Linde Bangladesh has said it will continue the import of medical oxygen by train to supplement its local supply with active assistance from Linde India, the governments of India and Bangladesh. This is one of several initiatives that Linde Bangladesh has embarked on to help support the fight against the current Covid-19 crisis, including the Medical Oxygen Booths inaugurated at Khulna Medical College Hospital earlier this week, it said. Read:Oxygen imported by pvt sector 'ready for unloading' in Benapole A spokesperson from Linde Bangladesh said the Oxygen Express was an initiative that Linde India worked on with the government of India, and “we’re glad to be able to adopt it for the growing crisis in Bangladesh as well. The medical oxygen supply was sourced from Linde India plants in India and will be distributed to the Covid-19 dedicated hospitals nationwide.” Read:India working to resume vaccine export to Bangladesh, reiterates Doraiswami To meet the growing demand of medical oxygen in Bangladesh due to the rising Covid-19 cases, Linde Bangladesh on Saturday imported 200 MT of medical oxygen by train from India. This first-of-its-kind initiative saw 10 ISO tankers being transported on the Oxygen Express from Jamshedpur, India and arrived at Bangabandhu West railway station via Benapole. Linde Bangladesh Limited is a member of The Linde PLc that has been present in Bangladesh since the 1950s. Read: “Green Corridor” for oxygen tankers at ICP Petrapole A pioneer multinational company in the gases business, Linde Bangladesh has operations in Rupganj, Shitalpur and Khulna. With close to 20 sales centers spread throughout the country, Linde Bangladesh serves over 35,000 customers from a wide array of industries - from hospitals to fabrication and from steel to food packaging and beverages.
Countries across the globe are continuing to move towards a seamless and efficient trading environment, within and beyond national borders, by simplifying and digitalizing formalities in international trading, helping to sustain international trade despite the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a survey released by the United Nations regional commissions on Wednesday. The United Nations Global Survey on Digital and Sustainable Trade Facilitation is produced biennially by the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), the Economic Commission for Europe (ECE), the Economic Commission for Latin America and Caribbean (ECLAC), the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA). Read:Japan to send 2.9 mn doses of AstraZeneca vaccine for Bangladesh: Envoy The Survey covers not only the trade facilitation measures in the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement, but also digital trade facilitation measures associated with the Framework Agreement on Facilitation of Cross-border Paperless Trade in Asia and the Pacific, a UN treaty which entered into force earlier this year. The Survey also pays closer attention to sectors and groups with special needs, such as the agricultural sector, small and medium enterprises and women traders. A new module on trade facilitation during times of crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic was integrated this year. Many developing countries have made rapid progress in streamlining trade procedures, particularly in Asia and the Pacific. The Survey, covering 143 countries, shows that the global average implementation rate of trade facilitation and paperless trade measures at 65 per cent. Read:EU should consider impacts of new climate change mechanism on global trade: Unctad Based on 128 common countries, it is an increase of 5 percentage points from an average of 61 per cent to 66 per cent in the last Survey in 2019. In 2021, developed economies have the highest implementation rate (82 per cent), followed by countries in South-East and East Asia (75 per cent). Pacific Islands have the lowest implementation rate (44 per cent). In the Asia-Pacific region, implementation increased by nearly 6 percentage points since 2019, with most progress made in Pacific Island Developing Economies, although they have the lowest implementation rate of all subregions. Many of the measures included in the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement have been largely implemented. Read:Deaths on maritime migration routes to Europe soar in first half of 2021: IOM However, implementation of measures to achieve cross-border paperless trade remains much lower than that of others in large part because these measures – such as electronic exchange of customs declaration or certificate of origins across borders – require trust and closer collaboration among countries. “Implementation of cross-border paperless trade remains a challenge everywhere, even though the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted how useful it can be to exchange documents electronically to reduce physical contacts and the spread of the virus,” according to Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of ESCAP. “I encourage all leaders to take advantage of all available global and regional mechanisms to make progress, such as the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement and the Framework Agreement on Facilitation of Cross-border Paperless Trade in Asia and the Pacific.”
Bangladesh and Kosovo have discussed the possibilities of investment and development of trade relations by signing the Avoidance of Double Taxation Treaty. The two countries also discussed the ongoing Covid-19 crisis and vaccine issue, ease of visa for diplomatic and official passport holders, cultural exchange, and people-to-people connectivity. President of Kosovo Dr Vjosa Osmani-Sadriu has sought Bangladesh's support for Kosovo’s accession in the United Nations (UN) and other international forums. Also read: Bangladesh, Kosovo sign MoU; plan to boost bilateral ties Bangladesh Ambassador Md Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan presented his credentials to the President of Kosovo at the office of the President in Prishtina recently and discussed the issues of mutual cooperation. The Ambassador mentioned the similar history of struggle for independence for both countries and how the people of Bangladesh had stood against all odds under the leadership of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. He said Bangladesh is always in support of Kosovo as a good friend. During the meeting, the President congratulated the Ambassador on his new appointment as non-resident Ambassador of Bangladesh to Kosovo. Bangladesh Ambassador conveyed to the President the sincere greetings and best wishes from President Md. Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Also read: PM for exploring avenues for Bangladesh-Kosovo cooperation He informed the President about the socio-economic developments taking place in Bangladesh under the leadership of the Prime Minister of Bangladesh and briefed him about commendable achievements in economic and social sectors of Bangladesh. At the end of the meeting, the President of Kosovo conveyed her best wishes to the President of Bangladesh and the Prime Minister.
Countries like Bangladesh that have the capability of producing vaccines should be allowed and supported in producing those, Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen has said. He made the proposal while delivering his speech at the Asia Pacific high-level conference on Belt and Road Cooperation on “Promoting Cooperation on Combating the Pandemic for Sustainable Recovery” held virtually on Wednesday night. Wang Yi, State Councillor and Foreign Minister of China, chaired the meeting. Also read: Covid vaccine apparently emerged as another tool of exploitation: FM Under the robust leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Dr Momen said, Bangladesh achieved success in managing the first wave of cornonavirus. "However, we are facing difficulty in the second wave due to shortage of vaccines," he said. Despite all good intentions, their actions will go in vain if the availability, access, and distribution of necessary finance are not in place for recovery from this crisis, Dr Momen said. "Given the scale of threat posed by COVID19, we need a globally harmonised structure of financial infrastructure," he said. In his five-point proposal, Dr Momen sought rapid information sharing nationally and globally through digital means e.g. live data, in a time-sensitive manner; taking globally united and coordinated efforts to combat against the common enemy; stronger and concerted advocacy with the vaccine producing states to strengthen COVAX by WHO, while ensuring ‘free to choose’; and to ensure that no one is left behind, to declare the Covid-19 vaccines a global public good, and to implement its distribution through strong international cooperation. Also read: Serum may resume vaccine export in July/August Although the Covid-19 pandemic has not spared any country from its devastating impacts, the least developed and developing countries are the most affected, he said. "This is happening while the same groups of countries are already grappling with the adverse ramifications of climate change." The Foreign Minister said timely sharing of transparent and correct information at the national, regional and global level is of the essence in abating the impacts of Covid-19 crisis. This calls for fortification of digital infrastructure, both intra and inter-nations, for smooth transmission of critical data on issues inter-alia country experience, management, and best proven interventions, he said. Such data sharing would help in augmenting country and region-specific information tools for better policy devising, Dr Momen said. He said vaccines remain the centrepiece in the effective fight against the pandemic. "Bangladesh believes that vaccines should be declared as a global public good." He said it is encouraging to see countries like China playing important roles for availability of vaccines. "The COVAX initiative by WHO is highly laudable. Thus, to realise the objectives of such multilateral efforts, we need transitioning to non-linear, big data driven, and prioritised supply chain systems to ensure availability, access, and affordability of vaccines to build back better and stronger socio-economically," he said. Dr Momen said infrastructure will play a critical role in this regard. "Bangladesh is ready and willing to work with the BRI partners to develop sustainable infrastructures for the benefit of the peoples in Asia-Pacific." Also read: Vaccine production in Bangladesh: Experts 'vehemently against private sector’s engagement' "At the same time, through our Chairmanship of the 48-member Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) and V20, we are going the extra mile in ensuring a climate resilient recovery from this pandemic not only for ourselves but also for the whole membership CVF," he said.
Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) President Faruque Hassan has sought the support of the Bangladesh High Commission in London regarding non-payment by some of the British brands to their Bangladeshi suppliers during the Covid-19 crisis. Bangladesh High Commissioner to the UK Saida Muna Tasneem met BGMEA President Faruque Hassan at the latter’s office and discussed trade related issues. Read:BGMEA seeks 10-yr extension of GSP in Swiss market BGMEA Vice President Miran Ali was also present at the meeting. They discussed various trade issues including export opportunities for Bangladesh in the UK market and generating ways to attract more foreign direct investment from the country. Read: BGMEA chief underlines importance of enhanced productivity The discussions also encompassed issues regarding graduation of Bangladesh from LDC, possible changes in the tariff regime and how Bangladesh could retain its market access in the post-LDC status in the UK.
Nagad, the mobile financial service arm of Postal Department, has started disbursing the Prime Minister's financial assistance to 14.97 lakh families who lost their livelihood amid the Covid-19 crisis as Eid gift.Each family listed by the government will receive Tk 2,500 with the cash-out charge under the G2P process. Nagad will complete the disbursement before Eid, according to a press release.On Sunday, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina launched the programme from Ganobhaban, her official residence, by sending financial assistance to 15 families in Chattogram, Bhola and Jaipurhat. Also read: 86,452 primary students get stipend, allowance through Nagad in phase 1 The programme was conducted via video conferencing where deputy commissioners of the concerned districts participated along with the beneficiaries. Prime Minister's Principal Secretary Ahmad Kaikaus hosted the event.In the current phase, the Prime Minister is providing financial assistance to 33.39 lakh beneficiaries with the help of two other MFS providers beside Nagad. The state carrier will disburse 45 percent of the total funds of this phase while rest of the amount will be disbursed by the two other MFS providers. On the opening day, around 11,000 beneficiaries received funds through their Nagad account.Beneficiaries do not have to bear any additional cost for cash out since the government is paying the charge. However, Nagad users will get the full cash out amount which is Tk 37.35.Tanvir A Mishuk, managing director of Nagad, thanked the Prime Minister for trusting Nagad once again with the task of distributing the largest portion of the fund.“We promise that the assistance will be delivered to all beneficiaries in the list given by the government in the most transparent manner. Nagad always operates in accordance with the rules of Bangladesh Bank and will continue to maintain that,” Mishuk said. Also read: Three clients joining Nagad network each secondLast year before Eid the Prime Minister directed to distribute Tk 2,500 government assistance to each family and at that time Nagad also got the biggest chunk of 17 lakh beneficiaries for allocation.Currently there are 4.1 crore Nagad users and daily transactions crossed to Tk 400 crore on daily basis.
A new report on pandemics and cities from UN-Habitat, points the way to how hard-hit urban centres can reduce the impact of future outbreaks and become more equitable, healthy and environmentally friendly. ‘Cities and Pandemics: Towards a more just, green and healthy future’, launched on Tuesday, describes how urban areas have been at the forefront of the COVID-19 crisis. “95 per cent of all cases” were recorded in cities in the first months of the pandemic, Maimunah Mohd Sharif, UN-Habitat Executive Director, said. Also read: UN Chief for ensuring equitable distribution of Covid-19 vaccine Cities on the frontline “Throughout this pandemic, it has been up to local governments and communities to move quickly and decisively to stop the spread of COVID-19 and ensure an effective response,” Ms. Sharif added. Despite these pressures, many local governments and community leaders responded quickly and effectively to prevent the spread of the pandemic and mitigate its effects. The UN-Habitat report recommends actions for a sustainable recovery based on evidence from more than 1,700 cities. Life and death inequalities It found that patterns of inequality, due to a lack of access to basic services, poverty and overcrowded living conditions, have been key destabilising factors in increasing the scale and impact of COVID-19. Eduardo Moreno, Head of Knowledge and Innovation at UN-Habitat, said that due to the pandemic, an estimated “120 million people in the world will be pushed into poverty and living standards will reduce by 23 per cent”. “The conclusion is that income matters”, he added. According to the text, urban leaders and planners must rethink how people move through and in cities, using lessons learned from the last year of COVID-19. This includes an increased focus at the local level on planning neighbourhoods and communities that are multi-functional and inclusive. Also read: UN chief calls for action to ensure human rights for all Planning, affordability The report explores how well-planned cities combining residential and commercial with public spaces, along with affordable housing, can improve public health, the local economy and the environment. It calls for cities to be at the forefront of moves towards a Social Contract between governments, the public, civil society and private sector. The new social contract should “explore the role of the state and cities to finance universal basic income, universal health insurance, universal housing”, said Sharif. For one real-world example, Claudia Lopez Hernandez, Mayor of Bogota, explained how in the Colombian capital, their new social contract prioritises women and children. It is a “social contract that includes women, that provides them with time, with time to take care of themselves, with time to educate themselves, and with time and education skills to come back to the labour market”. “To have self-sustainable women is to have self-sustainable societies”, Hernandez explained. Also read: UN chief calls for immediate attention to 3 global emergencies New priorities The Report outlines how a new normal can emerge in cities “where health, housing and security are prioritised for the most vulnerable, not only out of social necessity, but also from a profound commitment to human rights for all.” This requires governments to focus on policies to protect land rights, improve access to water, sanitation, public transport, electricity, health and education facilities and ensure inclusive digital connectivity. The Report recommends strengthening access to municipal finance to enable city leaders to build a new urban economy that reduces disaster risk as well as addressing climate change by developing nature-based solutions and investing in sustainable infrastructure to enable low carbon transport. The Cities and Pandemics Report makes it clear that the way urban environments recover from the pandemic, will have a major impact on the global effort to achieve a sustainable future for all – in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Though significant steps have been taken to prevent debt crises across the world sparked by the COVID-19 crisis, they have not been sufficient to restore economic stability in many developing countries, according to a policy brief issued by the UN Secretary-General on Monday. More than a year into the pandemic, the fiscal impacts of the crisis are triggering debt distress in a growing number of countries and is severely limiting the ability of many, to invest in recovery and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including urgently needed climate action, Secretary-General António Guterres said. Also read: Let's plant seeds for sustainable future: UN chief According to the policy brief, 42 economies borrowing from capital markets have experienced sovereign downgrades since the start of the pandemic, including 6 developed countries, 27 emerging market economies, and 9 least developed countries. Sovereign downgrades cause borrowing costs to rise, especially for developing countries, which can, in turn, increase the risk of more nations taking on unsustainable debt – especially if the Covid-19 pandemic is more protracted and deeper than expected. “Unless we take decisive action on debt and liquidity challenges, we risk another ‘lost decade’ for many developing countries, putting the achievement of the SDGs by the 2030 deadline definitively out of reach,” Guterres said. The policy brief, entitled Liquidity and Debt Solutions to Invest in the SDGs, takes stock of the global policy response since April last year, assess remaining gaps and challenges for their implementation, as well as propose updates to the recommendations, presented last year, in light of developments over the past 12 months. Need for debt relief The brief highlights the need for debt relief to create space for investments in recovery and for achieving the SDGs. Even in the cases of elevated debt, new borrowing can lead to improved creditworthiness if it finances productive investments, it noted, adding that debt relief can also free up resources, create conditions under which countries can return to voluntary market access, and may lower a country’s overall borrowing costs, with positive impacts across the whole economy. Assistance for small island states The Secretary-General also urged governments to provide fresh concessional financing for developing countries, especially least developed countries and small island developing States, recapitalise multilateral development banks and accelerate the timetable for replenishing the funds, meet official development assistance (ODA) commitments and provide long-term financing to developing countries for investment in long-term growth. In support of recent endorsements from the G7, the document also called for a new general allocation of special drawing rights reiterating the need to combine a voluntary reallocation of the rights from developed to developing countries. The brief also urged the G20 to extend the World Bank’s Debt Suspension Initiative (DSSI) until the end of June 2022 and include middle-income countries, notably small island developing States that have been gravely affected by the crisis. It also urged the bloc to extend the eligibility for debt relief under its Common Framework for Debt Treatment Beyond the DSSI to other vulnerable countries on a case-by-case basis, as well as consider other mechanisms that would allow countries to access the framework, without compromising the credit rating. Also read: UN chief lauds Bangladesh’s Covid mitigation efforts Financing the 2030 Agenda The policy brief was released to coincide with the high-level meeting of Heads of State and Government on ‘Financing for Development in the era of COVID-19 and Beyond’. The virtual meeting on Tuesday, followed up on a series of meetings and last year to mobilise action to assist the economic recovery from the pandemic. The high-level meeting is convened jointly by the Secretary-General Prime Minister Andrew Holness of Jamaica, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada. ‘Liquidity is vital’ Addressing the high-level meeting, Guterres called for urgent assistance for developing countries so they have the financial liquidity they need to respond to the pandemic as well as invest in recovery, or risk a “lost decade” in development terms. “I’m encouraged to see that our insistence on the necessity for a new allocation of Special Drawing Rights by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the reallocation of unused SDRs to support vulnerable countries, including middle income ones, is now winning widespread acceptance … let us make sure it happens – and is properly managed to the benefit of the developing world”, he said. Also read: UN Chief for ensuring equitable distribution of Covid-19 vaccine The Secretary-General urged a “three-phase” approach to debt, including a moratorium on debt payments, targeted debt relief, and reforms to the international debt architecture. He also called for more responsible borrowing and lending, accepted by debtor and creditor countries, investors, market participants, credit rating agencies and international organisations, highlighting the need for a time-bound, open dialogue to build trust and transparency in a systematic, inclusive way. “Together, with collective resolve, we can help all countries invest in response, recovery, and a more sustainable, resilient future.”
House prosecutors on Tuesday wrenched senators and the nation back to the deadly attack on Congress as they opened Donald Trump’s historic second impeachment trial with graphic video of the insurrection and Trump’s own calls for a rally crowd to march to the iconic building and “fight like hell” against his reelection defeat.