New Year: Blinken greets Momen, his family

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has greeted Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen and wished his family a joyous and peaceful New Year.

“May you and your family have a joyous holiday season and peaceful New Year,” Secretary Blinken wrote in his New Year’s message from the US State Department.

Source: United News of Bangladesh

Rescued python released in Sundarbans

A 10-feet python was released in the Sundarbans after being rescued by members of Village Tiger Response Team (VTRT) and WildTeam, wildlife conservation organization, at North Tafalbari village in Sarankhola Upazila Tuesday afternoon.

Locals spotted the python in a pond of Jiten Gain of the village and informed the Forest Department.

On information, VTRT members rushed to the spot and rescued the python weighing 20-25 kg.

Md. Shamsul Arefin, Assistant Conservator of Forests (ACF) of Sarankhola Range, said the python might have entered the locality in search of food.

On December 13, another python was caught by local people at Zilbunia village of Sarankhola Upazila and then it was released in the Sundarbans.

According to the Forest Department, over 100 pythons were rescued in the last one year from different adjacent areas of the Sundarbans.

Source: United News of Bangladesh

No one can ignore Bangladesh now: Hasina

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday said nobody can ignore Bangladesh anymore as the image of the country has brightened for its successes in its socio-economic development, promoting global peace and tackling domestic terrorism and militancy.

“Once there were so many negative words against Bangladesh abroad.Still, some people are there who like to undermine Bangladesh. But the image of Bangladesh has brightened for its socio-economic development, and for many other reasons,” she said.

The Prime Minister was addressing the graduation ceremony of DSCSC-2021-2022 course virtually from her official residence Ganobhaban. The graduation ceremony was held at Sheikh Hasina Complex of Defence Services Command and Staff College (DSCSC) in Mirpur Cantonment here.

Hasina said Bangladesh has successfully regained the dignity that was obtained through the victory of the 1971 Liberation War but lost after the 1975 August 15.

“Now no one can neglect Bangladesh. Bangladesh has gained the dignity as a role model for development.This will have to be upheld,” she said.

Referring to Bangladesh’s foreign policy – “Friendship to all, Malice towards None,”– framed by the Father of the Nation, she said Bangladesh has always been maintaining the policy.

“We won’t fight against anyone. But we won’t remain silent if any blow comes to our independence and sovereignty. We’ll resist or protest it. We’ve built our armed forces in that way,” she said.

Noting that Bangladesh always believes in maintaining friendly relations with others, she said, “Bangladesh has been playing a very significant role in the promotion of international and regional unity.”

Despite many limitations, Hasina said, Bangladesh has always responded to the call of the distressed humanity, extended a helping hand to it and given shelter to Rohingyas in the country.

“We continue negotiations with Myanmar and also discussions at the international levels so that they (Rohingyas) can return to their homeland. Today, Bangladesh has been able to create a dignified position in the world because of our policy,” she said.

Mentioning that they want to turn Bangladesh into a developed country by 2041 and celebrate the 100 years of the country’s Independence in 2071, she asked the newly graduated and trained officers to work as soldiers to build a prosperous Bangladesh.

“You’ll have to work as soldiers to build a developed Bangladesh by 2041. Always move forward keeping your heads high. To love Bangladesh and its people, act as dedicated souls for the country,” she added.

Mentioning that no one can stop the indomitable pace of the country’s progress, she asked the officers to work for taking Bangladesh forward further.

The PM said her government has taken Bangladesh to a dignified position in the world, building the country with its own resources, not begging to anyone.

Hasina highlighted different steps and activities taken by her government for the development and modernisation of the Armed Forces.

She said the Armed Forces make their supreme sacrifice in any national need alongside protecting the country’s independence and sovereignty.

“Working with efficiency and dedication in UN peacekeeping missions, they’ve brightened the image of Bangladesh in the world arena. We have once again been able to retain our place of glory as the highest peacekeeper sending country,” she said.

The Prime Minister asked all to maintain health protection protocols amid the fresh surge of a new variant of Coronavirus.

This year, a total of 251 officers graduated from the DSCSC, including 47 foreign officers from 18 countries. Of the 204 Bangladeshi officers, three are from the Bangladesh Police.

So far, the DSCSC awarded degrees to a total of 5,686 participants in 128 courses. Among them, 1,255 foreign officers from 43 countries have been playing a significant role in their respective countries.

Commandant of the DSCSC Major General Md Jubayer Salehin delivered the welcome speech.

Source: United News of Bangladesh

Colleagues, friends bid tearful adieu to journalist Habibur Rahman

Colleagues, friends and well-wishers paid last respect to journalist Habibur Rahman at Dhaka Reporters’ Unity (DRU) on Wednesday followed by his first namaz-e-janaza there.

The 35-year-old journalist, also a senior reporter of daily “Shomoyer Alo” died in a motorbike accident in the city’s Hatirjheel area in the early hours of Wednesday.

Habibur Rahman, a former organising secretary of the DRU, left wife, a two-and-half-year-old son, father, mother and host of relatives and well-wishers to mourn his death.

DRU executive committee led by its President Nazrul Islam Mithu and General Secretary Nurul Islam Hasib paid respect to Habibur Rahman placing wreaths on his coffin.

Later, Bangladesh Awami League, Prime Minister’s press wing and journalists’ bodies paid respect to him by placing flowers on his coffin.

“Habibur Rahman was a very promising young journalist. He was a good soul,” said the DRU president in his brief speech.

DRU general secretary Hasib said they worked together in the executive committee of 2017. “I had seen his organizational capacity, honesty and sincerity. He was a dedicated journalist.”

The DRU president and general secretary expressed their profound shock and sorrow at the death of Habibur Rahman.

They prayed for the eternal peace of the departed soul and conveyed deep sympathy to the bereaved family members.

Former DRU presidents and general secretaries were also present.

On behalf of the AL, its joint general secretaries Mahbubul Alam Hanif and AFM Bahauddin Nasim, office secretary Barrister Biplab Barua and deputy publicity secretary M Aminul Islam paid respect to journalist Habibur Rahman.

Prime Minister’s Deputy Press Secretaries KM Shakhawat Moon and Hasan Jahid Tusher; PM’s assistant press secretaries Md Ashraf Siddiquee Bitu; and former deputy press secretary Ashraful Alam Khokan also paid respect to the journalist who used to cover the Prime Minister’s beat.

The second namaz-e-janaza was held at the central mosque of Dhaka University while the third namaz-e-janaza was held at his workstation.

His body was taken to his village under Cumilla district where he is scheduled to be buried.

Earlier, assistant sub-inspector of Hatirjheel police station, Kayes Uddin said pedestrians found Habibur, son of Mohammad Piar Mia of Brahmanpara upazila in Cumilla, on the road in a critical condition around 2.40 am and informed police.

Habibur was taken to Dhaka Medical College and Hospital where doctors declared him dead upon arrival.

Source: United News of Bangladesh

Strong fundamentals and reforms helped India attract highest FDI

Even as the jury is still out on the extent of capital account convertibility, the reforms in the capital account have been strong enough to attract among the highest foreign direct investment (FDI), finds a study by RBI economists.

An analysis of the recent trends in FDI flows at the global level and across regions/countries suggests that India has generally attracted higher FDI flows and continued to remain among the top attractive destinations for international investors in line with its robust domestic economic performance and gradual liberalisation of the FDI policy as part of the cautious capital account liberalisation process, reports The Economic Times.

” An empirical analysis of factors influencing inward FDI, considering major countries in terms of its FDI stock position in India reflects that inward FDI is significantly influenced by the trade openness, economic growth prospects, market size, labour cost and capital account openness of the host countries” said a study published in the Reserve Bank of India’s latest monthly bulletin.

Besides, foreign trade had a substantial share in the business where import intensity in purchase remained higher than export in sales for foreign subsidiary companies, the study notes.

FDI in India initially picked up in the mid and late nineties following a series of policy measures to liberalise and strengthen the FDI environment in the country. But they slowed down after the global financial crisis of 2008 because it affected India macro-economic fundamentals which continued till FY ‘2013-14. FDI again got a major push during September 2014 after the government launched the ‘Make in India’ initiative to facilitate investment, foster innovation and build best in class manufacturing infrastructure.

The reform made a positive foreign investment climate in India and helped in increasing growth in FDI inflows mainly due to strong investment in top three industry recipients viz., ‘manufacturing’, ‘communication’ and ‘financial services’, the study notes. During 2015 to 2019, India received a cumulative FDI inflow to the extent of $ 173.3 billion and the share of top five investing countries in India stood at 76.7 per cent. Three major sectors viz., ‘manufacturing sector’, ‘communication services’ and ‘financial services’ together accounted for more than 50 per cent share in FDI inflows amounting US$ 89.6 billion during 2015-2019

Over the period the quality of FDI data has also improved in lines with globally best standards. A number of information bases on FDI Statistics for India have become available. Global concepts help in understanding the statistical methodologies that countries employ in compiling the statistics and the resultant statistics can be used for cross-country comparison though countries with liberal investment schemes experience major challenges in estimation of foreign investment.

Source: United News of Bangladesh

Labour ministry assistance to 1526 workers in 6 months

The labour ministry has allocated around Tk18.08 in the last 6 months for the welfare of workers of 100 percent export oriented garments industries.

The central fund has been used for treatment of cancer, iaccident injuries and higher education for the children of laborers.

Selina Akhter, additional secretary and director general of central fund, the ministry of labor, on Wednesday said around Tk 18.08 crore was spent for assistance to the families of 1,526 workers who died in the last 6 months (July-December ’21), workers who are suffering from chronic diseases, injured in accidents, and to help in the higher education of the meritorious children of the workers.

Since inception, the fund has provided around Tk 125.21 crore to 9,500 workers and their families so far. Of these, the families of 5,623 dead workers have been provided financial assistance of Tk 112.01 crore for subsequent financial assistance, 3,047 sick workers provided medical assistance of Tk 9.25 crore and the meritorious children of 763 workers provided education assistance of Tk 1.52 crore.

The fund was formed in 2015 under the ministry of labour for the welfare of workers in the 100 percent export-oriented garment industry in accordance with the provisions of Section 232 (3) of the Bangladesh Labor Act, 2006.

Since July 2017, 0.03 percent of the total exports have been directly deposited in the central fund of the labor ministry through Bangladesh Bank. The current cash balance of the central fund and deposits with FDRs in various banks amount to Tk 214 crore, the ministry sources said.

Source: United News of Bangladesh

Dhaka seeks conclusion of PTA with Jakarta this year

Bangladesh has sought an “expeditious conclusion” of the proposed Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) with Indonesia for further enhancement of trade and commerce between the two countries, preferably during this year that marks a watershed in the bilateral relations.

Bangladesh also stressed the importance of reducing the imbalance existing in the bilateral trade by increasing Indonesian imports from Bangladesh.

Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen discussed the issues during a telephone conversation with Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno L P Marsudi on Wednesday.

Reciprocating the sentiment of Dr Momen, Marsudi noted with profound satisfaction the fact that Bangladesh-Indonesia bilateral relations was growing from strength to strength and laid importance on further political and economic collaboration for taking the relations to a newer level.

Dr Momen thanked Indonesia for their humanitarian support extended to the Rohingyas and sought political support from Indonesia on the repatriation issue.

He requested for Indonesia’s and ASEAN’s continued support in bringing about a sustainable and permanent solution to this protracted crisis.

Dr Momen highlighted that Bangladesh wishes to have greater interaction with ASEAN since there are vibrant trade relations with some members of ASEAN and the potential synergy is evident.

He sought Indonesian support to Bangladesh’s candidature for ASEAN Sectoral Dialogue Partner.

The Indonesian Foreign Minister, while expressing her support for Bangladesh’s candidature, suggested fostering a greater engagement with the member countries of ASEAN in this regards.

Dr Momen also sought Indonesian support in favour of Bangladesh in various regional and multilateral fora.

The two Foreign Ministers expressed deep satisfaction at the existing excellent bilateral cooperation between the two countries and vowed to further strengthen the relations in depth and dimensions.

Dr Momen observed that Bangladesh has been enjoying brotherly and cordial relationship with Indonesia since independence.

Both the Ministers agreed to celebrate the 50th year of the diplomatic ties this year in a befitting manner.

Dr Momen noted with satisfaction the rising trend in bilateral trade and commerce between Bangladesh and Indonesia in recent years.

Both the Foreign Ministers exchanged greetings of the New Year and promised to remain in close touch.

Source: United News of Bangladesh

OMS: Rice to be available at Tk 30 per kg from Thursday

The government will start Open Market Sale (OMS) of rice and wheat at Tk 30 and Tk 18 per kg respectively from Thursday in all upazilas across the country, said Food Minister Sadhan Chandra Majumder on Wednesday.

The Food Minister came up with the information while talking to reporters at the DCs’ conference at the Osmani Memorial Auditorium.

“The OMS programme remains open round the year though it was launched in 730 shops on a limited scale. Now the OMS service will be launched in upazilas through 1,760 dealers from tomorrow,” he said.

A food-friendly programme is there at the union level and rice is also available there at Tk 10 per Kg. So, the programme will not be launched at the union level but it will continue in the upazilas, he added. Claiming that there is no scarcity of food now, the minister said, “You (journalists) know that once cattle used to be brought from India but now those are reared in Bangladesh adequately as there’re many cattle farms in the country,” said Sadhan.

Besides, the demand for thin rice is high as everyone wants to consume it, which has an impact on its price, he said, adding, “The prices of rice and wheat have also marked a rise on the international market.”

The DCs have been directed to monitor the OMS activities and a monitoring team was formed by the Ministry to run the activities smoothly, he said.

If anyone is found involved in hoarding rice, legal action will be taken through mobile court drives, if needed, said the minister.

“The dealers are allowed to purchase two tonnes of rice and they should have to sell it mandatorily. If they keep some rice in stock for selling in the black market, then it will cause a big problem for them,” he said.

Meanwhile, the minister said, the Boro season reached its peak for the procurement of thin rice. “We’ve sent a file to the Prime Minister to know if there’s any way to import rice after reducing tax. We are strictly monitoring it,” he added.

Source: United News of Bangladesh

FBCCI concerned over move to hike gas price

The Federation of Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industries (FBCCI) has expressed concern over the recent initiative to hike the price of gas.

They said that if the industrial production in Bangladesh rebounds and does well in exporting products, the gas price hike will reduce competitiveness in the global arena.

The concern came at the first meeting of FBCCI’s standing committee on power energy and utilities held at the FBCCI office on Wednesday.

Meanwhile gas extraction, transmission and distribution companies have started submitting proposals to the Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC) to increase prices.

In the meeting, FBCCI senior vice-president Mostofa Azad Chowdhury Babu said China and India would continue to operate coal-fired power plants for another 20 years to sustain economic growth.

So, Bangladesh should also take initiative to ensure the best use of coal reserves in the country, he said.

Babu emphasized on expanding domestic gas exploration activities on a large scale adding that BAPEX could not do it alone, it should speed up the digging of exploration wells in a joint venture with the private sector.

Abul Kasem Khan, director-in-charge of the standing committee said the country’s growing dependence on imports in the energy sector was not safe for the future. It is important to harness domestic resources to ensure long-term energy security and sustain industrialization.

He favoured power generation by extracting coal from domestic source.

FBCCI Director Md. Naser complained that the businessmen are being deprived of the benefits of power generation due to extreme mismanagement in the distribution system.

The members of the committee demanded a one-stop solution to increase solar power generation, installation of solar panels in uncultivated lands of chars, government initiatives for research and development activities, and undertaking power generation projects from waste and rice husks.

The meeting was chaired by Humayun Rashid, Chairman of the Standing Committee and MD and CEO of Energypac Power Generation Limited.

He said the security of the country’s energy sector would be disrupted if coordination between domestic and foreign sources in the power and energy sector was not ensured.

Also present at the meeting were Committee Co-Chairman Md. Salauddin Yousuf, Mohammad Ali Deen, Nazmul Haque and FBCCI Secretary General Mohammad Mahfuzul Hoque.

Source: United News of Bangladesh

No hike in edible oil prices in 15 days, readjustment after that: Minister

Edible oil prices will not be raised in the next 15 days but will be readjusted with the global market after a meeting with stakeholders, said Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi.

“This is how the oil prices need to be kept stable during Ramadan. Or else, traders will be discouraged to import it,” said the minister on Wednesday.

Tipu Munshi was talking to reporters at the Osmani Memorial Auditorium in the capital after the DCs Conference.

“We need 20 lakh tonnes of edible oil per year. But the country can supply only two lakh tonnes. As a huge quantity of oil has to be imported, any rise in the prices on the international market also affects the local market,” Tipu added.

The minister said now the price of edible oil on the international market has gone up to Tk 8000-10,000 per container from Tk 2,000-2,500, resulting in price hike here. “So, the prices need to be readjusted one and a half or two months later.”

If the prices are not readjusted, the traders will not open LCs ahead of Ramadan which may cause a horrible situation during the holy month, he added.

About the tendency of traders not to open LCs, Salman F Rahman, Private Sector Industry and Investment Adviser to the Prime Minister, said, “If the traders don’t want to open LCS, the government can force them. They won’t import anything incurring losses. But we’ve to make sure they don’t make excessive profits,” he added.

The commerce minister said, “We’ve talked to them over the matter. We’ll sit on February 6/7 and adjust the edible oil prices comparing the international market price and its associated costs. We made a decision in this regard today.”

Tipu Munshi urged the DCs to play a stronger role in keeping the prices of essentials stable during the holy month of Ramadan.

They have been instructed to strengthen the market monitoring to keep the prices of key items at a tolerable level during the Ramadan.

“Ramadan is coming and we will fix the prices of some items and the DCs have been asked to monitor it strictly and take legal action,” the commerce minister added.

Source: United News of Bangladesh

Commerce ministry to honour 176 businesspeople on Thursday

The ministry of commerce will award commercially important persons (CIP) cards to 176 businesspeople on Thursday for their commendable performance in the country’s trade and export business in 2018.

Among them, 138 persons have been nominated by the commerce ministry for CIPs card for excellence in exporting goods and the remaining 38 persons nominated CIPs card for outstanding contribution in the trade sector of Bangladesh.

On the occasion the ministry will organize the card awarding ceremony at a local hotel in the capital. Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi will award cards to CIPs as the chief guest while Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment Minister Imran Ahmad will be present as the special guest.

Earlier a special gazette notification was published on December 7, 2021 announcing the names of the CIPs. The notification mentioned that the CIPs would enjoy some privileges from the government for the next one year period or before declaring the names next year CIPs.

Besides, CIPs can use VIP terminal-2 of Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport, the ministry of foreign affairs will issue a letter of introduction to approve visa for travelling abroad. They will be able to use the cards as passes at the entry at the Bangladesh secretariat.

The CIP card holders will enjoy priority in seat reservation at government transports in air, road, rail and waterways and getting invitation at national events.

The exporters, who are nominated as CIPs, are Hasan Ahmed, managing director of Popular Jute Exchange Ltd, Sheikh Nasir Uddin, chairman of Akij Jute Mills Ltd, Md Fazlur Rahman, managing director of Rahman Jute Spinners Ltd, Mohammed Anisur Razzaque, chairman of Tropical Shoe Industries Group, Ziaur Rahman, managing director of Bay Footwear Ltd, Md Saiful Islam, managing director of Picard Bangladesh Ltd, Md Nazmul Hassan, managing director of Leatherex Footwear Ltd, Md Hedayetullah, managing director of FB Footwear Ltd, Zainal Abedin Majumder, managing director of Abedin Group, Iqbal Ahmed, managing director of Sea Mark Ltd, Shyamol Das, managing director of MU Sea Foods Ltd, Md Shahin Howlader , chairman of Crimson Rosella Seafood Ltd, SM Mizanur Rahman, managing director of Atlas Sea Foods Ltd, Md Mehedi Hassan, managing director of Bright Sea Foods Group, Md Taauhidur Rahman, managing director of Fresh Foods Ltd, Masud Parvez, managing director of Salam Sea Foods Group, Sharif Zahir, managing director of Ananta Apparels Ltd, Md Ismail Hossain, managing director of Sharmin Apparels, Inamul Haq Khan, managing director of Ananta Garments Ltd, Miran Ali, managing director of Tarashima Apparels, Ahsan Kabir Khan, managing director of Interfab Shirt Manufacturing Ltd, Tanvir Ahmed, director of Cosmopolitan Industries Ltd, Mustajirul Shovon Islam, managing director of Sparrow Apparels Ltd, Abul Kashem, deputy managing director of AKH Fashions Ltd, Md Ali Azim Khan, managing director of Shinest Apparels, Md Refayet Ullah Khan, director of Tusuka Trousers Ltd, Md Khasru Chowdhury, managing director of Nipa Fashion Wear Industry Ltd, Wasim Rahman, managing director of MBM Garments Ltd, Md Siddiqur Rahman, chairman of Bando Design Ltd, Mujibur Rahman, managing director of Smart Jeans Ltd, M Sazzad Alam, managing director of Raquef Apparels, Humayun Rashid, director of Energypac Fashions Ltd, AK Azad, managing director of Ha-Meem Group, Abdus Salam Murshedy, managing director of Envoy Group, Atiqul Islam, director of Islam Group, Lutfe Mawla Ayub, chairman of Rabab Fashion Group, Md Aziul Islam, managing director of Alif Group, Sejuti Daulah, director of Dird Garments Group, Syed Nurul Islam, chairman of Well Group, Mohammad Monsur, managing director of Monsur General Trading, Gobinda Chandra Saha, proprietor of Rajdhani Enterprises, Omar Farooque, proprietor of Alin Foods Trade, Harun Ar Rashid, proprietor of Harun Enterprise, Sheikh Abdul Kader, proprietor of Agriconcern, Md Rafiqul Islam Liton, proprietor of Liton World Link, Enamul Hassan Khan, chairman of Promi Agro Foods Ltd, Anjan Chowdhury, managing director of Square Food and Beverage Ltd, Abdul Motaleb, chairman of Kishwan Snacks Ltd, Ahsan Khan Chowdhury, managing director of Pran Diary Ltd, Mizanur Rahman Bhuiyan, managing director of Uniglory Cycle Industries Limited, Subrata Paul, proprietor of HR International, Samuel S Chowdhury , chairman of Square Pharmaceuticals Limited, Nazmul Ahsan, managing director of Beximco Pharmaceuticals Limited, Shafiqul Alam Selim, managing director of Karupannya Rangpur Ltd, Towhid Bin Abdus Salam, proprietor of Classical Handmade Products BD, Md Belal Hossain, chief executive officer of BD Creation, Bartha Geeti Baroi, director of Corr the Jute Works, Abu Alam Chowdhury, proprietor of Conexpo, Mohammad Abdullah Zaber, director of Zaber and Zubair Fabrics Ltd, Masood Dawood Akbani, managing director of ACS Textiles Ltd, Abdullah Mohammad Talha, director of Noman Terry Towel Mills Ltd, and Jashim Uddin, managing director of Bengal Group, among others.

Source: United News of Bangladesh

12 lakh yaba, firearms recovered in Cox’s Bazar

Bangladesh Coast Guard members have recovered 11,95,600 pieces of yaba and firearms near St. Matin’s island in Cox’s Bazar.

Along with the drugs, an automatic sub machine gun, two magazines with 30 rounds of ammunition were recovered from a fishing boat 2 nautical miles in Bay of Bengal from St. Martin’s Chheradwip in Teknaf on Tuesday noon.

Lieutenant Commander Naeem Ul Haque, in-charge of Teknaf Coast Guard said the coast guard members were in a special raid near the Chheradwip on a tip-off. At around 2 pm they signaled a fishing boat in that area to stop. It didn’t stop, rather the smugglers at the boat fired at the coast guards. When the coast guards fired back the smugglers jumped off the boat to the Myanmar sealine.

Coast guards later searched the boat and recovered the drugs and firearms which were handed over to Teknaf Model Police Station, he said.

Source: United News of Bangladesh