Dhaka, Aug 6 (UNB) - Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momem has expressed deep shock at the demise of former External Affairs Minister of India Sushma Swaraj.
In a condolence message, he said the people of Bangladesh will always remember her contributions in improving Bangladesh-India relations.
The Bangladesh Foreign Minister, now in Saudi Arabia, conveyed deep sympathy to the bereaved family members and prayed for eternal peace of the departed soul.
Bangladesh High Commissioner to India Syed Muazzem Ali said he is deeply saddened to hear about the passing away of former External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.
"We will remember her immense contributions in development of all-round Bangladesh-India bilateral relations. I particularly remember her skillful handling of the passage of the bill on the Land Boundary Agreement at Indian Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha in 2015," he said in a message.
Dhaka, Aug 6 (UNB) – Bangladesh and India will hold their 7th Home Minister-level bilateral talks in New Delhi on Wednesday afternoon.
Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan reached New Delhi on Tuesday afternoon on a three-day visit, an official told UNB.
The bilateral talks between Home Minister Khan and his Indian counterpart Amit Shah will be held at 4pm in New Delhi.
They will have broader discussions on security-related matters of mutual interests during the next round of Home Minister-level meeting to be held in New Delhi on August 7, officials said.
Issues related to counterterrorism, capacity building and increased cooperation between security agencies, border management, countering illegal activities like fake currency, drug and human trafficking, Rohingya and consular issues are likely to be discussed at the meeting.
The Home Minister will lead the Bangladesh delegation, comprising Secretary Public Security Division, Ministry of Home Affairs Mostafa Kamal Uddin and representatives from relevant ministries and agencies, at the meeting.
Bangladesh High Commissioner to India Syed Muazzem Ali hosted dinner in honour of Home Minister Khan and Railways Minister Nurul Islam Sujan, who is also visiting India, on Tuesday evening.
Earlier in the day, Railways Minister Sujan and Union Minister for Railways and Coal Piyush Goyal held bilateral talks in Rail Bhavan, New Delhi.
Indian Home Minister Amit Shah will host dinner in honour of Minister Khan on Wednesday evening.
Bangladesh Home Minister is likely to meet Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday morning, according to his tour schedule.
Former Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh co-chaired the 6th meeting of India-Bangladesh Home Minister-level talks with his counterpart Asaduzzaman Khan here in July last year.
The two ministers witnessed the signing of the Revised Travel Arrangement 2018 (RTA 2018) amending the earlier RTA 2013 for further liberalising the visa regime between the two countries, including enhanced duration for employment and student visas.
Dhaka, Aug 6 (UNB) - Bangladesh signed a nuclear fuel supply agreement with Russia on Tuesday for the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant (RNPP) project.
As the implementing agency of the RNPP project, Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission (BAEC) inked the deal with the Russian state-owned nuclear fuel firm TVEL Joint Stock Company at a function at Sonargaon Hotel in the city.
Addressing the signing ceremony, Science and Technology Minister Yeafesh Osman urged reporters not to report anything that may harm the project. “Please don’t write any report that may harm the RNPP project and destroy the country’s image,” he said.
As per the agreement signed with TVEL, the Russian firm will supply fuel for the 'entire lifetime' of the 2,400 MW RNPP project.
According to the Inter-governmental Agreement (IGA) signed with the Moscow in November 2011, Dhaka is required to procure nuclear fuel from the Russian company for the entire life span of the power plant.
Each unit of the power plant will have to reload one-third of the total required nuclear fuel after every 18 months and the first, second and third reloads will be provided by the Russian firm free of cost.
Each reloading of nuclear fuel will cost $62 million, equivalent to Tk 500.24 crore.
The Bangladesh government has engaged Russian nuclear energy firm Rosatom as contractor of the RNPP project at a cost of $12.65 billion.
Besides, officials said, Rosatom has been paid $550 million for a feasibility study and the project design.
Initially, it was projected by the contractor that the first unit of the RNPP will come into operation by 2022, while the second unit by 2024. But now the BAEC officials say the first unit will start operation in February 2023.
The signing ceremony was also addressed by Russian Ambassador Alexander I Ignatov, Principal Coordinator of SDG Affairs Abul Kaloam Azad, Science and Technology Secretary Anwar Hossain and BEAC Chairman Mahbubul Haque.
Dhaka, Aug 6 (UNB) - Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) has decided to set up ‘citizen’s review commission’ on banking in view of what it said the “deteriorating health” of the banking sector and the “inertia” of the government to address the problems pro-actively.
This was decided by the Board of Trustees (BoT) of the CPD at its 53rd meeting held on Tuesday in the city.
The commission will include eminent economists and experts, private sector representatives and former bankers and government officials, according to the civil society think tank.
The proposed citizen’s review commission on banking seeks to establish transparency regarding data and information on the sector, identify the root causes of the malaise, and, suggest remedial measures for the policymakers.
Presided over by CPD Chairman Prof Rehman Sobhan, CPD, the Board meeting was attended by CPD Trustees former Finance Minister M Syeduzzaman, Chairman of Apex group Syed Manzur Elahi, Executive Director, CAMPE Rasheda K Choudhury, eminent jurist Dr Shahdeen Malik; Distinguished CPD Fellows Dr Debapriya Bhattacharya and Prof Mustafizur Rahman; and CPD Executive Director and Member-Secretary of CPD Board of Trustees Dr Fahmida Khatun.
Dr Khondaker Golam Moazzem, Research Director and M Shafiqul Islam, Director, Administration & Finance of CPD were also present at the meeting on invitation.
The Board approved the CPD’s plan for research, dialogue, publication and outreach-related activities for July-June 2019-2020. The meeting also approved the revised budget for the last six months of 2019.
The Board expressed satisfaction over CPD’s research and outreach activities during the last six months (January–June 2019).
Some of the notable research include tracking of the first hundred days of the government, review of the national budget and four years of SDGs in Bangladesh, the trustees were also informed about a number of important events including an international conference on Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a convention on localisation of SDGs in Bangladesh and CPD’s Anniversary Lecture 2019.
CPD will continue to focus on the theme of youth unemployment.
The CPD Board advised its professionals to monitor, through research and dialogues, implementation of the electoral pledges made by the government in 2018.
Dhaka, Aug 6 (UNB) - President of International Chamber of Commerce, Bangladesh (ICC,B) Mahbubur Rahman has identified two big challenges in the way of Bangladesh’s development urging the government to give more importance on social service delivery.
“The main challenge is to maintain the economic growth. Another challenge is related to eradicating inequality,” he said adding that if the country continues its economic growth, it has to ensure the equal distribution of the benefits of the growth among all.
That means, the ICC, B President said, the government has to give more importance to social service delivery like health and education services.
He made the remarks while presenting the Executive Board Report at the ICC Bangladesh Annual Council held in the city on Tuesday.
The veteran businessman said lack of regulatory predictability businesses face regulatory uncertainty on various fronts.
He said regulatory predictability matters because it makes property rights insecure, thereby constraining investment.
Rahman said this leads to uncertainty for businesses – medium-size firms seem to bear the brunt more than large or small firms – and with inconsistencies in policy implementation, it can adversely affect employment growth.
Bangladesh’s regulatory system needs the establishment of a technical regulatory oversight body at the center of government to oversee, lead and report on regulatory reforms, mentioned the ICC,B President.
Attaining the target depends on how quickly Bangladesh can resolve the challenges experts suggest that foreign and local investments be increased and the activities of Economic Zones should start immediately, Rahman observed.
In order to become an upper middle-income country by 2031 and achieve high-income country status by 2041, Bangladesh will require huge investments in physical capital, human capital, and innovation enabled by reforms in areas such as financial sector, business regulation, and to address the infrastructure gap, according to the Council Report.
In the development update, the World Bank has noted that private sector investments in Bangladesh remain weak. Initiatives are needed to address several challenges, particularly in boosting private sector investment and diversifying exports.
In the development update, the WB expressed concern over the rise of non-performing loans (NPLs).
The practice of loan rescheduling and write-offs also increased, creating further stress on banks, said the ICC, B President.
To bring stability and discipline to the financial sector, Bangladesh has to ensure Bangladesh Bank’s autonomy on regulation, integrate risk-based supervision in the central bank’s supervisory framework, tighten rescheduling guidelines and stop ad-hoc rescheduling, he said.
The Council adopted the Executive Board Report & Audited Financial Statements of ICC Bangladesh for the year 2018.
ICC,B Vice President Rokia A Rahman; DCCI President Osama Taseer; Bangladesh Insurance Association President Sheikh Kabir Hossain; BKMEA former 1st Vice President Mohammad Hatem; FICCI Vice President Francois de Maricourt, ICC,B Board members and ICC,B Secretary General Ataur Rahman, among others, attended the council meeting.