Dhaka, Jan 9 (UNB) - The government on Wednesday signed a $250 million development policy-operation agreement with the World Bank to support the country’s reform efforts for creating large-scale, better-paid and inclusive jobs.
Economic Relations Division Secretary Monowar Ahmed and WB Country Director for Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal Qimiao Fan signed the deal on behalf of their respective sides.
Newly appointed Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal was present at the programme as the chief guest.
The credit is from the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA) has a 30-year term, including a five-year grace period, and carries a service charge of 0.75 percent and an interest of 1.25 percent.
The Programmatic Jobs Development Policy Credit -- the first of a series of three planned operations -- will help Bangladesh build a stronger policy and institutional framework to create faster and more inclusive jobs for citizens, including women, youths, overseas migrants and vulnerable members of the population.
“Jobs are cornerstone for development. Bangladesh needs to create more and better jobs, particularly in the manufacturing sector to achieve its growth aspirations,” said Qimiao Fan.
“This programme will support reforms that will address key challenges in creating inclusive and quality jobs. This will help the government implement policies to modernise trade, stimulate investment, strengthen social protection systems for workers and help vulnerable people access jobs.”
The programme takes a comprehensive approach to overcome the barriers to job creation. It aims to help leverage Bangladesh’s comparative advantage in the manufacturing sector while stimulating investment, making doing business easier, and modernising customs and trade facilitation.
To ensure workers’ protection, it will also help implement amendments to the labour law and reform the pensions programme.
In recent years, the pace of job creation has slowed, especially for women and youths. They are often engaged in low-quality informal jobs with weak protection for workers.
Further, Bangladesh is one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change. A recent study shows that a 15 percent increase in the share of non‐agricultural employment would significantly reduce the impacts of climate change on living standards.
The programme will support reforms to help Bangladesh create jobs sustainably by adapting to the rapidly changing environment as well as managing the risks related to climate change.
“The Seventh Five Year Plan, Vision 2021 and the electoral pledge ‘Bangladesh on the March to Prosperity’ have identified creating quality and inclusive jobs as a priority for the country,” said the ERD Secretary Monowar Ahmed
The programme will help the government’s ongoing initiatives to create labour intensive quality jobs while laying the foundation for a more resilient economy and stronger social protection, he said.
With 36 percent of women in the labor force versus around 82 percent of men, women face more challenges in accessing quality jobs. The program will help increase female labor force participation by making childcare more available for working mothers and targeting women and youth with training and employment services.
Dhaka, Jan 9 (UNB) – Bangladesh has strongly protested Myanmar's "baseless and provocative" accusations over the existence of two Arakan Army and three ARSA bases in Bangladesh.
"Bangladesh is utterly disappointed and aggrieved to note some media reports based on remarks by the Spokesperson of Myanmar President’s Office on January 7," said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) in a statement issued on Wednesday.
Strongly protesting such baseless and provocative accusations, Bangladesh said the current clashes are the outcome of Myanmar own political and social dilemma.
“The allegations are totally fake and baseless. It’s not possible to operate terrorist bases anywhere in Bangladesh because of high alertness and effective preventive measures by security forces in the line with “zero tolerance policy” of the present government of Bangladesh under Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina,” reads the statement.
As such, according to MoFA statement, Bangladesh government will highly appreciate it if the Myanmar government does not make any endeavour to associate Bangladesh with her "internal political puzzle."
“Bangladesh is also firmly committed not to allowing its soil to be used by any dissident group of any neighbouring country. The government has taken all possible measures, including compressive international engagements in counter-terrorism to fully implement the commitment,” the MoFA statement notes.
Bangladesh has affirmed that there is no existence of any foreign terrorist groups within Bangladesh nor Bangladesh is harbouring any terrorist organisation within its soil.
"Security forces of Bangladesh alongside border always remain vigilant to prevent any untoward incidents that may affect the existing peaceful relation between neighbors,” it says.
Bangladesh’s comprehensive cooperation in counter-terrorism with some of the neighbouring countries proved to be the highly effective, the statement reads.
"The government of Bangladesh had offered similar type of comprehensive bilateral cooperation mechanism to Myanmar on a number of occasions.”
The statement says Bangladesh, on several instances, proposed Myanmar to conduct joint operation in addressing claimed terrorist activities along the border area. "But unfortunately, not much enthusiasm received from Myanmar side."
Even Myanmar failed to provide Bangladesh with specific details and concrete evidence on the alleged terrorist elements and acts, the statement adds.
Bangladesh is acclaimed by the international community for its unflinching commitment and bold actions in the combat of terrorism at national, regional and global level, said the MoFA.
Bangladesh has said it always stands ready to engage in comprehensive cooperation mechanism with any country, including Myanmar, in the combat of terrorism.
The Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), also known by its former name Harakah al-Yaqin, is a group reportedly active in northern Rakhine State, Myanmar.
Dhaka, Jan 9 (UNB) - Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has congratulated Dr A K Abdul Momen on his appointment as the Foreign Minister of Bangladesh.
He reiterated Turkey’s continued support to work with Bangladesh on Rohingya issue, said the Foreign Ministry here on Wednesday.
The Turkish Foreign Minister said the high level visits and contacts in the last few years intensified the brotherly relations of the two countries.
He hoped that it will further develop in the tenure of Dr. Momen.
Dhaka, Jan 9 (UNB) – Prime Minister of the Republic of Singapore, Lee Hsien Loong, has expressed his keen interest to deepen the growing friendship and cooperation between Bangladesh and Singapore.
He also congratulated Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for her re-appointment as the Prime Minister and Awami League’s electoral victory.
In a letter, he said, “Singapore and Bangladesh share a warm and longstanding relationship, underpinned by strong economic and cultural ties. I look forward to working with you to deepen the growing friendship, cooperation and people-to-people ties between our two countries in the years ahead.”
Dhaka, Jan 9 (UNB) - The United Nations has appealed to all sides in Myanmar to intensify efforts to find a peaceful solution to the situation and to ensure humanitarian access to all people affected by the violence.
“The United Nations has been in close contact with the Myanmar authorities in recent weeks and has offered to support ongoing efforts to respond to the humanitarian needs of those affected by the violence,” said spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General at noon briefing in New York on Tuesday.
The acting Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator for Myanmar, Knut Ostby is deeply concerned about the situation in northern and central Rakhine State, where an estimated 4,500 people have been displaced so far due to fighting between the Arakan Army and Myanmar’s security forces, said the UN Spokesperson.
Ostby was shocked by the reports of attacks on January 4 and regretted the loss of life and offers his deepest sympathies to the families of the police officers who were killed.
The Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator urged all sides to ensure the protection of all civilians and uphold their responsibilities under International Humanitarian and Human Rights Law.