Bangladesh can draw more investment if corruption remains less prevalent: Peter Haas
US Ambassador to Bangladesh Peter Haas today (March 21, 2023) said his country is committed to working with Bangladesh to eliminate corruption – enabling Bangladeshis to enjoy lives of dignity and drawing more international trade and foreign investment. “If Bangladesh can assure citizens and investors that corruption is less prevalent here than in other markets, it will attract more investment and help the country continue on the path of economic growth,” he said. Ambassador Haas made the remarks at an event, titled “Call to Action Against Corruption Summit”, at a Dhaka hotel, organized by Centre for Governance Studies (CGS) and Center for International Private Enterprises. The US ambassador said corruption exists, to one degree or another, in every corner of the globe, and they are all too familiar with what it looks like. Read More: Excited to see more Bangladeshi students are choosing US: Peter Haas “It’s trying to get a driver’s license and having to pay ‘speed money’. It’s knowing that if you want a passport appointment, it’s going to cost you extra. It’s needing to bribe the right official to register a plot of land you just purchased,” Haas said. Corruption is a parasite that feeds on the resources of a society and drains it of its strength and can devastate every level of business and government, he said. “Sadly, some notorious scandals have occurred in my own country,” said the US ambassador. Yet, he said, exposing corruption and holding perpetrators accountable have catalyzed economic growth in the United States and elsewhere. Read More: New US Ambassador Peter Haas arrives in Dhaka “When societies exert such efforts, they prosper. I am confident this can be the case here in Bangladesh, as well, and the United States is eager to help,” he said. Under President Biden, the US government has established the fight against corruption as a core national security interest, he added. “We support initiatives that help Bangladeshi businesses meet international standards and regulations, making them more competitive in the global market,” said the envoy. “By promoting ethical business practices, we can create a more level playing field for businesses of all sizes and encourage more foreign investment,” he added. Read More: Peter Haas nominated next US Ambassador to Bangladesh The US Agency for International Development, USAID, has partnered with Bangladesh’s Registrar of Joint Stock Companies to launch an online registration process for new businesses. This makes registering new businesses more transparent, faster, and more affordable, Ambassador Haas said. USAID has also worked with the Bangladesh National Board of Revenue to establish authorized economic operators. This endeavour empowers the private sector, instead of the government, to release shipments at ports, he said. As a result, Haas said, the process has become more transparent and raised the level of trust between the private sector and the government. Read More: Prevent corruption in every sector: President to ACC The US Department of Commerce’s Commercial Law Development Program (CLDP) works with the Private Public Partnership Authority Bangladesh to conduct workshops to improve the legal and business environment of Bangladesh. CLDP also works with Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) to improve municipal governance by improving fiscal transparency. Under this program, CLDP invited over a DNCC delegation, including the mayor, to Miami in January. The US Department of Justice trains investigators and attorneys in the Anti-Corruption Commission on topics such as how to investigate and prosecute money laundering, how to use electronic evidence, and how to investigate financial crimes. “It has also fostered a relationship between Bangladesh’s Financial Intelligence Unit and the International Anti-Corruption Coordination Centre,” Haas said. Read More: All-pervasive corruption by AL destroys economy: Fakhrul “The United States is committed to holding corrupt officials accountable for their actions. This can take various forms,” said the ambassador. Just as US laws hold American citizens and businesses accountable for corrupt practices, there are US laws and penalties that apply to non-citizens who use corrupt practices in violation of the laws. “What can the Bangladeshi government do to reduce corruption? It could think about ways to empower institutions to tackle corruption and promote transparency and accountability in governance and business,” he said. One idea is to reduce the amount of cash that officials handle by replacing cash-based financial transactions with the government with online transactions, Haas said. Read More: Power tariff being raised frequently to manage corruption: Fakhrul “Citizens could pay bills, fines, and taxes electronically. Such a process would minimize the opportunity for bureaucrats to overcharge or misplace public funds into their own pockets,” he said. Haas recognized the important role a vibrant civil society and free media play in investigating and exposing instances of corruption. Bangladesh has many advantages that potential investors would find attractive, he said. “But as American business leaders tell me: multi-national firms have options on where they invest.” They will choose whichever country has the lowest levels of corruption, the fewest bureaucratic obstacles, the greatest respect for rule of law, and the best logistics infrastructure for their business, he added. Read More: BNP's complaints about corruption 'laughable': Hasan Mahmud
KBAA, KOICA, DNCC plant trees to mark 50 years of Dhaka-Seoul ties
To mark the 50 years of bilateral relations between Bangladesh and South Korea, the KOICA Bangladesh Alumni Association (KBAA), Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), and Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) held a tree plantation event at Shahid Dr Fazle Rabbi Park in Dhaka's Gulshan 1. As a part of a voluntary program to increase the consciousness of environmental protection, about 85 trees were planted in the rain garden zone of the park. DNCC Mayor Md Atiqul Islam, South Korean Ambassador Lee Jang-keun, Nasima Begum, Member of the Planning Commission and also president of KBAA, KOICA Country Director Kim Tae-young, Economic Relations Division Joint Secretary Masuma Akter, Korean Community President Yu Yong oh, and Korean Export Processing Zone President Jahangir Saadat were present at the event. Read: Japanese Ambassador joins KWE’s Bangladesh operations launching prog KBAA is a platform that bridges the gap between the two countries and deepens friendly ties. The total number of KOICA alumni, and government officials of Bangladesh who participated in KOICA-funded training programs, has reached more than 2,600 this year, reflecting the "multi-sectoral links" that have been established between Korea and Bangladesh over decades.
PM opens Mirpur-Kalshi flyover
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today (February 19, 2023) inaugurated the Mirpur-Kalshi flyover to vehicular movement. The flyover has been constructed to ease commute in Mirpur, Mirpur DOHS, Pallabi, Kalshi, Mahakhali, Banani, Uttara and Dhaka airport. The prime minister opened the flyover to traffic from a function at Kalshi intersection, adjoining Balur Math, in Dhaka. The 2,335m long flyover has been built under the Road Widening and Development Project from ECB Square to Mirpur and the Construction of Flyover on Kalshi Circle Project, which got ECNEC approval on January 9, 2018. Read more: Want peace, but ready to resist external attack: PM Hasina Under the project, 3.70km stretch of road from the ECB square to Kalshi was also widened. Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) and the Bangladesh Army (24 Engineer Construction Brigade) implemented the project at a cost of around Tk 1,012 crore. According to the project details, the flyover looks like the English alphabet ‘Y’. The previously four-lane roads have been widened to six lanes to ease commute. Read More: Remove posters, writings from Dhaka’s flyovers in 2 weeks: HC The main four-lane flyover runs from ECB square towards Kalshi and Mirpur DOHS, while a two-lane ramp descends from Kalshi intersection to Kalshi Road. The project also includes extension of a PC girder bridge, construction of two foot bridges, a public toilet, two police boxes, a 7.40 km RCC drain and saucer drain, a 1755m RCC pipe drain, retaining wall, 3383m communication duct, 8 lakh-linear metre sand compaction pile, separate cycle lane, and six bus bays. On her arrival at the venue, LGRD and Cooperatives Minister Md Tazul Islam, Dhaka North City Corporation Mayor Md Atiqul Islam, Chief of Army Staff General SM Shafiuddin Ahmed, Dhaka-16 MP Md Elias Uddin Mollah, and Local Government Division Secretary Muhammad Ibrahim welcomed her. Read More: Flyovers to be constructed in haor region, not roads: Planning Minister.
Atiqul wants holiday markets in all 54 wards under him
Dhaka North City Corporation will be setting up holiday markets in all 54 wards under its jurisdiction, according to mayor Atiqul Islam. He said this while addressing the opening ceremony of a holiday market in the Agargaon area of the capital. The holiday market, an initiative of the DNCC and Oikko Foundation, will enable SME entrepreneurs to promote their products. It will be open to all every Friday and Saturday. “We organized this kind of market for the first time to promote the SME sector. If this pilot project runs smoothly, we will initiate setting up holiday markets like this in all 54 wards of Dhaka North,” he said. “Mainly SME entrepreneurs will sell their products in this market. There will be no middlemen, so they will sell their products directly to the customers at an affordable price,” he added. Mentioning that DNCC is working to restore the sidewalks as per the mayor’s election manifesto, he also said a pilot project for hawkers is underway at Mirpur 10. “Certain hawkers will be allowed there five days a week, after 4 p.m. We have also thought about establishing evening markets,” he said. Also read: Save our cities and people: DNCC mayor at COP27 In his inaugural speech, Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi praised the initiative and urged involving more women entrepreneurs in all such initiatives. “Take steps so that women can come forward with their ventures,” he said. Following the inauguration ceremony, the DNCC Mayor, along with the chief guest and other guests, visited the stalls. The market has a total of 100 stalls. SME entrepreneurs set up stalls for leather products, jute products, handicrafts, fashion and lifestyle products, home decor products, organic agricultural products, agricultural products, food, and beverages. Additional Police Commissioner of DMP Mir Rezaul Alam, Chief Executive Officer of Dhaka North City Corporation Selim Reza, and local councillors were also present at the ceremony.
Teen worker dies jumping out of spa during DNCC drive
An 18-year-old girl died of her injuries after she and others tried to escape a spa centre in Gulshan, during a drive by Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) on Wednesday. Farzana Begum, 18, was the wife of one Zahid Hasan and a resident of Batiaghata upazila in Khulna. She had been living with her family in the capital’s Khilkhet. Alamgir Hossain, sub-inspector (SI) of Gulshan police station, said that two women who jumped off the roof of a building housing the spa centre during the DNCC drive and sustained serious injuries, were taken to Dhaka Medical College Hospital. Farzana was declared dead by the physicians while the other was undergoing treatment at the emergency department, he said. An officer who took part in the drive said the women fell when a team led by an executive magistrate of the DNCC reached the spot to conduct a drive against commercial activities in residential areas. Farzana’s husband said his wife and her elder sister Afsana left home for work at the spa at around 11am on Wednesday. Later he came to know that Farzana had an accident and her elder sister was detained at the police station, he said. Read more: DNCC evicts some 100 shops in Rayerbazar
Save our cities and people: DNCC mayor at COP27
Climate change is seriously disrupting city life across the globe, Dhaka North City Corporation Mayor Md Atiqul Islam said Monday, urging everyone to work together to save cities and their people. No one is safe until everyone is safe, he added. He was speaking at the Blue Zone of the 27th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP27) China Pavilion with C40 – a network of mayors of nearly 100 world-leading cities collaborating to deliver the urgent action needed right now to confront the climate crisis – in Egypt's Sharm El Sheikh. Atiqul spoke to the mayors of Chinese cities and representatives of other South-South cities. The Blue Zone is a UN-managed space where negotiations are hosted and, to enter, all attendees must be credited by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Secretariat. This year there are 156 pavilions inside the Blue Zone, double the amount at Glasgow. Many UN agencies, countries and regions are being represented. Atiqul said: "Heatwaves, flooding, cyclones and salinity are making people leave their homes for cities in search of a living and livelihood. As mayors, we have responsibilities towards our cities and their people." Read more: Around 6500 become climate refugees in Bangladesh every year: Momen at COP27 The vital United Nations climate talks, billed as one of the last chances to stave off climate breakdown, are taking place from November 6-18 amid a multitude of competing crises, including the war in Ukraine, high inflation, food shortages and an energy crunch. Negotiators are spending frantic days discussing whether to formally consider the issue of loss and damage, or reparations, to vulnerable nations suffering from climate change, and the issues, which weighed on the talks for years at COP27. Read more: Bangladesh wants mechanism to address loss and damage financing by 2024
DNCC to launch 30-day drive amid uptick in dengue cases
Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) will conduct a 30-day anti-mosquito drive in all of its wards, starting November 1, as the capital remains the main hotspot of a recent spike in dengue cases. DNCC Mayor Md Atiqul Islam announced the launch of the special drive said during a meeting in Dhaka's Gulshan Thursday. "Dengue cases are now on an upswing due to untimely storms and rains.The city corporation will work round-the-clock throughout the month to destroy the breeding grounds of Aedes, the carrier of the dengue virus, and Culex mosquitoes. The councillors, regional executive officers and health directorate officials will be on the field in each ward," he said. Even before the country's healthcare system has been able to fully recover from the blow of the Covid-19 pandemic, it is being hit hard by a recurrence of an outbreak of dengue, the disease that is endemic to Bangladesh. Read: Dengue claims 3 more lives; Death toll now 123 With three more deaths from dengue confirmed today, the official death toll from the disease rose to 123 in 2022 – the second-highest on record after the 179 deaths recorded in 2019. Doctors and health experts say that measures taken by the city corporations and other authorities are not proving to be effective. The publicity and drives carried out by the authorities to destroy larvae of Aedes mosquito are proving to be inadequate.
Dhaka North residents can get 10% rebate on holding tax, arrears
Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) has declared a 10 percent rebate on holding tax, including arrears, for holding owners and businesses on four instalments for the 2022-23 fiscal, if they pay online. Besides, the deadline for renewal of trade license without surcharge has been extended till November 30. Read: Separate sewage lines from water bodies within March: DNCC The DNCC took the initiative as part of the digitalization of all their activities including revenue collection, said a press release signed by DNCC Public Relations Officer Mokbul Hossain on Friday. DNCC residents will be able to pay holding tax, fees for new trade license or renewal of trade license, and other services digitally once the shift is complete.
“Those keeping construction material on the streets will face consequences”
Dhaka North City Corporation Mayor Atiqul Islam has said that those who will restrict public movement by keeping construction material on the streets will face consequences. The DNCC mayor said this while attending an awareness-raising campaign against dengue in Mirpur’s Paikpara area today. “While searching for Aedes larvae, I found that building owners have kept construction material including rods, cement and sand out in the open, which were blocking the drains and causing water to accumulate on the streets. This practice must stop. Whether it’s a government, semi-government or private establishment, we’ll take tough actions against those who’ll cause public suffering,” said the mayor. Also read: Day 1 of Anti-dengue drive: DNCC realises over Tk 4 lakh in fines Meanwhile, a DNCC team led by Executive Magistrate Parsia Sultana Priyanka confiscated huge amount of construction material from the streets and sold them in an open auction at a price of Tk 18.45 lakh. Atiqul added that people have to be more aware to prevent dengue from spreading. “People’s awareness is a must for tackling such a deadly disease as dengue. This year, we’ve taken steps against dengue long before the start of monsoon and as a result, the virus has been contained to a great extent. We need peoples’ support for gaining complete control over dengue,” added Atiqul. Also read: DNCC to launch school bus services During the campaign, Mayor Atiqul also informed that free dengue check-up has been made available in a total of 44 city health centers. He also requested everyone to go to hospital and receive treatment immediately if affected with the virus.
No allocation for plans with roads less than 20 feet wide: Mayor Atiqul
Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) Mayor Md Atiqul Islam said on Wednesday that there would be no finance allocated for development plans with roads less than 20 feet wide. “Financial allocation won’t be approved for carrying out development work with roads less than 20 feet wide,” he said. Mayor Atiqul made the remarks while addressing a corporation meeting on the sixth floor of the Nagar Bhaban in the capital’s Ghulshan area as chief guest. Warning of strict action against the perpetrators, he said coordinating with the corporation’s estate department to widen the roads is a must. Besides, RAJUK will have to be informed in writing about the development work of the road, he said, adding that any road gets narrowed due to illegal occupation. At the meeting, different issues including halting the movement of illegal battery-run auto-rickshaws to save power, opening online councillor certificate system, issuing trade license, coordination with traffic police to reduce congestion, early removal of waste, cleaning waste drainage and shifting the Karwan Bazar kitchen market were discussed. DNCC Secretary Mohammrd Masud Alam Siddique conducted the meeting where the corporation’s councillors, Chief Executive Officer Md Selim Reza, Chief Health Officer Bridger General Md Zobaidur Rahman, Chief Engineer Bridger General Muhammad Amirul Islam and Chief Waste Management Officer Cdre S M Sharif-Ul Islam were all present, among others. Also read: No project to be allowed to continue unless public safety is ensured: Atiqul