Dhaka, Oct 17 (UNB) –The Economic Relations Division of the Ministry of Finance and the KfW Development Bank acting on behalf of the German Federal Government have signed a loan agreement of EUR 90 million to finance safe drinking water supply for the city dwellers.
Germany has teamed up with other major European Development Partners - the French AFD, the Danish DANIDA, the European Investment Bank and the EU.
This joint European – Bangladeshi programme is called in short “Saidabad III”.
The project will be implemented by the Dhaka Water Supply and Sewerage Company (DWASA).
It will ensure that in future, the water for 8 million people in Dhaka will be safe and reliable.
Once this project is implemented, the present sources of water (groundwater and the highly polluted Sitalakhya River) will be replaced by water taken from the mighty Meghna River near Haria, Narayanganj, about 26 km in the East of Dhaka.
From Haria, the raw water will be pumped to the Saidabad Water Treatment Plant, where an additional, third water treatment plant will be constructed, increasing the water production by 450,000 m³ per day to daily production of 900,000 m³.
“This will enable the Dhaka Water Supply and Sewerage Company to serve more people in Bangladesh's capital city,” said German Ambassador in Dhaka Peter Fahrenholtz.
“And it will make it services less dependent from the use of groundwater and therefore more resistant to climate change, especially during dry seasons and in view of the increasing salinization of its aquifers,” he added.
The overall project costs are expected to be about EUR 570 out of which the Government of Bangladesh will provide EUR 140 million.
The signing ceremony was attended, among others, by Kazi Shofiqul Azam, Senior Secretary and Khalilur Rahman, Chief (Europe Wing), both ERD, Ministry of Finance, Marie-Annick Bourdin, and Peter Fahrenholtz, Ambassadors of France and Germany, respectively, CarenBlume, Deputy Head of Development Cooperation, German Embassy and Regina Maria Schneider, Director of the KfW Regional Office for Bangladesh and Nepal and Quamrun Nahar Laily, Superintending Engineer and Project Director for Saidabad III, DWASA.
Riyadh (Saudi Arabia), Oct 17 (UNB) – Mentioning that Bangladesh has started its journey on the highway of development, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday said no one can halt its ongoing development pace.
“Our government has done whatever necessary for the country’s progress. Bangladesh has started its journey on the highway of development. I believe no one can stop the pace,” she said while opening the newly constructed Chancery Complex of Bangladesh Embassy here.
The Prime Minister inaugurated the two-storey complex unveiling its plaque at a ceremony at the Diplomatic Quarter in Riyadh around 3 pm local time.
Sheikh Hasina during her visit to Saudi Arabia in June 2016 laid the foundation stone of the 3,819 square metre complex.
The Chancery Complex was constructed at a cost of Tk 51.47 crore.
The Prime Minister planted a sapling on the premises of the Bangladesh Embassy.
Mentioning that the tenure of her government is going to end soon, the Prime Minister said, “If people vote for us, we'll be in power again and if they don’t, we won’t come to power. I've no lamentation for this.”
She said Bangladesh is now a role model of development across the world. “We’ll ensure urban facilities to every citizen of the country, even the rural one.”
Sheikh Hasina said the Bangladeshi expatriates are greatly contributing to enhancement of socio-economic status of the country and all other sectors.
The Prime Minister said Bangladesh has a plan to procure land or flats for setting up hajj mission offices in Makkah and Madinah to provide services to Bangladeshi hajj pilgrims.
Riyadh (Saudi Arabia), Oct 17 (UNB) – Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday had a meeting with Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud at his royal palace here.
Hasina’s meeting with Salman, also the custodian of the two holy Mosques, started at 1:30pm, which was followed by lunch.
Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali, PM's Private Development Affairs Adviser Salman F Rahman, Foreign Secretary Md Shahidul Haque, Bangladesh Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Golam Moshi and PMO Secretary Sajjadul Hassan were, among others, present at the meeting.
Sheikh Hasina arrived here on Tuesday afternoon on a four-day bilateral visit to Saudi Arabia at the invitation of King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.
Dhaka, Oct 17 (UNB) - Former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has said Bangladesh is a role model in showing the world that even a developing country could roll out so many trends setting climate initiatives with courage and farsightedness.
The UN Secretary-General said this when he was presiding over the launching of Global Commission on Adaptation (GCA) in The Hague, Netherlands on Tuesday.
The GCA is a new initiative to elevate the political visibility of climate change adaptation and focus on solutions.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina along with the Presidents of South Africa, Senegal, Indonesia, Mexico, Costa Rica, Marshall Islands, Argentina; Premier of China, Chancellor of Germany, and Prime Ministers of the Netherlands, India, UK, Canada, Denmark, Ethiopia and Grenada are the Conveners of the GCA, said the Bangladesh Embassy in The Hague on Wednesday.
Ban Ki-moon also appreciated the leadership of Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for her role as a global leader in bringing the issue of adaptation in an emphatic and innovative way.
Environment, Forest and Climate Change Minister Anisul Islam Mahmud while representing Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina as Convener highlighted that mere discussion will not solve the problem.
“Targeted funding is required. Private funding in the developing world is a huge challenge and as such appealed to the developed countries to come up with funding,” he said.
Anisul Islam, highlighting trans-boundary nature of climate, drew the attention of the global community on the problem of snow melting in the Himalayas at an alarming rate, wished to see a Himalayan basin wide approach for more coordinated actions against the problems of climate change adaptation.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, in his inaugural speech, referred to Bangladesh’s successes as well as challenges with regard to climate change adaptation.
The inaugural ceremony also included a video message from Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, where she highlighted Bangladesh’s stellar successes in climate change-related disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation strategies and programmes, and assured Bangladesh’s own trend setting work to make the lives and living of Bangladesh people as safe and prosperous as possible.
Anisul Islam also highlighted the presence of over a million of forcibly displaced Rohingyas from Myanmar and how they also aggravated the environment as Bangladesh has to provide them with accommodation and means of living.
He assured that Bangladesh will continue to deal with the issue of climate change adaptation under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina as they would like to build an eco-friendly and integrated South Asia, where Bangladesh shall continue to serve as a role model.
Riyadh, Oct 17 (UNB) - Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday invited Saudi entrepreneurs to invest in Bangladesh for mutual benefits as both the countries lag behind in exploiting their full potentials of trade and investment opportunities.
"We can join hands in our journey of shared profit and prosperity. I assure you of my government’s full support and cooperation," she said.
The Prime Minister said this while holding a meeting with the Saudi business community, including leaders of the Council of Saudi Chamber and Riyadh Chamber of Commerce, at King Saud Palace.
Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh is implementing 10 growth and employment-generating mega projects as it is ready to take up more projects in diversified areas of infrastructure, connectivity and high-tech, tourism, health and education for a sustainable double-digit growth.
"We welcome Saudi entrepreneurs to invest in our emerging sectors like capital market, power, energy, telecommunications and IT, petrochemicals, pharmaceuticals, shipbuilding, agro-processing, light engineering, blue economy, R&D and technology innovation, water and marine and other infrastructure projects, and services sectors like, banking and finance, logistics, and human resource development," Hasina said.
She mentioned that Bangladesh has earmarked 2,000 acres of land in one of the Exclusive Economic Zones for Saudi Arabian investors, which can be developed and operated as per their own requirement.
Hasina said the advantages of Bangladesh for the foreign investors, including Saudis’, are young, committed and an easily trainable workforce with highly competitive wages, cheaper cost of setting us businesses, access to large duty-, quota-free markets that includes the EU, Australia, Canada, India, Japan and New Zealand.
"It also has low-cost electricity and water, good credit rating, minimum risk factors, and fast technology adaptability. All these facilities combined together, Bangladesh gives the maximum return and dividend to investors," she said.
The Prime Minister mentioned that Bangladesh has the most liberal investment policy in South Asia with most attractive incentives returning highest profit rate. It includes the protection of FDI by law, incentives like generous tax holiday, concessionary duty on import of machinery, duty-free import of raw materials, remittances on royalty, 100 percent foreign equity, unrestricted exit policy, and full repatriation of dividend and capital on exit.
She said Bangladesh’s strategic location is making it an emerging hub for regional connectivity, foreign investments and global outsourcing. "We’ve eight fully operational ‘Export Processing Zones’ (EPZs) exclusively for 100 percent export-oriented industries. In addition, we’re developing 100 Economic Zones to ensure resilient and sustainable industrialisation for new industries and investment at both public and private sectors."
Hasina said Bangladesh wants to connect and transform those by introducing smart, next-generation logistic networks so that these Zones become part of dynamic global supply chains. Two dozens of high-tech parks are also there in place.
The Prime Minister said Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia have been enjoying excellent bilateral relation which is based on common faith, culture, values and aspirations.
"Trade relations between Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia date back to the seventh century when Arab traders first set foot in the port city of Chittagong. Both countries have reached an increasing level of bilateral trade in recent years crossing the USD 1 billion mark in 2017-18 fiscal year. But, we’re far behind in exploiting full potentials of trade and investment opportunities," she added.
Hasina mentioned that Saudi investment in Bangladesh now stands at USD 5 billion in 25 projects and it is primarily focused on the areas of agro-based industry, food and processed food, textiles and garments, leather, petro-chemical, engineering and service sector products.
She said Bangladesh is now the 32nd largest economy in the world in terms of purchasing power parity. Poverty rate has fallen to 21.8 percent in 2018 from 41.5 percent in 2006.
In March 2018, she said, the UN declared Bangladesh eligible for graduation from LDC group to a developing country.
Last year, Hasina said, Bangladesh's economy was among the top-10 fastest-growing economies of the world. Despite the global economic turmoil, it maintained a sustained GDP growth over 7 percent during last 10 years reaching 7.86 percent this year.
"We’re expecting to reach 8.25 percent GDP growth next year. At the same time, inflation has decreased to 5.4 percent. Foreign currency reserve has grown more than 9 times since 2008-2009, up to USD 33 billion in 2018," she said.
CSC Chairman Dr Sami A Alabadi, Secretary General Dr Saud A Almashari and Saudi Ambassador to Bangladesh Abdullah HM Al-Mutairi also spoke on the occasion.
The Bangladesh delegation included Bangladesh Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali, PM's Private Sector Development Affairs Adviser Salman F Rahman, Chairman of Bangladesh Investment Development Authority Kazi Md Aminul Islam, Foreign Secretary Md Shahidul Haque, Bangladesh Ambassador to KSA Golam Moshi.
Besides, acting FBCCI President Sheikh Fazle Fahim, BGMEA President Siddiqur Rahman and other business leaders from Bangladesh attended the meeting.