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TBS Report

24 January, 2022, 05:50 pm

Last modified: 24 January, 2022, 08:12 pm

Govt to build world class shipyard near Payra port for Tk14,000cr

It will be the costliest FDI project in Bangladesh after implementation



The government plans to build a world class shipyard near Payra seaport in Patuakhali costing around Tk14,000 crore. 

Singapore and Australia-based company Gentium Solutions and Netherlands-based Damen Shipyards Group are willing to finance the Tk14,000 crore foreign direct investment (FDI) project, reads a press release from the Industries Ministry.

It will be the costliest FDI project in Bangladesh after implementation. 

Gentium Solutions and Damen Shipyards Group representatives presented the project proposal at a meeting with Industries Minister Nurul Majid Mahmud Humayun at his office on Monday (24 January).

Gentium Solutions Advisor Md Kaikobad Hossain, Damen Group Senior Director (Naval Projects) Eef van den Broek, and Damen Group Asia Pacific Regional Sales Director Rabien Bahadoer were present at the meeting.

Meanwhile, they handed over the feasibility study report of the project to the industries minister.

"Once the proposed project is finalised, the Ministry of Industries or Bangladesh Steel and Engineering Corporation (BSEC) will procure land in the area adjacent to Payra Port," said Minister Nurul Majid Mahmud Humayun.

He added that the government will extend all possible cooperation in setting up a world-class shipbuilding factory. 

Among others, Industries Secretary Zakia Sultana, Gentium Additional Adviser (Retd) Dr Saidur Rahman Selim, Gentium Technical Chief Brigadier General (Retd) Arif Ahmed Chowdhury, Industries Ministry Additional Secretary Faizul Amin and officials concerned were present. 

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Abdullah Al Mahmud Faruk

26 January, 2022, 10:00 am

Last modified: 26 January, 2022, 10:16 am

As work progresses, we’re learning how to overcome challenges of a big project

'Under this project, two zones of the industrial city will be developed as green areas and various services will be ensured,' said Abdullah Al Mahmud Faruk, the project director at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Shilpa Nagar Development Project


The government is developing the country's largest industrial city "Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Shilpa Nagar" on 30,000 acres of land sprawling across Chattogram's Mirsarai and Sitakunda along with Feni's Sonagazi upazilas. The Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (Beza) is implementing the "Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Shilpa Nagar Development Project" at Tk4,036 crore for eco-friendly (green) industries on an area of about 1,000 acres. In July 2021, I joined this five-year project stretching from January 2021 to December 2025 as its project director.

Before this, I was working with Beza and was already aware of this project and the economic zone. So I dared to take the responsibility as its project director (PD). If I had no prior experience with the Shilpa Nagar, I would have no choice but to give up. Coming to this stage of my duties as a PD, I am feeling good about myself as I am involved with a big change in the country's industrial sector. To discharge this duty, I have to work extra hours every day but I am not tired. I think all the hard work will pay off if the project is completed successfully.


It is difficult to manage a project. And this project is very complicated. Since we want to set up a green economic zone here, we have to abide by many regulations. There are much public-private partnership (PPP) projects in it. Since this project is being implemented with funds from the World Bank, we have to maintain everything to the specifications. As the project is attached to the Prime Minister's Office, everything has to be systematic. The Prime Minister's Office is closely monitoring it. We don't have any scope of making a mistake here and we will be able to overcome these challenges with sincerity and dedication. But the main challenge is, there are problems with the supply chain for the types of work that will have to be done in the project. We have no experience in these areas which is our main challenge.


Production in the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Shilpa Nagar (BSMSN) is going to officially begin in March. So, the factories in the industrial city are currently taking preparation for that. The photo was taken on Tuesday. Photo: Mohammad Minhaj Uddin/TBS

Besides, the projects in the PPP model are also very challenging. This is a very big project which has a lot of complicated work. The challenge is that we do not know many things. We will learn things first and then we will implement that. We are in contact with foreign firms and are trying to learn from them how we can do something better. We can't even go on foreign tours because of the Covid-19 pandemic. We are still in the primary stages of the project. The challenge will be more obvious in the execution phase. The weather in the project area is also a big challenge. Rainfall is high here which will be a major challenge as well.

It will take prolonged labour to move forward in the implementation of the project. It takes a long time for a work which could be done in an hour if we were experts. We are trying to learn it. We have to learn about these issues from experts, consultants, partners, representatives of the World Bank and others concerned. The experience gained in this project has the potential to be used in other industrial cities in the country. We are constantly gaining experience in implementing this project. These experiences will play a positive role in the subsequent implementation of such projects.


The project implementation deadline is 2025 but it will not end on time because it started one year after the schedule. In addition, there is also the effect of coronavirus. Therefore, I do not see the possibility of completing the project within the stipulated time.

Under this project, two zones of the industrial city will be developed as green areas and various services will be ensured. There are plans for land development, setting up of a 30km four-lane road, water supply and sewerage system, administrative building, desalination plant, steam network, solid waste plant, biogas plant, canal excavation, power and gas distribution network and installation of solar panels.


One-stop service for all services and a skill development centre will be set up under the project. This industrial city will be built suitable for setting up world-class green factories. The total cost of the project has been estimated at Tk4,347 crore, of which Tk3,067 crore will come from the World Bank.

Asian Paints' factory will be the first factory to go into production in late February or early March 2022. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is scheduled to inaugurate the factory.

This project will become visible as soon as the initiative is taken to build a factory. Garments Village has been made suitable for factory construction. So investors in this sector could start building factories immediately. In addition, we urge companies that have been allotted land to come forward to build factories without any delay.


The author is Project Director at the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Shilpa Nagar Development Project.

[The article is based on Abdullah Al Mahmud Faruk's conversation with The Business Standard's Shahadat Hossain Chowdhury.]

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Metro rail to guzzle extra Tk 114.87b

 MUNIMA SULTANA |  January 26, 2022 00:00:00


An over 50-per cent cost hike in Dhaka's metro-rail project has been proposed principally for land acquisition to set up kiosks at stations, not for people's comfort ride anyway.

Sources say this business-facilitation work, involving a king's ransom as additional project cost, is being done now for not carrying it out as works related to the same project.

Transport experts and critics blame the huge cost escalation at the end of its implementation stage on lack of engagement of experienced and knowledgeable people in the first-ever high- tech mass-transit-system development. For this lacking, many basic needs were not assessed properly and in time.

The sources say though huge private land and buildings will be acquired at various points along the 21.26-kilometre elevated transport corridor, riders on the Mass Rapid Transit Line 6 (MRT 6) will have to wait several years to get wider footpaths at different stations, station plazas and ToD (transit oriented development) planned to ensure comfortable exit from and entry to the MRT.

Dhaka Mass Transit Company Limited (DMTCL) has submitted a proposal to acquire huge land and private buildings to establish plazas at four stations, transit-oriented development (ToD) and footpaths widening of various stations along with extension of MRT 6 towards Kamalapur from Motijheel.

All these proposals come when progress on the project was recorded nearly 75 per cent and DMTCL is working for its early commissioning of half of the route by December this year and the rest next year.

With the proposed hike, the Tk 219.85 billion MRT-6 project cost is expected to shoot up to Tk 334.72 billion.

Sources said the state-owned MRT company placed a need for extra Tk 114.87 billion in its revised development project proposal (DPP) showing grounds of providing facilities and services for comfortable MRT ridership and sustainability of MRT's costly operations.

According to a rough estimation, nearly Tk 10 billion has been shown as cost of constructing the extension part of the MRT line 6 from Motijheel to Kamalapur while Tk 90 billion proposed to acquire land and buildings which are mostly private-owned. Another sum of Tk 10 billion is proposed to pay CD VAT and variation in the project consultants.

A new contract package is also proposed to introduce enterprise resource management (ERM) which, sources say, is planned to maintain the MRT 6's all assets, control, operate trains keeping record electronically. MRT is being built under eight contract packages, and the ERM will be CP 9 costing Tk 800 million.

Though DMTCL officials claim there is no hike proposed in the civil works, the extension work has been planned to carry out under the existing civil-work package showing variations.

Asked about delayed assessment, DMTCL Managing Director MAN Siddique said real need for the land might not have been felt by the people engaged with the project at the time of formulating the DPP.

''The DPP of MRT 6 was the first of its kind, also first experience for all project officials. Maybe, people engaged in the DPP formulation might not have realised the need for station plazas or required space for footpath to make sure comfortable exit and entry from a station," he told the FE over phone.

The MD, who joined the state-owned MRT company after retirement as secretary of Road Transport and Highways Division in 2017, however, said DMTCL is now trying to make the MRT 6 international-standard.

But sources say the feasibility study done in 2012-2013 had recommendations for station plazas, ToD and smooth exit and entry but those were not addressed in the DPP. It was due to lack of understanding of the concept of station plaza or ToD.

Some former project officials are, however, critical of the policy of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the project's financier, as land-acquisition proposal was against its board-approval policy.

Nevertheless, transport-expert Prof Mohammad Shamsul Hoque blames "faulty development philosophy" being maintained by the government agencies in planning and implementing development projects. He says project officials lacking in skill or experience often cause cost- and time-overrun.

"MRT is no exception," he adds.

"What works were needed to do at the upfront are now being tried to be done at this stage, which means lack of knowledge, experience and vision by the people engaged in the projects," he says.

Being a new and highly technical project, says Dr Shamsul Hoque, who is a professor of Civil Engineering Department of BUET, initial lapses could have been avoided by following practices in other Asian countries, including in hiring skilled and experienced people in key posts.

MoRTB took the initiative to develop the metro rails in the city under the 20-year strategic transport plan which proposed three MRTs in 2005. Dhaka Transport Coordination Authority (DTCA) completed the feasibility study finding the first line from Pallabi to Saidabad in elevated way viable.

However, the route later was changed on both sides due to objection from different quarters, including Bangladesh Army and Air Force, on various grounds. Saidabad point was diverted towards Motijheel after the government allowed Mayor Hanif flyover though JICA's study recommended setting up multimodal transport hub there. The Pallabi end was extended toward Uttara 3rd phase while route from Agargaon diverted towards Khamarbari instead of Bijoy Sarani.

Official sources say initial MRT 6 challenges have been overcome after lots of struggle as many authorities were then in double about execution of the metro-rail project.

They also say business model for the MRT 6 was also not considered as JICA would not provide financial support to any commercial cause in the project. In the proposed increase in the cost, JICA's part of contribution is likely to increase by Tk 20 billion, mainly to carry extension of the MRT 6.

After lots of discussion, the project officials finally adopted business model to increase income from sustainability point of view of the costly MRT project.

The ToD is planned at Uttara South station, four station plazas at Uttara North, Agargaon, Farmgate and Kamalapur. General consultant of the project is likely to develop the concept station plazas and ToD which is to keep open spaces for pickup and drop with different facilities.

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Metro Rail's last girder to be placed today

 FE REPORT | Published:  January 27, 2022 09:23:54


The entire Dhaka Metro Rail elevated structure is set to be viewed from Uttara to Motijheel as the last girder of the Mass Rapid Transit Line 6 (MRT 6) will be placed on Thursday.

Sources said the last girder will be placed near the point of the Jatiya Press Club at around 11am making the whole 20.1 kilometres long metro rail structure visible.

They also said though the placement of the last girder is a milestone development of the Tk 219. 85 billion project, another shift of the MRT 6 is expected in next April by completing rail track placement work.

Officials said civil work of the project has been progressing on schedule with the target to launch the first half of the metro rail from Uttara to Agargaon by December this year.

According to progress report till December last year, 74 per cent overall progress was recorded by completing 90 per cent work from Uttara to Agargaon and 73 per cent from Agargaon to Motijheel.

Work on electric and mechanical system, depot equipment purchase and rolling stock was also completed by 71 per cent.

Except Uttara station, concourse roof, platform roof and steel roof structure of eight other stations of the first half km metro rail have been completed.

Officials said 98 span were installed from Uttara to Agargaon while 151 from Agargaon to Motijheel to develop the elevated structure.

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McDonald Steel first to begin production

Jagaran Chakma

Tue Feb 1, 2022 12:00 AM Last update on: Tue Feb 1, 2022 02:07 AM


The office of Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority in Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Shilpa Nagar in Mirsarai, Chattogram, where the first factory’s operations started on January 25. The photo was taken on Saturday. Photo: Rajib Raihan

Bangladesh's largest industrial enclave, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Shilpa Nagar, in Mirsarai, Chattogram, finally witnessed the start of operations of its maiden factory last week.

McDonald Steel Building Products started the trial operation of its manufacturing plant at the shilpa nagar on January 25.

Another seven industrial units including that of Asian Paints Bangladesh and Nippon & McDonald Steel lndustries will start running one after another by December this year, Abdullah Al Mahmud Faruk, the shilpa nagar's project director, told The Daily Star.

But that hinges on the pandemic situation getting better, he said.

Nippon & McDonald Steel lndustries, a joint venture of Japan's Nippon Steel Corporation and Bangladesh's McDonald Steel Building Products, have engaged Japanese expert to start testing out their machinery.

Initially, the two companies have agreed to invest $59.19 million, or nearly Tk 500 crore, in phases to establish the plant.

The two factories of McDonald will collectively create employment for about 2,500 people.

In case of Asian Paints Bangladesh, it is their second manufacturing unit which is expected to go into operation within one or two months, according to sources at Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (Beza).

The official inauguration will be held as soon as possible once incorporated into Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's schedule, they said.

Besides, eight industrial units are under construction, including that of Berger Paints Bangladesh, Bangladesh Auto Industries and Healthcare Pharmaceuticals, which are likely to start running operations by June next year.

According to Beza, the shilpa nagar has drawn investment proposals amounting to $20.13 billion till date -- $19.85 billion from locals and $1.28 billion from abroad.

However, the McDonald's new manufacturing unit will take up to one month to begin commercial production of galvanised and prefabricated steel sheets, said Sarwar Kamal, the company's managing director.

The machinery was brought from Japan and China.

"Nippon-McDonald already invested over Tk 100 crore in their joint venture factory to grab a bigger share of the growing market of steel plates along with economic growth and industrialisation in the country," he said.

Kamal went on to say that trial operations of the new unit began through the manufacturing of steel pipes.

"Nippon Steel Corporation is a highly compliant and well-renowned company around the world and it sees a good future for the steel sector in Bangladesh," he said.

Kamal believes they will be able to cater to the country's demand for prefabricated steel through the new unit, which will benefit the overall industry by substituting imports.

The company will import raw materials from China, Japan and European countries while finished products will be mainly used by the local industries.

Kamal expects to make annual sales of $20 million in the local market and also plans to export to South Asian countries once the unit becomes fully operational.

He said they have a good scope to export steel products to the northeastern states of India as well.

Industry insiders said the present annual demand for steel at home was around seven lakh tonnes, with an growth rate of around 12 per cent to 15 per cent. 


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Saifuddin Saif

19 April, 2022, 10:45 pm

Last modified: 21 April, 2022, 09:01 am

How frequent revisions push project costs up, benefits to back seat

Some 35% of the ongoing projects – 640 out of 1,819 – have gone through revisions one or more times over the last decade, ultimately making development work costly


Bangladesh is losing out on economic benefits from its development projects due to repeated revisions mainly because of a lack of efficiency of government agencies, poor planning and faulty implementation.


Some 35% of the ongoing projects – 640 out of 1,819 – have gone through revisions one or more times over the last decade, ultimately making development work costly.

As an example of how development projects are getting costlier day by day for repeated revisions, this fiscal year's revised projects under Annual Development Programme (ADP) escalated costs to Tk18,53,779 crore – equivalent to thrice the annual budget outlay, according to the Planning Commission.


Failed deadlines cause costs to rise

Project costs would have been much lower had these projects been implemented within their deadlines, say the people concerned.

Some 11 projects under the railways ministry were revised and their costs rose to around Tk66,460 crore from the original Tk43,919 crore, according to knowledgeable sources.

There are 58 revised projects of the Road Transport and Highways Division, which saw their costs rise by Tk24,544 crore.

Besides, costs of 20 projects of the Directorate General of Health Services increased by Tk13,081 crore.

Many other projects under different ministries and divisions also experienced time extension and cost hikes.

Inefficiency is a reason

Experts link delay in project implementation and cost escalation to a lack of capacity on the part of government agencies.

Dr Ahsan H Mansur, executive director at Policy Research Institute, told The Business Standard, "The government agencies have not been efficient in implementing projects even after 50 years of independence. Besides, projects are being taken up without any proper survey, which leads to the multiple revisions."

Sometimes, contractors and consulting firms deliberately implement projects slowly. They do so when prices of construction materials, such as rod and cement, go up. But in many cases, project managers and stakeholders prolong project completion in the hope of personal gains, he added.

Economist and Researcher Zayed Bakht said, "If a project is not finished on time, it costs more money that could have been used for other development activities. It also puts pressure on the economy."

In many cases, it takes a long time to appoint a project director. Similarly, delay in hiring consultants for projects funded by foreign loans hampers project implementation as well, he noted. 

Land acquisition also causes delay. Besides, designs of many projects need to be changed due to a lack of proper survey, he added.

The construction of the rail line from Dohazari in Chattogram to Cox's Bazar and Gundum via Ramu started in July 2010. The project, which was supposed to be completed in three years, was delayed due to complications regarding land acquisition and financing. 

As a result, project duration was extended for three more years and its costs went up too.

Besides, additional land acquisition for the construction of a broad-gauge railway line was also included in the project, which caused the project cost to rise by 874%. For this, the revised project was re-approved in April 2016. The project time was also extended for five years till June 2022.

So far, 68% of the project has been completed and an initiative has been taken to extend its time again.

Currently, 39 railway projects are under implementation, involving about Tk1,47,000 crore. Among them, 11 projects saw their tenures doubled and Tk22,450 crore more was allocated for them.

The Road Transport and Highways Division is currently implementing 198 projects involving around Tk2,85,879 crore. Some 69 projects have been revised at different times and costs of 58 revised projects increased by Tk24,544 crore, while expenditure of 11 projects were reduced by Tk291 crore after revision.

Experts say no major road project of the government has ever been completed in one term owing to a lack of proper design and planning.

"Projects need revision for updates"

State Minister of Planning Shamsul Alam said, "Many projects are revised to meet issues during the implementation period. But the Planning Commission discourages a project revision midway."

Sometimes, many five-year projects are revised to make them updated. The government also revises and updates its one-year budget. It is not essentially a bad practice, he added.

The state minister further said one of the major problems is land acquisition that takes time. Land cannot be acquired before the original project is approved. "In some cases, we undertake separate land acquisition projects. But it is not possible all the time because if the original project is not approved after the land acquisition, it will be a waste of money," he pointed out.

"Delays are deliberate"

Communication expert and professor at the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology Shamsul Hoque, said, "Consultants and contractors deliberately delayed project implementation in order to increase costs. They capitalise on the lack of capacity of project managers. There is a lack of skilled manpower in all the government agencies as well."

He mentioned frequent transfer of project directors, a lack of proper survey, and unplanned project approval by the Ecnec as the main reasons behind the tendency of unnecessary project revisions in the country.

"The development that the country has gone through in the last 10 years needs to be evaluated. We must identify the weaknesses and failures; otherwise the financial loss due to project revisions will double in the next decade," said Shamsul Hoque.

Litany of delayed project

As an example of a slow-moving health project, Kushtia Medical College Hospital Project of the Directorate General of Health Services has been running for more than a decade. The project cost has increased by 40%.

Similarly, the project of setting up the third branch factory of Essential Drugs Company, a state-owned pharmaceutical company, in Gopalganj has been running for more than a decade. Initially, the project cost was Tk31 crore, but it has now increased to Tk800 crore. 

Around 66% of the projects of the health directorate have been revised for different reasons. Out of 31 revised projects of this department, costs of 20 projects have increased by Tk13,081 crore. On the other hand, costs of eight projects were reduced by Tk2,433 crore. The information on three other revised projects could not be obtained.

Currently, the directorate general of health services is implementing 47 projects with a cost of Tk63,924 crore.

Meanwhile, the Local Government Division has the highest number of 244 projects in the revised ADP among the major ministries and divisions. The current implementation cost of these projects is Tk2,58,000 crore, and its 81 projects were revised one or more times.

Besides, 33 out of 80 projects of the Power Division, 20 out of 46 projects of the shipping ministry, 38 out of 114 projects of the water resources ministry, 33 out of 96 projects of the agriculture ministry, and 37 out of 78 projects of the directorate of secondary and higher education were revised.

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Malabar Gold and Diamonds announces $100m investment in Bangladesh

 FE ONLINE DESK   | Published:  March 12, 2022 22:25:22 | Updated:  March 14, 2022 16:58:13

Malabar Gold and Diamonds, one of the largest jewellery retailers in the world, will invest up to US$100 million in the next three to five years, a senior company official announced at the Third Bangladesh Economic Forum that concluded at the Movenpick Grand Hotel in Dubai.

Another Dubai-based company, Danube Homes announced its foray into Bangladesh after signing a franchise partnership agreement with Dhaka-based Daffodil Group at the Bangladesh Economic Forum.

The partnership agreement will see Danube Homes rolls out multiple stores across Bangladesh, according to a press release.

More than 300 delegates comprising of business leaders from the UAE and Bangladesh were present at the Third Bangladesh Economic Forum in which Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen and Salman F Rahman, advisor to Bangladesh Prime Minister on Investment and Private Industries, delivered the keynote speech.

Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen, in his keynote speech, urged the UAE investors to invest in Bangladesh.

The high-profile event also saw presentations by Sirazul Islam, executive chairman of Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA), Sheikh Yousuf Haroon, executive chairman of Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (BEZA) and Prof Shibli Rubayat Ul Islam, chairman of Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission (BSEC).

Salman F Rahman, urged UAE investors to visit Bangladesh and see the new Bangladesh for themselves.

President of the Federation of Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industries (FBCCI) and senior officials of Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) led a 75-member delegation to Bangladesh Economic Forum.

Among the developments, Malabar Gold and Diamond is currently searching for a suitable location to set up its jewellery manufacturing unit, that to be followed by the opening of its showroom in Bangladesh.

“Bangladesh is a very promising market for us. Bangladeshis represent a sizeable customer base amongst our global customer base. We see the demand for quality gold and diamond jewellery is growing rapidly in Bangladesh, which prompted us to enter the country,” Ameer CMC, Director of Finance and Administration, Malabar Gold and Diamonds, said.

 “We expect faster return on investment in Bangladesh due to low-cost of operation that could result in higher return and increase our global footprint. We believe it is the right time to enter the market.”

Adel Sajan, managing director of Danube Group and Sabur Khan, chairman of Daffodil Group, Bangladesh signed an agreement to cement their partnership at the Bangladesh Economic Forum.

Announcing their foray into Bangladesh Adel Sajan said, “Bangladesh offers a very promising future and we have decided to move into Bangladesh at the right time with the right partner.

“By this summer, we are going to open our first showroom in Dhaka and I hope to open more outlets in Bangladesh as the economy is growing fast, in fact so fast that the per capita GDP jumped four times in just 10-12 years.”

Both the deals were facilitated and structured by Bangladesh Economic Form and its founder Saifur Rahman, who welcomed the delegates at the Bangladesh Economic Forum.

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7 megaprojects which will be completed between 2022 and 2024. These are:

  • HSIA Terminal 3
  • Dhaka Elevated Expressway Phase 1: Banani to HSIA
  • Dhaka Metro Line-6: Uttara to Agargaon
  • Padma Multipurpose Bridge (Road will be opened at the end of June while the work of rail-track is ongoing)
  • Karnafuli Tunnel
  • Ghoroshal Polash Urea Fertilizer Factory
  • Rooppur Nuclear Powerplant
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Beijing now spotlights $1.0b Teesta project

BD-China joint economic cooperation meet ahead

 MIR MOSTAFIZUR RAHAMAN | Published:  May 07, 2022 08:45:05 | Updated:  May 07, 2022 18:10:37


The much-talked-about multipurpose project on Teesta river management is now considered a priority one by China and the authorities in Beijing are tasked with its evaluation, competent sources said.

Bangladesh has sought US$938.27 million in loan from China to implement the Teesta River Comprehensive Management and Restoration project, which reportedly causes unease to India.

The project's feasibility study had been completed by Power Construction Corporation of China (Powerchina) two years ago and the works would start after the signing of the loan agreement, officials said.

Bangladesh, two years back, mooted a proposal for implementing the one-billion-dollar project under Chinese funding as the water-sharing treaty on this fourth-largest trans-boundary river with neighbouring India "could not be materialised despite a decade-long wait".

The Teesta project was not included in the 27 projects for which MoU was signed under a line of credit between the two countries during Chinese President Xi Jinping's Bangladesh visit in 2016.

It was incorporated later through replacing another project, the sources said, adding that "delay in the signing of the Teesta water-sharing deal prompted Bangladesh to go for this ambitious but essential project".

In a recent meeting held between Bangladesh and China, the Chinese side informed the Bangladesh side that two projects, including the Teesta river project, was being considered by them as priority projects, officials concerned told the FE.

The other one is the Sewage Collection System under Dasherkandi STP catchment of Dhaka City Project, they added.

Under the Teesta Project, massive drainage work will be done along the 115 miles of Teesta runs inside the Bangladesh border to deepen the depth of the mid-river bed.

A 115-kilometre four-lane road will be constructed along both banks of the river, officials said, adding that at various points barrage-cum-road will be constructed to improve the communications system around the two banks of the mighty river.

"A big reservoir will be constructed to conserve huge surplus water that flows through the river every monsoon to ensure water supply for irrigation during the dry season," says one official.

The major features of the megaproject are: 108-kilometre river dredging, 173km river embankments on both sides, construction of satellite cities on both banks, and preservation of asset worth BDT1130 billion.

Implementation of the project is projected to create around 800,000 jobs, said Water Development Board officials involved with the project

Originating in Sikkim and entering Bangladesh through Lalmonirhat, the 315-kilometre-long river travels 153 kilometres through half a dozen other northern districts, including Rangpur, Gaibandha, Nilphamari and Kurigram, before merging with the Jamuna at Fulchhari.

Meanwhile, both Bangladesh and China have decided to hold the 15th meeting of the Joint Economic Commission sometime this year in virtual format -- after a gap of five years.

The last such meeting was held in 2016 in Dhaka. A Chinese minister will lead the Chinese delegation in the meeting, sources said.

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DMTCL seeks Tk 54b for MRT-1&5 in next development budget

 FHM HUMAYAN KABIR | Published:  May 08, 2022 10:03:37

The construction works of two other metro rail lines are expected to start next fiscal year (FY 2022-23) as the authorities concerned sought an allocation of Tk 54.07 billion in the FY's Annual Development Programme (ADP), officials said on Saturday.

Of the amount, the Dhaka Mass Transport Company Limited (DMTCL) sought Tk 31.31 billion for the MRT-5 (northern route) and Tk 22.76 billion for the MRT-1.

In the revised ADP for the current FY, the DMTCL had sought lower funds of Tk 16.46 billion for the MRT-5 and Tk 4.58 billion for the MRT-1 as starting the physical works was not planned for this fiscal.

"The Road Transport and Bridges Ministry has recently sought allocations for different projects. It sought a higher amount of funds for implementing the two MRT projects," said a senior official at the ministry.

He said the construction works of both MRT lines would start from the FY2023 as the land acquisition, detailed design, tendering process and other preparatory works had almost been completed.

The MRT-1 will have a 19.872km main line from Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport (HSIA) to Kamalapur and an 11.369km extended line from Natunbazar to Pitalganj (Rupganj) depot.

The 20km-long MRT-5 will be built from Hemayetpur to Vatara through Mirpur-10, Kachukhet, Banani and Gulshan.

The DMTCL has already received the request for proposal (RFP) from the potential bidders and is evaluating those aimed at appointing contractors for constructing the MRT-1.

Besides, the land acquisition for the MRT-5 is progressing in full swing, said the project insiders.

A Planning Commission official said the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is also bankrolling the MRT-1 and MRT-5 like Bangladesh's first metro rail, MRT-6.

He said that the DMTCL sought funds for the MRT-1 mostly as project aid (PA) instead of the internal resources - Tk 14.80 billion in project aid, expected to be provided by JICA, and the remaining Tk 7.96 billion from the internal resources.

For the MRT-5, the DMTCL has sought Tk 24.30 billion from the internal resources and the remaining Tk 4.50 billion as the PA, to be provided by the JICA.

The government in 2019 approved the MRT-1 project involving a cost of Tk 525.61 billion with a target to construct the entire route by June 2024.

Besides, it approved the MRT-5 project in 2019 with a cost of Tk 412.38 billion for completing its construction by December 2028.

According to the DMTCL, the MRT-1 will have 12 stations and its extension line will be an elevated line with seven other stations for the passengers.

It will start from Airport Main, and then go through Airport Terminal 3, Khilkhet, Jamuna Future Park, Notun Bazar, Uttar Badda, Badda, Hatirjheel, Rampura, Malibagh, Rajarbagh, and Kamalapur.

The extended line will start from Notun Bazar and then go to Bashundhara, POHS, Mastul, Purbachal West, Purbachal Central, Purbachal Sector 7, and Purbachal terminal.

The MRT-5 will have 13.5km underground line and 6.5km elevated line from Hemayetpur-Baliapur-Bilamalia-Aminbazar-Gabtoli-Dar-us-Salam-Mirpur1-Mirpur10-Mirpur14-Kochunkhet-Banani-Gulshan 2-Notunbazar-Vatara.

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China-funded projects back on track

Most Chinese nationals involved in the projects have returned to Bangladesh after pandemic shutdown


Jagaran Chakma

Wed Oct 7, 2020 12:00 AM Last update on: Wed Oct 7, 2020 02:33 AM


Almost all of the country's major development projects being funded by China are back on track following a prolonged hiatus caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the Economic Relations Division and project officials said.

According to them, most of the Chinese nationals who had been involved in the projects have returned to Bangladesh as the government has allowed all economic activities to resume.

As a result, the construction work of almost all nine projects involving $7.1 billion and all funded by China is ongoing.

"All of the projects under Chinese assistance are moving forward at an adequate pace at the moment," said Md Shahriar Kader Siddiky, joint secretary of the ERD's Asia wing.

The projects are Padma bridge rail link; National ICT infra-network for Bangladesh government phase III; the multilane road tunnel under the Karnaphuli river; installation of single point mooring with double pipeline; modernisation of telecom network for digital connectivity; tier IV national data centre; Dasherkandi sewerage treatment plant; the expansion and strengthening of the power system network under the Dhaka Power Distribution Company area; and power grid network strengthening project under Power Grid Company of Bangladesh.

The ERD held talks with Chinese officials on August 25 as part of its desperate efforts to give an impetus to the mega projects.

"We arranged visas for the Chinese nationals who work with the Chinese-funded projects, so they did not face any problem to come back," Siddiky said.

He credited a joint effort from the ERD, the Chinese embassy, different implementing entities and Chinese contractors for resuming the construction work.

Some 235 Chinese nationals are currently working at the site of the multilane road tunnel project under the Karnaphuli river and all other necessary workforces arrived in early August, said Harunur Rashid Chowdhury, the project director.

The project has achieved a breakthrough in the construction of the left line of the tunnel despite a shortage of raw materials amid the Covid-19 outbreak.

"The work is going on in full swing," Chowdhury told The Daily Star.

The project is being developed by China Communications Construction Company. Once completed, the tunnel would connect Chattogram city to the other side of Karnaphuli river.

This is the first underwater tunnel in South Asia and also the first overseas large-diameter underwater TBM (tunnel boring machine) scheme to be undertaken by a Chinese company.

As of August, 58 per cent of the project work has been completed while the remainder would be finished within the deadline of December 2022, Chowdhury also said.

The tunnel is being built at a cost of Tk 9,880 crore to turn Chattogram into "One city, two towns". The total length will be around 9.092 kilometres, including a 3.5-kilometre stretch under the river and an approach road of 4.89km alongside 740 metres of bridges.

The development works of the Padma bridge rail link project is gaining momentum and 700 Chinese nationals have already returned, said Golam Fakhruddin Ahmed Chowdhury, the project director.

Before the pandemic struck the country in March, the project involved around 850 Chinese nationals. Some 25.3 per cent of the project was complete by August.

The development of national ICT infra-network for Bangladesh government Phase III (Info-Sarkar) is nearing completion and both the government and the general public are benefitting from the initiative as it helped authorities remain active online, Siddiky said.

If the project was not active, all government activities would have come to a halt, he added.

Shamsur Rahman, chairman of Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation, said the implementation of the single point mooring (SPM) with double pipeline project has remained stuck for the last two and a half months as not all Chinese nationals have returned since leaving in early June.

Many Chinese nationals had continued to work during the nationwide lockdown in April and May, at a time when local workers did not show up, he said.

Rahman expects to resume the construction work of the project this month as many of the workers who have been vaccinated have returned.

As of August, 52 per cent of the physical progress has been achieved, while the remaining 48 per cent will be completed by deadline June 2022, according to the BPC chairman.

In July, the government revised the cost for the SPM project for the second time, increasing it by 21 per cent.

As a result, the cost of the project overran its original budget by 33 per cent because of the delays in securing loans, the appreciation of the dollar against the taka and a threefold rise in the price of land.

The original cost was set at Tk 4,935.96 crore but following the first revision, it was raised to Tk 5,426.25 crore while the second revision took it to Tk 6,568.26 crore. The new deadline is June 30, 2022.

The SPM will have an annual unloading capacity of nine million tonnes. It will be able to unload 120,000 tonnes of crude oil in 48 hours and 70,000 tonnes of diesel in 28 hours.

In order to avoid unexpected incidents amid the Covid-19 outbreak, a separate residential complex for Chinese workers and officials with high-level of safety measures was set up at the sites of the nine projects to ensure that work can continue uninterrupted.

Of the nine projects, seven are a part of the memorandum of understanding signed by Chinese President Xi Jinping during his visit to Dhaka in October 2016.

The previously approved MoU comprised 27 investment projects, totalling about $20 billion in value. Till date, deals have been inked for seven amounting to $6.65 billion. Of the sum, $1.54 billion has been disbursed so far. 

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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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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. 

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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.

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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. 






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Bangladesh may get $1b more US investment

Speakers tell IT Investment Summit in NY

 By Bangladesh Post Desk

 Published : 11 May 2022 09:00 PM


Speakers expressed the hope that Bangladesh has the potential to reach over billion dollar fresh US investment with necessary policy support and infrastructure development.  

Leading businessmen of the United States (US) committed to increasing their investment in Bangladesh, said a press statement.

The disclosure came from a ‘Digital Bangladesh IT Investment Summit’ held in New York on May 9 jointly organised by Bangladesh Hi-Tech Park Authority of the ICT Division and leading American investment firm IT Hub Investments.

The summit was attended by high profile government delegation from Bangladesh as well as mainstream investors from the United States.

Speakers and attendees at the event include -- AKM MozammelHaque MP, Liberation War Affairs Minister;Zunaid Ahmed Palak MP, State Minister for ICT Division;NurulAlamRuhul MP; MsAparajitaHaque MP;NaheedEzaher Khan MP; M Shahidul Islam, Ambassador of Bangladesh to the US;Sirazul Islam, Executive Chairman of Bangladesh Investment Development Authority;Zuena Aziz, SDG Coordinator of Prime Minister’s Office; DrBikarna Kumar Ghosh, Managing Director of Bangladesh Hi-Tech Park Authority; Mohammad Monirul Islam, Consul General of Bangladesh in New York, among others.

The ministers and speakers highlighted industrial priority and policy framework to encourage foreign direct investment (FDI) in Bangladesh. They underscored the government’s commitment to facilitate business proposals and one-stop services to encourage business growth in technology sector. 

Leading American corporations and senior executives who attended the event include Trump Organization, Vitech Systems, Aerotek Industries, BNP Paribas, LPL Financial, StraightPath Venture, Steinway & Sons, BAE Systems, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, Zone Capital, JCDecaux, Sky Capital, and Cogent Communications. 

The summit presented US investors an opportunity to understand wide-ranging business options in Bangladesh, as well as to speak with distinguished government officials who visited the US from Bangladesh to answer their queries. 

The board of Directors of IT Hub Investments comprising CEOLusanMostafa, Chairman Dr Mahdi Amin, Global Finance Director Robert Johnson and Private Wealth Director Regis Keaveny, were present and committed to increasing their investment in Bangladesh.

Notable other corporations affirmed their interest to move their business to Bangladesh as well, for service and production industries especially in green energy and electronics manufacturing.

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Jasim Uddin

21 May, 2022, 11:45 am

Last modified: 21 May, 2022, 01:28 pm

Spanish recycled cotton producer opens new facility in Bangladesh



Photo: Collected

The Spanish recycled cotton fibre producer Recover has announced the official opening of its new facility in Bangladesh to expand its manufacturing capabilities and accelerate its efforts to transform the fashion industry.

Recover came forth with this initiative as Bangladesh produces about 4 lakh tonnes of garment cutting waste annually, which is locally known as "jhut", of which, only 5% can be recycled at four mills, according to industry insiders.

This garment waste has gradually been gaining a foothold in the apparel world because of its usefulness in manufacturing high-end items. Most global fashion brands are now shifting to recycled yarns in producing apparel products. Such items produced from recycled yarn hold only 5% of the global market.

The global fashion giants H&M and Inditex have set goals of using 100% recycled or sustainable fibres by 2025-30 in readymade garment production.

According to the Bangladesh Textile Mills Association, the Spanish company took this initiative as a joint venture project with the Bangladeshi leading apparel exporter Beximco group. However, company officials are not willing to make any comment on this matter.

According to the company website, it is the second out of three recycle hubs for this company, where it has plans to set up another six recycle units.

"Recover is investing globally to increase recycling capacities to achieve maximum output by being where the waste is, thereby close to both supply and demand and reducing simultaneously its carbon footprint," the website reads.

As a fourth-generation, family-owned company, Recover has a mission to scale its proprietary technology to make a lasting positive impact on the environment and partner with brands and retailers and other change-makers to meet the industry's sustainability targets.

The Bangladesh facility comes fully equipped with Recover's proprietary machinery, as well as RColorBlend installation, Recover's innovative technology that provides fibre blends with colour, with a lower environmental impact, said a press release.

Located in Dhaka, the new manufacturing hub is an integral part of Recover's strategy for growth and scalability with its recent partnership with STORY3 Capital, a leading alternative investment manager. This new facility helps Recover support the surging global demand for sustainable fibres, and circularity in the textile and fashion industry.

The strategic location of the facility, close to both textile waste sorting and textile manufacturing, will support Recover with its scaling ambitions, and place it close to supply and demand, reducing the carbon impact of transport. Asia is one of the largest cotton waste-producing regions and by establishing a presence in Bangladesh, Recover can provide a fully closed-loop solution.

Alfredo Ferre, CEO of Recover, said, "The new facility in Bangladesh is just one step in Recover's ambitious expansion plans. In addition to our existing facilities in Spain and Pakistan, we are excited to announce the opening of a new manufacturing hub in Vietnam and a second facility in Bangladesh this year."

"Operations in Spain will also be expanded with greater investment in product development and further strategic alliances and business partners established globally," he added.

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Mega projects’ loan payments to make 2027, 2028 tough years: BEA

Star Business Report

Sun May 22, 2022 09:53 PM Last update on: Sun May 22, 2022 10:03 PM

Bangladesh's economy should be on guard for 2027 and 2028 from when the country will start to collectively pay back the interest due on four or five foreign loans taken for domestic mega-projects, according to Bangladesh Economic Association (BEA).

The BEA issued the alert while detailing its alternative national budget proposal of Tk 20.50 lakh crore for fiscal year (FY) 2022-23, which is three times higher than that of the ongoing year.

The association of professional economists held a press conference in this regard at its office in Dhaka today.

The BEA had proposed a Tk 17.38 lakh crore budget for FY2021-22, which was also almost three times the government allocation of Tk 6.03 lakh crore for the year.

BEA President Abul Barkat said whenever the government formulates the national budget, its first concern was about the total money being spent.

"But this is a wrong way of thinking for constructing a society as money can never be the main issue. It can only be one of the means of achieving the overall goal," he added.

Barkat went on to say that the process of preparing a budget begins with considering what was needed by the people to build decent lives.

"We are not in favour of balancing the budget or the economy. We are for social balance," he said.

As per the proposal, of the total Tk 20.50 lakh crore budget, Tk 18.70 lakh crore will come from government revenue while the remaining Tk 1.80 lakh crore will remain as budget deficit.

However, the BEA's proposed budget suggests that external sources would not play a role in financing the deficit.

Barkat said in order to eliminate inequality and poverty, not only in the upcoming budget but for at least the next five years, gaps in income, wealth, health and education will have to be continuously reduced until there were none.

"There has to be a fundamental structural change in income and expenditure in the budget. No tax slavery can be imposed on the poor or lower classes to determine the source of funding," he added.

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Chinese firms willing to invest in RMG, green energy and float glass

Guopu Energy has proposed to invest a total of $50 million in the renewable energy sector


Tribune Desk

May 22, 2022 4:32 PM

Three Chinese companies have made proposals to invest in apparel, float glass and green energy sectors by setting up factories in Bangladesh.

The firms intending to establish factories here are Xinyi Glass Holdings Limited, Guopu Energy Technology Company Limited and Hangzhou IV Supply Chain Co Limited, officials said.

Guopu Energy has proposed to invest a total of $50 million in the renewable energy sector.

The company submitted its proposal at the Bangladesh Investment Summit held in November 2021.

Xinyi Glass Holdings has already submitted an attractive investment proposal to the Bangladesh Embassy in China.

The mission has already forwarded the proposal letter to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA).

On May 18, 2022, the Bangladesh Embassy in Beijing wrote to the commerce secretary mentioning the issues.

Two Chinese Companies-- Guopu Energy and Hangzhou IV Supply Chain-- submitted investment proposals for solar and wind farm projects and garment sector respectively, a source said.

Xinyi Glass Holdings would require around 32 hectares of land (preferably with BEZA) to establish the float glass unit, adds the embassy letter.

The firm is the largest float glass supplier in the world with total $10 billion market capital and over $1.8 billion annual revenue, according to the mission.

The Holdings is the number one float glass manufacturer in the world with a production capacity of 8.5 million tonnes per year, said the mission's letter.

It also installs solar power plants, lithium battery power and energy storage.

The company has already made huge investments in Malacca and Malaysia, the letter says.

If they invest in Bangladesh, revenue amounting to $95 million would be generated per year, which will create around 400 jobs, added the mission's letter.

On the other hand, Guopu Energy Technology specializes in renewable energy projects.

Its involvement and business scopes include consulting and planning, construction, technology development of solar and wind power stations and biological power stations, as the mission's documents said.

Another Chinese company Hangzhou IV Supply Chain Co Limited proposed at the summit to set up a garments manufacturing unit in an economic zone under BEZA, the letter mentions.

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First Dhaka Elevated Expressway

HSIA-Tejgaon phase sees 80.66pc progress

 MUNIMA SULTANA |  May 23, 2022 00:00:00

Challenges still exist in completing construction of the First Dhaka Elevated Expressway (FDEE) from Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport (HSIA) to Shonir Akhra of the Dhaka-Chattogram Highway by next year.

Officials of Italian-Thai Development Public Company said 80.66 per cent progress in its first phase - from HSIA to Tejgaon - has been possible as of April, and there is possibility to open the first 7.45 km for traffic by December.

The US$ 1.2-billion project is being implemented under public private partnership (PPP) initiative. Its overall progress was recorded 44.8 per cent since its commencement in January 2020, they said, mentioning some obstacles in continuing the work after the first phase.

According to the concessionaire agreement - signed between the Bangladesh Bridge Authority (BBA) and the Thai company in 2015, its construction is scheduled to be completed within three and a half years - to collect toll from the 19.7-km elevated road for next 22 years.

The FE correspondent found good progress in infrastructure development from Airport to Tejgaon after two years and five months.

The Thai concessionaire, which has been constructing the remaining part of the DEE in partnership with two Chinese companies, sought assistance from the PPP Authority (PPPA) on Sunday for proper implementation of the project.

PPPA Chief Executive Officer Muhammad Ibrahim and Director General Md Abul Bashar visited the construction site at Kawla in the capital on the day to oversee update of the project's progress.

Officials concerned informed them of some problems, like rearrangement of toll plaza at Hatirjheel-BUET link, Kamlapur Station, and conflict with Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) Line-5 near Kawran Bazar rail-crossing.

Deputy Managing Director (DMD) of Italian-Thai Wang Deng Pan said all necessary equipment of the company are ready, but the government needs to solve these conflicting issues to start the work without delay.

"There is no fiscal or manpower problem… but green signals from the BBA, Bangladesh Railway, Dhaka South City Corporation, and Dhaka Mass Transit Company Limited are needed to speed up the construction work," he added.

The PPPA CEO assured the private investor of solving the issues soon after sitting with all the government agencies concerned.

He said the PPPA has been formed under the Prime Minister's Office as the highest authority to give importance to the PPP projects. As all the agencies involved are from the government side, these problems can be solved following their cooperation.

Deputy Manager of FDEE Company Limited Mostafizur Rahman informed the meeting that construction of the DEE is taking place day and night to inaugurate the first phase.

But he also informed that 118 obstructions are still in the project, and better coordination among all the stakeholders is needed to overcome those.

The elevated expressway will increase traffic capacity within and around the city by improving north-south connectivity and linking important commercial and business centres. It will also reduce travel time as well as provide comfort and convenience to users.

The PPPA CEO said the PPPA and the BBA are working hard to expedite implementation of the project. The initial work is progressing really fast, and the construction should end within the due time.

However, the Italian-Thai DMD said the concessionaire agreement has the scope of time extension for its construction.

The DEE is being constructed in dual two-lane carriageways, which will have 31 ramps, having a length of 26.6 km, to take traffic from different parts of the city.

Some 43 toll booths, eight toll plazas, one central control building, and traffic surveillance system will be established to handle the traffic.

According to the agreement, the private company will share 25 per cent of the profit, if the traffic crosses 80,000 per day.

The DEE project contract was first signed on January 19, 2011. But it was revised for the first time in 2013 and then in 2015 - due to change in alignment, design and fund crunch. The project commencement was finally announced on January 01, 2020.

The project officials said it was also hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

Giving importance to accelerate the project, they added that the DEE will be linked with four other elevated expressways, thus building a good network for easing traffic congestion in the city.

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Morshed Noman & Mahfuz Ullah Babu

25 May, 2022, 09:45 am

Last modified: 25 May, 2022, 02:22 pm

BII to invest $450m in Bangladesh in 5 years

“Bangladesh is an important destination for British investments,” he said in an interview with The Business Standard at the British High Commission on Tuesday


The British International Investment (BII), formerly known as the Commonwealth Development Corporation, has committed $450 million to invest in Bangladesh's private sector in the next four-five years, said Nick O'Donohoe, chief executive officer of the UK government's Development Financing Institution.

"Bangladesh is an important destination for British investments," he said in an interview with The Business Standard at the British High Commission on Tuesday.

"We focus on countries having a strategic alliance with the United Kingdom, with ongoing development challenges, and ideally, having a stable government and stable economic policies, all of which are present here in Bangladesh."  

Since Bangladesh recognises the importance of the private sector in economic development and BII finances development through debt and equity investments only in private firms, its balance sheet here in the country has grown to nearly $300mn, he added.

Currently, the BII is aiming to retain its investments already made in Bangladesh.

The committed fund for the next five years in Bangladesh accounts to over 4% of its global total.

Following a 2019 Dhaka visit by the entire board of directors of the then Commonwealth Development Corporation, the Development Financing Institution (DFI) has already built its local office and team here.

Speaking on BII's priority sectors for investment, Nick O'Donohoe said that in line with the British government's commitment to climate finance, his firm puts green financing at a top spot, committing nearly one-third of its fund.

The BII would fulfil its climate commitment through investing in green factories and projects, said its CEO.

Infrastructure, manufacturing, healthcare, technology and financial sectors are the major areas of BII's interest, while it keeps green transformation, digital transformation, job creation, import substitution and trade facilitation in mind during investments.

O'Donohoe also pointed out that while the BII invests a lot in renewables in many other countries, the potential for wind and solar power in Bangladesh was less.

He further said that Bangladesh could attract more foreign direct investments through better focusing its digital transformation.


British International Investment (BII) CEO Nick O’Donohoe. Illustration: TBS

In the peer countries in terms of population, development issues, he said he saw a clearer picture of their digital transformation along with obvious support which was lacking in Bangladesh.

"You have a scalable market and trained computer programmers," he said, adding that if Bangladesh becomes more active in digital transformation BII would find more investment opportunities in the tech arena.

India has taken tech to a different level, which is possible for Bangladesh too, he said.

"We have venture capital funds in Nairobi, Cape Town, Lagos, Karachi, and Mumbai, but not in Dhaka," O'Donohoe also said.

BII's Country Director M Rehan Rashid said its foreign currency debt to three commercial banks significantly added to their foreign trade financing capacity, while the investor also focuses on climate and SME financing through its exposure in the country's financial sector.

BII, as a fund of funds, has also invested in the Evercare Hospital in Dhaka.

The BII believes that Bangladesh's manufacturing sector has a potential to widen its horizon to solar manufacturing, electronics industry and many others, following the leadership of apparel exporters who made the country the home to the maximum number of green textile factories, while pharmaceutical plants are also being recognised for their standard.

Being well aware of the ongoing reforms in Bangladesh for investment facilitation, the BII bosses said they read about the challenges and the need for process simplification in newspapers.

As bright spots to Bangladesh's story, they mentioned local firms' access to low cost funds, reliable energy, improving connectivity and the upcoming factories in the special economic zones.

Since BII believes in transformation through the private sector, it looks for good companies having good governance and climate sustainability standards to invest in.

"Companies ensuring good governance and sustainability standards get better prices from investors as globally investors are in search of such firms," said Rehan Rashid.

Most of the Leed-certified factories are in the apparel and pharmaceutical sectors, which, he believes, is because of the fact that they deal with the global stakeholders.

"The standards should be replicated in other sectors too," said the BII country director.

BII is headquartered in London, the oldest development finance organisation. It tends to promote countries where it invests its funds and commercial investors also follow, because of the investment criteria and due diligence BII follows.

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বেপজায় ৩৫ মিলিয়ন ডলার বিনিয়োগ করবে দ. কোরিয়ার এইচকেডি গ্রুপ

স্টার অনলাইন রিপোর্ট

বৃহস্পতিবার, মে ২৬, ২০২২ ০৮:২৪ অপরাহ্ন


দক্ষিণ কোরিয়ার কোম্পানি মেসার্স এইচকেডি বাংলাদেশ লিমিটেড বেপজা অর্থনৈতিক অঞ্চলে তাঁবু, তাঁবু সরঞ্জাম, ক্যাম্পিং ফার্নিচার ও ক্যাম্পিং সামগ্রী প্রস্তুত শিল্প স্থাপন করতে যাচ্ছে।

প্রতিষ্ঠানটি বেপজা অর্থনৈতিক অঞ্চলে ৩৫ দশমিক ০৩ মিলিয়ন মার্কিন ডলার বিনিয়োগ করবে, যেখানে ৬ হাজার ৬৫০ জন বাংলাদেশি নাগরিকের কর্মসংস্থানের সুযোগ সৃষ্টি হবে।  

বেপজার সদস্য (বিনিয়োগ উন্নয়ন) আলী রেজা মজিদ এবং মেসার্স এইচকেডি বাংলাদেশ লিমিটেডের প্রধান পরিচালন কর্মকর্তা (সিওও) চুল হি কিম আজ বৃহস্পতিবার ঢাকার বেপজা কমপ্লেক্সে এ বিষয়ে নিজ নিজ প্রতিষ্ঠানের পক্ষে একটি চুক্তি সই করেন। বেপজার নির্বাহী চেয়ারম্যান মেজর জেনারেল আবুল কালাম মোহাম্মদ জিয়াউর রহমান, এনডিসি, পিএসসি এ সময় ছিলেন।

প্রতিষ্ঠানটি বার্ষিক ১ কোটি ৮৮ লাখ পিস তাঁবু, ব্যাকপ্যাক, ব্যাগ, স্টিল পোল, ফাইবার গ্লাস পোল, ট্রাভেলার্স ব্যাগ, গেজিবো, স্ক্রিন হাউস, কট, পেট ক্যারিয়ার, ক্যাম্পিং ফার্নিচার, চেয়ার, টেবিল, ফ্লোট টিউব ব্যাগ, ওয়াগন, টার্প, ট্রলি, পার্স, স্টিল ওয়্যার, ওয়াকিং স্টিক, স্টিল এক্সেসরিজ, স্টিল ফেরাল, স্টিল পেগ, ও-রিং, ডি-রিং, স্টিল ট্রিপস, রিভার্ট, স্ক্রু, ওয়াশার, স্টিল ব্র্যাকেট, নাট উইথ ওয়াশার, তাঁবুর এক্সেসরিজ, কটন ব্লাইন্ডার, ওয়ালেট/পার্স, ব্যাগ এক্সেসরিজ এবং স্লিপিং ব্যাগ উৎপাদন করবে।

সম্পূর্ণ বিদেশি মালিকানাধীন প্রতিষ্ঠান এইচকেডি ১৯৯০ সালে চট্টগ্রাম ইপিজেডে যাত্রা শুরু করে। এইচকেডি বাংলাদেশ লিমিটেড বেপজার সঙ্গে এইচকেডি গ্রুপের পঞ্চম উদ্যোগ। চট্টগ্রাম ও কর্ণফুলী ইপিজেডে এই গ্রুপের মালিকানাধীন ৪টি কারখানা চালু আছে, যেখানে তাঁবু, ক্যাম্পিং সরঞ্জামাদি এবং তৈরি পোশাক উৎপাদনের জন্য প্রায় ১০০ মিলিয়ন মার্কিন ডলার বিনিয়োগ করা হয়েছে। কারখানাগুলোতে প্রায় ১০ হাজার বাংলাদেশি কাজ করছেন।

প্রসঙ্গত, মেসার্স এইচকেডি বাংলাদেশ লিমিটেডসহ মোট ৮টি প্রতিষ্ঠানকে বেপজা অর্থনৈতিক অঞ্চলে শিল্প স্থাপনের জন্য অনুমতি দিয়েছে বেপজা।

চুক্তি সই অনুষ্ঠানে অন্যান্যের মধ্যে বেপজার সদস্য (প্রকৌশল) মোহাম্মদ ফারুক আলম, সদস্য (অর্থ) নাফিসা বানু, নির্বাহী পরিচালক (জনসংযোগ) নাজমা বিন্তে আলমগীর, নির্বাহী পরিচালক (বিনিয়োগ উন্নয়ন) মো. তানভীর হোসেন, নির্বাহী পরিচালক (এন্টারপ্রাইজ সার্ভিসেস) মো. খুরশীদ আলম এবং বেপজা অর্থনৈতিক অঞ্চলের প্রকল্প পরিচালক মো. হাফিজুর রহমান উপস্থিত ছিলেন। 

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DCCI President Rizwan Rahman urges Indian investors to invest in EZs

A 47-member business delegation is visiting India to explore business potentials

 FE ONLINE REPORT | Published:  May 26, 2022 15:18:30 | Updated:  May 26, 2022 16:08:32

Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industries (DCCI) President Rizwan Rahman urged Indian investors to invest in the economic zones (EZs) in Bangladesh.

Rizwan Rahman made the call as a 47-member business delegation, led by him, is now visiting Kolkata, India to explore new business potentials.

Meanwhile, during the first day of this visit, the delegation had an industry interactive meet with the Calcutta Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday in Kolkata.  

During the meeting, President of Calcutta Chamber of Commerce Ms Shailja Mehta said India is the biggest trade partner of Bangladesh in South Asia, according to a press release issued on Thursday.

Toward achieving advantageous trade figures, both the nations need to diversify trade with active industry participation. She said that better market access, improved physical connectivity and transit and energy trade between India and Bangladesh are important instruments for unlocking bilateral trade potential.

She also termed tourism as one of the important areas where there is huge potential to tap into.

Mr Rizwan Rahman, who is also the leader of the Business delegation, said that the bilateral trade between Bangladesh and India hovers within USD 9.87 billion having a potential of USD 16.4 billion forecast by the World Bank.

He also invited Indian entrepreneurs to invest in the EZs in Bangladesh that are already completed for operation. Pharmaceuticals, footwear, energy, food processing, light engineering, ICT are some of the areas where Indian investors can tap the opportunities.

Moreover, the initiative of signing a comprehensive economic partnership agreement (CEPA) between India and Bangladesh will usher in a win-win situation for both end businesses, he added. Later he also sought a joint collaboration on different non-tariff issues which hindered our business scopes.

Deputy High Commissioner of Bangladesh in Kolkata Andalib Elias was also present on the occasion and he said that there is a trade deficit between the bilateral trades but it is decreasing day by day.

During the last five to six years, the bilateral trade has multiplied about 2.5 times, he added.

He termed trade facilitation a big issue and the High Commission is working with the government and private sector here in Kolkata to enhance it more. 

Later, an interactive B2B match-making was organised where members of Dhaka Chamber’s business delegation and Calcutta Chamber of Commerce took part.


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Serbia keen to invest in food storage industry in Bangladesh 

Published:  May 26, 2022 20:35:04


Serbian Foreign Affairs Minister Nikola Selakovic has expressed his country’s interest in investing in the food storage industry of Bangladesh. 

The visiting minister expressed his interest during a courtesy call on FBCCI senior vice-president Mostofa Azad Chowdhury Babu on Thursday. 

Selakovic said his country's storage companies are one of the best in the world and Bangladesh can also benefit from Serbia's investment in this sector, reports UNB. 

“Serbia has free trade agreements with Europe, the Eurasian Economic Union and Turkey. Bangladesh may benefit by establishing joint ventures and export at zero duty to those free trade countries,” he said. 

He also expressed interest in signing two agreements on double taxation and investment protection and promotion with the government of Bangladesh to increase bilateral trade. 

Serbia is also keen to take skilled and semi-skilled manpower from Bangladesh for construction and agriculture sectors, the minister said. 

At the same time, the minister urged Bangladeshi students to go to Serbia to study agricultural engineering as the country provides world best facilities of its kind. 

In response, Mostofa Azad Chowdhury said that 30 percent of agricultural products are wasted in Bangladesh every year due to lack of packaging, transportation and storage. 

The two sides also agreed to sign a memorandum of understanding between the Serbian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the FBCCI soon. 

The meeting also discussed import of sunflower seeds, contract cultivation of wheat in Serbia, and establishment of the Serbian Embassy in Dhaka.  

Serbia's assistant minister for bilateral relations Vladimir Maric, Foreign Minister's Adviser Ivan Jaksic, FBCCI Vice-President Habib Ullah Dawn, Director Amzad Hossain, Shomi Kaiser, Dr. Nadia Binte Amin, Abul Kasem Khan and Secretary General Mohammad Mahfuzul Hoque, were, among others, present in the meeting.


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Industrialisation transforming rural economy in Trishal

Five-six big factories have already been set up in Trishal, and work is underway on several more

Hossain Shahid

27 May, 2022, 02:00 pm

Last modified: 27 May, 2022, 02:16 pm

Nasrin Akhter, a resident of Dhanikhola union in Trishal, Mymensingh, never went to school as her day labourer father could not bear her educational expenses. She grew up with her two younger brothers in extreme poverty.

But, she has now become the saviour of the family thanks to Consumer Knitex Ltd, a garments industry established in Trishal's Raghamara area, where she joined as a worker two years ago.

She earns about Tk15,000 including overtime per month which helps her alleviate poverty in the family. She got married to one of her co-workers a year ago.

"I got the job with the help of one of my friends. Around 3,000 people work in the factory. Most of them have come from the same background as me. Now, I have got some economic freedom as my husband also earns. Although I have got married, I help my father and brothers," Nasrin told The Business Standard.

Factories like Consumer Knitex have transformed the mostly agriculture-based economy of Trishal by creating employment opportunities for thousands of people. In the past few years, several factories have been set up in the area including some big investments. Women are also being employed in these factories equally besides men.

Md Tanzil Hasan, associate professor of economics at Jatiya Kobi Kazi Nazrul Islam University, and executive director of the Economic Development Research Organisation (EDRO), said, "Industrilisation has become a major force in eradicating poverty and unemployment in Trishal. As people's income increases, it propels the wheel of the economy. Increasing money transactions have improved the standard of living in the rural areas."

The trend of migrating to the capital in search of jobs is also on the decline as people now prefer staying in the area having employment opportunities, he added.

Large investments, huge job opportunities

Akij Ceramics Limited set up a factory at Mokshapur union of Trishal several years ago. It produces tiles, sanitary products, particle boards, and BOPP for food packaging.

Md Mamun Akhtar, admin manager (HR) of Akij Ceramics, said, "Our factory has employed around 4,000 people. Around 40% of them are young men and women. We provide increment, provident fund, medical facilities and health and life insurance services for our workers. We have another factory nearby. Our total investment here is around Tk3,000 crore."

Dabiruddin Spinning Mill Ltd has invested around Tk2,000 crore in a factory in the Amirabari area. Around 3,000 people are employed in the factory and 70% of them are from the local areas.

Md Selim Al Reza, assistant manager (HR admin) of Dabiruddin Spinning Mill Ltd, said, "We produce 120 tonnes of yarn every day which is being used in different garments factories of the country."

"We provide all the services as per the rules to the workers. We have bus services for the workers who come from far away. The lifestyle of the workers from the village areas has changed a lot due to industrialisation," he added.


Md Bulbul Ahmed, deputy inspector general of the Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments in Mymensingh, said, "There are five to six big industrial establishments in Trishal including Akij, Bhuiyan Paper Mill, Dabiruddin Spinning Mill, Rose Garments etc. More industrial establishments are being set up in this area."

"We oversee the interests of the workers such as the working environment, and different other facilities. We have disposed of 54 complaints in the last one year. We also arrange meetings and awareness campaigns to make workers conscious about their rights. We visit factories very frequently," he said.

Self employment

The large factories, besides generating huge jobs, have also played a role in creating opportunities for self employment.  

Aminul Islam runs a shop of fancy goods in front of the Dresden Textiles Limited beside the Dhaka-Mymensingh Highway in Amirabari union.

He said, "A small market has been created around the factory gate. The land owner has built several shops here and rented them out. I have invested around Tk4 lakh in this shop that I have rented. Now, I feed my family from the income of this shop."

Along with opportunities come problems

Rapid industrialisation has, however, also brought some problems in Trishal, especially in the environmental front.

Shibbir Ahmed Liton, general secretary of Paribesh Rokkha and Unnayan Andolon, Mymensingh, said, "We have seen that industrialisation has caused extreme damage to the environment. The River Banar is already facing extreme pollution. We want planned industrialisation. For this, the authorities concerned need to take the matter seriously."

Rising crime rate has also been a problem in Trishal which has become a serious threat to the people living in the area.

According to local people, one of the major crimes is happening during the land acquisition process before setting up industrial establishments. The companies generally approach the brokers without buying land directly from the farmers. As a result, a powerful circle has been created in the area who acquires land from the farmers at a very low price by threatening them with muscle power.


These criminals also kill people if they resist their illegal pursuits.

In 2016, Matin Master, a freedom fighter from Khagatipara in Trishal, was murdered in land acquisition related disputes. Another person named Rafiqul Islam was also killed in 2019 for the same reason. In April this year, a man named Abul Kalam Azad from the Jamtali village was killed while trying to save his nephew from the land grabbers.

Main Uddin, officer-in-charge of Trishal police station, said, "The police have identified the culprits in all the murders related to land acquisition and filed complaints in the court. Criminals are also being arrested. We are working to prevent such incidents in the future."

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