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Joel Ahmed

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  1. https://www.banglanews24.com/english/banglanews-special/news/bd/91999.details Haznah Md Hashim tells Banglanews My ultimate aim is Free Trade Agreement Touhidur Rahman, Diplomatic Correspondent | banglanews24.com Update: 2021-10-24 15:44:52 My ultimate aim is for the conclusion of a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the two countries, so that the established trade relations between Malaysia and Bangladesh could even be stronger without unnecessary issues on trade barriers. Malaysian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Haznah Md Hashim was telling all these to Banglanews24.com in an interview. Following is the detail interview of the envoy: Banglanews: Malaysia was one of the first countries to recognise the independence of Bangladesh in 1971. Bangladesh - Malaysia enjoy friendly relation. Two countries relations growing up and reached new height past 50 years, what is your observation? Haznah Md Hashim: Malaysia and Bangladesh have had a very close bilateral relations in the past 50 years. Not just at the government-to-government level, but that at the people-to-people as well. As you have rightly mentioned, Malaysia was among the first countries that had recognised an independent and sovereign Bangladesh back in 1971. Since then, relations have grown by leaps and bounds, especially in the past decade. This is rightly seen in our bilateral trade growth. Furthermore, the relations between both countries under the leadership of both Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Ismail Sabri Yaakob continue to remain high. My hope is that this positive relations would continue to progress, especially as we move towards celebrating the 50 years anniversary of Malaysia-Bangladesh relations. Banglanews: Bangladesh – Malaysia, how can more Increase bilateral trade and investment. Haznah Md Hashim: Trade between Malaysia and Bangladesh has always been good. I am pleased with the bilateral trade performance with Bangladesh that has generally been on a positive trend. We strongly believe that there is ample scope for both countries to expand trade and investment cooperation. Bangladesh is currently Malaysia’s 30th largest trading partner, and ranked second among South Asian nations. Bangladesh is also Malaysia’s 20th largest export destination, signifying the growing importance of Bangladesh as a soaring economy. In the pre pandemic COVID-19 era of 2019, trade between Malaysia and Bangladesh was recorded at around USD2.6 billion, an increase from the previous year’s record of USD 2.4 billion. Having said that, Bangladesh continues to attract investments from Malaysia. Therefore, we hope that Bangladesh would continue to provide a conducive environment and facilitate Malaysian investors to participate in its economic activities. This does not mean that the Malaysian investors are not facing any challenges here. In fact, our major investors are facing some major challenges but I am fully confident that the Government of Bangladesh under the distinguished leadership of Honourable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina would be able to extend some kind of assistance for the sake of the sustainability of Malaysian investors in Bangladesh, particularly the Malaysian Government-Link Companies (GLC). Likewise, we would also like to encourage major Bangladeshi companies to invest in Malaysia. Companies from Bangladesh wanting to expand their businesses in the ASEAN region could fully utilise Malaysia as the gateway since we are strategically located with easy access to other ASEAN Member States. I am also particularly looking forward to the proposed Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Bangladesh towards boosting the trade relations between our two countries. Banglanews: Malaysia is a popular tourist destination for Bangladeshi, when can be open Malaysian tourist visa for Bangladeshi citizens? Haznah Md Hashim: Malaysia values the arrival of genuine Bangladeshi tourists. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2019, an estimated of 180,000 Bangladeshi tourists made Malaysia their preferred holiday destinations. We therefore sincerely hope that once the pandemic is over, genuine tourists would make Malaysia their destination of choice. Particularly for medical tourism as Malaysian healthcare is among the world’s best at an affordable price. Indeed, Malaysia has won the “Health and Medical Tourism: Destination of the Year” title for the fourth time at the Medical Tourism Award ceremony in London on 23 September 2020. Even now, the Malaysian Government has already lifted the entry restriction, on a case-by-case basis effective 20 September 2021 for certain categories of fully vaccinated travellers, including for medical related treatments in Malaysia, upon obtaining a prior entry approval from the Immigration Department of Malaysia through dedicated portals of MyTravelPass / MyEntry along with the fulfilment of certain other criteria, including a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR test result and a valid Malaysian visa. As Malaysia is still in the process of recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, international borders for tourism are still closed for now. Malaysia’s rapid vaccination might stir hope for eventual tourism revival. Banglanews: Bangladesh faces Rohingya problem, as an ASEAN forum stronger member how can Malaysia more cooperate in this issues? Haznah Md Hashim: Malaysia has always believed that addressing the root causes of the Rohingya crisis remains important in pursuing a resolution to the crisis. In playing its role as one of the founding members of ASEAN, Malaysia had always urged Myanmar to continue its efforts in delivering its commitment towards ensuring effective repatriation and human rights protection of the returnees. Moreover, as a country directly impacted by the Rakhine State crisis, and a newly elected Member of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), Malaysia will continue to support the ongoing efforts towards a safe, voluntary, dignified and sustainable return of displaced Rohingya to their place of origin in Rakhine State. In this context, Malaysia welcomes the continued support from the international community towards such repatriation. As the Rohingya issue definitely needs some attention, Malaysia believes that such continued international support will eventually bring some positive impact to this issue. Banglanews: Bangladesh Government wanted export worker to Malaysia. In this regard have you any update Bangladesh - Malaysia (G to G plus) MOU. Haznah Md Hashim: This Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) is still currently being negotiated between Malaysia and Bangladesh. Let’s hope for an eventual positive outcome which would be able to serve the interests of both our nations. Banglanews: Due to covid lockdown Many stranded Bangladeshi workers and students unable return to Malaysia, have you any initiative to take back them to Malaysia. Haznah Md Hashim: I would like to first emphasise that Malaysia appreciates the contribution made by Bangladeshi workers who are working legally in Malaysia. Those dedicated Bangladeshi workers have generated positive productivity effects in the emerging economy of Malaysia. As stated earlier, the Malaysian Government has already lifted the entry restriction, on a case-by-case basis effective 20 September 2021 for certain categories of fully vaccinated travellers, and this would include any long term pass holders and students, upon obtaining a prior entry approval from the Immigration Department of Malaysia through dedicated portals of MyTravelPass / MyEntry along with the fulfilment of certain other criteria, including a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR test result, and a valid Malaysian visa. Having stated that, I have to emphasise further that the recruitment of foreign workers are resulted from a demand which is derived from the local industries. As Malaysia is transforming towards a high-income nation, Malaysia will eventually be moving away from labour-oriented towards more high-skilled job opportunities. This was clearly highlighted recently by my Prime Minister in tabling the Twelve Malaysia Plan, which is Malaysia’s development roadmap for the next five years. Banglanews: As a High Commissioner to Bangladesh which sectors you will be emphasis for two countries relations. Haznah Md Hashim: I am lucky to get this ambassadorial assignment at a country who is already in close relations with Malaysia. As such, apart from further strengthening and elevating the existing warm and cordial relations between the two countries, I envisage the need to actively pursuing economic diplomacy. This is so as Bangladesh is now moving into a middle-income country and is a trade driven country that heavily depends on Foreign Direct Investments (FDI). I would therefore like to see an increase in trade between both countries, with the eventual hope of reaching at least the pre-pandemic figures. I am confident that with good policies and instruments, trade and investment will continue to boom and flourish. My ultimate aim is for the conclusion of a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the two countries, so that the established trade relations between Malaysia and Bangladesh could even be stronger without unnecessary issues on trade barriers. In this context, I wish to reiterate that Malaysia has already concluded 16 FTA since 1993, of which the latest one was concluded during the midst if the COVID-19 pandemic. Real-life examples of positive effects of FTA could always be seen in Malaysia of which it has contributed towards building Malaysia’s economic sustainability. Malaysia has now become a destination of choice to many global multi-nationals companies, making the country a hub for export by capitalising on the existing bilateral or multilateral FTA. As Malaysia and Bangladesh celebrate 50 years of the establishment of the diplomatic relations, I am certain that the relations between our two brotherly countries will continue to grow and as such, I look forward to celebrating this auspicious milestone for the two great nations. Banglanews: Thank you. Haznah Md Hashim: Thank you, too.
  2. https://www.dhakatribune.com/business/2021/10/24/envoy-sees-potentials-for-future-australia-bangladesh-bilateral-trade Envoy sees potentials for future Australia-Bangladesh bilateral trade UNB Published at 05:07 pm October 24th, 2021 'Conclusion of the Australia-Bangladesh TIFA was timely and could provide the necessary boost towards a more significant economic relationship' Australian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Jeremy Bruer has said his country "wants to work energetically" to enhance trade and investment with Bangladesh, noting that the future is “golden” for the two countries to collaborate in broader areas and take the ties to new heights. “If you ask me for my prognosis for the future of Bangladesh-Australia relations - I say again, the future is golden,” he said, highlighting the opportunities that the recently signed Trade and Investment Framework Arrangement (TIFA) offer. The High Commissioner, however, said he does not deny that there are significant challenges globally that they need to be met, taking advantage of that golden future and working together in a way that helps meet those challenges “constructively” and supports welfare of the countries. The Australian envoy made the remarks while delivering his keynote speech at a virtual dialogue titled “Bangladesh-Australia Relations: Prognosis for the Future”. Cosmos Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Cosmos Group, hosted the dialogue as part of its ongoing Ambassadors' Lecture Series. The opening remarks were delivered by Cosmos Foundation Chairman Enayetullah Khan. The session was chaired by Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury, scholar-diplomat and former adviser on foreign affairs of the caretaker government. Former Foreign Secretary Shamsher Mobin Chowdhury, Distinguished Fellow at Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) Dr Debapriya Bhattacharya, Professor at International Relations Department of Dhaka University Imtiaz Ahmed, Brig Gen (retd) Shahedul Anam Khan and Honorary Advisor Emeritus, Cosmos Foundation Ambassador (retd) Tariq A Karim comprised the panel of discussants. Enayetullah Khan said the conclusion of the Australia-Bangladesh TIFA on September 15 was timely and could provide the necessary boost towards a more significant economic relationship. While TIFAs are seen as mostly symbolic, Khan said, they do signal an injection of commitment and ambition, which is what the next phase of the relationship between Bangladesh and Australia actually needs. Iftekhar Chowdhury shared how the focus of aid at that time shifted to trade and commerce which seem to have grown “exponentially” leading to the signing of TIFA. “We’re also looking for expanded collaboration in the whole range of activities -- e-commerce, infrastructure, power and energy, water, sanitation, hygiene; and tapping potential in the blue economy – our maritime resources,” he said, noting that the two countries will be celebrating 50 years of diplomatic relations next year. High Commissioner Bruer said with the right conditions, Australian investors will be keen to explore opportunities in Bangladesh. “I’m keen to increase investment in both directions. I see that as being important to the development of a more complete, comprehensive commercial relationship and hope we’ll be able to use the TIFA as a platform to see what we can to boost two-way investment,” he said. The Australian envoy said there is a shared interest in deepening and widening trade and investment opportunities and he thinks the prospects of doing so are bright. “We see further opportunities to enhance trade and investment through bilateral cooperation in energy and minerals, including renewable energy; skills development; and information and communication technology services,” said the Australian envoy. Under the TIFA, he said, they look forward to exploring how governments can work together to boost the recovery of the private sector and lead growth in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. The High Commissioner said in infrastructure, technology-driven solutions in fields such as road and rail management and logistics Australia can support Bangladesh’s ambitious infrastructure development plans. The envoy said Australia has the potential to be a major supplier of LNG and other energy resources, including renewable energy to fuel Bangladesh’s growth. Debapriya Bhattacharya said Bangladesh-Australia relationship is a classic case of "suboptimal utilization" and it remains “very underutilized, underappreciated, understated and less understood” relationship in the current context. The economist said Bangladesh’s development ambitions in the coming days are getting out of the LDC group and it would like to retain some of the privileges for smooth and sustainable development in the post LDC phase. He said Australia-Bangladesh last September signed TIFA which is a great progress. “But as you know TIFA by itself does not ensure that flows will happen. It is a platform to discuss problems at certain points. The modern approach to all the states is the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA).” The economist said the Indo-Pacific stability and sustainability approach of Australia would fit in very well in terms of investing in Bangladesh. “Our development ambitions are very much aligned with the political strategic approach which Australia was to perform and this is global which will fit into the global strategy.
  3. https://www.tbsnews.net/bangladesh/countrys-largest-radioisotope-production-facility-set-bsmmu-dmch-320104#.YXUVc5XCg2E.facebook TBS Report 24 October, 2021, 02:05 pm Last modified: 24 October, 2021, 02:10 pm Country’s largest radioisotope production facility set up at BSMMU, DMCH PET-CT is being used for diagnosing 90% of cancer diseases Cyclotron machine at BSMMU. Photo: TBS Health authorities today inaugurated the country's largest radioisotope producing infrastructure at the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) in Dhaka. The hospital also got a Positron Emission Tomography-Computed Tomography (PET-CT) scanning machine that will help doctors to detect early signs of cancer, heart disease and brain disorders among patients. Meanwhile, another PET-CT machine was added to the Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) to improve its treatment facilities. Science and Technology Minister Architect Yafesh Osman inaugurated the facilities for affordable cancer treatment on Sunday. Experts believe that with the introduction of the new medical equipment, procured through government funding, cancer treatment in Bangladesh will get a significant boost. With the new machines, patients will now be able to perform a PET-CT scan for only Tk20,000-25,000. Previously they had to spend Tk55,000 for the test. National Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences (NINMAS), an establishment of the Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission (BAEC) under the Ministry of Science & Technology, is the leading institute of nuclear medicine activities in the country. PET-CT is being used for diagnosing 90% of cancer diseases, said a source at the health ministry. In Bangladesh, however, only United Hospital had both scanning and radioisotope producing infrastructure with a limited capacity. Whereas, Medinova and Evervare have the PET-CT scanning machine but not the isotope machine. Due to the lack of radioisotope, cancer treatment in these private hospitals and even in foreign countries are very costly. According to the Globocan 2020 data, almost 1.56 lakh new cancer patients are diagnosed in Bangladesh each year and 1.08 lakh patients die from cancer.
  4. https://today.thefinancialexpress.com.bd/first-page/nbr-sees-1672pc-growth-in-q1-22-1635008878 Tax revenue NBR sees 16.72pc growth in Q1 '22 DOULOT AKTER MALA | October 24, 2021 00:00:00 The collection of tax revenue registered a 16.72 per cent growth in the first quarter (Q1) of the current fiscal year (FY) as compared to the same period last FY, thanks to economic reopening after the Covid-induced lockdown. Increased prices of imported commodities, particularly fuel oil and food items, in the global market have helped enhance the collection of duties and taxes by the customs wing, suggested an analysis of import data. Tax officials, however, considered that close monitoring, economic rebound, automation move, easing of the tax payment procedures, legal reforms and transparency were the main reasons behind the higher collection growth rate. The average tax revenue collection growth was 11.36 per cent during the last five years. However, the overall collection fell by Tk 63.43 billion short of the period's target, according to provisional data of the National Board of Revenue (NBR). In the July-September quarter, the NBR collected Tk 583.51 billion in tax revenue against its target of Tk 646.95 billion. Director General of the NBR research and statistics wing Md Anwar Hossain expected the revenue collection to increase further in the coming months and achieve the target, which is too high compared to that of the last FY's actual collection. He informed that trading, retail and some other important sectors have contributed to the higher tax collection growth this time. "This is a provisional figure. The actual growth will be even more after final data compilation," he added. Of the total Q1 collections, customs revenue posted an impressive 21 per cent growth, highest among the other wings, due to increase in global commodity prices. Import of revenue-generating products including higher prices of fuel oil and food contributed to the higher customs revenue growth in the first three months of the current FY. According to Bangladesh Bank data, the value of imports as measured by the settlements of letters of credit (LCs) surged by 30.62 per cent to US$ 5.17 billion in August 2021 from $3.96 billion in the previous month. The opening of import LCs also increased by more than 48 per cent to $6.29 billion in August from $4.25 billion a month ago. The VAT collection also grew by 16.45 per cent in the period under review as consumption of goods increased following resumption of economic activities and domestic tourism. The income tax wing also achieved 12.74 per cent growth in the Q1, collecting Tk 179.49 billion in the Q1. The NBR collected Tk 210.92 billion VAT and Tk 193.09 billion customs duty in July-September period this FY. However, the income tax wing suffered a collection shortfall of Tk 19.78 billion, followed by VAT Tk 19.47 billion and customs wing Tk 24.17 billion as compared to their respective targets for the period. A former tax official, preferring anonymity, said the hefty revenue collection growth is largely contributed by at source or withholding tax. The government has increased source tax in some key points where it would be able to mobilise higher revenue with less effort, he said. However, the tax officials said the collection of source tax also needs intensive monitoring as many of the tax deducting authorities refrained from depositing tax properly that they deducted from the service seekers. In the last FY, the NBR's revenue collection was poor due to the lockdown imposed to contain the spread of coronavirus. In Q1 of last FY 2020-21, the NBR achieved 3.21 per cent growth against the same period of the previous FY. Following the sluggish economic activities since March 8, 2020, the VAT collection growth dropped to 1.25 per cent, followed by income tax 2.04 per cent and customs duty 6.79 per cent. The government has set a Tk 3.30 trillion tax revenue collection target in the current FY against actual collection of Tk 2.61 trillion in the last FY. [email protected]
  5. https://www.tbsnews.net/bangladesh/crime/money-being-smuggled-out-would-be-12-15b-year-319915#.YXQ88ssmND0.facebook TBS Report 23 October, 2021, 10:35 pm Last modified: 24 October, 2021, 11:37 am ‘Money being smuggled out would be $12-15b a year’ Absence of good governance and lack of political will are leading to huge sums of money being smuggled out of the country every year, experts said The amount of money smuggled through false information on imports and exports is estimated at $8-9 billion a year. Adding the money of politically influential and corrupt individuals, the total would amount to $12-15 billion, said Dr Iftekharuzzaman, executive director of Transparency International Bangladesh (TiB). He said many people, mostly the politically influential, are smuggling a lot of money to Canada's Begum Para, Malaysia's second home programme. He made these remarks at an event, titled "Offshore Wealth of Developing Countries: Impediment Towards Inclusive Growth," jointly organised in Dhaka by the Economics Study Center and EMK Center on Saturday. At least 80% of the total amount of money that is being laundered from the country is done through over and under-invoicing in the export-import trade processes, experts said at the event, estimating that the actual figure of smuggled money is likely way higher than what various global agencies including the Global Financial Integrity (GFI) put. Absence of good governance, lack of proper enforcement of laws, and lack of political will are leading to huge amounts of money being smuggled out of the country every year, they viewed. Speakers in the event pointed out that the laundering was causing the government's revenue collection to go down and much needed allocations were hampered for important sectors like social security, education and health. Dr Mustafizur Rahman, distinguished fellow, Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), said at the event, "In the past, money laundering took place in developed countries, but now 85 percent of the money is smuggled out of low-earning and developing countries." He said rich countries are luring in capital from poor countries with various incentives including zero duty facility. "Our government is unable to spend even 7-8% of our GDP on social security, education and health," he said adding, "Bangladesh lags far behind other developing countries in terms of Tax GDP. If the smuggling of capital was prevented, the income of the government would increase and the allocation for the poor would also increase." Mustafizur thinks that it is possible to prevent money laundering through the goodwill of the government and strict implementation of law. He said that institutional capacity needs to be enhanced for this purpose. However, he added that public opinion against money laundering is increasing in developed countries. He said the civil society of rich countries is pressuring the government against money laundering. Governments are also becoming aware that money laundering is linked to crime and human trafficking. Dr Iftekharuzzaman said if anti-corruption commission, Bangladesh Bank, Attorney General's Office and other government agencies take concerted efforts, it is possible to prevent money laundering and bring back the siphoned off sums. He pointed out that in 2012 it was possible to bring back the money smuggled by the son of the former prime minister simply because of the political goodwill of the government. "Though the legal framework is stronger than it used to be, no new initiatives are being taken to recover smuggled money as the government does not have the political will," he said. He added that foreigners working in Bangladesh are smuggling a large part of their income. That's $2 billion a year. Although there is no rule for Bangladeshi workers to pay for visas to go abroad, more than $2 billion is being smuggled into the sector every year. He advised that the government take all these incidents seriously. Asif Iqbal, Joint Director, Bangladesh Bank, said that there was room for doubt about the veracity of the money laundering report as the government did not have enough data. He said that even though foreign agencies have mentioned a certain amount of money being laundered, their reports do not really portray the whole scenario. "The problem is there is no such database," he said. He added that there is a tendency among the middle class to sell everything and go abroad. That too is coming as part of illicit finance. Again, there is no account of how much money is smuggled through international couriers. A lot of money goes to other countries through Dubai through small courier services.
  6. https://thefinancialexpress.com.bd/trade/bangladeshi-iot-company-secures-usd-1-million-investment-1635009768 Bangladeshi IoT company secures USD 1 million investment Mohammad Saiful Islam | Published: October 23, 2021 23:22:48 | Updated: October 24, 2021 12:16:22 Bondstein, a Bangladeshi IoT solution provider, has raised USD 1 million in investment to enhance innovation in IoT solutions and expand IoT manufacturing in Bangladesh. Runner Trading Limited, a subsidiary of Runner Group, has led the investment with the participation of other investors. This investment will boost Bondstein’s aim to become a regional powerhouse of IoT solutions within the next 10 years. “Our target is to use these technologies with further innovation to strengthen our services and reach a strong position in the Asia Pacific region in terms of IoT designs and solutions,” Mir Shahrukh Islam, Managing Director and CEO of Bondstein said to the Financial Express. As the South Asian countries are soon going to roll out 5G services, Mr Shahrukh believes that IoT will grow in this region faster than it is thought. One of the core products of Bondstein is Vehicle Tracking System which includes services like remotely monitoring vehicles, shutting down engines remotely, vehicle location and engine analytics dashboard, etc. Bondstein is now targeting to focus more on R&D for new IoT solutions to enhance their technology. They are enhancing road safety measures as well by state of art driving behaviour monitoring features. These technological advancements led to this investment of BDT 8.5 crores as the CEO of the company affirmed, “Investors were attracted by our technological advancements, hence, invested to help us expand our services to another level.” “Our investment in innovation will help us build new solutions and provide affordable IoT services in practical use cases,” said Zafir Shafiee Chowdhury, Co-Founder and CIO of Bondstein, in a statement. Hafizur Rahman Khan, Chairman of Runner Group, has echoed Mr Shahrukh. He hopes that Runners’ investment will take Bondstein’s innovations to newer heights, as he said, “Bondstein has a proven capability of innovation and solving real-life problems.” Mir Shahrukh Islam believes that growing tech adaptation of the local customers will certainly lead to an industry expansion. “Bangladesh’s industry is a reactive one as most of the techs here are the replications of global trends, however,” explains Mr Shahrukh, “customers and producers here have grown interested in innovative ideas which is a positive sign for the industry.” Nevertheless, plenty of work remains to be done at the policy level as there are no definitive policy guidelines from the government yet for non-mobile based manufacturing in the country. Bondstein was established back in 2014 and officially started operating in 2015. They are now the market leader of IoT in Bangladesh with more than 500 enterprise clients (B2B). They have the capacity to process over 250 million data transactions per month now. The company recently made an investment in Bangabandhu HiTech City Kaliakoir, where a leading IoT assembly unit in the country has been built. A part of the investment will be used to build a full-scale IoT manufacturing facility there. Big names like Walton, Omera, Unilever, University of Dhaka, Robi Axiata, GTV, Lafarge, Brac Bank, etc. are now on the list of the company’s growing client list. [email protected]
  7. Exclusive:এবার দেশে নদীর তলদেশে রেল লাইন! | Mass Rapid Transit Project | Dhaka Metro Rail | Somoy TV https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nR1zfYSiE6I
  8. PayPal is coming to Bangladesh in December! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pCOiGRj1ECw
  9. https://www.tbsnews.net/bangladesh/health/govt-radioisotope-production-facility-give-affordable-cancer-treatment-319906#.YXQ3PmxpphA.facebook Eyamin Sajid & Tawsia Tajmim 23 October, 2021, 10:15 pm Last modified: 23 October, 2021, 10:24 pm Govt radioisotope production facility to give affordable cancer treatment Currently, two private hospitals and four state-owned hospitals and facilities are taking radioisotopes from NINMAS, in Shahbag The country has reached another milestone in its development of nuclear medicine as the largest radioisotope producing infrastructure is set to be inaugurated today. Cyclotron, a radioisotope producing machine and Positron Emission Tomography-Computed Tomography (PET-CT) scanning machines have been set up in the National Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences (NINMAS) in Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) and Dhaka Medical College campus. NINMAS, an establishment of the Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission (BAEC) under the Ministry of Science & Technology, is the leading institute of nuclear medicine activities in the country. Architect Yeafesh Osman, Minister of Science and Technology, is scheduled to inaugurate these infrastructures on Sunday. With the establishment of this infrastructure, nuclear medicine is expected to be more accessible and affordable for cancer patients who usually go abroad for treatment. Officials at the BAEC are expecting the number of patients going abroad for treatment to drop following the unveiling of these facilities. Dr Shamim Momtaz Ferdousi Begum, Director and Head of PET-CT Division of NINMAS told The Business Standard that with these facilities we have now achieved the ability to provide the most advanced treatment for cancer. "In developed countries, it is considered that without PET-CT, cancer treatment is incomplete because cancer treatment varies from patient to patient based on their disease stage and condition and to know the cancer condition and stage more accurately, PET-CT scan is a must," she said. She also said that they are aiming to provide the service at a very minimal price. Currently, two private hospitals and four state-owned hospitals and facilities are taking radioisotopes from NINMAS, in Shahbag. PET-CT is being used for diagnosing 90% of cancer diseases, said a source at the health ministry. In Bangladesh, however, only United Hospital had both scanning and radioisotope producing infrastructure with a limited capacity. Whereas, Medinova and Evervare have the PET-CT scanning machine but not the isotope machine. Due to the lack of radioisotope, cancer treatment in these private hospitals and even in foreign countries are very costly. According to the Globocan 2020 data, almost 1.56 lakh new cancer patients are diagnosed in Bangladesh each year and 1.08 lakh patients die from cancer. Indian Tourism Ministry's data also says that 54.3% of the country's medical tourism in 2020 was from Bangladesh and most of them were patients seeking complex heart surgeries and cancer care. In 2011, however, the Science and Technology Ministry undertook a project titled 'PET-CT establishment with Cyclotron facility'. Under the project, two PET-CT scanning machines have been set up in the National Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences (NINMAS) in BSMMU and another one on the Dhaka Medical College campus. Sources said that private hospitals charge Tk50,000 to Tk55,000 for each PET-CT test. Dr Anwar-ul-Azim of NINMAS told TBS that now people will be able to get the service at Tk25000 in public hospitals thanks to the isotope production and PET-CT machine in the public sector. He said, "This machine will help meet the pharmaceutical demand of radioisotopes in other hospitals. Therefore, cancer patients will not need to go to neighbouring India and other foreign countries for diagnosis." Cyclotron machine to produce Isotope: The radioisotope producing machine, established in the Oncology building of the BSMMU, is the largest and first public sector's machine in the country. There is a sophisticated Radiochemistry Lab and quality control lab in the Cyclotron infrastructure. At present, 18F-FDG isotope or radioactive material are being supplied to four public and two private PET-CT facilities after producing from IBA Cyclone 18/9 MeV Cyclotron. Apart from 18F to 18F-FDG, the radiochemistry lab can produce some other types of medicine in the facility. Currently, Combined Military Hospital (CMH), Dhaka Medical College, BSMMU, Atomic Energy Commission, Medinova and Evercare take isotopes from NINMAS. How PET-CT machine works: The PET-CT scan identifies cancer and complex diseases in different parts of the human body including the lung, liver, kidney, bones, and brain. To conduct a PET-CT scan, a tiny nuclear medicine named Isotope (18F-FDG) needs to be injected into a patient's body through the vein. The Isotope takes position in the most active cells of the body and provides a fusion image on scanning. PET-CT scan provides the fusion image of organs' most active cells while CT scan provides only structural and positional images of a location. Both imaging technology help doctors diagnose the disease and determine the best possible course of treatment without any painful test or surgery. In addition, PET-CT also helps in observing the results or effectiveness of ongoing treatment.
  10. https://thefinancialexpress.com.bd/trade/electronics-will-overtake-rmg-sector-1635005357 ‘Electronics will overtake RMG sector’ Salman F Rahman opined after visiting Walton factory Published: October 23, 2021 22:08:07 | Updated: October 23, 2021 22:11:02 Private Industry and Investment Advisor to Prime Minister Salman Fazlur Rahman said that the government has created suitable atmosphere for private industry sector. Walton has fully utilised those opportunities, according to a press release. He said, “The company has product diversity. They are manufacturing various products including all kinds of spare parts. The way Walton is marching forward, I firmly believe that in export earning electronics sector will overtake readymade garment sector.” The Prime Minister's Private Industry and Investment Adviser made the remarks just after visiting Walton factory at Chandra in Gazipur on Saturday. During his visit, Salman F Rahman cut a large cake to celebrate the milestone of one lakh refrigerator export. IFIC Bank Limited's Managing Director Shah Alam Sarwar and Personal Secretary to the Prime Minister's Private Industry and Investment Adviser Zahidul Islam Bhuiyan accompanied Salman F Rahman during the visit. Earlier in the morning, Walton Hi-Tech Industries Limited (WHIL) Vice-Chairman SM Shamsul Alam, directors S M Rezaul Alam, S M Monjurul Alam, Sabiha Jarin Orona, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Golam Murshed welcomed Salman F Rahman and other guests at the factory complex with flower bouquet. Among others, Gazipur Police Super SM Shafiqullah Shafiq, Additional Deputy Commissioner Mamun Sarder, WHIL’s deputy managing directors Humayun Kabir and Alamgir Alam Sarker, Walton Digi-Tech Industries Limited’s DMD Liakat Ali, WHIL’s senior executive directors Col. (Retd.) SM Shahadat Alam, Uday Hakim, Tanvir Rahman, Anisur Rahman Mollick, Firoj Alam, Yusuf Ali, Mostofa Nahid Hossain, Mohasin Sarder, Al Imran, Amin Khan and Easir Al-Imran, Executive Directors Abdullah Al-Mamun, Zahidul Islam, Shahjada Salim, Shahjalal Hossain Limon and Mohasin Ali Molla were also present. After the visit, Salman F Rahman said: When Walton says 'Made in Bangladesh', it's really made in Bangladesh. This means Walton manufactures every spare parts. R&D (Research and Development) is most vital for achieving the target of becoming a developed country within 2041 and Walton is doing excellent work in this sector. The R&D of Walton is very rich with Bangladeshi engineers. Meanwhile, WHIL MD and CEO Golam Murshed said: Electronics sector is the future of Bangladesh. The 'Made in Bangladesh' Walton products are being exported to more than 40 countries around the world. Walton holds 75 percent of country's refrigerator market while 50 percent of AC and 40 percent of TV market. This means consumers have confidence and trust on Walton products. Earlier after reaching the Walton factory, Salman F Rahman and other guests enjoyed a corporate video documentary and then visited Walton's well-equipped product display center and the manufacturing units of refrigerators, metal castings, compressors, air conditioners, LED televisions, computer-laptops, mobile phones and elevators.
  11. https://futurestartup.com/2021/10/23/bondstein-raises-1-million-in-new-investment/?utm_content=buffer51e63&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer Dhaka-based Leading IoT Company Bondstein Raises $1 Million in New Investment, Looks to Invest in R&D and Expansion By Future Startup | Oct 23, 2021 Bondstein Technologies Limited, the Dhaka-based IOT company, announced that it has secured an investment worth of $1 million. The strategic investment is led by Runner Trading Limited, a subsidiary of Runner Group and is participated by other unnamed investors. The company plans to use the fresh capital in acquisitions, R&D of new IoT solutions, inventory and expansion of manufacturing facilities, and expand in IoT Technology export in the coming days. The company says it is the market leader in the Internet of Things (IoT) industry in Bangladesh, serving a wide range of customers through offering connected technologies. Bondstein provides a connected vehicles solution, which is known as vehicle tracking services in the market, that helps customers to remotely monitor their vehicles and recover them in case of theft. The solution also offers driving behaviour monitoring features helping to reduce road accidents. Bondstein says it currently serves over 500 enterprise clients for whom it has tracked more than 40 million trips in real time. Bondstein’s hardware agnostic proprietary IoT Cloud processes over 250 million data transactions per month. Built on the IoT Cloud, Bondstein also provides remote power monitoring solutions in over a thousand telecom towers across the country. Early this year, the company launched a smart home solution called Bond. To address question leaks in public exams, Bondstein created a solution called smartbox. The solution has since been replicated in Dhaka University and Combined Admission Examinations. Bondstein also serves customers across the border in Kuwait and Nepal. The company also has a partnership with Robi Axiata Limited, the second largest telecom operator in Bangladesh. The investment in Bondstein is the first ever funding in the Bangladesh IoT industry. Zafir Shafiee Chowdhury, Co-Founder & CIO of Bondstein said, “Our plan is to be a regional IoT powerhouse in the next 10 years. Our investment in innovation will help us build new solutions and provide affordable IoT services in practical use cases”. Runner, an automobile giant, looks at this investment as a strategic move. In a statement, Hafizur Rahman Khan, Chairman, Runner Group said, “Bondstein has a proven capability of innovation and solving real life problems. We are certain that with our experience and network we can help the tech company to reach newer heights”. ZA Capital was the financial advisor of the deal. Zahedul Arefin, CEO of ZA Capital has said, “Bondstein has a unique value proposition in the deep tech space. With the right kind of strategic investors like Runner, the company will scale fast.”
  12. https://bonikbarta.net/home/news_description/278162/উত্তরাঞ্চলের-৭-বিদ্যুৎকেন্দ্রের-মধ্যে-চারটিই-বন্ধ- উত্তরাঞ্চলের ৭ বিদ্যুৎকেন্দ্রের মধ্যে চারটিই বন্ধ বিদ্যুৎ বিভ্রাটে নেসকো-আরইবির গ্রাহক আবু তাহের অক্টোবর ২৩, ২০২১ দেশের উত্তরাঞ্চলীয় বিভাগ রংপুরে হঠাৎ করেই বেড়েছে বিদ্যুৎ বিভ্রাটের পরিমাণ। লোডশেডিংয়ের কারণে অসহনীয় ভোগান্তিতে পড়ছেন গ্রাহকরা। সরবরাহ সংকটের কারণে বিদ্যুৎ বিতরণে হিমশিম খাচ্ছে বিতরণ কোম্পানি নর্দান ইলেকট্রিসিটি সাপ্লাই কোম্পানি লিমিটেড (নেসকো) ও বাংলাদেশ পল্লী বিদ্যুৎ উন্নয়ন বোর্ড (বিআরইবি)। সংশ্লিষ্টরা বলছেন, কয়লা ও ফার্নেস অয়েলের সরবরাহ কমে যাওয়ায় এ অঞ্চলের বিদ্যুৎ উৎপাদন কেন্দ্রগুলোতে চাহিদা অনুযায়ী উৎপাদন হচ্ছে না। অন্যদিকে সঞ্চালন অবকাঠামোর দুর্বলতার কারণে জাতীয় গ্রিড থেকে বিদ্যুৎ এনেও বিদ্যুৎ বিভ্রাট কমানো যাচ্ছে না। লোডশেডিং বেড়ে যাওয়ায় সাধারণ গ্রাহকদের সমস্যার পাশাপাশি শিল্প এলাকাসহ ক্ষুদ্র ও মাঝারি শিল্পগুলোর উৎপাদন ব্যাহত হচ্ছে। দুই মাস ধরে চলমান এ সংকট নিরসনে বিদ্যুৎ উৎপাদন ও বিতরণ কোম্পানিগুলো কাজ করলেও সংশ্লিষ্টরা বলছেন, শিগগিরই এর সমাধান হচ্ছে না। মূলত কয়লা সংকটের কারণে বড়পুকুরিয়া বিদ্যুৎকেন্দ্রের উৎপাদন বন্ধ ও বিশ্ববাজারে ফার্নেস অয়েলের দাম বেড়ে যাওয়ায় বিদ্যুৎকেন্দ্রগুলো জ্বালানি সংকটে পড়েছে। ফলে তাদের উৎপাদন কমে গেছে। যার কারণে সরবরাহ ও বিতরণে এর প্রভাব পড়েছে। বিদ্যুৎ বিভাগের একটি সূত্র জানিয়েছে, রংপুর বিভাগের আট জেলায় দুটি বিতরণ কোম্পানির আওতায় গ্রাহক সংখ্যা ৪২ লাখ। এর মধ্যে পল্লী বিদ্যুতের গ্রাহক ৩৫ লাখ ও নেসকোর গ্রাহক সংখ্যা সাত লাখের কিছু বেশি। এসব গ্রাহকের দৈনিক বিদ্যুতের চাহিদা ৮৫০ মেগাওয়াট। সেখানে এখন সরবরাহ করা হচ্ছে ৭০০ মেগাওয়াট। ফলে প্রতিদিন ১৫০ মেগাওয়াটের মতো ঘাটতি রয়ে যাচ্ছে, যা লোডশেডিংয়ের মাধ্যমে সমন্বয় করা হচ্ছে। রাজশাহী ও রংপুর অঞ্চলে বিদ্যুৎ সরবরাহের জন্য পিডিবির মোট সাতটি বিদ্যুৎকেন্দ্র রয়েছে, যেগুলোর মোট উৎপাদন সক্ষমতা ৬০৫ মেগাওয়াট। এর মধ্যে তিনটি বিদ্যুৎকেন্দ্র চালু রয়েছে, যেগুলোর মোট সক্ষমতা ২০১ মেগাওয়াট। অন্যদিকে কয়লা ও জ্বালানি তেল সংকটে ৪০০ মেগাওয়াট সক্ষমতার চারটি বিদ্যুৎকেন্দ্র বন্ধ রয়েছে। যেগুলো চালু রয়েছে সেগুলো হলো ৮০ মেগাওয়াট সক্ষমতার কয়লাভিত্তিক তাপবিদ্যুৎকেন্দ্রের প্রথম ইউনিট, বেসরকারি বিদ্যুৎকেন্দ্র কনফিডেন্স পাওয়ারের ১১৩ মেগাওয়াট সক্ষমতার বিদ্যুৎকেন্দ্র ও পঞ্চগড়ের তেঁতুলিয়ায় অবস্থিত আট মেগাওয়াট সক্ষমতার সৌরবিদ্যুৎকেন্দ্র। পিডিবির দৈনিক বিদ্যুৎ উৎপাদন প্রতিবেদন থেকে জানা গেছে, গত বৃহস্পতিবার দিনের বেলায় পিক আওয়ারে তিনটি বিদ্যুৎকেন্দ্রে ২০১ মেগাওয়াট বিদ্যুৎ উৎপাদিত হয়। রাতের পিক আওয়ারে উৎপাদন হয়েছে ১৯৩ মেগাওয়াট বিদ্যুৎ। অর্থাৎ চাহিদার মূল অংশটুকুই আনতে হচ্ছে জাতীয় গ্রিড থেকে। আরইবি ও নেসকোর বেশ কয়েকজন কর্মকর্তার সঙ্গে কথা বলে জানা গেছে, বিদ্যুৎ সরবরাহ ব্যবস্থাপনা ঠিক রাখতে জাতীয় গ্রিড থেকে বিদ্যুৎ নেয়া হচ্ছে। কিন্তু এ অঞ্চলের সঞ্চালন লাইনের দুর্বলতাসহ নানা কারণে পরিস্থিতি নিয়ন্ত্রণে আসছে না। এ বিষয়ে পিডিবির সদস্য (বিতরণ) শামসুল আলম বণিক বার্তাকে বলেন, বড়পুকুরিয়া তাপবিদ্যুৎকেন্দ্রের দুটি ইউনিটের উৎপাদন বন্ধ থাকায় রংপুর অঞ্চলে বিদ্যুৎ সরবরাহে সমস্যা হচ্ছে। কয়লা সংকটের কারণে মূলত এ বিদ্যুৎকেন্দ্রের বড় একটি সক্ষমতা বসে আছে। তেলভিত্তিক বিদ্যুৎকেন্দ্রের সমস্যা থাকলেও সেটি নিরসন হয়েছে। আশা করছি সামনে শীত মৌসুমে এ সংকট কিছুটা কমে আসবে। উত্তরাঞ্চলে বিদ্যুৎ বিভ্রাট দীর্ঘদিনের। শিল্প-কারখানার পরিমাণ কম বিবেচনায় উত্তরাঞ্চলে কম বিদ্যুৎকেন্দ্র নির্মাণ করেছে সরকার। তবে কয়েক বছর ধরেই এ অঞ্চলে ক্ষুদ্র ও মাঝারি শিল্পের বিকাশ হলেও চাহিদা অনুযায়ী বিদ্যুৎকেন্দ্র তৈরি করা যায়নি। আবার এ অঞ্চলের সঞ্চালন অবকাঠামোও পুরনো। ফলে বেশির ভাগ সময় জাতীয় গ্রিড থেকে বিদ্যুৎ নিয়ে সরবরাহ করা হলেও অবকাঠামোগত দুর্বলতার কারণে প্রত্যাশা অনুযায়ী বিদ্যুৎ পাননি সেখানকার গ্রাহকরা। নেসকো ও আরইবির গ্রাহকরা বলছেন, সারা দেশেই বিদ্যুৎ সমস্যা সমাধানের খবর তারা পান। কিন্তু রংপুর বিভাগের গ্রাহকরা নিরবচ্ছিন্ন বিদ্যুৎ পাননি, সেদিক থেকে তারা অবহেলিতই রয়ে গেছেন। বিদ্যুতের পিক আওয়ারে ৪ থেকে ৫ ঘণ্টা বিদ্যুৎ বিভ্রাট হয়। বিশেষত গ্রীষ্মকালে বিদ্যুতের চাহিদা বেড়ে গেলে এ অঞ্চলের মানুষের অসহনীয় ভোগান্তি শুরু হয়। নেসকোর ব্যবস্থাপনা পরিচালক (এমডি) জাকিউল ইসলাম বণিক বার্তাকে বলেন, উত্তরাঞ্চলে বিদ্যুৎ সরবরাহে গ্রাহক অসন্তুষ্টির সবচেয়ে বড় কারণ হচ্ছে বিদ্যুৎ বিভ্রাট ও লো-ভোল্টেজ। প্রতিনিয়ত চাহিদার বিপরীতে ১০০-১৫০ মেগাওয়াট লোডশেড হচ্ছে। গ্রাহকরা এসব নিয়ে ক্ষুব্ধ, তবে আমরাও চেষ্টা করছি পরিস্থিতি থেকে উত্তরণের। এ অঞ্চলের বিদ্যুৎ সমস্যা সমাধানে আরো কয়েকটি বিদ্যুৎ প্রকল্প নির্মাণ ও লো-ভোল্টেজ নিরসনে ক্যাপাসিটর ব্যাংক স্থাপনের পরিকল্পনা করছে বিদ্যুতের নীতি গবেষণা প্রতিষ্ঠান পাওয়ার সেল। সংস্থাটির মহাপরিচালক প্রকৌশলী মোহাম্মদ হোসাইন বণিক বার্তাকে বলেন, এরই মধ্যে এনার্জিপ্যাক ঠাকুরগাঁও অঞ্চলে একটি বিদ্যুৎকেন্দ্র নির্মাণ করছে। পাশাপাশি ভোল্টেজ ড্রপ যাতে না হয়, সেজন্য ক্যাপাসিটর ব্যাংক বসানো হচ্ছে। এসব কাজ শেষ হলে বিদ্যুৎ বিভ্রাট নিরসন হবে। তিনি আরো বলেন, উত্তরাঞ্চলে তেল পরিবহনে সমস্যা থাকায় সেখানে বড় ধরনের বিদ্যুৎকেন্দ্র নির্মাণ করা যাচ্ছে না। যে কারণে এসব সমস্যা সৃষ্টি হচ্ছে। তবে রূপপুরের মতো বড় বিদ্যুৎকেন্দ্র উৎপাদনে গেলে এ সমস্যা আর থাকবে না।
  13. https://www.tbsnews.net/coronavirus-chronicle/covid-19-bangladesh/covid-vaccine-be-produced-locally-us-formula-318403 Rafiqul Islam & Tawsia Tajmim 20 October, 2021, 12:00 pm Last modified: 20 October, 2021, 12:57 pm Covid vaccine to be produced locally with a US formula Vaccine production might start within next six months Highlights: The vaccine will be produced by state-owned Essential Drugs Vaccine production might start within next six months MoU will be signed with Dyadic International over transfer of raw materials and technology for producing vaccine Technical committee on vaccine production has recommended allowing Dyadic to conduct clinical trials in the country Appointments of consultant and scientist are in process The government is planning to produce a coronavirus vaccine in the country through transfer of technology, using the formula invented by the US-based company Dyadic International. Necessary steps are being taken to produce this vaccine at Essential Drugs Company Limited (EDCL), a state-owned drug manufacturing company in Gopalganj. Initiatives are underway for a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to be signed in order to come by Dyadic's formula and technology, to set up vaccine plants in steel structures and to expedite the process of land acquisition. If everything goes according to plan, the country might start producing protein vaccines within the next six months. Professor ABM Khurshid Alam, convener of the Technical Committee on Vaccine Production and Director General of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) told The Business Standard, "Negotiations are underway with the American company Dyadic. If they agree to transfer the technology, the vaccine will be produced in the country. If not, the vaccine will be brought in bulk and finished here." The US biotechnology firm Dyadic International has already joined the race to produce Covid-19 vaccines in Africa, the least-vaccinated continent. The company announced in July this year a technology transfer and licensing deal with South Africa's Rubic Consortium. Permission will be sought for the Covid-19 vaccine trial this year, according to a Bloomberg report. Essential Drugs Company has meanwhile held several meetings with Dyadic International. The government initially bought the Oxford University-developed AstraZeneca vaccine, which was supposed to be obtained from the Serum Institute of India. But, after supplying several consignments, India stopped exporting the vaccine due to increased corona infections within its territory. Then the Bangladesh government bought Pfizer, Moderna and Sinopharm vaccines from alternative sources. An MoU will be signed with Dyadic over the transfer of raw materials and technology for producing vaccines in the country. A draft MoU has already been prepared. The MoU will be signed after getting government approval. Professor Dr Ehsanul Kabir Jaglul, managing director of Essential Drugs Company Limited, said, "Dyadic International wants to sign an MoU. It will be signed after getting permission from the committee formed by the health ministry. Work on the signing of the MoU is in progress. If it is not signed, there is a risk that they will go elsewhere." In addition to Dyadic, discussions are underway to produce protein vaccine invented by Russia's Sputnik-V and Oxford University, according to a meeting of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health and Family Welfare held on 13 October. At the meeting, it was recommended that necessary steps be taken for the rapid production of vaccines in the country. The meeting was informed that on the advice of experts, the main equipment for making corona vaccine will be imported from Europe, America and Japan while other equipment will be imported from various Asian countries, including China, South Korea and Taiwan. An estimated cost relating to the imports has also been set by contacting various foreign equipment manufacturing and supplier organisations. Technical committee on vaccine production and its recommendations The government formed a nine-member Covid-19 Resistant Vaccine Production Technical Committee on 12 July this year, to make recommendations to the government by reviewing proposals and taking steps to produce effective and safe vaccines. After holding five meetings since its formation, the committee put forward various recommendations for vaccine production. According to committee sources, the technical committee has recommended that trials be allowed in the country to determine the efficacy and side effects of the vaccine invented by Dyadic International since Dyadic invented the formula but could not complete the trial. If the trial is allowed on the condition that the vaccine will be produced in Bangladesh, it can be produced as soon as possible. The committee recommended allowing the trial because formulas of the corona vaccines invented so far are not easily available. Committee sources said there is also a shortage of raw materials of vaccine due to the widespread global demand for the corona vaccine. However, there will not be any shortage of raw materials for the production of Dyadic protein vaccines. Dr Abdur Rahman, a member of the technical committee and dean of the Faculty of Pharmacy of Dhaka University, told TBS that it has been recommended that Dyadic be allowed to conduct clinical trials in the country; in return it will assist in setting up a vaccine plant and provide vaccine formula. He said, "If this is done, we will get the vaccine formula in a short time and they will also get an advantage. The protein vaccine has a big advantage as there will be no shortage of raw materials for it. However, there is a shortage of raw materials for other vaccines due to the global demand." Infrastructure development of Essential Drugs Although the government has taken the initiative to produce vaccines by the state-owned Essential Drugs Company, it does not have adequate and necessary infrastructure. It was established in 1983 with the main objective of setting up an advanced pharmaceuticals industry in the country to produce medicines. But this outdated pharmaceutical company does not have the necessary equipment and modern laboratory to produce corona vaccines. It is not possible to produce corona vaccines with its existing infrastructure. However, the government's emphasis on vaccine production has removed the complexity of infrastructure development. As the construction of a concrete building is time consuming, it has been decided to construct the building within a steel structure. For the building eight acres of land have been acquired next to Essential Drugs Company. The steel structure will be built on the land to accommodate the necessary labs and equipment for vaccine production. As per recommendations of experts, the vaccine will be stored in a cold room and cool room of the manufacturing plant at a temperature of 2-8 degrees centigrade. Professor ABM Khurshid Alam said, "Ninety percent of the land has been acquired for the construction of the vaccine plant and the remaining 10% will be acquired this month." "A steel structure will be built there to go into production as soon as possible. The appointments of a consultant and a scientist are in the process," he added.
  14. https://www.daily-sun.com/post/583688/Bangavax-animal-trial-ends-found-to-be-100pc-effective Bangavax animal trial ends, found to be 100pc effective Staff Correspondent 22nd October, 2021 07:21:49 PM Globe Biotech Limited (GBL) has completed the preclinical or animal trials of its homegrown coronavirus vaccine 'Bangavax' on Thursday. The GBL conducted the trial on monkeys to meet the condition set by Bangladesh Medical Research Council (BMRC). The trial was completed on October 21. The Globe Biotech authority claimed that the vaccine was found to be hundred per cent effective during the animal trials. “During the animal trial of the Bangavax vaccine on monkeys, we have found that it has created sufficient anti-body and hundred per cent effective against all 11 coronavirus variants including the Delta one,” a senior manager of Globe Biotech Limited Dr Mohammad Mohiuddin told the Daily Sun. Based on the successful trials, company officials said, the local drug firm had approached the BMRC for ethical clearance before the human trials. But the council approved clinical trials of Bangavax under the condition that "before starting any human trial, the vaccine producer will require to conduct an animal trial on monkeys or chimpanzees. Later, the GBL started animal trials of Bangavax on monkeys on August 1st in line with BMRC's condition, the company sources said. They will now submit their clinical trial protocol to the BMRC next week to get approval for carrying out the human trial, they said. The company is planning to conduct the human trials from November. Bangavax sought ethical approval from the BMRC for human trials of the antidotes on January 17 this year. The BMRC on February 9 this year asked for some documents and the company submitted those on February 17 and received conditional approval in June. Bangladeshi company Globe Biotech has received approval from the Directorate General of Drug Administration (DGDA) for manufacturing its vaccine for a clinical trial. The company was granted permission on 28 December last year, sources said.
  15. https://www.thedailystar.net/youth/young-icons/news/10-bangladeshi-youths-top-100-young-talent-asia-list-2203866 10 Bangladeshi youths on Top 100 Young Talent of Asia list Youth Desk Fri Oct 22, 2021 04:08 PM Ten Bangladeshi youths have made it to the Top 100 Young Talent of Asia list this year. The Asia Young Talent Awards aims to recognise young people aged between 18 and 30, who inspire, influence, and motivate with their talent, story or work towards people and their community. It is organised by Monsta Asia, a talent growth and engagement platform of Malaysia that designs, develops, and discovers talents in both personal and professional skills. AIM Initiative Foundation from Bangladesh is the organisational partner of Monsta Asia in this year's Asia Young Talent Awards. From more than 900 nominees, top 100 young, talented individuals have been selected because of their impactful stories, and their contributions to their communities. Among them, the 10 Bangladeshi youths are: Mohammad Shafin Arshad (Volunteer for Bangladesh), Zisan Rehman (Founder & President, Penny for Many), Safa Jahangir (Founder, Sarin's Store), Sadi Muhammad Tamim (Pathshala), A S M Ashikur Rahman (Executive Board Member, Youth Hub), Nuzhat Fatima Faruk (Social Media Officer, Pensive Stories), Mehrin Laila (Senior Interviewer, Volunteer Stories), Sanjida Hoque (Documentation & Communications Officer, AIM Initiative Foundation), Rafeed Elahi Chowdhury (Lead, Content and Product Growth, The Business Standard) and Subrina Habib (Executive Director, AIM Initiative Foundation, and Project Manager, AIM School).
  16. https://thefinancialexpress.com.bd/national/fazli-mangoe-gets-gi-tag-1634903294 Fazli mangoe gets GI tag Published: October 22, 2021 17:48:14 The country's northwestern Rajshahi region is known for its delicious mangoes. This time Mango's bond with Rajshahi has become stronger as the Fazli variety has been recognised as a unique product of Rajshahi and been given the geographical indication (GI) tag. According to the World Intellectual Property Organisation, GI is a sign used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin. Now the Fazli mango will be registered internationally as 'Fazli Mango of Rajshahi’. Confirming the information, Alim Uddin, Chief Scientific Officer of Rajshahi Fruit Research Center, said that the recognition was given in response to the application of his organisation, reports UNB. The department of patents, designs and trademarks (DPDT) published a general notice on October 6 as part of securing this certification. If no local or foreign entities raise objections over this move in the next two months – starting from the journals’ publication – the fruit will be GI certified and internationally recognised. Although Fazli is cultivated in nine upazilas throughout the country, Bagha and Charghat upazilas account for most of the harvest. Fazli was renowned in the markets of neighbouring India as “Bagha Fazli” as far back as 200 years ago, CSO Alim added. It belongs to the “Nobi Mousumi,” a variety of mangoes and can only be grown in the Rajshahi region because of its specific weather and soil requirements, he added. The mango ripens from the second week of July and lasts until the second week of August It takes 7 to 8 days for the fruit to ripen. The fruit takes about five and a half months for the fruit to mature from flowering. The skin of Fazli mango is almost green to light yellowish. The colour of the shell is yellow. Fazli mango is delicious and sweet to eat. The shell is thin, the kernels are long, flat and thin.
  17. http://bd.china-embassy.org/eng/zmjw/t1915351.htm Bangladesh's First Large Wind Power Project Launched 2021/10/19 Recently, the Cox's Bazar wind farm project in Bangladesh invested by Wuling Power as a subsidiary of the Chinese State Power Investment Corporation Limited (SPIC), began concrete pouring on its pile foundation of the booster station, marking the launching of Bangladesh's first large wind power project. http://bd.china-embassy.org/eng/zmjw/W020211019738551240950.png Cox's Bazar wind farm, with a total installed capacity of 66MW, is the first large-scale centralized wind power project in Bangladesh. It is SPIC's first wind power project in South Asia, and also the first Greenfield investment project abroad which is independently developed by Wuling Power. Wind is a clean energy. Upon operation, the electricity generation capacity of the project will reach 145,600MWh annually. Compared with the conventional coal-fired power project, it can reduce coal consumption by 44,600 tons, and cut emissions of 109,200 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2), 25.15 tons of sulfur dioxide (SO2), and 50.69 tons of nitric oxide (NO) every year. This will play an active role in promoting economic development, energy saving and emission reduction, and environmental protection in Bangladesh. SPIC is committed to developing clean energy. It has completed photovoltaic power generation of more than 35,000MW, new energy power generation of over 70,000MW, and renewable energy power generation of more than 100,000MW, all ranking first in the world. Taking the opportunity of the Cox's Bazar project, SPIC will further expand development and utilization of renewable energy in Bangladesh, and provide more clean energy to support the social and economic development of the country.
  18. https://thefinancialexpress.com.bd/editorial/economic-zone-for-japanese-investors-1634833091 Economic zone for Japanese investors Published: October 21, 2021 22:18:11 The move for setting up economic zone with country-specific tag is the latest towards attracting foreign investment in the country. Earlier, it was the Korean EPZ meant exclusively for Korean investors which despite prospects did not make any headway--- most likely due to some unresolved issues with the government. Now, in recognition of the fact that EPZs are for hundred per cent export-oriented enterprises, the idea of economic zone with broader implications to cater to both domestic and overseas needs seems to fit in appropriately with the objective of achieving multiplier gains from foreign investment. Clearly, it is with this intent that the Japanese economic zone is set to be launched next year. Reports say that the 1,000 acre economic zone to be exclusively used by Japanese firms is being developed in Araihazar upazila of Narayanganj, which is Bangladesh's first ever economic zone under the government-to-government initiative. This indeed is a remarkable move to attract investment from an industrial economy like Japan. Given the massive development projects undertaken in the country by Japan, it is expected that both governments would find it a good opportunity to work together in the years to come. Some of the major development projects under Japanese cooperation include the Bay of Bengal Industrial Growth Belt initiative, the Mass Rapid Transit project (Metro rail), expansion of Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport, and Moheshkhali-Matarbari Integrated Infrastructure Development Initiative (MIDI). The government, reportedly, has assured that potential investors from Japan will be given full cooperation in a bid to boost Japanese investments. In a virtual meeting last week, Japanese envoy to Bangladesh also expressed his optimism about the bright prospect of the economic zone. He also referred to the prospect of relocating some vital manufacturing units to this zone, if things move in the desired direction. He said the automotive industry of Bangladesh could be a good source of investment. In this context, it may be noted that the Bangladesh government has finalised drafting the automotive policy with an eye to attracting foreign investment. The 10-year policy styled Automotive Industry Development Policy '21 recognises the need to create a sufficiently developed automotive production base towards building a modern, competitive and sustainable auto industry in the country. It is here that Japanese car manufacturers, who largely depend on offshore plants, could be potentially useful in achieving the objective. Surely, to make it happen, the economic zone has to be fully equipped-backed by well thought-out government policies. Also, there are scores of other products, including high-tech ones, that can be produced for marketing locally and exporting abroad. It is a fact that significant benefits of large-scale FDI, particularly in manufacturing, include transfer of technology and development of backward linkage industries, besides employment generation. However, it all depends on sustaining the economic zone with continued support, along with providing routine services. No wonder, success of one economic zone is likely to attract other prospective overseas investors.
  19. https://www.tbsnews.net/dropped/industry/bangladesh-remains-top-shipbreaking-319333#.YXJb1_WtpYM.facebook TBS Report 22 October, 2021, 12:30 pm Last modified: 22 October, 2021, 12:33 pm Bangladesh remains on top in shipbreaking In the first three quarters of this year, 582 ships were scrapped worldwide, of which 197 (about 34%) were in Bangladesh As in the first two quarters of this year (January-March and April-June), Bangladesh continued to be the top shipbreaking country in the third quarter (July-September). In the third quarter of this year, 120 ships were scrapped worldwide, of which 41 ships (34%) were dismantled in Bangladesh, according to the latest report from NGO Shipbreaking Platform, a Belgium-based organisation that has been working worldwide on shipbreaking and its harmful effects. In the third quarter of last year, 170 ships were scrapped worldwide. Of these, 24 ships (14%) were dismantled in Bangladesh. Ship breaking in the country increased by 170% in the third quarter of the current year compared to the same period in the previous year. In the first three quarters of this year, 582 ships were scrapped worldwide, of which 197 (about 34%) were in Bangladesh. According to the Shipbreaking Platform, in the first nine months of 2020 India topped the list of ship breakers. During the same period this year the country dropped to second position as 155 ships were dismantled there. Besides, 87 ships were scrapped in Pakistan, 67 in Turkey, five in China and 71 in other countries, including in Europe, in the first three quarters of this year. Last year, Bangladesh was at the top in shipbreaking in terms of quantity. At the time, ships broken worldwide yielded 1.58 crore tonnes of metal. At the same time, ships dismantled in Bangladesh produced 69.64 lakh tonnes of metal. As a result, Bangladesh has continued holding the top spot in shipbreaking in terms of quantity for the last six consecutive years. Abu Taher, president of the Bangladesh Ship Breakers and Recyclers Association, said the country has seen a lot of infrastructural development in the last few years. This has increased the demand for rods in the country. The amount of ship breaking in the country has increased in order to supply the raw material for the making of these extra rods. "The first year of Covid-19 had a negative impact on the shipbreaking industry, but there have been no major problems this year. Scrapping of ships continued during the lockdown this year. As a result, Bangladesh has topped the list of ship breakers in the last nine months," he added. People involved in the sector have said Bangladesh has been increasing investment in the infrastructure for several years. Padma Bridge, Metro Rail, elevated expressways, Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant, Matarbari and several other large power plants and infrastructure are under construction. Besides, the housing sector has also started to recover from a slump. As a result, the demand for rods in the country has increased. The use of iron has also increased in various industries. The ship breaking industry plays a key role in meeting the demand for rods in these sectors.
  20. https://thefinancialexpress.com.bd/trade/europes-largest-packaging-industry-to-build-plant-in-bangladesh-1634871632 Europe's largest packaging industry to build plant in Bangladesh JASIM UDDIN HAROON | Published: October 22, 2021 09:00:32 | Updated: October 22, 2021 10:57:20 Europe's largest packaging enterprise, ALPLA, plans to build its plant in Bangladesh to seize a market share of packaging and its allied products which are complementary to the country's potential readymade garment industry and other export items. The European Union as a bloc is the largest market of Bangladesh's RMG products, and this venture could be a promoter of the apparel industry. ALPLA is an Austrian plastics manufacturer, headquartered in Hard, specialising in blow-moulded bottles and caps, injection-moulded parts, preforms and tubes. The company wants to build its factory either in Chattogram or in Dhaka. But one person who is familiar with the matter told the FE that it wants to build its plant near Chattogram seaport in order to get raw materials and make shipment easily. He also says it wants to set up its big-capacity factory on a more than 100,000-square-foot area. Bangladesh's personal-care industry will be growing as a result of consistent economic growth. Hence it wants to produce high-quality home-and-personal-care products like hair shampoos, pharmaceuticals and so for both local and international markets from its integrated industrial hub as well. "The company is a leader in Europe and famous for innovative plastic packaging solutions. It will grab local market following its strong goodwill on the international market," said another person also having direct knowledge of the matter. He said the company is assessing the county's overall environment to prepare its business strategies. With a total of 178 production plants in over 45 countries worldwide, employing around 21,600 employees, it had an annual sales turnover of € 3.69 billion in 2020. The company was founded in 1955 as 'Alpenplastik Lehner Alwin OHG'.
  21. https://www.tbsnews.net/economy/corporates/square-pharmaceuticals-annual-profit-grows-1938-319126#.YXGGJb3SWg4.facebook TBS Report 21 October, 2021, 09:20 pm Last modified: 21 October, 2021, 09:23 pm Square Pharmaceuticals’ annual profit grows by 19.38% 60% cash dividend recommended for 2020-21 Square Pharma maintained an average of 18.4 percent annual profit growth over the last seven years/Photo: Courtesy Square Pharmaceuticals Ltd posted Tk1,594 crore in annual profit for the 2020-21 fiscal year, which is 19.38% higher compared to the previous year. The profit growth boosted the top pharmaceutical company's earnings per share to Tk17.99 for the year, up from the previous year's Tk15.07. The profit figures include that of its subsidiary companies. But the individual companies also posted growth in profits on a standalone basis. Square Company Secretary Khandaker Habibuzzaman declined to comment beyond the disclosures after the board meeting. However, one of his colleagues told The Business Standard that the company secured double digit revenue growth in the 2020-21 fiscal year, both on a standalone and consolidated basis. At the end of June this year, Square Pharma and its subsidiaries' combined net asset value per share stood at Tk102.54. Square Pharmaceuticals board of directors recommended a 60% cash dividend for its shareholders, which would cost the company less than half of its annual profit. Its board of directors also approved a Tk300 crore investment plan for BMRE (balancing, modernising, rehabilitation and expansion), buying new capital machinery and land for future expansion. In its upcoming annual general meeting scheduled to be held on 15 December virtually, shareholders would consider the dividend plan and other agenda. Record date to identify shareholders is fixed on 22 November. Square Pharmaceuticals had been waiting to begin manufacturing in its newly built Kenyan plant in August this year. The company official who talked to The Business Standard seeking anonymity said, Due to the pandemic situation the commencement of operation abroad was delayed and he is expecting to begin production in the African plant at the end of this year. The offshore plant is set to help the company diversify its supply chain and mitigate any impact of Bangladesh's LDC graduation a decade later. Launched in 1958, Square Pharmaceuticals emerged as the industry leader in the mid-1980s and still holds the crown with around 17% market share. The company got listed on the local bourse in 1995. Square Pharma shares closed 1.1% higher at Tk233.8 in the Dhaka Stock Exchange on Thursday. The pharma market of the country is growing by 15% every year, according to the Bangladesh Association of Pharmaceutical Industries. The market is expected to grow four times to Tk1 lakh crore by 2030.
  22. https://www.tbsnews.net/tech/smartphones/xiaomi-sets-first-factory-bangladesh-salman-f-rahman-hopes-more-employment-318811 TBS Report 21 October, 2021, 12:25 pm Last modified: 21 October, 2021, 12:57 pm Xiaomi sets up first factory in Bangladesh; Salman F Rahman hopes for more employment Salman F Rahman MP, the private sector industry and investment adviser to the prime minister, on Thursday said partnership with smartphone giant Xiaomi will create more employment opportunities for the youth in Bangladesh. He made the remarks at the inauguration event of Xiaomi's first smartphone manufacturing plant in Bangladesh as part of the "Made in Bangladesh" branding, said a press release. "We are delighted to be a partner in setting up Xiaomi's first manufacturing unit in Bangladesh as part of the Digital Bangladesh initiative. We believe that this partnership will create more opportunities for the country's youth and establish a world-class electronics manufacturing ecosystem," said Salman F Rahman. While inaugurating the factory virtually, Post and Telecommunications Minister Mustafa Jabbar said mobile phones produced from 14 factories are meeting more than 65% of the total demand of the country. He also expressed strong hope that the smartphones produced by Xiaomi in Bangladesh will be exported abroad alongside meeting the demand of domestic market. "In addition to the investment-friendly environment adopted by the government, our talented youth have also attracted investors to set up mobile manufacturing plants of the world's best brands," Mustafa Jabbar added. State Minister for Information Communication and Technology Zunaid Ahmed Palak praised Xiaomi for setting up their production plant in Bangladesh. "This is a great initiative. I believe that from now on the people of the country will be able to enjoy all the latest innovative products of Xiaomi at a competitive price," he said. Xiaomi Bangladesh Country Director Ziauddin Ahmed was also present at the inauguration ceremony. He said from now on the No 2 global smartphone will be manufactured in the country. The Chinese smartphone maker established the factory in Gazipur through Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) without the involvement of any third party. The manufacturing plant was set up with $10 million foreign direct investment. The annual capacity of the factory is three million unit. Xiaomi set up the factory in Bangladesh within three years of its journey had begun here in 2018. However, mobile handset manufacturing began in Bangladesh in 2017 when Walton started producing electronic products locally. Later, cellphone giant Samsung as well as Symphony, and other brands started manufacturing in the country. With Xiamoi's new factory, now there are at least 13 local and global companies that are producing smartphones in Bangladesh.
  23. https://www.tbsnews.net/economy/rmg/ifc-invests-227mn-hamza-textiles-creates-scope-900-new-jobs-318046#.YW5pWFSy_so.facebook TBS Report 19 October, 2021, 12:35 pm Last modified: 19 October, 2021, 10:51 pm Hamza Textiles gets $22.7mn IFC fund The new factory is set to create more than 900 direct new jobs The International Finance Corporation has invested $22.7 million in Bangladesh's Hamza Textile Limited to help the local company to build a modern, green factory. The new factory is set to create more than 900 direct new jobs. The expanded operation is also expected to contribute $8 million to Bangladesh's economy directly and indirectly through local supply chains by 2028. Furthermore, around $15 million will also be injected in economic activities generated by the additional income of employees, and boost opportunities for micro-, small-, and medium-enterprises in the supply chain. MA Jabbar, DBL Group's managing director, earlier told The Business Standard, "The group has decided to expand its capacity to meet the growing demand of our apparel manufacturing units." The new investment marks IFC's first Covid-19 support in the RMG sector and includes financing from the International Development Association's Private Sector Window (IDA-PSW), set up to catalyse investment in low-income and fragile countries. "The new factory will allow Hamza to work with new fabrics to meet increasing buyer requirements, widen its manufacturing base and highlight the effectiveness of advanced technologies to cut production costs and deliver climate benefits," said MA Jabbar, DBL Group's managing director. Hamza Textiles provides dyeing and finishing services for fabrics that are used by its sister companies, owned by the DBL Group, which is one of Bangladesh's largest integrated knitted apparel manufacturers and exporters. The investment by IFC will help expand HTL's finishing capacity by 80 tonnes per day to reach a total capacity of 103 tonnes per day at its new factory, which will also be a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified green building. Hector Gomez Ang, IFC's regional director for South Asia, said, "Bangladesh's ready-made garment industry is vital for the country's economy and delivering on its ambitions to transform into an upper-middle-income country. To remain competitive, the industry needs to evolve to higher value-added products and adopt modern technologies, which are even more critical given the impact of Covid-19. "Even prior to the pandemic, the industry was beginning to stagnate in terms of innovation and value addition. We hope this investment will serve as a demonstration model for others to move upmarket and remain competitive," he added. Hamza Textile Ltd was established in 2004 as a fabric dyeing and finishing company of Dulal Brothers Ltd (DBL) Group located at the Mymun Industrial Complex in Kashimpur, Gazipur. The family-run DBL Group, comprising 28 companies, started operations in the RMG sector in 1991 and has interests in other industries, including ceramic tiles manufacturing, dredging, telecommunications, and the manufacturing of semiconductors. The annual turnover of the company in 2018-19 was $600 million. The company started its first offshore business in Ethiopia for apparels and textiles creating employment opportunities for 4,500 people. The group's main buying partners are H&M, C&A, Puma and Asda. The facilities of DBL are also a part of Better Work Bangladesh and undergo regular audits. The shareholders of the Hamza textile ltd are Abdul Wahed (16.12%), Mohammed Abdul Jabbar (25%), Mohammed Abdur Rahim (19.44%), Mohammed Abdul Quader (21.11%) and immediate family members (18.33%). They are also the owners of the DBL Group. To date, IFC has invested in five RMG manufacturers in Bangladesh and has provided more than $90 million, largely in the form of debt financing. The latest investment marks IFC's second engagement with DBL Group. In 2013, IFC also provided $10.5 million to Color City Limited, another of the Group's dyeing and finishing companies.
  24. https://www.tbsnews.net/bangladesh/imposing-extra-tax-vehicles-without-improved-services-worsen-traffic-jam-317941#.YW5M4XT5Vio.facebook Md Jahidul Islam 19 October, 2021, 10:40 am Last modified: 19 October, 2021, 11:50 am Imposing extra tax on vehicles without improved services to worsen traffic jam Recently Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) Mayor Atiqul Islam suggested imposing extra tax on cars in some particular areas in the capital in order to reduce traffic congestion Mayor recently proposed extra tax for driving vehicles in affluent areas Urban experts say without improving services, the move may intensify traffic congestion 30,000 buses of 2,500 companies run in 291 routes in Dhaka Total registered vehicles in the capital is 17,13,554 A number of mega projects, including metrorail, are underway to reduce traffic congestion in Dhaka, but the city authorities are still in doubt whether the implementation of the projects will at all be fruitful. Recently Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) Mayor Atiqul Islam suggested imposing extra tax on cars in some particular areas in the capital in order to reduce traffic congestion. However, urban planners and local government experts say that charging such fees instead of providing adequate sidewalks on the roads, parking spaces and planned public transport services will not reduce traffic congestion but increase it. The local government may impose such a tax to provide civic benefits, but there will be no benefit unless it is planned comprehensively through considering all aspects of the situation. On 25 September, DNCC Mayor Atiqul Islam said at an event that the number of private vehicles has increased in elite areas like Gulshan and Baridhara in the capital. Additional taxes have to be paid to drive cars in these areas. The mayor said an overwhelming number of cars have flooded the streets of the capital. Each member of a family has a different car. "We have planned to introduce an extra charge for driving through the capital's elite areas. Abroad, extra charge is taken if a private car enters different roads," he said. He said that the DNCC will implement the matter after counting the cars through a survey on the streets of these elite areas. However, Bangladesh Institute of Planners (BIP) General Secretary Professor Dr Adil Muhammad Khan told The Business Standard, "In city planning, imposing conditional charges on the transport sector is nothing new, but it requires a specific plan." The city planner observed that if conditional tax is applied in separate places in Dhaka, no benefit will be obtained. In order to do this, at first a survey has to be conducted across the whole city to get an idea of what kind of measures can be taken in which areas. The main objective will be reducing the use of private cars. In order to reduce the number of private cars on the roads, adequate public transport, footpaths and parking spaces as well as other services have to be ensured in those areas. According to the Dhaka Transport Coordinating Authority (DTCA), around 30,000 buses of about 2,500 companies operate on 291 routes in the capital. According to the Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA), as of 31 August, 2021, the number of vehicles registered in the capital was 17,13,554. Of these, 849,335 are motorcycles, which is 49% of the total number of vehicles. As many as 308,860 private cars have been registered, which is 18% of all vehicles, while the number of registered buses is 36,978 or 2% of the total number of vehicles. The total number of vehicles registered in Dhaka in 2010 was 593,077. The figure has increased to over 17 lakh at present. During this time, among the total registered vehicles, the number of private vehicles has increased by more than 67% while the number of buses has increased by only 2%. Traffic congestion in the capital has steadily been worsening owing to the growing number of vehicles on city streets. Hundreds of thousands of working hours are being wasted due to the long unending traffic jams, resulting in financial losses worth several thousand crores of taka. According to the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, 10% of the country's population live in and around Dhaka. Due to increasing demand, the number of private cars has also been going up. The number of vehicles registered for traffic in the capital has more than tripled in the last 10 years. According to international standards, a maximum of 216,000 vehicles can ply on the roads of the capital. But at present, the number of vehicles plying on the city streets is more than eight times that number. The speed of vehicles on the roads of Dhaka is less than seven kilometers per hour. In reply to a query on the extent to which city dwellers will benefit if a tax is imposed on private vehicles in elite areas, Dr Adil Muhammad Khan said, "According to local government law, the city corporation has full freedom to impose any kind of toll to keep the living standards of the city dwellers to a tolerable level. There is no legal barrier, but before making a decision we have to consider whether it will be functional in terms of application. If the decision is made without changing the current situation, sufferings will increase instead of decreasing." However, the DNCC mayor has said that parking spaces will be increased by recovering encroached sidewalks. Encroachers occupy the footpaths in different ways and pedestrians are forced to walk on the streets as they cannot do that on the sidewalks, resulting in increased traffic congestion. There are plans so that people can cycle on dedicated lanes and walk on sidewalks. Local government expert Dr Tofail Ahmed told TBS that the BRTA is providing registration route permits for vehicles and the government is charging a tax for that. By paying that tax, vehicle owners are able to travel all over Bangladesh, paying tolls only where they are required. "The city corporation cannot impose a tax in Gulshan-Banani without proving something special. If you want to collect tax, you must give service accordingly", he said. He wondered if imposing an additional tax will reduce traffic congestion. In his view, it will worsen traffic congestion. If there is any other measure to reduce traffic congestion, it should be done. But it is not possible to reduce traffic congestion by fixing taxes. It is not a sustainable system. Public transport services must be increased to reduce the pressure of private cars on the streets. Arrangements can be made for these vehicles not to ply at any time other than a specified time on a special road. Experts have also said that in order to impose an additional tax on cars, an automatic mechanical system has to be introduced. Otherwise there will be no benefit; rather traffic congestion will increase further. Recognised methods that are available abroad can be applied. For this, a car policy has to be made for every family living and traveling in the elite areas of the capital so that a family cannot use more than one car. They have also suggested that an extra tax can be collected if a family uses more than one car.
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