Economic Reporters Forum
The Economic Reporters Forum (ERF) awarded 12 reporters the ERF-bKash best reporting awards 2022 for their outstanding reporting in different categories. The winners were: In Macroeconomy category-Daulat Akhtar Mala (print), Md Hasanul Alam Shaon (TV) and Md Shah Alam Khan (Online) Capital market category- Fakhrul Islam Haroon (Prin) and Alamgir Hossain (TV), Sanaullah Saqib Tanu and Moushumi Islam (Print, Online) jointly won the award in the Bank and Insurance category, Babu Kamruzzaman (TV) was selected for the best TV report in the Bank and Insurance category; Arifur Rahman in investigative reporting category (print, online, TV); Jahangir Shah Kajal and Subhankar Karmkar for joint reporting in the Private Sector category (Print, Online, TV); In the International Trade and Remittance category, Md. Shafiqul Islam (Print, Online, TV); Sanaullah Saqib Tanu (Print, Online, TV) in the Agro Economy category and Jahangir Shah Kajal (Print, Online, TV) in the Revenue (Revenue Sector) category won the best reporting award. Read more: ERF honoured with WCO Certificate of Merit 2022 Planning Minister MA Mannan, MP was the chief guest at the prize distribution ceremony on Tuesday at the auditorium of Krishibid Institute Bangladesh in the capital. The awarded journalists received a crest and a commemorative check of Tk1.0 lakh each. Mobile financial service providers’ bkash sponsored the best reporting award this year. Read more: Digital infrastructure key to attracting more remittance through legal channels, speakers say
Poultry growers have placed 11 demands including access to easy and soft loans for the grassroot level poultry farmers through stimulus package, and checking the illogical price hike of poultry feeds and chicks. Bangladesh Poultry Industry Forum (BPIF) placed the demands at a discussion meeting, organised by Bangladesh SME Forum, at Economic Reporters Forum (ERF) Auditorium in the city on Saturday. With President of both Bangladesh SME Form and Bangladesh Poultry Industry Forum M Mamun in the chair, the event was addressed by former additional secretary Dr Sheikh Rezaul Islam, Dhaka University teacher Dr Latiful Bari, ERF general secretary MM Rashidul Islam, Borhanuddin, Abdur Rahim, Lotus Parvez, Manik Sheikh, Sujan Sarker, Tahmid Hasan and Masuma Khatun. The BPIF leaders said the poultry industry has been experiencing a severe crisis due to recent increase in the price of its raw materials including feeds and chicks. Read: Govt forming policy to safeguard poultry, dairy industries “A strong syndicate of unscrupulous business has been responsible for the recent crisis and the government should find them out to punish them,” said M Mamun. The BPIF leaders alleged that although the poultry products are selling at higher prices in the local market, the actual farmers at the grass root levels are not getting the benefit of it. Rather, a middle group is being benefited from the increased price of the products, they observed. They also said that the industry owners are not receiving due financial support from the government although a stimulus package was announced for the industrial sector. Read: Thakurgaon poultry farmers brace for huge loss Many poultry owners had to shut down their industries facing a huge loss in the business during the Covid-19 pandemic situation. The farmers are now switching to other businesses from this losing concern, they observed. They also demanded formulating a pro-industrial policy to support the poultry industry.
Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi on Sunday said that it’s possible to give 50 to 60 per cent money back to the cheated clients of the Destiny Group and Jubok by selling the assets of the two companies which collapsed amid widespread fraud. “To my consideration, the cheated clients can get up to 50 to 60 per cent of the money back…. But the issue remains pending with the court for settlement”, he said while addressing a workshop organized by the Bangladesh Competition Commission (BCC) for the members of Economic Reporters Forum (ERF) at the BCC office in the city. The BCC organized the event to discuss the issues for creating a fair competition environment in the market through implementation of the Competition Law. Tipu said that he discussed the issue with the law minister who informed him that the law ministry has been working on how to compensate the Destiny and Jubok clients. As per the estimation by different government bodies, Destiny and Jubok have about Tk 7,000 crore assets.
The family of late Zahiduzzaman Faruque Sunday handed over budget documents and other economy-related books – collected by the economic journalist in the last 52 years – to the Economic Reporters Forum (ERF) Library. Faruque's son Mohiuzzaman Faruque and daughter-in-law Farhana Khan handed over the documents and books to ERF President Sharmeen Rinvy and General Secretary SM Rashidul Islam at a ceremony at the ERF Library in the capital. Economic journalist Faruque, who passed away on August 19, had worked for over four decades and would love to collect budget documents, other economy-related books and various data and information. He started keeping budget documents in 1968. Mohiuzzaman said: "The passion and profession of my father was journalism. He also loved to do research and write on the various aspects of the economy. The purpose of handing over these books and documents is to ensure proper use of these resources." ERF President Sharmeen Rinvy said Zahiduzzaman Faruque had worked throughout his life to spread economic journalism in Bangladesh. "So, he collected various documents on the economy which will contribute to economic journalism in future." ERF General Secretary SM Rashidul Islam said a separate corner would be set up at the ERF Library after the name of Zahiduzzaman Faruque where all the documents and books will be showcased.
Speakers for tapping potential for FDI in agro processing, light engineering, blue economy, education sectors
Speakers at a webinar on Saturday stressed the need for reforming the taxation system alongside tapping the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) potentials in a wide range of sectors like agro processing, light engineering, non-cotton apparel, home textile, blue economy and education in Bangladesh to ensure export diversification and smooth LDC graduation. They also suggested extending the scope for whitening undisclosed money in the health infrastructure, economic zones, and in other infrastructure sectors alongside the existing sectors to create more employment opportunities. The participants also opined that all the concerned stakeholders need to extend their all-out cooperation to the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) to attract more FDI in the country. The webinar was organized as part of the Economic Reporters Forum (ERF) Webinar Series in partnership with the Asia Foundation and Research and Policy Integration for Development (RAPID). As the chief guest, Planning Minister MA Mannan spoke at the Webinar titled-“FDI for Export Diversification and Smooth LDC Graduation” while ERF Vice President Shafiqul Alam was chair. Chairman of RAPID and Director of Policy Research Institute (PRI) Dr Mohammad Abdur Razzaque made the key-note presentation and ERF general secretary SM Rashidul Islam moderated the function. MA Mannan said it is a fact that the country does not receive that level of FDI that it needs. “In this regard, all the concerned agencies need to accomplish their tasks in due time to attract more FDI,” he also said, suggesting overcoming the “cultural context” and thus move forward together with modern attitude. Also read: BIDA, BBF join hands to boost FDI BIDA Executive Chairman Md Sirazul Islam said BIDA needs to be empowered fully as it still needs to depend on others to facilitate the private sector. Noting that there is no lacking from BIDA to create enabling environment for attracting more FDI, he added that the Authority has made effective the One Stop Service (OSS) platform to ensure transparent and hassle free service delivery. Sirazul informed that some 47 services have so far been brought under online while the services of some 16 organizations including BIDA have already come under OSS platform. Listing various steps of the BIDA to further ease the doing business index, he informed that separate courts would be lunched in Dhaka and Chattogram to speedily resolve the commercial disputes. “We'll definitely try our best to face the challenges emerging before us. But for that the public and the private sector need to work together,” he said adding that the door of BIDA would always remain open for the private sector. Sirazul also opined that if the local Investment could be promoted further, there would be more FDI inflow. He suggested for providing COVID-19 vaccination facility to the legally employed foreigners in Bangladesh to show that Bangladesh values all lives equally and also to send a good signal to the outside world. Also read: FICCI roundtable upholds importance of FDI to Vision 2041 President of Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) Barrister Nihad Kabir said the now defunct Board of Investment (BOI) was earlier regarded as the “Dead Stop Service” or ‘Full Stop Service’, but now BIDA has somehow managed to overcome that bad name, but still there is a lot to do. Expressing her resentment over the treatment of the businessmen in the country, Nihad said if the businessmen are not treated with respect in the country, then the foreign investors would not come to a big extent. She said although Bangladesh has an extremely courageous leader to run the country, but others are not moving ahead with the same pace that the Prime Minister has. Nihad also suggested for targeting the potential sectors, adopting a coherent policy strategy by BIDA, signing more Preferential Trade Agreements with potential countries, and thus extending all-out support to BIDA to attract more FDI. The President of Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) Rizwan Rahman underscored the need for reforming the tax rate as it is still high compared to the global and Asian average. He also suggested extending the provision for whitening undisclosed money in the health infrastructure, tourism and in economic zones alongside the real estate and capital market, otherwise there would be bubbles in the economy. Rizwan said that there is much more scope for attracting more FDI in the Blue Economy and education sectors of the country. He said that if the non-RMG sectors could be nurtured properly apart from the RMG sector, then the country would be able to realize billions of dollars of export earnings. Also read: Bangladesh seeks increased FDI in economic zones Citing an example that the Bangladeshi exports earn $1,089 by exporting 1000KGs of tea shirts, whereas the Vietnamese exporters earn $2,157 by exporting the same volume, Syed Nasim Manzur, Managing Director of Apex Footwear Ltd, said “bargaining power’ makes the difference here which needs to be addressed. He said it is the high time to recapture the Japanese Investment from Myanmar to Bangladesh adding, “This is the chance we must not lose,” About the taxation system, the country's leading entrepreneur in the footwear sector alleged that taxation system in the country is totally taxpayer unfriendly adding that new entrepreneurs would not come while the existing businesses would not flourish unless the taxation system is reformed. He also suggested ensuring duty free and quota free access in markets like Japan, EU, India and China by not looking forward only to the market of USA. Manzur cited huge FDI and Investment potentials in the country's agro processed food, light engineering, non-cotton apparel and home textile sectors for which there is a need for necessary tax reforms. In his key-note address, Dr Abdur Razzaque said the tax-GDP ratio needs to be revamped in Bangladesh while FDI can create modern job opportunities and bring in new technology and management practices for Bangladesh. Mentioning that public health expenditure is one of the lowest in Bangladesh, he said this budget needs to be increased while more investment is needed in the education sector. Mentioning that countries like Vietnam and Indonesia are greatly benefitting from FDI, Razzaque said their good practices can be applied in Bangladesh. Executive Director of RAPID and Dhaka University Professor of Development Studies Dr M Abu Yusuf and Country Representative of the Asia Foundation Kazi Faisal Bin Seraj gave the welcome addresses.
The Economic Reporters Forum (ERF) on Wednesday strongly condemned the reported threat by LR Global Asset Management Company to file a lawsuit against its member, journalist Niaz Mahmud, under the controversial Digital Security Act. "We think the threat is an assault against freedom of expression," the ERF said in a release. The release also said that the ERF believes every aggrieved person, firm, group or organization has the right to defend itself from an unlawful reporting or smear campaign. "But we strongly protest any move to use the Digital Security Act to target a journalist." In this connection, it mentioned that country's civil society, rights groups, journalist groups and the Editors Council have strong reservations about the DSA and have repeatedly demanded amendments to some of the key clauses of the laws. It also said that International rights groups such as the Amnesty International and the Human Rights Watch and the Committee to Protect Journalist (CPJ) have highlighted how the DSA has been used since its enactment in 2018 to muzzle dissent and even rightful reporting practices. ERF in its release stated that Some rights groups even demanded repeal of the law, saying it was being used to target truth-seeking journalists. It hoped LR Global Asset Management Company Limited will reconsider its stand and act as a responsible and morally upright business organization. "The ERF stands against any move to silence lawful journalism by any member of the media."
Bangladesh-China Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCCI) and the Economic Reporters Forum (ERF) on Tuesday announced launching of annual BCCCI-ERF Award to highlight booming business and economic relationship between Bangladesh and China.
The government will upgrade 250 firms to international standard in order to increase employment and exports in the leather and leather goods, footwear, plastics, and light engineering sectors.
The Economic Reporters Forum (ERF) on Thursday completed the registration of its permanent office through a ceremony at its office at Purana Paltan in the capital.