বছরের জুলাই থেকে পূর্ণোদ্যমে সর্বজনীন পেনশন ব্যবস্থা চালু করা। আগামী নির্বাচনের আগে পুরোদমে এই পেনশন ব্যবস্থা চালুর মাধ্যমে দেশের ভোটারদের কাছে সরকারের জনকল্যাণকর বার্তা ছড়িয়ে দেওয়া হবে বলে উল্লেখ করেন তারা। আপাতত সরকারি চাকরিজীবী ছাড়া ১৮-৫০ বছর বয়সীরা সর্বজনীন পেনশন ব্যবস্থার আওতাভূক্ত হতে পারবে। প্রত্যেকে ৬০ বছর বয়স পর্যন্ত প্রতি মাসে নির্দিষ্ট হারে চাঁদা পরিশোধ করে ৬০ বছর পর থেকে আজীবন প্রতিমাসে পেনশন পাবেন। সোমবার অর্থসচিবের সভাপতিত্বে অনুষ্ঠিত আন্তঃমন্ত্রণালয় সভায় বিভিন্ন মন্ত্রণালয় থেকে বেশকিছু প্রশ্ন উত্থাপিত হয়েছে, যার সমাধান আইনে নেই। যেমন- একজন কর্মকর্তা অর্থসচিবের কাছে জানতে চান, ১৮ বছর বয়সে কোনো নাগরিক সর্বজনীন পেনশন ব্যবস্থায় অন্তর্ভূক্ত হওয়ার পর ২৪ বছর বয়সে ওই নাগরিক সরকারি চাকরিতে যোগদান করে, তাহলে তার পেনশন ব্যবস্থা কেমন হবে? তিনি কি বিদ্যমান সরকারি পেনশন ব্যবস্থার অন্তর্ভূক্ত হবেন, নাকি সর্বজনীন পেনশন ব্যবস্থার আওতায়ই থাকবেন? আর তিনি সরকারি পেনশন ব্যবস্থার অন্তর্ভূক্ত হলে সর্বজনীন পেনশন ব্যবস্থার আওতায় যে ৬ বছর চাঁদা দিলেন, তার কী হবে? "বিষয়টি এভাবে আমরা ভেবে দেখিনি। আশা করছি, সর্বজনীন পেনশন বিধিমালায় এসব বিষয় পরিস্কার করা হবে," সভায় জানান অর্থ সচিব। খসড়া আইনে প্রবাসী বাংলাদেশিদেরও সর্বজনীন পেনশন ব্যবস্থায় অন্তর্ভূক্ত রাখার কথা বলা হয়েছে। এ ব্যবস্থার আওতায় মাসিক ও ত্রৈমাসিক ভিত্তিতে চাঁদা দেওয়া যাবে এবং অগ্রিম ও কিস্তিতেও চাঁদা জমা দেওয়ার সুযোগ রাখা হয়েছে। জাতীয় পরিচয়পত্রকে ভিত্তি ধরে ১৮ থেকে ৫০ বছর বয়সী সকল বাংলাদেশি সর্বজনীন পেনশন ব্যবস্থায় অন্তর্ভুক্ত হতে পারবেন। এই ব্যবস্থায় অন্তর্ভুক্তির পর চাঁদাদাতা ধারাবাহিকভাবে কমপক্ষে ১০ বছর চাঁদা দিয়ে মাসিক পেনশন পাওয়ার যোগ্যতা অর্জন করবে এবং চাঁদাদাতার বয়স ৬০ বছর পূর্তিতে পেনশন তহবিলে পুঞ্জিভূত মুনাফাসহ জমার বিপরীতে পেনশন দেওয়া হবে। ৬০ বছর বয়স থেকে পেনশনারগন আজীবন, অর্থাৎ মৃত্যুর পূর্ব পর্যন্ত পেনশন সুবিধা ভোগ করবেন। তবে পেনশনে থাকাকালীন অবস্থায় বয়স ৭৫ বছর হওয়ার আগে মৃত্যুবরণ করলে পেনশনারের নমিনি বাকি সময়কালের (মূল পেনশনারের বয়স ৭৫ বছর পর্যন্ত) মাসিক পেনশন পাবেন। এছাড়া, কেউ সর্বজনীন পেনশন ব্যবস্থায় অন্তর্ভুক্ত হওয়ার পর কমপক্ষে ১০ বছর চাঁদা পরিশোধ করার আগেই মুত্যুবরণ করলে, জমা করা অর্থ মুনাফাসহ তার নমিনিকে ফেরত দেওয়া হবে। পেনশন তহবিলে জমা করা অর্থ কোনো পর্যায়েই এককালীন উত্তোলনের সুযোগ থাকবে না। তবে চাঁদাদাতা তার জমা করা অর্থের সর্বোচ্চ ৫০ শতাংশ ঋণ হিসেবে উত্তোলন করতে পারবে, যা ধার্যকৃত ফিসহ পরিশোধ করতে হবে। ফিসহ পরিশোধ করা পুরো অর্থ চাঁদাদাতার নিজ একাউন্টেই জমা হবে। পেনশনের জন্য নির্ধারিত চাঁদা বিনিয়োগ হিসেবে গণ্য করে কর রেয়াত দেবে সরকার। মাসিক পেনশন হিসেবে পেনশনার যে টাকা পাবে, তাও আয়করমুক্ত থাকবে। নিম্ন আয়সীমার নিচের নাগরিকদের অথবা দুঃস্থ চাঁদাদাতার ক্ষেত্রে, পেনশন তহবিলে মাসিক চাঁদার একটি অংশ সরকার অনুদান হিসেবে দিতে পারবে। এ বিষয়ে সরকার সময় সময় প্রজ্ঞাপন জারি করতে পারবে। প্রতিটি চাঁদাদাতার জন্য একটি পৃথক ও স্বতন্ত্র পেনশন হিসাব থাকবে। চাকরিরত চাঁদাদাতারা চাকরি পরিবর্তন করলেও, নতুন কর্মস্থলের বিপরীতে আগের হিসাব স্থানান্তর হবে। নতুন প্রতিষ্ঠানে যোগদান নতুন হিসাব খোলার দরকার হবে না। খসড়া আইনে অর্থমন্ত্রীকে চেয়ারম্যান করে ১৫ সদস্যের একটি গভর্নিং বোর্ড গঠনের কথা বলা হয়েছে, যেখানে বাংলাদেশ ব্যাংকের গভর্নরসহ সংশ্লিষ্ট মন্ত্রণালয় ও বিভাগের সচিবদের রাখার কথা বলা হয়েছে। গভর্নিং বোর্ড পেনশন তহবিলের অর্থ সরকারি সিকিউরিটি, কম ঝূঁকিপূর্ণ অন্যান্য সিকিউরিটিজ, লাভজনক অবকাঠামোখাতে বিনিয়োগের জন্য নির্ধারিত গাইডলাইন অনুমোদন এবং কর্তৃপক্ষকে প্রয়োজনীয় পরামর্শ ও দিক-নির্দেশনা দেবে। ২০১৪ সালের এপ্রিলে, তৎকালীন অর্থমন্ত্রী আবুল মাল আবদুল মুহিত বেসরকারি সংস্থার প্রতিনিধিদের সাথে প্রাক-বাজেট বৈঠকে প্রথমবারের মতো বেসরকারি খাতে পেনশন ব্যবস্থা চালু করার কথা বলেন। সে বছর জুনে তার বাজেট বক্তৃতায় তিনি এ বিষয়ে একটি ঘোষণা দেন এবং আর্থিক প্রতিষ্ঠান বিভাগকে পেনশন প্রকল্প চূড়ান্ত করতে বলেন। তিনি পরবর্তী বছরগুলোতে তার প্রতিশ্রুতি পুনর্ব্যক্ত করেন এবং ২০১৮ সালে বেসরকারি ব্যাংক এবং কর্পোরেট সংস্থাগুলোর কর্মচারীদের জন্য পেনশন স্কিম চালু করার লক্ষ্যে একটি পাইলট প্রকল্প চালু করার ঘোষণা দেন। ২০২১ থেকে একটি সর্বজনীন পেনশন ব্যবস্থা চালুর ঘোষণাও দেন তিনি। কিন্তু প্রথম ঘোষণার পর অর্থ মন্ত্রণালয়ের কোন বিভাগ পেনশন কার্যক্রম পরিচালনা করবে তা নিয়ে বিরোধের কারণে দুই বছর কেটে যায়। পরের দুই বছরে অর্থ বিভাগের একজন অতিরিক্ত সচিবের নেতৃত্বে একটি দল ভারতের বিভিন্ন প্রদেশ সফর করেন এবং কিভাবে প্রোগ্রামটি চালু করতে হয় সে সম্পর্কে ২০১৬ সালে একটি উপস্থাপনা দেন। কিন্তু, দলের প্রধান সাবেক অতিরিক্ত সচিব এআরএম নাজমুস সাকিবকে ২০১৭ সালে আমদানি ও রপ্তানি নিয়ন্ত্রকের অফিসে বদলি করা হলে উদ্যোগটি বন্ধ হয়ে যায়। ২০১৯ সালে অবসরকালীন ছুটিতে (পিআরএল) চলে যান তিনি। ২০২০ সালে নাজমুস সাকিবকে একটি আউটসোর্সিং ব্যবস্থায় নিয়োগ দিয়ে ধারণাপত্র প্রস্তুত করার একটি উদ্যোগ নেওয়া হয়। কিন্তু, করোনা মহামারির কারণে তা আর সম্ভব হয়নি। প্রায় ছয় কোটির বিশাল জনবলের জন্য পেনশন ব্যবস্থা চালু করা একটি দুঃসাধ্য কাজ বলে উল্লেখ করে কর্মকর্তারা তখন বলেছিলেন, প্রাতিষ্ঠানিক ও প্রযুক্তিগত অবকাঠামো নির্মাণ, বিদেশী পরামর্শদাতা নিয়োগসহ কাজ শুরু করতে অনেক প্রস্তুতি নিতে হবে।
  8. মানবদেহে কাজ করছে না গুরুত্বপূর্ণ ৬৭ শতাংশ অ্যান্টিবায়োটিক https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TnobqlAzt4Q
  9. https://www.thedailystar.net/bangla/প্রবাসে/মালয়েশিয়ায়-সফল-গবেষকের-স্বীকৃতি-বাংলাদেশের-তারিকুল-ইসলামের-349996?fbclid=IwAR1HgkNTVtdguU7QBN1uSCD2mb5fWNxqLcVITOEY9kiKyBeQT3ao8RN-6SY মালয়েশিয়ায় সফল গবেষকের স্বীকৃতি বাংলাদেশের তারিকুল ইসলামের আহমাদুল কবির বৃহস্পতিবার, মে ১৯, ২০২২ ০৯:৩৪ অপরাহ্ন অধ্যাপক ড. তারিকুল ইসলাম। ছবি: সংগৃহীত মালয়েশিয়ায় সফল গবেষকের স্বীকৃতি পেয়েছেন বাংলাদেশি শিক্ষাবিদ অধ্যাপক ড. তারিকুল ইসলাম। দেশটির খ্যাতনামা উচ্চ শিক্ষাপ্রতিষ্ঠান ইউনিভার্সিটি কেবাংসান মালয়েশিয়া (ইউকেএম) থেকে 'মালয়েশিয়া রিসার্চ অ্যাসেসমেন্ট' পুরষ্কার অর্জন করেছেন তিনি। গতকাল বুধবার কুয়ালালামপুরে বিশ্ববিদ্যালয়ের অডিটোরিয়ামে আয়োজিত এক অনুষ্ঠানে ইইউকেএম-এর ডেপুটি ভাইস চ্যান্সেলর প্রফেসর দাতো ড. আব্দুল ওয়াহাব মোহাম্মদের কাছ থেকে পুরষ্কার ও সনদ গ্রহণ করেন তারিকুল ইসলাম। উচ্চশিক্ষা প্রতিষ্ঠানের ক্ষমতা মূল্যায়নে প্রবর্তিত 'মালয়েশিয়া রিসার্চ অ্যাসেসমেন্ট' পুরস্কারের উদ্দেশ্য হলো কর্মক্ষমতা উন্নয়নের জন্য সব শিক্ষাবিদদের প্রশংসা করা, স্বীকৃতি দেওয়া এবং অনুপ্রাণিত করা। 'ইউনিভার্সিটি কেবাংসান মালয়েশিয়া (ইউকেএম) ২০০৬ সাল থেকে গবেষণা বিশ্ববিদ্যালয় হিসাবে ঘোষিত মালয়েশিয়ার ৫টি বিশ্ববিদ্যালয়ের মধ্যে একটি। ইউকেএম-এর ইলেকট্রিক্যাল, ইলেকট্রনিক এবং সিস্টেম ইঞ্জিনিয়ারিং বিভাগের অধ্যাপক ড. তারিকুল ইসলাম একটি গবেষণা গ্রুপের নেতৃত্ব দিচ্ছেন এবং তার অধীনে বাংলাদেশসহ পৃথিবীর বিভিন্ন দেশের শিক্ষার্থীরা গবেষণার কাজে নিয়োজিত আছেন। ড. তারিকুল ইসলাম, এর আগে বেশ কয়েকটি স্বর্ণপদক পুরস্কার পেয়েছেন এবং বহু বছর ধরে ইইকেএমএর-এর শীর্ষ গবেষক হিসেবে আছেন। তিনি প্রায় ৩০ জনের পিএইচডি ও ২০ জনের এমএসসি থিসিস তত্ত্বাবধান করেছেন। তিনি ১০টিরও বেশি পোস্টডক্স এবং ভিজিটিং গবেষককে পরামর্শ দিয়েছেন। এ ছাড়া অধ্যাপক তারিকুল, জাপানের কিউশু ইনস্টিটিউট অব টেকনোলজির একজন ভিজিটিং প্রফেসর। তিনি অ্যান্টেনা, মেটাম্যাটেরিয়ালস এবং মাইক্রোওয়েভ ইমেজিং সংক্রান্ত বিভিন্ন বিষয়ের ওপর প্রায় ৫০০টি গবেষণা জার্নাল নিবন্ধের লেখক এবং ২২টি ইনভেন্টরি পেটেন্ট দাখিল করেছেন। অধ্যাপক তারিকুল ঢাকার নটরডেম কলেজ এবং ঢাকা বিশ্ববিদ্যালয়ের ইলেক্ট্রিক্যাল অ্যান্ড ইলেকট্রনিক্স ইঞ্জিনিয়ারিং বিভাগের ছাত্র ছিলেন । তিনি স্তন এবং মাথার টিউমারের মতো রোগ নির্ণয়ের যন্ত্রের জন্য জাপান, সৌদি আরব, কুয়েত এবং কাতারের মতো বিভিন্ন বিশ্ববিদ্যালয়ের সাথে সহযোগিতামূলক গবেষণা পরিচালনা করছেন। তিনি ন্যানো স্যাটেলাইটের জন্য ছোট অ্যান্টেনা উন্নয়নেও সক্রিয়ভাবে কাজ করছেন। স্বীকৃতিতে অনূভূতি জানাতে গিয়ে অধ্যাপক মোহাম্মদ তারিকুল ইসলাম বলেন, পৃথিবীর বিভিন্ন দেশে বাংলাদেশি গবেষকরা সুনামের সঙ্গে কাজ করছেন। মালয়েশিয়াতেও এর ব্যতিক্রম নয়, তার প্রমাণ দিতে পেরে গর্ববোধ করছি। তিনি বাংলাদেশি গবেষকদের সহযোগিতা করার জন্য প্রস্তুত রয়েছেন বলেও জানান । লেখক: মালয়েশিয়াপ্রবাসী সাংবাদিক
  10. https://thefinancialexpress.com.bd/trade/bba-board-members-for-going-slow-with-the-plan-1652322656 Dhaka subway network BBA board members for going slow with the plan MUNIMA SULTANA | Published: May 12, 2022 08:30:56 | Updated: May 12, 2022 16:04:50 The board members of Bangladesh Bridge Authority (BBA) have proposed to go slow with the plan to develop a subway network in Dhaka city, aiming to relieve the commuters of construction-related hazards. Their stance on the issue came at the BBA's board meeting at Setu Bhaban on Wednesday as a proposal to form a subway company under the BBA was tabled at the meeting, with Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader in the chair. The BBA has recently completed the feasibility study on developing a 258-kilometre underground subway network to ease the city's traffic congestion. The plan is to bring most city areas under a fast transportation system. The first phase of the proposed network with a 127km stretch under four routes has been planned to complete by 2030 with an estimated cost of US$ 8.0 billion. However, the initiative has been criticised since the beginning as it is not the BBA's rules of business, and that a dedicated company, the Dhaka Mass Transit Company Limited (DMTCL), has been working to set up a similar mass transit system by 2030. Meeting sources said the members preferred observing first the metro rail or Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) development work as four MRT lines are already at different stages of implementation. They also pointed out the pains being felt by the commuters due to the ongoing construction of these kinds of transport projects. They said the DMTCL has by now made good progress in development of the MRT line 6 and its first phase is planned to be launched in December next. The MRT-1, MRT-5 North and MRT-5 South are at their designing and tendering stages. Construction of the projects is expected to start within a year or two. The board meeting was attended, among others, by senior secretaries and secretaries of the Energy and Mineral Resources Division, Road Transport and Highways Division, Power Division, Legislative and Parliamentary Affairs Division, Land Ministry, Railways Ministry and Bridge Division. Finance Division Secretary and Economic Relations Division Secretaries joined the meeting virtually. The BBA officials also placed another proposal at the meeting to amend the BBA Act 2016 for incorporating several issues like formation of the subway company under its rules of business. However, experts observed that the transport sector is already heavily invested with more than US$20 billion projects. Recently, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has also asked the authorities concerned to think more about developing the proposed high-speed train line, after completion of the feasibility study, due to involvement of more than $11 billion. The meeting apprised the board members of the overall implementation status of mega projects under the BBA, including Padma Bridge and Karnaphuli Tunnel. Other issues discussed at the meeting included introducing an electronic toll collection system on the fast-track lane of Jamuna Bangabandhu Bridge, selection of operators for toll collection and operation and maintenance of Padma Bridge, and formation of Padma Bridge O&M company. [email protected]
  11. https://www.tbsnews.net/economy/why-duty-free-access-did-not-jack-exports-china-418742 Abul Kashem 12 May, 2022, 11:00 pm Last modified: 12 May, 2022, 11:13 pm This is why duty-free access did not jack up exports to China About 25% of Bangladesh’s total imports come from China, most of which are raw materials for the readymade garments and industrial sectors When China granted duty-free access to 97% of Bangladeshi products last July, it was a cause for celebration for Bangladeshi exporters. Exports to China, the second-largest economy in the world, were expected to see a huge jump. The dreams, however, fizzled out soon. The numbers show that despite granted duty-free access and resumption of exports of crabs and eels after the pandemic, Bangladesh's export to China has made inconsequential rise in the last nine months, and have nearly halved compared to five years ago, when exports hit a high of $949 million. Exports to China amounted to only $546 million in July-March of the current fiscal year. This is only 9.68% more than the same period of the previous financial year, when exports were $680 million. At the same time, the trade deficit between the country has grown sharply. For instance, in FY17, Bangladesh exported goods worth $949 million to China. In the same period, its import bill from China was a staggering $10.7 billion. Fast forward to FY21, Bangladesh's exports fell to $680 million, while imports had shot to $12.93 billion. About 25% of Bangladesh's total imports come from China, most of which are raw materials for the readymade garments and industrial sectors. After a meeting with Chinese businessmen, the Bangladesh Embassy in Beijing mentioned that none of Bangladesh's exports made it to the list of top 20 imports. The embassy also said that Bangladesh's exports to China were not increasing due to a lack of branded and high-end products, something also reflected in the exports of leather goods and footwear which are comparatively cheaper than Chinese manufacturers. In addition, due to China's Zero-Covid policy, Bangladeshi traders have not been able to travel to the country since the outbreak of the pandemic, while Bangladeshi export-oriented companies lag behind in their online presence. The problems are further compounded by lack of aggressive marketing by Bangladeshi exporters. Another cause for celebration, which has now turned into concern, has been the generous duty-free access still failing to yield any positive result. Since 1 July last year, China implemented duty-free access for a total of 6,256 products, including all garment products, under the 97% duty-free facility. This was later changed to 98% and included leather products. About the negligible increase in exports to China, Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi told The Business Standard that many factories were being relocated from China by different countries to reduce dependence on a single country. This resulted in less exports of various products, including readymade garments, and that has affected the increase in exports. He said the ministry was taking various initiatives to increase Bangladesh's exports to China. Speaking to TBS, Faruque Hasan, president of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), highlighted other possible causes: the Zero-Covid policy and the quarantine period for Chinese businessmen after returning from abroad. He said China was not issuing visas to any foreigners due to its Zero-Covid policy, while any Chinese businessman going abroad had to be quarantined for 21-days after returning home. This has reduced the number of businessmen travelling abroad, including to Bangladesh, and this has reduced China's overall imports as well. He expressed hope that Bangladesh's exports to China would rise once the situation improved. But it is not all doom and gloom. In the current financial year, Bangladesh has seen high growth in all 15 of its major markets, except China. Despite the absence of duty-free access to the United States, export growth is over 50%. Exports to major European markets increased by 20% -30%. Bangladesh's export growth rate in neighbouring India is about 59%. Export goods that China doesn't want Analysing the export picture with China over the last decade using data from the Bangladesh Embassy in Beijing and the Export Promotion Bureau, it can be seen that with the export growth of about 63%, the amount of Bangladesh's export to China stood at $746 million in FY2013-14, which gradually increased to close to $1 billion in FY2016-17. After that, Bangladesh's exports began to experience a steep decline, with one minor high in FY2019-20. In the last two fiscal years, Bangladesh's exports to China have not touched the $700 million mark. Against this backdrop, in the first week of April, the Ministry of Commerce sent a letter to the Bangladesh Embassy in China asking for a report on the reasons why Bangladesh's exports to the country did not increase despite the introduction of a duty-free export facility. In a follow up report, Bangladesh's Commercial Counselor in Beijing, Mohammad Monsor Uddin, said Bangladesh had no export products on the list of major Chinese imports. It seemed that Bangladesh was attempting to sell products China did not want. So what is China looking for? According to the same report, China is current starving for 20 products: electronic circuits, crude oil, motor cars, phone system devices, petroleum gas, soyabean, copper wires, data processing machines, semiconductors, refined copper, solar power diodes, polymers, beauty products, skincare products and low-voltage switches, among others. The Bangladesh Embassy in Beijing stressed that the lack of any products in those categories had dented Bangladesh's export aspirations. The RMG and leather conundrum As much as Bangladesh has been successful in exporting ready-made garments to India after getting duty-free export facilities under the Saarc Preferential Trading Arrangement, it has not made a dent in the losses made in the $300-billion RMG market in China. During July-March of the current financial year, Bangladesh's exports of woven and knitwear to India amounted to $523 million. At the same time, exports of these two products to China amounted to only $173 million. Mohammad Hatem, executive president of the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association, said the global readymade garments market was worth $750 billion, of which China's domestic market alone was worth $300 billion. "We expected a lot of export orders from China after the duty-free facility came into effect, but we were disappointed," he said. He cited the decline in Chinese-made garment exports to the United States as the main reason why exports to China did not increase despite the introduction of duty-free facilities. Chinese ready-made garments exporters are now focusing on the domestic market. Faruque Hasan, president of the BGMEA, told TBS that China was reducing its own garment exports and aiming to meet domestic demand, which is why Bangladesh's exports to the country had not increased. The same scenario in terms of exports can be seen for leather and footwear. Despite the demand for Bangladeshi leather and leather products in the Chinese market, exports are not growing due to lack of quality and high prices of Bangladeshi leather products and footwear, the Bangladesh Embassy in Beijing said in a separate report on April 27. The average export of footwear from Bangladesh to China in the last decade was $16.70 million dollars. The amount of footwear export from Bangladesh has remained almost the same in the last nine months even after it was declared duty-free with exports reaching $13.19 million, but this is still a high. In the 2018-19 fiscal year, exports reached a low of $2.24 million. The poor show continued as last fiscal year, exports reached $1.80 million. For leather goods, five years ago, exports amounted to more than $76 million. Since then, the amount has been declining. Leather exports stood at $58.29 million, despite a 100 percent growth in the last fiscal year. As of March of the current fiscal year, the amount is $53.68 million. Bangladesh Tanners Association President Md Shaheen Ahmed told TBS that despite the duty-free facility, after exports, China has to pay 15% VAT, provincial tax and a total tax of 26% -30%. "This is why we are not able to export more to China. We request the ministry to take necessary steps to remove these obstacles." According to the report of the Commercial Counsel of Bangladesh in China, the country imports large quantities of hides and skins from the United States, Brazil, Italy, Australia, Thailand and Korea. These skins are separated mechanically from carcasses and are larger in size. Chinese buyers consider importing such leather as more profitable. False hopes for food Exports of crabs and eel to China resumed in July after the ban was lifted. For Bangladeshi exporters, this was an important moment as the country earns around $50 million a year by exporting these two products. The duty-free access further raised hopes of boosting sales by exporting to the country of 1.5 billion people. Again, this boost has been falsely based. Furthermore, the export of various agricultural products and frozen food products remains suspended due to failure to ensure standards. According to the embassy, the export of Bangladesh's edible aquatic animals to the Chinese market was suspended for one year from June 2020 due to non-compliance with Chinese standards and health certificate complications. This hampered Bangladesh's export earnings of more than $50 million. Since July last year, eight listed companies in Bangladesh have started exporting crabs and eel on a limited basis, while eight more companies are waiting to be listed. According to the embassy report, China has been cautious in importing food products because of Covid-19. This trend is especially evident in the case of imports of frozen food products. Since January, online registration of Chinese customs has been made mandatory for 18 types of food exporters. Of these, only two products (Sesame and Sesame Oil) are being exported from Bangladesh so far. Last July, the embassy sent a letter to the Chinese customs authorities asking for export facilities for six agricultural products from Bangladesh, including mango, jackfruit, and guava and potato paste. The risk analysis has been sent to the Chinese customs authorities and there are hopes the exports will begin once the products are approved. Al Mamun Mridha, acting general secretary of the Bangladesh-China Chamber of Commerce and Industry, told TBS that Bangladesh needs to undertake a holistic approach to take advantage of the duty-free facility, but so far the government hasn't taken any initiative. Mridha, also managing director of Mridha Business Limited, an exporter of shrimp to China, said developing countries are taking various initiatives, including organising single country fairs, to increase exports to China. "I have asked the Ministry of Commerce for assistance in showcasing Bangladeshi products in China throughout the year. The Bangladesh government needs to take various initiatives to increase exports to China," he said. Recommendations The Bangladesh Embassy in Beijing has recommended the appointment of dealers or agents in China and aggressive marketing to increase the export of high quality products of Bangladesh, including leather products. It said local Chinese companies are constantly competing with foreign and multinational companies, but Bangladeshi companies were lagging behind in this regard. It also said that the well-known brands of Bangladesh were missing in action, as they had no agents or dealers in China. Plus, it was not possible to capture the Chinese market with moderate quality products or those without advanced packaging. "Bangladesh hasn't generated a brand image among the consumers of China. In order to enhance the brand image, the big brands of Bangladesh need to open their outlets and offices in China and invest in marketing, promotion, advertisement, cultural exchange, both online and onsite," said the embassy report. It further said that the demand for world class branded products in China is increasing day by day. There are no outlets or sales of Bangladeshi brands in China. Therefore, by setting up outlets of high quality leather goods and footwear brands of Bangladesh in China, the opportunities for export of leather products can be further increased through marketing, promotion and advertisement through agents. In addition, the embassy has recommended that urgent steps be taken to arrange visas for Bangladeshi businessmen to China.
  12. https://www.tbsnews.net/bangladesh/microplastics-found-5-local-sugar-brands-418390 TBS Report 12 May, 2022, 03:00 pm Last modified: 12 May, 2022, 03:32 pm Microplastics found in 5 local sugar brands About 10.2 tonnes of microplastics could enter the bodies of the entire population of the country each year through sugar alone Researchers from Jahangirnagar University have found microplastic contamination at an alarming level in five brands and two samples of non-branded sugar in the country. The amount is so high that around 10.2 tonnes of microplastics could enter the bodies of the entire population every year through sugar alone, the researchers project. The research has been accepted by the popular journal Science of the Total Environment and will be published soon, says Md Mostafizur Rahman, head of the research team. A version of the paper has already been published online:https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=4066172. "A recent study found the presence of microplastics in human blood. Now we have found their presence in sugar. We have also identified their size, chemical nature, and shape," Mostafizur Rahman tells The Business Standard. "The presence of these elements in the human body is a matter of great concern," he says. "There is not enough research throughout the world on the impact of microplastics on the human body, but we have done research on different animals before including birds and frogs, and noticed that microplastics support other pollutants and act as a secondary vector. So, it is a serious threat to human health," he adds. The study that lasted for about six months found an average of 343.7 plastic particles in each kilogram of sugar collected from various supermarkets in Dhaka for testing. Most of the particles are smaller than 300 micrometres and are black, pink, blue, and brown in colour. These plastic particles also include different chemical elements called ABS, PVC, PET, EVA, CA, PTFE, HDPE, PC, and nylon. However, the research team has not disclosed the names of the sugar brands used in the research. They also could not reveal the way these microplastics enter sugar. "The plastic particles may have entered the sugar during packaging or processing. They are also likely to be present in imported sugar. So, I think we need to be more careful to prevent the presence of these microplastics in sugar," Mostafizur Rahman says. "The Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution [BSTI] and other authorities concerned can play a big role in this regard. We need to be very careful not to allow any kind of polymers to enter into sugar," he notes. According to the research, the use of plastic products has reached an unprecedented level in every sector of the world, including households and industries. The worldwide production of plastics was 367 million tonnes in 2020, half of which was produced in Asia. That is why the region is now known around the world as a hotspot for plastic pollution. The presence of plastic particles has already been found in a variety of human food items such as commercially cultivated shrimp, fish, salt, flour, fruits, vegetables, beer, honey, milk, and snacks. Mostafizur Rahman tells TBS that with the ever-increasing use of polymers worldwide, there is no room to ignore the issue. "Since we do not yet have much information about the effects of microplastics on the human body, there is a need for increased research on its effects. At the same time, we should think of alternatives to plastics to save the environment," he says.
  13. https://www.tbsnews.net/bangladesh/rice-researchers-identified-highly-adaptable-advanced-breeding-lines-bangladesh TBS Report 11 May, 2022, 06:35 pm Last modified: 11 May, 2022, 06:35 pm Rice researchers identified highly-adaptable advanced breeding lines for Bangladesh ecosystems Rice researchers have identified advanced breeding lines suitable for various types of environments which could help in developing new breeding lines and varieties highly adapted to local ecosystems in Bangladesh to help farmers increase productivity, and in turn, strengthen the country's food security. The outcomes of the trials were presented during the Annual Advancement Meeting of AGGRi Network Trials 2022 on 10 May in Dhaka, according to a press release issued by International Rice Research Institute (Irri) Bangladesh Office. The agricultural materials were tested for short, medium, and late maturity alongside stress tolerance (against cold, salinity, and submerging or flooding). They were tested to select the superior breeding lines in different environments in Bangladesh through on-farm field trials under the supervision of the Irri Bangladesh Office and NARes partners. The results were part of the various field tests conducted on Aman in 2021 by researchers from Irri Bangladesh in collaboration with Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI), Bangladesh Institute of Nuclear Agriculture (Bina), and Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Agricultural University (BSMRAU). The experiments were carried out in seven districts, including Gazipur, Rajshahi, Rangpur, Kushtia, Cumilla, Satkhira, and Barisal. During these tests, researchers studied various materials for short, medium, and long-term duration and identified whether they are suitable for drought and salinity, or if they are flood-tolerant, the press release added. The findings of the trials are valuable for Irri and NARes partners like BRRI, Bina, public universities and private entities as these could help enrich their rice breeding research and development, and formulate how they develop new varieties. BRRI Director General Md Shahjahan Kabir and Bina Director-General Mirza Mofazzal Islam were present at the meeting as the chief guest and a special guest, respectively. Humnath Bhandari, Irri Representative for Bangladesh, chaired the event. A wide range of participants attended the meeting including breeders and molecular breeders from Irri headquarters, Manila and Irri Bangladesh; scientists from BRRI and Bina, professors from BSMRAU, Khulna University, Sylhet Agricultural University, and scientists from five private partner companies such as Aftab Bahumukhi Farms Limited, Ispahani Agro Limited, Lal Teer Seed Limited, Metal Agro Limited, and Supreme Seed Company Limited. "Taken together, the improvements in product focus, selection accuracy, selection intensity, and cycle length, driven by the effective application of new genotyping, phenotyping, and decision support technologies, have the potential to raise the current rate of genetic gain in the staple food crops produced by farmers in the developing world from a current rate that is likely well under 1% annually (and in many instances not significantly different than zero) to at least 2%," shared Mirza Mofazzal Islam. "In the process, farmers will be better protected against a rapidly changing climate and be better able to adapt to rapidly commercialising production systems," he added. "We have lots of challenges in the future for sustaining food security; BRRI needs a massive reform both in human resource development and physical facilities. It is expected that IRRI's contribution and collaboration will be continued for the up-gradation of the research capacity of BRRI, particularly in the field of cutting-edge technologies like genomics, phenomics, proteomics, bioinformatics, genome editing, speed breeding, automation, digitisation, mechanisation and infrastructure development," said Md Shahjahan Kabir, the director-general of BRRI.
  14. Accelerating Asia is one of the most active and important international investors in early-stage ventures in the local ecosystem. Accelerating Asia now has 52 startups in its portfolio, which have raised a combined total of over $42 million, including startups in eight verticals such as Property Technology (PropTech), marketplace, fintech, logistics, services, e-commerce, and health tech.
  15. https://www.dhakatribune.com/business/2022/05/11/tallykhata-selected-for-this-years-visa-accelerator-program TallyKhata selected for this year’s Visa accelerator program The accelerator programme is part of Visa’s broader set of platforms and activities for the startup community in the Asia Pacific May 11, 2022 2:46 PM Visa, the world leader in digital payments, has selected digital payments start-up Tallykhata from Bangladesh for the 2022 cohort of its Visa accelerator programme in the Asia Pacific. Joining a select group of five elite startups from across the region, TallyKhata is a leading digital payments platform with wallet and credit capabilities for small and micro-businesses in Bangladesh, reads a press release. It will support financial inclusion by developing new ways for small businesses to access credit lines and working capital. Over the next six months, the startups will work closely with Visa on creating defined commercial opportunities they can bring to Visa’s extensive network of banks, merchants, government and venture partners. TallyKhata aims to partner with leading banks in Bangladesh to issue a Visa virtual card for small business working capital to micro-merchants through the programme. The Visa virtual card serves as a line of credit (short-term working capital loan) used by the MSME for direct payment to a list of approved suppliers / FMCG companies. “We are super excited about being part of the Visa accelerator program 2022. We are developing innovative credit products for small businesses in collaboration with Visa and the local banks. Leveraging Visa rails and TallyKhata transaction data and credit scoring, we will enable quick and easy access to digital credit for the 11 million small businesses in Bangladesh,” said Dr Shahadat Khan, founder and CEO, TallyKhata “The dynamic business landscape of Bangladesh calls for exciting and innovative solutions like TallyKhata. We are excited to collaborate with them and extend Visa’s experience in the payments industry to help them design solutions that meet the needs of businesses in Bangladesh. Together, we aim to help scale the economy and accelerate the digitisation of the value chain,” said Soumya Basu, country manager - Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan, Visa. “Through the Accelerator Programme, Visa supports the startup community by giving them a leg up in one of their key challenges, which is expanding their footprint beyond their home market and into the region. Globally, nearly 30% more fintech issued Visa credentials in the last year, and they nearly doubled their payments volume. By combining Visa’s capabilities and the reach of our global network with the ingenuity of the startups, together we can create new innovative experiences at scale and bring more individuals and businesses into the digital economy.” Visa introduced the accelerator programme in the Asia Pacific in December 2020. Designed for startups that have launched successful solutions in their home markets and are looking toward their next stage of growth, the programme is ideal for growth-stage fintech that is Series A and above, have a long-term commitment to Asia Pacific growth and existing operations in the region. The accelerator programme is part of Visa’s broader set of platforms and activities for the startup community in the Asia Pacific.
  16. https://www.tbsnews.net/bangladesh/corruption/runner-auto-sued-tk1559cr-vat-evading-417958 TBS Report 11 May, 2022, 09:15 pm Last modified: 11 May, 2022, 10:55 pm Runner Auto sued for Tk15.59cr VAT evading The case was filed following a raid by the VAT intelligence directorate into Runner Auto’s head office last March The VAT Audit, Intelligence & Investigation Directorate has filed a case against Runner Automobiles Ltd for allegedly evading more than Tk15 crore in VAT by concealing product sales information. VAT Intelligence said in a statement on Wednesday that the company had been sued for discrepancies in the actual sale price and return filings in the last five years. Runner Auto, the two-wheeler pioneer of the country, will now have to pay Tk20.85 crore to the government. Runner Auto officials have declined the allegation, saying the company has been compliant with all relevant rules and laws. The case was filed following a raid by the VAT intelligence directorate into Runner Auto's head office last March in response to a complaint from a buyer who wished to remain anonymous, officials said. In a statement, the VAT intelligence directorate said Runner Auto has evaded Tk15.59 crore in VAT by hiding sales of Tk70.47 crore from July 2016 to June 2021. According to the VAT Act, the company now has to pay the evaded amount along with a monthly interest of 2%. Meanwhile, Runner Auto officials said the company has been doing business in compliance with applicable laws. "We are saddened by the sudden shock of case filing," said Runner Automobiles Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Shanat Datta. "We have been cooperating with the VAT Intelligence officials by providing detailed documents on time. The case was filed on the very day when we submitted our last batch of documents they asked for," he added. Asked about the consequences, the finance head of the listed firm said, "Since we are confident that we have been doing business in a compliant way, we do not have any such provision for the asked amount." Runner made over Tk900 crore contribution to the national exchequer in the five fiscal years up to 2020-21, of which VAT was Tk154.31 crore, Shanat Datta said, adding that "the claimed figure of Tk15.59 crore in VAT evasion must be a misunderstanding." The company has two options now – paying the claimed amount as a total of unpaid VAT, and the accrued interest on the figure, or going for an appeal. Shanat opined that his firm will take the appeal route.
  17. https://thefinancialexpress.com.bd/national/bangladesh-bank-issues-clarification-on-operating-foreign-currency-accounts-1652277563 Bangladesh Bank issues clarification on operating foreign currency accounts Published: May 11, 2022 19:59:23 | Updated: May 11, 2022 22:11:58 Bangladesh Bank, in a clarification, said that non-resident Bangladeshis can open foreign currency accounts (FCA) in any scheduled banks in the country and any amount of money can be deposited with those accounts without permission from the central bank. If the expatriates bring any amount of cash, dollars or other foreign currencies during arrival, they can deposit it with their bank accounts and exchange it for local currency. The expatriates can deposit $10,000 to their accounts without declaring it to the customs authorities. The central bank issued a notification in this regard on Tuesday to inform people and remove the confusion over the free transferring of foreign currency abroad, reports UNB. Under the existing foreign exchange transaction policy, Bangladeshis living abroad can operate private foreign currency accounts or non-resident foreign currency deposit accounts in the country’s banks. Any amount of foreign currencies sent from abroad or brought to Bangladesh from abroad can be deposited with these accounts without question. Besides, expatriates during departure can take abroad the money with them in the form of cash, a maximum amount of $ 5,000 and other foreign currency as required subject to the status of balance in the account. The status of these foreign currency accounts operated in the name of expatriates or non-resident Bangladeshis can be freely sent abroad with interest. In this case, no approval from Bangladesh Bank is required
  18. https://www.tbsnews.net/economy/forex-reserve-falls-41b-mark-higher-imports-lower-remittance-inflow-417998 TBS Report 11 May, 2022, 10:20 pm Last modified: 11 May, 2022, 10:40 pm Forex reserve falls to $41b-mark with higher imports, lower remittance inflow After paying the Asian Clearing Union $2.24 billion on Tuesday, the reserve stood at $41.95 billion which central bank officials believe will meet the liabilities of imports for the next six months. Bangladesh's forex reserve, which witnessed a rapid surge during the pandemic, has now fallen to the $41 billion-mark thanks to higher imports and lower remittance inflow. This has caused concerns for the country in the matter of spending foreign currencies. After paying the Asian Clearing Union $2.24 billion on Tuesday, the reserve stood at $41.95 billion which central bank officials believe will meet the liabilities of imports for the next six months. In such a situation, the central bank on Wednesday took several strict steps to keep holding the foreign currency reserve by reducing spending on development projects. It decided to delay payments for at least six months for the projects that have no urgency right now. Earlier on Tuesday, the central bank instructed the scheduled banks to keep the minimum 50% margin against letters of credit (LC), which is double the previous margin set only a month ago. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has ordered the authorities not to approve government officials' travels abroad except in emergencies. The forex reserve has been on a gradual rise in the past couple of years, according to the Bangladesh Bank data. It was some $15 billion in 2013 and jumped to $36 in 2019. With the rapid higher remittance inflow during the pandemic, the reserve hit an all-time high of $48.06 billion in August 2021. However, the reserve has been on the decline since then, due mainly to increased imports amid the ease of the pandemic. In the nine months (July-March) of the current fiscal year (FY22), the import costs increased by 43.86% to $61.5 billion, leading to a wide trade deficit, as exports during the period surged by only 32.92% to $36.62 billion. In the meantime, remittance inflow decreased by 17.74% to $15.30 billion. By international standards, a country has to have reserves equal to three months of import expenditure. With the amount of reserves that Bangladesh has now, it is possible to pay import costs for at least 6 months at the rate of $6 billion worth of imports per month on average. To maintain a healthy reserve, the Bangladesh Bank also raised the interbank exchange rate by Tk0.25 to Tk86.7 per dollar on Monday, the second increase in less than two months. It is the rate between two banks. Customers have to pay at least Tk7 more per dollar.
  19. https://www.tbsnews.net/bangladesh/commerce-minister-urges-canada-produce-canola-oil-bangladesh-417702 TBS Report 11 May, 2022, 05:00 pm Last modified: 11 May, 2022, 10:44 pm Commerce minister urges Canada to produce canola oil in Bangladesh During a meeting with the minister, Canadian HC Lilly Nicholls said her country is interested in increasing trade and investment with Bangladesh Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi has urged Canada to set up canola oil factories in Bangladesh, saying the North American country will benefit from such investment. He said Canada could then export the product to neighbouring countries after meeting the domestic demand in Bangladesh. The minister made the call during a meeting with Lilli Nicholls, Canadian high commissioner to Bangladesh, on Tuesday at the Secretariat. Terming Canada a friend of Bangladesh, Tipu Munshi said Bangladesh wants to take advantage of the huge potential for trade and investment between the two countries. Bangladesh imports a large quantity of edible oil. Canada produces a lot of edible canola oil, which has the potential to be a popular commodity in Bangladesh. He added that 100 economic zones are being developed across the country, with the construction of some nearing the last stage. The government has announced several facilities for investors in the economic zones. Canada will benefit by investing here. Responding to the minister's call, Lilly Nicholls said Canada is interested in increasing trade and investment with Bangladesh. "There is a huge demand for Bangladeshi readymade garments in Canada. There is ample opportunity to export Canadian canola oil to Bangladesh. Both countries can import [the commodity] using government to government system through the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh," she said. The Canadian envoy added that her country will provide all possible assistance in this regard. At the meeting, Tipu Munshi also asked for Canada's assistance in research to ensure the proper use of agricultural products. He said Bangladesh produces a huge amount of potatoes, which have the potential to be exported. During the July-March period of the current financial year, Bangladesh exported goods worth $1,070.58 million to Canada, while Bangladesh imported goods worth $428.86 million from Canada, according to the minister.
  20. https://www.tbsnews.net/economy/industry/furniture-interior-designing-particle-board-now-taking-over-timber-417554 Abbas Uddin Noyon 11 May, 2022, 02:00 pm Last modified: 11 May, 2022, 02:19 pm Furniture to interior designing: Particle board now taking over timber Low cost, durability and eco-friendliness – these three factors mainly have propelled a rapid growth of the market for particle board amid surging demand for wood-alternative furniture and interior designing. The use of particle board, made of wood chips or jute stick chips, in interior decoration, furniture, door and door frames, partitions, false ceilings, shelves and panels at homes and offices has gone up significantly over the last few years. Industry insiders say the burgeoning market has been growing at 18%-20% per annum since 2015. Some 15-20 companies have stepped in with massive investments amounting to Tk10,000 crore to cash in on growing demand for particle boards, they also say, adding that there are also more than 300 small entrepreneurs engaged in manufacturing such boards. The annual sales have also crossed the Tk5,000 crore mark, they note. Akij Group has recently set up its state-of-the-art plant, which is also the largest in South Asia, at a cost of over Tk1,000 crore for manufacturing modern particle boards in Mymensingh's Trishal. Khourshed Alam, director (Sales & Marketing, Particle Board & Ceramics) at Akij Group, said, "We are now planning to set up our third plant as we have got very good response since our second plant came into production." He hopes that the particle board industry will continue to grow in the future as it is cheaper, eco-friendly than timbers and furniture made from it has more durability. Wastage of timber and jute sticks apart, unnecessary tree branches are also used as major ingredients for manufacturing particle board, which is creating an additional source of income for marginalised people, he noted. Akij built its second factory on more than 100 acres of land in Trishal in 2017 to produce particle board. The factory, built entirely based on German technology, can produce 25 crore square feet of particle boards a year. They procure tree branches from all over the country and process them in the factory. At present, more than 2,000 people are working directly in the factory. Khorshed Alam said, "The boards they manufacture from mahogany, raintree, akashmoni and chambal tree branches using state-of-the-art technology are more durable than wood." In 1962, Star Particle Board Mills Ltd, a concern of Partex Star Group, was the first factory in Bangladesh, which started producing jute-based particle boards. The same group also pioneered the manufacturing of wood-based particle boards in 2006. Other major manufacturers that followed are TK Group's Superboard, Star Particle Board Mills, Super Particle Board Mills, MRS Industries, Amber Boards, Multi Panels, Woodland Plywood & Particle Board Mills, Bengal Plywood Mills, Otobi, Diamond Particle Board Mills, and Maya Particle Board Mills. The labour-intensive sector has also created jobs for more than 25,000 people. Md Shibbir Hossain, head of Business Development of Partex Star Group, said their particle boards are bug repellent and last longer than wooden ones as they apply a special chemical while manufacturing. "We are also exporting jutex boards abroad after meeting local demand," he added. Shibbir Hossain also said particle boards manufactured in the country are melamine, ply board, plain board, veneered board, and PVC board. MDF board is imported from Malaysia. Local companies cater to 80% of domestic demand, while the remaining 20% demand is met through imports. The annual demand for particle boards is 80 crore square feet. If social forestry increases, the amount of imports from abroad will come down further, he pointed out, adding that the use of wood has reduced by 60% thanks to the rapid growth of the particle board industry. The furniture sector consumes 55% of particle boards, while 45% of those are used in housing and corporate sectors. The furniture making raw material All companies now produce furniture directly with veneered boards and most of them also apply lacquer on boards. Shahriar Zaman, manager for marketing of Akij Particle Board Mills, claimed that most Malaysian or Canadian wood furniture available in the local market are made from local wood-based particle boards. Selim H Rahman, president of Bangladesh Furniture Industries Owners Association, said, "Particle boards are now being used as raw materials for making furniture. The particle board market, which is working as a backward linkage for us, is growing in line with the furniture sector."
  21. https://www.tbsnews.net/nbr/good-revenue-growth-rising-prices-imported-goods-416474 Reyad Hossain 09 May, 2022, 10:55 pm Last modified: 10 May, 2022, 12:35 pm Good revenue growth on rising prices of imported goods In the meantime, the NBR is going to set a relatively large revenue target for fiscal 2022-23 The rise in commodity prices in the world market has led to an increase in duty on imported goods, which has kept the government's revenue collection in a more comfortable position than last year. According to the latest figures released by the National Board of Revenue (NBR), the revenue collection in the first nine months through March of fiscal 2021-22 has increased by about 14.5% over the same period of the previous fiscal year. This growth is more than the average growth of the last five years for the same period. Despite this, the NBR is not in a comfortable position because if the revenue collection increases at this pace, the government's target for the current financial year will not be achieved, economists and even the officials of the revenue department think. In the meantime, the NBR is going to set a relatively large revenue target for fiscal 2022-23. Economists say the rise in commodity prices in the international market has played a bigger role than the NBR in achieving nearly 14.5% growth in revenue. Towfiqul Islam Khan, senior research fellow of the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), told The Business Standard, "The increase in commodity prices in the international market has played a bigger role in the growth of revenue." The revenue statistics say the same thing. According to the NBR, the highest growth during the period under review was at the import duty level, at around 21%. At the same time, value-added tax (VAT) and income tax collection increased by 9.94% and 14.09% respectively. Towfiqul Islam Khan thinks that at the rate at which import expenditure has increased, the collection of import duty should have been done at a higher rate. According to the latest calculations of the Bangladesh Bank, imports have increased by 43% in the first nine months of the current financial year. However, Benapole Customs House Commissioner Md Azizur Rahman said, "A large number of duty-free goods or goods with less duty have been imported in the current financial year. Of the imported items, products used in big government projects were big in number." Despite the good pace of revenue collection, if the current pace is ensured, the revenue collection target will not be achieved in the next three months till June, in which case there may be a deficit of around Tk30,000 crore from the target. However, the CPD's senior research fellow thinks that relieving the common people from the pressure of inflation in revenue collection will be a big challenge for the NBR in the future. He said there would be challenges for the NBR in the future on three issues. In addition to relieving average consumers from inflationary pressures, the question is whether the NBR will be able to withdraw tax exemptions and prevent tax evasion. However, the NBR has already withdrawn or reduced the VAT, to ease some of the pressure relating to the rise in edible oil and sugar prices in the world market. Despite this, consumers have to buy edible oil at almost double the price of last year. A senior NBR official told TBS that the government has made big concessions on corporate over the last two years. Apart from this, VAT has been exempted in some sectors. Sugar and edible oil have been exempted from VAT. Otherwise, the growth in revenue collection would have been more. He said the collection is relatively high towards the end of the financial year. With that in mind, even if the current growth rate increases further, the target may not be achieved in the end. Economists, however, boldly identify several challenges for failing to meet the revenue collection target. These are the inability to implement the reform agenda of the NBR, the inability to bring a huge amount of money into the government exchequer due to the inability to prevent tax evasion and the huge amount of tax exemption in various sectors.
  22. https://www.tbsnews.net/thoughts/will-bangladeshi-mega-projects-pay-expected-benefits-416574 Faiz Ahmad Taiyeb 10 May, 2022, 10:30 am Last modified: 10 May, 2022, 11:08 am Will the Bangladeshi mega projects pay off expected benefits? The promises of the megaproject-based development narrative are yet to be fulfilled as reflected through the living standards of the ordinary people 'Development' has become a political phenomenon in Bangladesh. Instead of investing massive grants in intangible human development elements, quality life, mass transportation, respectful employment, universal health coverage, quality education, universal pension, unemployment benefit and other meaningful social safety allowances, the government mostly focuses on tangible aspects that are visible to the naked eye. From the government's point of view, mega projects such as Padma Bridge, Padma Rail, Karnaphuli Tunnel, Payra Port, Rooppur Nuclear plant, Matarbari Deep Sea Port, Moheshkhali thermal plant and oil depot, Rampal thermal power station, Dhaka Metro Rail, etc would bring about high GDP growth. But are the megaprojects of Bangladesh going to pay off their promised benefits and economic utilities over time? To what extent are these development projects going to improve people's lives? The current 'development' model cannot account for the growing wealth inequality in Bangladesh. It does not relate to ordinary people's suffering behind the TCB grocery trucks, continuous energy, and commodity price hikes, the declining working environment, growing job risk, and poor wages in the private and informal job market, which is 87% of the total labour market. That is, the promises of the megaproject-based development narratives are yet to be fulfilled as reflected in the living standards of the ordinary people. The Padma Multipurpose Bridge The road lanes of the Padma Multipurpose Bridge are scheduled to be inaugurated this year, while the single rail track will be opened later. The inclusion of a single rail track has caused some technical and cost impacts on the state-of-the-art river bridge of Jamuna, which is suffering from cracks and needs costly maintenance at certain intervals. Yet, it seems like we have not learned enough from it. The Padma river bridge is made as a brass bridge, which has doubled the cost of the megastructure. The absence of double rail tracks will cause significant travel delays. Like the Jamuna rail bridge, probably a new Padma rail bridge too had to be built instead of incorporating one into the current one. Due to a lack of accountability and the necessary technical expertise, various projects including the Padma bridge suffered from wrong design and poor-quality feasibility studies. For instance, complications arose in the design of 14 pillars of the Padma Bridge in 2016. Design inputs have been copy-pasted from only 11 actual test piles. Meanwhile, there are errors in the feasibility study and design of the Padma Rail Link project too. The via-duct plan of the Padma rail track was also found faulty. Similar errors were found in the design of the Rupsha Railway Bridge, which is part of the Khulna-Mongla Port Railway Project. The Khulna-Mongla port railway section also has design defects. Design issues were reported in Dhaka-Mawa 4 lane and Dhaka-Chattagram 4-lane projects. Design and implementation mistakes like these delay the revenue-generating phase of the projects. It increases the project duration and increases the cost of the project. For example, the 55km long Dhaka-Mawa-Bhanga highway is the most expensive highway in the country and in the world, where more than Tk200 crore have been spent per kilometre. But it is not able to generate revenue as the toll plaza is not ready yet. Every such project experienced expenditure hikes at multiple stages, which had an immense impact on the toll rate. The Padma bridge is expected to contribute a 1.23% increase in GDP growth levels, connecting a minimum of eight districts directly with the capital. But if the toll is high, the government will dry up the increased economic benefits expected from the bridge. Payra Port and coal hub Payra is essentially a river port with the flavour of a seaport. The wide river channel of Payra is a shallow one because of the continuous sedimentation from the mighty Himalayan rivers. The Japanese feasibility study says it needs continuous capital dredging to keep the port active. But this message is being overlooked by the local planners and politicians. Imagine a 40-nautical-mile-long, 220-metre-wide area that needs regular dredging up to 10 metres on a regular basis! It demands 300 to 500 million dollars annually. The JICA report explicitly says 'these expenditures would not be feasible.' Only after spending a few thousand crores and borrowing another Tk5,000 crores from the foreign currency reserves for capital dredging, did the government eventually realise that Payra could never become a deep seaport. Yet they are moving ahead with it as a regular seaport. One wonders whether Payra Port will be able to earn the Tk5,000 crore it borrowed in the next 20 years or so. Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant (RNPP) is Bangladesh's largest infrastructure project to date. According to the original plan, the power plant was supposed to start generating 1,200 MW of electricity in 2021, 2,400 MW by 2022, and 4,000 MW by 2030. In reality, the first reactor has been installed. But as of now, no electricity transmission line has been designed or built yet. So, even if the reactor gets ready it will not be able to move into production, the government will have to pay capacity charges against the idle plant. The same thing happened in the recently inaugurated thermal power plant Rampal, which in its rights was a widely controversial project. On top of that, the government is having to pay expensive capacity charges as the transmission line for the project is not yet ready for full capacity. Moreover, the construction cost of the RNPP has been estimated at Tk1,13,000 crore. Russia is providing 90% of this money as loan assistance. In the wake of the Ukraine war, there are rising concerns about the project's production and operation capability, as the Russian financial system has been sanctioned. There is widespread ambiguity about its ultra-high-cost model as opposed to international cost standards of similar projects running in India and Indonesia. Intellectuals are also puzzled by the ambiguity of nuclear waste management. Bangladesh has not yet gathered any operations and maintenance experience of the nuclear power plant so far. Yet the government is planning to set up another nuclear power plant on the south coast, right next to the Sundarbans. Building a nuclear power plant in an area, where cyclones and catastrophic tidal surges like Aila and SIDR took place, is like playing with fire. Coal-fired power plants Currently, the electricity generation capacity in Bangladesh stands at 25,000 MW. But we can only transmit a maximum of 14,000 MW. On top of that, Bangladesh is still purchasing a few thousand MW of cross-border electricity from India. Then there are environmental concerns. Bangladesh is yet to reach the 5% mark of non-nuclear green electricity production. Despite growing global concern regarding climate change, the construction of many private and public coal-fired power plants is currently underway. The government has extended five unnecessary rentals and quick rentals that have not produced electricity for over a year. Over the past 12 years, the Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) has paid Tk76,287 crores in electricity generation. In FY 2020-21 alone, purchasing electricity from the rental power plants cost BPDB approximately Tk3,338 crores. The issue is this public expenditure is not paying off the promised economic utilities. And that's the reason we do not see the reflection of the development narratives into the common people's livelihood improvement and employment. There are some other mega projects like Karnaphuli Tunnel, CTG-Cox's Bazar-Ghundhum railway, Mawa-Payra railway, Matarbari deep seaport, Moheshkhali power plant and oil refinery, Chittagong bay port, Dhaka Airport terminal expansion. There are plans to build five metro rail routes, including a BRT in the capital Dhaka, by 2035. 13 years from now, when all the metrorail routes will be launched, only 17% of the transportation pressure will be handled. The traffic jam situation is not being solved completely by the metro, the reason is that Dhaka development is not integrated with the decentralisation of the administration and economy. Many of the megaprojects like Dhaka Airport expansion, projects expanding the highways to four lanes as well as the Chattogram bay port are highly necessary and due on time. Yet in the mix, we have quite some highly expensive but nonproductive foreign loan-based projects too. Bangladesh Bank's total public and private outstanding foreign loans are $90.7 billion as of Dec 2021. Hence, Bangladesh should be concerned about projects that do not generate fair revenue on time. At the end of the day, it's the public money and the remittance from which the government has to pay the interest premiums. Projects that cost double yet do not get ready on time are always a burden. We must integrate megaprojects with utmost cost-benefit feasibility. The government and the bureaucracy must be capable enough and be efficient in quality and timely implementation. Otherwise, the mega project-based development narrative will not create as much timely economic utility and employment opportunity as it promises. But wealth inequality will surely be raised, and debt service payment issues will intensify when the grace period of all the foreign currency funded megaprojects comes to an end.
  23. https://www.tbsnews.net/bangladesh/transport/adp-transport-proposed-be-doubled-416466 Saifuddin Saif 09 May, 2022, 10:50 pm Last modified: 09 May, 2022, 11:00 pm ADP for transport proposed to be doubled Ongoing mega-projects such as Karnaphuli tunnel, metro rail (MRT-6) and Jamuna rail bridge need more money as work on them are at their peak Allocation for transport and communication has been proposed to be doubled next year compared to the current 2021-22 fiscal year, which will be the highest in FY23 development spending, according to officials. The proposed transport share stands at 28.73% of the next annual development programme (ADP), prioritising several ongoing mega-projects such as Karnaphuli tunnel, metro rail (MRT-6), Jamuna rail bridge, Padma rail link, Dhaka elevated expressway and Matarbari port. Project officials said development projects are now at their peak. Therefore, more money is required to facilitate the progress. The ADP share for transport and communication in the proposed development spending is Tk70,695 crore, which is Tk14,868 crore more than the revised Tk55,827 crore allocation for this year. The size of the development budget for the next fiscal year has been set at Tk246,066 crore. Similar to the transport sector, proposals for a raise in allocations for power and energy, education and health have been made for the new ADP. The Planning Commission has convened an extended meeting on 11 May to finalise the sector-wise allocation. The National Economic Council (NEC) will give the final go-ahead at a meeting, which, according to Planning Commission officials, is likely to be held on 17 May. Pradip Ranjan Chakraborty, member (secretary) of the Programming Division at the Planning Commission, said the commission has proposed sector-wise allocations as per demand of the ministries. "Transport and communication gets the highest allocation, while the second highest allocation goes to the power and energy sector," Chakraborty told The Business Standard. He said allocations for education and health sectors have also been increased. "However, the allocations might be readjusted at the Planning Commission extended meeting, or at the NEC meeting," he noted. According to Planning Commission officials, allocation for health was 7.68% of the current fiscal year's development budget. In the proposed ADP, health allocation has been slightly increased to 7.83%, or by Tk10,820 crore. Compared to the revised ADP for the current fiscal year, health allocation has increased by Tk5480 crore in the proposed ADP. In the proposed development spending, allocation for education has been raised to 11.82%, which is around 36.48% more than the FY22 ADP. Education got 10.29% of allocation in the FY22 development spending, but the education budget was trimmed to 3.81% later.
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