Dhaka, Sept 23 (UNB) – The government wants to continue its efforts with other stakeholders to keep the movement of animals, especially elephants, undisturbed following the significant impacts on wildlife and subsequent human-elephant conflict due to installation of makeshift camps for Rohingyas, officials said.
The makeshift camps have a significant impact on wildlife and food shortages, shrinking habitats and disruptions in breeding grounds are affecting nocturnal, metaturnal and crepuscular and diurnal wildlife.
“This is a special problem. We’re looking into it to make some arrangement so that their (animals, especially elephants) path is not disturbed,” said Environment and Forests Minister Anisul Islam Mahmud.
Rohingya communities are encroaching on elephant’s habitat in the Cox’s Bazar Forest Division and both resident and migratory elephants are facing a continuous shrinkage of their habitat and food supply, according to a status of Asian Elephants in Bangladesh.
To date, 268 resident wild elephants, 93 migratory elephants and 96 captive elephants have been recorded in Bangladesh, the IUCN data shows.
Since the influx in August 2017, coupled with the host community and Rohingyas from past influxes, the crisis-hit population is now almost 1.5 million in Cox’s Bazar, creating a massive pressure on the already dilapidated environment there which still remains significantly underfunded, a recent UN report observed.
With this amount of people, Minister Anisul said, the eco-system is being destroyed following deforestation. “Once you deforest the area, you’re going to have consequential changes in eco system.”
Since the Rohingya refugee influx into Bangladesh last August, there have been at least 13 deaths resulting in from human-elephant incidents in the main Kutupalong-Balukhali refugee settlement, according to UNHCR.
Talking to UNB, Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner (RRRC) Mohammad Abul Kalam said there has been no such incident in recent months giving credit to joint efforts.
He said a programme is going on with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the UN refugee agency - UNHCR - to reduce incidents involving elephants coming into conflict with Rohingyas living in camps. “We’re working together – IUCN, UNHCR and the Ministry.”
“To protect us, to survive…we need forests, we need animals. We must understand how important this biodiversity is. Elephants are also part of this biodiverse ecosystem and should be respected,” he added.
Minister Anisul at a recent programme in the city said the Rohingya problem is not going to be over in the next few years and expressed worried whether donors will continue supporting Bangladesh for the restoration of environmental balance in the coming days if Rohingyas leave for their homes.
He explained saying there are so many issues around the world and there are so much of demands for support to address those global issues.
Some 4,300 acres of hills and forests were cut down to make temporary shelters for Rohingyas and ensure facilities and cooking fuel for them in Ukhia and Teknaf of Cox’s Bazar threatening the biodiversity of the ecologically critical areas of the country, says a new report of the United Nations.
Some of the key impacts are likely to become irreversible if measures are not taken immediately, the report said.
Dhaka, Sept 23 (UNB) – The National Board of Revenue (NBR) has decided to send letters to value added tax (VAT) dodgers to realise a huge unpaid VAT of Tk. 15,000 crore.
Sources at the Large Taxpayers Unit (LTU) of the VAT wing of NBR told UNB that the NBR will soon start sending letters to the business entities requesting them to pay their due VAT.
"If this does not bring positive result then we will go for the law suit as per the law," said an official speaking on condition of anonymity.
He said there is Tk 15,000 crore of VAT remain unpaid by gas companies, private mobile operators, banks and other entities.
There is allegation that some entities are realising the VAT from the customers but not depositing the tax to the national exchequer, said NBR sources.
NBR has taken an initiative to dispose long pending cases related to VAT aiming at expediting the collection of the revenue in the national exchequer.
"We will strengthen our law suit for quick disposal of the VAT related cases that have been pending in the courts," said a senior official working in the LTU.
"The NBR has given directives to strengthen their field level monitoring for this purpose," said an NBR official.
The LTU officials will scrutiny and examine the prices announced by the big business houses for their products and services.
So far, the VAT officials have accepted the prices of the products and services declared by the giant business houses.
"But the LTU officials while doing their scrutiny in the public and private entities' for the prices of the products and services, will also check annual report and other documents. There will be no breach of law in this process," said the official.
For fiscal year 2018-19, the government has set a total revenue target – tax and non-tax revenue - at Tk3, 39, 280 crore. Of this amount, the NBR has been tasked to source Tk 2, 96, 201 crore.
Income tax and other direct taxes will contribute Tk 102,201 crore, import and export tax will contribute Tk 32,589 crore, VAT Tk 110,543 crore, supplementary duty Tk 48,766, excise duty Tk 2091 and turnover tax Tk 11 crore.
Of the Tk 110,543 crore VAT target, the share for the LTU is Tk 60,617 crore.
Dhaka, Sept 22 (UNB) – If one feels the urge to discover the history of currencies and explore the various aspects of evolution of human civilization, especially that of the Bangalees through coins and currencies of different eras, the Taka Museum (Currency Museum) at Mirpur in the city is the right place to do so.
Bangladesh Bank established the museum, the first of its kind in the country, beside Bangladesh Bank Training Academy with a collection of over three thousand coins and paper notes.
While talking to UNB, Dr Achia Khanom Likhon, the Keeper of the Taka Museum, said former Bangladesh Bank Governor Dr Atiur Rahman took the initiative in 2012 to establish the museum equipped with modern technology and facilities to preserve and exhibit the history and tradition of currency.
In 2009, the museum was established on the third floor of the main building of the central bank at Motijheel, but that was not open to all. Now, visitors can visit the Taka Museum free of cost, said Achia Khanom.
Photo: Wahida Zaman Shithi/UNB
At the museum, the coins and currencies are currently being exhibited at two galleries. The first gallery with 43 showcases contains near about 1100 objects, and the story of evolution of coins and currencies starts right from here.
This gallery shows its visitors how people used to trade things much before the tradition of coins and bank notes started.
The ancient silver punch marked coins of fourth to second century BC tell the earliest history of coins in Indian subcontinent to the visitors. The collection also includes Kushan coins from 30 to 375 AD, Indo Greek Silver coins from 2nd to 1st century AD, Cowry shells, Harikel Coin from 7th to 9th century AD.
Next to the huge collection of Harikel coins brought from the ancient archaeological site, Mainamati, coins from the time of Delhi Sultans, Bengal Sultans and Mughal Emperors are showcased in different sections with details.
Gold coins of Chandragupta are also one of the main attractions of the gallery, while another main attraction is the collection of rare bank notes of China, Russia and Germany, Achia Khanom, the keeper of the museum, told UNB.
From the symbols of the British India from 1947 to the Pakistani coins and bank notes till 1971 are also showcased at the gallery.
Coins, bank notes and commemorative notes of all values and designs are showcased there along with some details.
Besides different currencies, the gallery also exhibits different pouches and pots which used to be used to preserve coins in ancient times as well as different dices which were used to make coins.
The second gallery showcases coins and currencies of about 120 countries including India, China, Cambodia, Mauritius, Kazakhstan, Syria, Bahrain, Oman, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Qatar, Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Australia and many other countries.
Digital technologies, including 3D television and LCD display, are there at the museum while visitors can print souvenir note having their faces on observe using the digital kiosk photo booth by spending Tk 50.
With the growing interest among the visitors, the second floor of Bangladesh Bank Training Academy has been allocated for the extension works of the Taka Museum, said Achia Khanom adding that two more galleries, a library, laboratory, multipurpose Cineplex, children corner are under construction as part of it.
The visiting hour of the museum is from 11am to 5pm from Saturday to Wednesday. The museum remains closed on Thursday except National holidays.
China (Shenzhen), Sep 21 (UNB)- Huawei’s global CSR head Holy Ranaivozanany has highly appreciated Bangladesh saying that it has done a lot to reach the goal of ‘Digital Bangladesh’ .
Addressing the closing ceremony of Seeds for Future 2018 programme, Holy Ranaivozanany praised the performance of the Bangladeshi students who joined the event along with participants from other countries.
Graduation ceremony of Huawei’s biggest CSR program 'Seeds for the Future 2018' was held in Shenzhen, China at the headquarters of the company on Friday.
"We are very happy to have Bangladeshi students among us. They have proved that Bangladesh has progressed much in education and technology. Their advancement and dreams will continue,” said Ranaivozanany.
“We hope that the experience achieved by the students in this China tour will help them move forward in their practical career,” she said.
Huawei officials highly praised the ICT talents and the “Vision 2021” agenda of Bangladesh government. According to them, these talented students will lead the Digital Bangladesh in the coming years and Huawei will keep contributing to the vision as always.
There was a mind blowing show of singing and dancing by the students of the four countries at the event where Bangladeshi students mesmerized the guests and audience by their amazing dance performance.
‘Seeds for the Future’ is a part of Southeast Asian development plan which began in 2008. It has reached 108 countries and regions benefitting more than 30,000 students from 350 universities of the world.
The main objective of this program is to help develop industry oriented skills among the students for greater innovation in the world of technology.
This year’s Seeds for the Future program started in Bangladesh on 16th July through a press conference organized in Customer Solution Innovation and Integration Experience Center (CSIC) in Gulshan.
Later on, 10 ICT talents were chosen from 5 renowned universities of Bangladesh through selection round.
The universities include Dhaka University, Islamic University of Technology, Rajshahi University of Engineering and Technology, Khulna University of Engineering and Technology and Chittagong University of Engineering and Technology.
Before moving to China, Huawei Bangladesh gave a reception to the students at the CSIC on 6th September, 2018.
They were taken to the headquarters of Huawei in Shenzhen on 13th September to provide practical industry experience. Students from three other countries also joined with Bangladeshi students there.
The company is among the world’s top R&D spenders. About 80,000 of its employees, or 45 percent of its total workforce, are engaged in R&D, Huawei said on its website.
Dhaka, Sep 20 (UNB) – Thanks to high import cost of liquefied natural gas (LNG), government is all set to hike gas prices next week.
However, residential and commercial consumers will be spared from paying higher prices. The upward price revision will affect industrial consumers, power plants, fertilizer factories, captive power plants, and CNG refueling stations, officials concerned told UNB.
Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC) sources hinted at a price hike of up to 40 percent.
The move comes at a time when government started supplying high-cost imported LNG in national gas network to supplement to locally produced gas since August this year. Per unit (thousand cubic feet or mcf) LNG costs USD 11 as against locally produced gas price of only USD 2.9 per unit.
Official sources in Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC) said that after examining all the pros and cons of the gas price hike proposals placed by different government entities, the regulatory body is now fully prepared to announce its decision anytime.
BERC Member Mizanur Rahman said they were waiting for two things to settle – firstly, flow of imported LNG through pipeline and implementation of a government decision of giving supplementary duty (SD) waiver on imported LNG.
He said BERC is expecting a government order on SD waiver in a day or two.
Earlier in June the energy sector’s watchdog body held series of public hearings responding to the appeals of the state-owned different gas distribution and transmission companies.
All the 8 state-owned downstream entities in gas sector including six distribution companies, one transmission and an LNG marketing company, had appealed to the BERC seeking an average 75 percent hike on the existing gas prices for different consumer groups except the household and commercial ones.
The distribution companies are Titas Gas Transmission & Distribution Company Limited (Tatas Gas T&D), Bakhrabad Gas Distribution Company Limited (BGDCL), Jalalabad Gas Transmission and Distribution System Limited, Pashchimanchal Gas Company Limited, Karnaphuli Gas Distribution Company Limited and Sundarbans Gas Company Limited (SGCL).
While participating in the hearing, the gas entities argued that as per the government decision they had to submit their respective price hike proposals because of the high import cost of LNG as it will push up their cost substantially.
The largest gas distribution company Titas in its proposal sought to raise the gas price by 206 percent for power plants, to Tk10 per cubic meter (CM) from Tk3.16.
The highest raise of 372 percent was proposed for gas price for fertilizer factories to Tk 12.80 per CM from the existing rate of Tk 2.71 per CM.
The captive power plants’ gas price was proposed to be Tk 16 per CM against Tk 9.62 while price of gas provided to the industries was proposed at Tk 15 per CM against the existing Tk 7.76 per CM and CNG gas price was proposed to be Tk 40 per CM against existing rate of Tk 32.
Different consumer right groups including Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB) opposed the proposals and appealed for reducing the gas prices.
per the BERC Act, the regulator is supposed to announce its decision within 90 days from the completion of the hearing.
They said the downstream companies had been asked to move their appeals to the energy regulator to bring rationality in their price by accommodating the cost of imported LNG.
The Petrobangla started imported LNG supply to national gas network from August 18 through re-gasification by private sector-operated floating storage and re-gasification unit (FSRU).
Officials said currently 300 mmcfd gas is being supplied from LNG and it will go up to 500 mmcfd in a month or two and then 1000 mmcfd gas will be flowed from next year as per a government plan.