In a landmark , Bangladesh joined the select group of countries that manufacture world-class, large-scale Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) by shipping 6.5 million PPE gowns to US brand Hanes, for ultimate delivery to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
To mark the occasion, State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam and US Ambassador to Bangladesh Earl R Miller attended a function and saw off the first shipment at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport on Monday.
Speaking on the occasion, Shahriar Alam said like the rest of the world, Bangladesh is also facing the toughest of times in trying to cope with the Coronavirus pandemic.
“And in these trying times, it is remarkable to see that within this short span of two months Bangladesh was able to foray into this very regulated market with such a sensitive healthcare product, with just not ten or twenty thousand pieces but 6.5 million pieces. What an achievement,” he said, lauding Beximco for its contribution to the Bangladesh economy.
US Ambassador Miller said the event marked “the first major shipment of PPE into the US.” In which case, embattled US President Donald J. Trump may be expected to notice.
As the global spread of COVID-19 has bloomed into a pandemic, it has become clear that there will be a desperate need of PPE to keep medical professionals and the general public safe.
Beximco has proudly joined the fight against the pandemic by moving swiftly to add manufacturing capabilities in PPE items such as gowns, masks and coveralls, said Beximco CEO and Group Director Syed Naved Husain.
He said the COVID-19 had changed how the world works, and that Beximco had to urgently respond. “In just two months, we’ve unleashed our world-class manufacturing, technical and design talent to switch over and start making personal protection equipment and help increase the supply of PPE which is urgently needed in Bangladesh and worldwide.”
Husain also pitched that Bangladesh was well-positioned to become a new hub for PPE manufacturing. This would help keep people safe and secure worldwide while helping Bangladesh`s own economy and ensuring that the large workforce of 4.1M in the garment sector can still make a good livelihood.
"Everyone in Bangladesh wants to turn the tide and help save lives. Beximco is leading the way in this regard,” he added.
The US Ambassador said all this happened in less than two months.
“US welcomes Bangladesh’s world-class large-scale PPE production to the global marketplace. The Beximco-Hanes partnership is another great example of how our two great nations are combating the Covid-19 pandemic,” he said.
“Imagine, two months from the request from the US, Beximco and Bangladesh were nimble enough to turn production lines around so that we can put badly-needed PPE on this aircraft behind me and send it to the US. That’s absolute bureaucratic and entrepreneurial light speed.”
Speaking at the event, Dr Jamaluddin Ahmed, chairman of Janata Bank, said: “Janata Bank is proud to be associated with Beximco in financing them. We are going to finance the other exporters also as economic machine should run or else everything will fall apart.”
Managing Director of Beximco Pharma Nazmul Hassan MP termed the event historic. “Today we join the club of first-class large-scale PPE manufacturing countries.”
He said in the initial days of pandemic, there was huge local demand for PPE and Beximco took the initiative of providing PPE’s to local healthcare services through import.
“But there was severe shortage globally as demand was increasing. We, therefore, decided to manufacture them to meet the demand. Today we are not only providing these to our local healthcare services but also exporting them to very highly regulated sensitive markets.”
Beximco’s Textile Division is a heavyweight in the region, known to be one of South Asia`s largest, fastest, agile/flexible ,most innovative, and sustainable vertical Textile and Fashion Apparel manufacturing operations.
It employs 40,000 people, shipping around 400,000 garments daily to gold standard companies like Target, USA, Zara, Michael Kors, PVH, Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, Amazon, C&A.
Beximco has effectively leveraged their Best in Class Pharmaceutical division resources, combining those with the Textile Division to create the new Beximco PPE Division.
A new PPE Industrial Park is being rapidly set up 10 minutes away from Beximco Industrial Park (which is built like a campus on 350 Acres and is Certified Leeds Green).
Beximco has also established a strategic partnership with Chicago based Geste Designs and are examining the feasibility to jointly invest and establish a PPE manufacturing Hub in Detroit with support of the state of Michigan, and the city.
Geste is already supplying essential PPE to the city of Detroit.
British High Commissioner to Bangladesh Robert Chatterton Dickson on Sunday has greeted all on the occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr, the biggest religious festival of Muslims in Bangladesh and beyond.
"This year it’s going to be different because the pandemic has affected so many aspects of our lives.But I hope despite of the difficulty and the challenge that the Covid presents we can all have a wonderful Eid and celebrate with close family and friends," he said in a video message on Sunday.
Last year it was his first Eid in Bangladesh and he loves the colours and the exuberance of the ceremonies and the celebrations in Bangladesh, said the High Commissioner conveying all "Eid Mubarak!".
Deputy High Commissioner to Bangladesh Javed Patel also greeted people in Bangladesh in a separate video message.
Patel who learned Bangla before coming to Bangladesh conveyed the message in Bangla.
Deputy High Commissioner to Bangladesh Javed Patel wished everyone a very joyous Eid on behalf of everyone at the British High Commission.
Bhutanese Prime Minister Lotay Tshering on Saturday called his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina over phone and extended greetings to her and the people of Bangladesh on the occasion of the Eid-ul-Fitr.
"The Bhutanese Prime Minister phoned the Bangladesh Prime Minister at about 7:55 pm and extended Eid-ul-Fitr greetings to her (Sheikh Hasina) and the people of Bangladesh," PM's Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim said.
He said during the 15-minute conversation, the Bangladesh Prime Minister also extended her greetings to Lotay Tshering and the Bhutanese people on the occasion of the Eid-ul-Fitr.
The press secretary said Lotay Tshering enquired about the damages caused by super cyclone Amphan and expressed sympathy for the loss of lives and properties due to the cyclone.
Sheikh Hasina thanked her Bhutanese counterpart for making the phone call and expressing sympathy for the damages caused by Amphan.
The issues related to ongoing coronavirus situation also came up for discussion between the two leaders, PM's press secretary said.
Some 154 more Thai nationals left Bangladesh for Bangkok on Saturday by a special flight.
The Royal Thai Embassy in Dhaka arranged the third repatriation flight of the Thai Lion Air, which departed from Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport at 11am, said the embassy.
The first repatriation flight was on April 17 with 35 Thais, and the second flight was on May 14 taking 197 Thais living in Bangladesh back to Thailand.
The embassy thanked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bangladesh, Immigration of Bangladesh, Airport officials as well as the airline’s staff for facilitating the smooth departure of Thai nationals.
The Board of Governors of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) on Friday approved its financial statements and allocation of its 2019 net income in its first-ever virtual annual meeting held amid the coronavirus pandemic.
According to a press release, the approval came at the first stage of the 53rd annual meeting of the Board, or their designated representatives from 68 members of ADB.
Meanwhile, the second stage of the Annual Meeting is scheduled for September 18–21 in Incheon, Korea.
Governors, other senior government officials, members of the private sector, representatives of international organisations and civil society organisations, youth, academia, and the media will attend the Annual Meeting.
ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa in his remarks to the meeting, said, “Our immediate priority is to provide vital support to developing member countries as they confront the COVID‐19 pandemic and return their economies to a path of sustainable growth.”
The approval of the financial statements and allocation of net income ensure that ADB has the tools and financial stability to address the enormous challenges that now affect the lives and economies of millions of people across this region, he added.
“Our choices and efforts today will determine whether we can overcome the current health care and economic crises,” said the Chair of the Board of Governors, and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Finance of the Republic of Korea Hong Nam-Ki.
“The ADB should turn this crisis into an opportunity, while enhancing knowledge sharing on COVID-19 policy responses and expanding support for low-income countries and vulnerable groups,” he added.
The Board of Governors adopted a resolution to allocate $1.069 billion of net income, the highest in the bank’s history, from ADB's 2019 ordinary capital resources.
The 2019 net allocable income is higher than the $841.4 million recorded in 2018, due largely to an increase in income from lending operations and liquidity investments, as well as a drop in non-sovereign loan loss provisions.
The allocable net income will be distributed as follows: $615.7mn to the ordinary reserve to support ADB’s capital adequacy and provide an earnings base to generate net income; $259.5mn to the Asian Development Fund, which provides grants to ADB’s low-income member countries; $130mn to the Technical Assistance Special Fund, which provides a stable and predictable funding source for ADB’s technical assistance, as well as increased support to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic; $30mn to the Regional Cooperation and Integration Fund; $24mn to the Climate Change Fund; and $10mn to the Asia Pacific Disaster Response Fund.
Governors also approved the bank’s annual financial statements. ADB’s ordinary capital resources’ operating income totaled $1.1bn in 2019, up from $889mn in 2018. The 2019 net income was $1.554bn, up from $750mn in 2018.
ADB is actively supporting its members as they address the effects of COVID-19 through its $20bn response package announced on April 13.
ADB has also approved a series of measures to streamline its operations for quicker and more flexible delivery of assistance.