Planning Minister MA Mannan said on Monday that positive changes have occurred in the past decade and a half but these changes are not sustainable, and there is a constant pressure looming over them. The planning minister said this while addressing as chief guest at a national conference held at Hotel Sheraton in Banani. Deaths from dengue now 1,417 with nine more reported Monday Mannan also said a significant portion of the country’s population resides in villages, with many living near the poverty line. "We need to focus on women’s development in these rural areas," he said. He added that breaking the cycle of poverty and integrating these marginalized communities into the mainstreamed society have become an urgent issue. He expressed hope that the people’s mindset regarding resource-sharing has been improved, indicating a step in the right direction. Bus carrying passengers set on fire in Dhaka’s Gulistan While addressing as special guest, Dr. Atiur Rahman emphasized the importance of education as a gateway to civilization. He underscored the necessity of quality education and expressed concern over the current lack of assurance in this regard. The conference, jointly organized by Popy, DRRA, and CDF in collaboration with the Malala Fund, aimed to promote girls’ education in areas affected by climate change. Popy’s Executive Director Murshed Alam Sarkar chaired the event, with the Executive Vice Chairman of Microcredit Regulatory Authority Md Fashiullah as special guest. CDF Executive Director Abdul Awal delivered his speech as special speaker while DRRA Executive Director Farida Yasmeen delivered the welcome speech. Malala Fund Bangladesh In-Country Representative Musharraf Tansen presented the keynote paper. Dhaka Flow’s 2nd Festival of Yoga-Wellness Promises to be a Holistic Healing Event for All from Nov 8 to 11 However, representatives from various government and non-government organizations participated in the program. It is worth noting that this conference highlighted the challenges hindering the expansion of girls’ education in climate-affected areas and proposed several recommendations to address these obstacles.
Bangladesh remains a compelling growth story, despite the global pandemic, said Standard Chartered’s leading economists. The bank’s global research team was speaking at a media session held following the 2021 Bangladesh session of the Bank’s Global Research Briefing series. Planning Minister MA Mannan attended the event held recently as the chief guest while around 300 of the Bank’s clients joined via video conferencing, said a media release on Thursday. Eric Robertsen, Global Head of Research and Chief Strategist, Standard Chartered, said while the pace and distribution of global recovery remains highly uneven, Bangladesh has made a strong comeback with one of the highest GDP growths in the world in 2020. Read: Economists urge government to present pro-poor budget “A robust vaccination program and implementation of strategic infrastructure projects are expected to further increase momentum towards the nation’s LDC graduation”. Saurav Anand, Economist, South Asia, Standard Chartered said Bangladesh’s economy is set to accelerate after a speed bump, with GDP growth forecast at 5.5% in FY21 and 7.2% in FY22. “The momentum will be driven by an export demand recovery, strong remittance inflows and public investment. Policy support is a prerequisite for a smooth transition to middle-income status, with per capita GDP set to reach USD 3,000 by FY26.” Naser Ezaz Bijoy, Chief Executive Officer, Standard Chartered Bangladesh said the government of Bangladesh has navigated the internal and external challenges of the pandemic remarkably well. “The resilience of Bangladesh economy gives us cause for optimism. As the vaccination drive continues, the economy is set to accelerate, while lower debt levels compared to its peers provide medium term fiscal runway for growth,” Bijoy said. Read: Economists emphasise agro-based infrastructure He said there are significant opportunities for productivity gains through technology adoption, technology inclusiveness through mobile-based solutions and the ITES sector, while growth-supportive policies focus sectors will continue to spur private investment and FDI. Minister Mannan said the people of Bangladesh, the government and the business community have once again demonstrated tremendous resilience to ensure that while the shared development journey might have slowed, it has not been halted. “We remain as committed as ever in fostering a business-friendly climate, so that we can continue on our journey of inclusive progress and prosperity,” he said.
Planning Minister MA Mannan on Monday said there is no scope for Bangladesh to get stuck in debt trap noting that its foreign currency reserve is growing with lower rate of borrowing considering the size of GDP. "There's no fear for Bangladesh to get into debt trap," he said while addressing a webinar. Speaking as the chief guest, Minister Mannan said Bangladesh takes loan considering all aspects and thinking well before taking a decision. He hoped that the bilateral relations between Bangladesh and China will be strengthened further. Mannan also hoped that the investment of Chinese companies in Bangladesh will increase with an improved relation between the two countries. The Planning Minister hoped that the Chinese government will take all necessary steps to help Bangladesh students who got stuck here due to Covid-19 to return to China for continuing their studies. READ: Vaccination important to bring back things on track: Planning Minister The Association of Bangladesh China Alumni (ABCA) organized the webinar on the occasion of ''72nd Anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China and 46th Anniversary of Establishment of Diplomatic Relations between Bangladesh and China''. Humayun A Kamal, former Ambassador of Bangladesh to China, presented the keynote paper at the webinar presided by Ambassador Munshi Faiz Ahmad, President of ABCA and former Ambassador of Bangladesh to China. READ: Police: Planning minister mugged of his mobile phone in capital Yan Hualong, Minister Counselor and Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of the People's Republic of China in Bangladesh, participated in it as a special guest. The webinar was presided by President of ABCA and former Ambassador of Bangladesh to China Munshi Faiz Ahmad while General Secretary of ABCA Dr Md Sahabul Haque delivered the welcome speech. Director, Bangla Department, China Media Group Guangue Anandi, ABCA vice-president Prof Dr Md Mainul Islam, joint secretary Dr AAM Muzahid and joint-secretary, BCCCI Al Mamun Mridha also spoke.
Planning Minister MA Mannan has stressed the importance of making government rules investment friendly by removing the unnecessary and complicated ones to turn Bangladesh into an attractive place for doing business. He, however, said the foreign investors should come to Bangladesh to do business based on equity and transparency instead of thinking of “exploiting” cheap labour in the country. Mannan made the remarks while speaking as the chief guest at a webinar titled “Attracting Foreign Investment in Bangladesh and Branding Bangladesh" jointly organised by Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) and Better Bangladesh Foundation (BBF) on Saturday night. "There’re various rules in government books which are not friendly towards investment. You know (BIDA), I know (about the rules). Since we know, let's push it out. Let’s clean it. Let's keep fewer and smaller but better rules so that work can be done in a speedier way," he said pointing out at the BIDA authorities. Mannan said the government is sincere about liberalizing the rules for creating a smooth ground and level-playing field for everyone to do business. Also read: Bangladesh, Kosovo explore investment, trade opportunities The minister said it is necessary to work on the issue of ease of doing business. “Our FBCCI, BGMEA, BIDA and BBF can work together to remove the bottlenecks which stand between us and the investors.” Mannan said Bangladeshi is giving the investors the guarantee for the safety of their investment and giving various concessions, tax holidays, tax concessions and also giving new economic areas where they can set up their business and enjoy the various infrastructural facilities. He said Bangladesh is now at a point of takeoff amid many difficulties. The minister said huge investment is surely needed to support the country’s drive towards industrialisation and higher-level of economic growth and economic activities. “Investment can come both from inside or outside. The minister, however, said every country should think about humanity and human welfare instead of thinking only of economic development. “We should all make the effort so that people can live peacefully in this world and enjoy a better life.” Manna thinks local investment is a better investment. “We’ll welcome investment from outside if it comes in a friendly and transparent and open way, and if it ensures justice for our labourers. It won’t be sustainable if they come with investment here because of cheap labour which is an inhuman idea.” Also read: Big-B Initiative to bring more investment to Bangladesh: Shahriar Japanese Ambassador in Dhaka Naoki Ito said their companies are ready to expand their business operation in Bangladesh and some have already expanded their business despite the difficult situation caused by Covid-19. He said Japan and Bangladesh are building bridges of bonding. “Our country is trying to build longer and wider bridges of bonding here. We’re going to celebrate the 50th years of diplomatic relations next year. If you look at the bilateral partnership on business, the number of Japanese companies has gradually been increasing…there’re now more than 300 companies operating here.” The ambassador said Japan is the largest export market for Bangladesh in Asia as around 1.3 billion export is going to Japan from Bangladesh and the market size is larger than that of India or China, and the investment is coming from Japan. He said three factors -- further development of infrastructure, better investment climate, workforce development, and capacity building – are very important in expanding its business relations and facilitating the flow of trade and investment. Naoki Ito also hoped that Japanese companies can be better partners in expanding backward-linkage industries of the RMG sector in Bangladesh. BGMEA president Faruque Hassan, FBCCI director Ghulam M Alomgir, BIDA director Ariful Haque, BBF consultant GM Nizam Uddin. CEO of BBF Global USA Rafiq Khan, among others, spoke at the programme chaired by BIDA Executive Chairman Sirazul Islam. Prof Masud A Khan, chairman and founder of BBF, moderated the virtual programme.
The Executive Committee of National Economic Council (Ecnec) on Tuesday cleared 10 development projects involving Tk 4,167 crore. The approval came from the Ecnec meeting held at the NEC conference room here. Ecenc Chairperson and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina chaired the meeting, joining it through a videoconference from Ganobhaban. “Today 10 projects, including seven new ones, got approval. The overall estimated cost of the projects is Tk 4,166.61 crore,” said Planning Minister MA Mannan at a press briefing. Of the cost, Tk 4,125.82 crore will come from the national exchequer, while the rest Tk 40.79 crore from the own funds of the organisations concerned, he said. Among the projects, four are under the LGRD and Cooperatives Ministry, two each under the Road Transport and Bridges Ministry and the Education Ministry, one each under the Environment, Forest and Climate Change Ministry and the Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry. Also read: Hasina suggests 6 points for framing post-Covid global recovery plan The projects under LGRD and Cooperatives Ministry are Development of Important Rural Infrastructures in Tangail Project involving an estimated cost of Tk 865.64 crore; Development of Rural Infrastructures in Gazipur District with Tk 685 crore; Acquisition of necessary lands for solid waste management and construction of bus-truck terminals in Gazipur City Corporation with Tk 782.25 crore; and Improvement of Safe Water Supply and Sanitation System in Rural Areas of Gopalganj District Project involving Tk 261.34 crore. The two projects under the Road Transport and Bridges Ministry are Development of Kabirhat-Chamir Munshirhat-Sonaimuri Road and Senbagh-Begumganj Gasfield-Sonaimuri Road under Noakhali road division involving Tk 371.16 crore; and Support to Joydevpur-Debgram-Bhulta-Madanpur road (Dhaka Bypass) PPP (1st revised) Project with an additional cost of Tk 438.24 crore. Another two projects are under the Education Ministry and those are Development of Bangladesh University of Professionals (1st phase) (1st revised) Project involving an additional cost of Tk 90.63 crore; and Development of Bangladesh University of Processionals (2nd revised) Project costing an additional amount of Tk 346.32 crore. Ecnec approved another project under the Environment Ministry which is Innovation of improved technology to store ‘Agar regin’ in matured Agar Trees involving Tk 67.92 crore and the rest one is under the Power and Energy Ministry. The project, ‘Construction of gas distribution pipeline network in Rangpur, Nilphamari, Pirganj towns and adjacent areas’, involves Tk 258.11 crore. Also read: SDGs: PM says Bangladesh in top form for prudent planning During the approval of the projects, the Prime Minister stressed the need for using surface water instead of underground one in a larger way, rainwater harvesting as well as taking steps to keep crops cultivation and safe drinking water away from salinity, said MA Mannan. Sheikh Hasina said each and every public university needs to have a master plan and give proper importance to conducting quality research. There should be capping in the number of students of a university for the sake of ensuring the quality education, she added. The PM directed the authorities concerned to complete the construction work on Dhaka Bypass in a speedy manner, expediting the implementation of ‘Support to Joydevpur-Debgram-Bhulta-Madanpur road (Dhaka Bypass) PPP (1st revised) Project. In the beginning of the meeting, Sheikh Hasina unveiled the cover of a book titled "Bangabandhu in Disaster Risk Reduction" focusing on different orders and directives of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and his government in disaster risk management.
The inflation rate declined by 0.30 percent in May, 2021 as it came down to 5.26 percent from 5.56 percent in April 2021. “The general point-to-point inflation rate in May 2021 fell to 5.26 percentage point,” said Planning Minister MA Mannan on Tuesday while briefing reporters after the Ecnec meeting. Also read: Dhaka adopts 5.2% inflation target for 2022-23 He said the inflation rate decreased by 0.30 percent. “It’s good news. We’re happy,” he added. The food inflation declined to 4.87 percent in May, 2021 from 5.57 percent in the previous month, according to the BBS data provided during the press briefing. Also read: Coronavirus might have some impact on inflation: Minister However, the non-food inflation rate went up slightly to 5.86 percent last month from 5.55 percent in April, 2021.
The Executive Committee of National Economic Council (Ecnec) on Tuesday turned down a Tk 17,290.23-crore project designed to provide ‘Khichuri’ or other food items as midday meals to primary school students. “The project hasn’t been approved as the Prime Minister is concerned about its structure (modus operandi). She said cooking Khichuri in schools might hamper the study of students,” said Planning Minister MA Mannan. The minister was briefing reporters after an Ecnec meeting held at the NEC conference room in the city. Ecnec Chairperson and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina chaired the meeting, joining it virtually from her official residence Ganobhaban. Also read: All above 14 to get smart NIDs; Ecnec clears project The meeting, however, cleared nine other projects involving an estimated total cost of Tk 5,239.62 crore, the minister added. Of the cost, he said, some Tk 250 crore will come as loan from foreign sources. Among the nine projects, six are fresh and three others revised ones. About the midday meal project, Mannan said the project will not be placed for approval anymore, but new projects over the midday meal may come in different formats.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday asked state-owned companies like Bangladesh Telecommunications Company Ltd (BTCL) to be self-reliant so that they do not have to depend on government funds. The Prime Minister made the directive while presiding over a meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) at the NEC Conference Room. She joined the meeting virtually from her official residence Ganobhaban. Planning Minister MA Mannan briefed reporters after the meeting from an online platform. “The Prime Minister instructed the state-owned companies to spend money from their own incomes. No money will be allotted from government funds in the future. They need to stand on their own feet,” said Mannan. Also read: People’s lives come first: PM Hasina He said the Prime Minister made the directive while approving a project titled ‘Installation of Telecommunication Network in Economic Zones (Phase-I)’ at the meeting. BTCL will implement a Tk 90.12-crore project by June 2023 in Srihatta economic zone in Maulvibazar, Sabrang and Naf Tourism Park at Teknaf, Sonadia Tourism Park at Maheshkhali and Jamalpur Economic Zone. The entire money will come from the state coffer. The Prime Minister also directed the authorities concerned to quickly complete the construction works on a super specialized hospital under Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University, said Mannan. The directive came during the approval of the first revision of ‘Specialised Hospital Establishment under Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University’ project with the deadline extension and the rise in costs. Also read: PM Hasina suggests 5 actions to deal with drug-resistant diseases Now the project deadline has been extended up to June 2022 from December 2020, while the project cost raised to Tk 1561.18 crore from the original estimated cost of Tk 1,366.34 crore. At the Ecnec meeting, a total of 10 projects involving the estimated cost of Tk 11,901.33 crore were approved, said the Planning Minister. Of them, Tk 8,991.44 crore will be borne from government funds, while Tk 2,099.91 crore will come as loan from foreign sources and the remaining Tk 809.98 crore from the own funds of the organisations concerned, he said. Nine of the projects are new while another is a revised one. Also read: Govt’s focus on agriculture to tap its full potential: PM Hasina The projects include modernisation and capacity enhancement of electricity supply by Rural Electrification Board in Khulna Division with an estimated cost of Tk 3076.23 crore by June 2025, Development of important rural roads in Cumilla, Brahmanbaria and Chandpur districts with Tk 2,500 crore by June 2025; and Construction of Upazila-Level Sheikh Russel Mini-Stadium (Phase-II) in 186 upazilas with Tk 1649.33 crore by June 2024. The rest of the projects are Rehabilitation and Expansion of Teesta Irrigation Command Area at a cost of Tk 1452.33 crore by June 2024; Flood control, drainage and irrigation at Patia in Chattogram with Tk 1,158.36 crore by June 2024; Construction of 1.4-km Panguchi Bridge over Panguchi River at Morelganj in Bagerhat with an estimated cost of Tk 912.33 crore by June 2025; Construction of Multistoried Building for the Department of Public Libraries with Tk 524.25 crore by June 2024; and Development of Rangamat’s Kargoripara-Bilaichhari Road and construction of bridges and culverts with Tk 338.54 crore by June 2024.
Speakers at a webinar on Tuesday demanded amending the Public Procurement Rules (PPR) in favour of domestic industries to give priorities to locally-made products in government procurement process. Speakers made the suggestions at a webinar titled ‘Bangladesh in Industrialization’. Bangladesh Electrical, Electronics and Home Appliance Manufacturing and Exporters Association (BEEMEA) organised the webinar. They said Bangladesh is self-sufficient in manufacturing of electronics and technology products. After meeting local demand, the ‘Made in Bangladesh’ labelled products are being exported to different countries. But the homemade products are being neglected in government procurement. Economic development of the country will be accelerated through the fourth industrial revolution only if the domestic industrial favourable policy is formulated, they argured. Planning Minister MA Mannan was present as chief guest at the webinar while Additional Secretary of the Ministry of Planning, also the Director General of CPTU, Shoheler Rahman Chowdhury was present as the special guest. BEEMEA Secretary General Mohammad Sirajul Islam presented the keynote paper. Read Walton launches new models of all-in-one computers BUET Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Satya Prasad Majumder, Distinguished Fellow at the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) Prof Dr Mustafizur Rahman, President of Bangladesh Engineering Industry Owners Association (BEIOA) Abdur Razzak, Chairman of Minister Hi-Tech Industrial Park, also the Vice-President of Bangladesh TV Manufacturing Association, Abdur Razzak Khan and Additional Managing Director of Walton Hi-Tech Industries Limited Abul Bashar Howlader were panel speakers at the webinar moderated by journalist Mridul Islam. In the keynote paper, Islam mentioned that Bangladeshi industrialists manufacture their products maintaining the suitability of local weather and electrical infrastructure with huge investment in research and development. The BSTI standard certificate is mandatory for domestic products. However, this certificate is not mandatory for similar kind of foreign products imported to the country. As a result, low-quality foreign products enter the country while domestic products are being neglected. BSTI certificate should make mandatory for imported foreign goods. The domestic made products should also be given priorities in government procurement as well, he said. Planning Minister Mannan said it is very encouraging that there are about 5,000 institutions involved in the electronics sector employing about 1.2 million people. The government is providing all kinds of assistance to the domestic industries and will continue supporting them. Dr Mustafizur said industrial companies in the electronics and light engineering sectors are the brand ambassadors of new innovative economy and the future of the country’s economy and employment. This sector is contributing to local market value addition, import substitution and export earnings. So, this sector should be given priority in terms of industrialisation and trade policy. “It’s very sad if they face discrimination. This sector will assist heavily to achieve the goal of developed Bangladesh by 2041,” he said. Read Walton launches 2 new 2nd generation compressors Prof Satya opined that all kinds of policy support are must for domestic electronics and technology products which are related to the fourth industrial revolution. In addition to tax benefits and tax holidays for the domestic industry, a new section needs to be added to the PPR rules. Industry-university collaboration is essential for the local high-tech industry and the involvement of local experts is also essential, he noted. Shoheler Rahman Chowdhury said the purpose of the PPR rules is to create equal opportunities for all local and foreign organisations so that they can take part in the competition. “We are planning to issue a circular with instructions so that there is no deviation from this policy as many bidders break the PPR law. He also assured to give priority to the domestic industries in the PPR policy amendment,” he said.
The High Court on Tuesday issued a rule asking the government to explain as to why the jail term of sacked mayor of Gazipur City Corporation (GCC) MA Mannan in a graft case should not be extended.