21 winners receive Nagad mega campaign’s gifts

DHAKA, Some 21 winners have received different gifts by taking part in the country's biggest transactions campaign - initiated by Nagad, a popular mobile financial service provider. Recently, Nagad's Senior Executive Vice-President and Chief Marketing Officer Sadat Adnan Ahmad and Executive Vice-President and Deputy Chief Marketing Officer Muhammad Solaiman handed over the gifts to the winners at Nagad's head office in the capital's Banani. Earlier, under this Taka 20 crore-campaign named "Nagad e Jomi", three winning teams received their respective plots in Dhaka's Purbachal Probashi Palli, said a press release today. Every year Nagad provides exciting gifts on the occasion of Eid. Last year Nagad's BMW mega campaign generated a significant buzz within the country. Besides, customers grabbed sedan cars, motorcycles, and many other gifts through Nagad payments. This year Nagad has gone a step ahead as it has launched the country's biggest campaign, giving an opportunity for its users to win dream plots in Dhaka by following three easy steps. Moreover, customers can enjoy 100 percent cashback alongside an opportunity to win mega gifts, including sedan car, motorbikes, TVs, fridges, smartphones and many more on individual transactions. During the campaign, there is also a chance to win "Viewers' Awards" by giving correct answers to quizzes asked in Nagad's special TV show. So far, the gifts have been handed over to 21 people. The winners who got televisions, refrigerators, air conditioners, and smartphones either by making transactions or by receiving remittance are - Siddiqur Rahman Shubh, Abdul Ahad, Saiful Islam, Nayim Khan Joy, Abu Nayim, Manjurul Islam, Josna Akter, HM Elias, Asadur Rahman, Mohammad Kefayet Ullah, Robiul Islam, Farhana Begum, Selim Ahmed, Al Mamun, Abu Hannan Sumon, Sayeed Hossain, and Kauser Ibne Hafiz. Additionally, Hridoy Ahmed Redowan, Ikramul Haque, Lucky Akter Seema and Sumon Devnath have received the Viewers' Awards. The gifts under the mega campaign will be distributed among next winners in phases. Md Shihab Uddin Chowdhury, deputy managing director of Nagad Ltd., said, "We always want people to be more accustomed to digital transactions and enjoy rewards. Owning a piece of land in Dhaka is a big dream for many. So, we want people to fulfill their dream during this festival initiated by Nagad." Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha

BGMEA President calls for policy support to maintain RMG industry’s competitiveness

DHAKA, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) President SM Mannan (Kochi) called for policy support to maintain RMG industry's competitiveness. Mannan made the call when a delegation from the BGMEA led by President S. M. Mannan (Kochi), met with State Minister for Commerce Ahsanul Islam Titu at the Bangladesh Secretariat yesterday, said a press release today. The delegation included - BGMEA Senior Vice President Khandoker Rafiqul Islam, Vice President (Finance) Md. Nasir Uddin, Vice President Abdullah Hil Rakib, Directors Md. Imranur Rahman, Mohammad Sohel Sadat, Md. Ashikur Rahman (Tuhin), Shams Mahmud, Md. Nurul Islam, Saifuddin Siddiquie Sagar, and Md. Rezaul Alam (Miru). The delegation discussed pressing issues faced by the readymade garment industry. Highlighting the adverse effects of ongoing geopolitical crises on global trade, the BGMEA President said the garment industry is currently passing through a difficult time amidst a worldwide economic slowdown that has result ed in reduced consumer spending and decline in garment orders and exports. Rising production costs further exacerbate the challenges. In light of these difficulties, he stressed the necessity of policy support to foster industry growth and sustainability. Mannan also underlined the importance of simplifying and expediting business procedures, particularly the faster unloading of imported machinery, equipment, and raw materials. He said the more favorable the business environment in the country, the greater success the export sector will achieve, leading to overall economic benefits. The BGMEA president urged the government to ensure uninterrupted gas and electricity supply, along with favorable policies, to maintain the industry's competitiveness, After 2026, many of the trade facilities currently enjoyed by Bangladesh will no longer be available following its LDC graduation. In this context, he emphasized the need for necessary policy support to attract increased investment in promising sectors, describ ing it as a timely strategy. He also urged the initiation of food rationing for garment workers under the Ministry of Commerce's purview, emphasizing the importance of protecting the sector and boosting exports to secure overall economic growth. Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha

29th US Trade Show begins tomorrow

DHAKA, The three-day 29th Annual US Trade Show will begin in the city's InterContinental Hotel tomorrow. The American Chamber of Commerce in Bangladesh (AmCham) and the United States Embassy are the cosponsors of the three-day trade show from May 9-11. Salman Fazlur Rahman, Private Industry and Investment Adviser to the Prime Minister, will attend the opening event as the chief guest at 10:30 am. Zunaid Ahmed Palak, State Minister, Ministry of Posts, Telecommunications and Information Technology, will remain present as the special guest. AmCham President Syed Ershad Ahmed and US Ambassador to Bangladesh Peter D. Haas will also remain present at the inaugural function. This year, over hundreds of US products represented by 44 exhibitors from home and abroad will be on display in 79 booths in the show venue. In addition to the exhibition of American products and services, there will also be five seminars during the event. On the first day tomorrow, two seminars- "Inclusive Innovation: Empowering Women in the Al Era" will be held at 3:00 p.m. and "U.S. Export Licensing for Importers" will take place at 4:30 p.m. On the second day on Friday, three seminars will be held. First one on "Studying in the U.S. and Student Visas" will take place at 10:30 a.m., second one on "USAID Development Work with the Private Sector" at 3:00 p.m. while the third one on "Doing Business with the U.S. and Business Visas" will take place at 4:30 p.m. The show will remain open for visitors all three days from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. The entry fee for this year's show is Taka 30 per person. Students in uniform or with identity cards will be allowed free entry. There will be attractive prizes for a few lucky visitors, based on a raffle drawing of entry ticket coupons after the Trade Show. This year's Trade Show will be taking place during World Trade Month (May) which has been recognized in the US since 1938 and promotes the importance of International Trade to the US Economy. Since 1992, this three-day-long exh ibition has emerged as Bangladesh's premier annual business event, drawing thousands of visitors each time. According to the US Embassy, the US is the largest investor in Bangladesh having worth over $4 billion of investment. The US government as well as its private sector is looking forward to the measures which would make the US investments a lot easier in Bangladesh as well as how Bangladesh makes further improvement in investment climate. Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha

Bangladesh, IMF reach staff-level agreement for second review of loan programmes

DHAKA, The International Monetary Fund (IMF) staff and the Bangladesh authorities have reached a staff-level agreement on the policies needed to complete the second review of the programmes being supported by the IMF's Extended Credit Facility (ECF), Extended Fund Facility (EFF), and Resilience and Sustainability Facility (RSF). "The staff-level agreement is subject to approval by the Executive Board, which is expected in the coming weeks. Completion of the second review will make available SDR704.70 million (about US$932 million, equivalent of 66 percent of quota) under the ECF/EFF and SDR166.68 million (about US$220 million, equivalent of 15.6 percent of quota) under the RSF," said Chris Papageorgiou, IMF Mission Chief to Bangladesh, at press briefing at the Finance Ministry conference room in the city today. An IMF mission team led by Chris Papageorgiou visited Dhaka during April 24 - May 8, 2024 to discuss economic and financial policies in the context of the second review of the IMF's ECF, EFF and RSF. In his speech, Chris Papageorgiou said the authorities have made significant progress on structural reforms under the IMF-supported program, including the implementation of a formula-based fuel price adjustment mechanism for petroleum products. "Nonetheless, larger-than-expected spillovers from tightening of global financial conditions, and still elevated international commodity and food prices, coupled with domestic vulnerabilities, has led to persistently high inflation and declining foreign exchange (FX) reserves. This has exacerbated pressures on the economy and heightened the complexity of macroeconomic challenges," he added. He said, "Against this backdrop, we welcome Bangladesh Bank's bold actions to realign the exchange rate and simultaneously adopt a crawling peg regime with a band as a transitional step toward greater exchange rate flexibility to restore external resilience. Following the liberalization of retail interest rates, additional tightening of monetary policy sh ould help alleviate any inflationary pressures resulting from the exchange rate reform. Fiscal policy should support these monetary tightening efforts through revenue-based consolidation. If external and inflationary pressures intensify, the authorities should stand ready to tighten policies further." "The macroeconomic outlook is expected to gradually stabilize as policy actions start to take hold. Real GDP growth is projected to moderate to 5.4 percent in FY24 owing to the ongoing import compression and policy tightening. However, it is anticipated to rebound to 6.6 percent in FY25 as imports rebound and FX pressures ease. Inflation is projected to remain elevated at approximately 9.4 percent (year-on-year) in FY24 but is anticipated to decline to around 7.2 percent in FY25, on the back of the continued tighter policy mix and projected lower global food and commodity prices. Nevertheless, uncertainties surrounding the outlook remain high, with risks predominantly leaning towards the downside," he added. He said, "Considering Bangladesh's low tax-to-GDP ratio, it is imperative to prioritize sustainable revenue generation to bolster investments in social welfare and development initiatives. To this end, tangible tax policy and administrative measures should be incorporated into the FY25 budget to augment tax revenues by 0.5 percent of GDP. At the same time, a medium- and long-term revenue strategy, with an accompanying implementation framework, should guide future reforms. Reducing subsidies, improving expenditure efficiency, and managing fiscal risks will allow for additional spending on social safety nets and growth-enhancing investment." "Reducing banking sector vulnerabilities remains a priority. Efforts to implement the non-performing loan reduction strategy should help support the growing financing needs of the economy. At the same time, Bangladesh Bank should continue the transition to risk-based supervision to enhance financial sector resilience, while continuing legal reforms t o improve corporate governance and regulatory frameworks. Looking ahead, domestic capital market development will be instrumental in mobilizing long-term financing to support growth," he added. He said, "Maintaining the reform momentum is critical to align with the authorities' goal of reaching upper middle-income country status by 2031. Diversifying trade, attracting more foreign direct investment, enhancing the investment climate, and strengthening governance will be crucial in this regard." "Building resilience to climate change will help mitigate macroeconomic and fiscal risks. Ongoing efforts to strengthen institutions and enhance spending efficiency would help meet climate objectives and mobilize climate finance, particularly from private sources. At the same time, the government should prioritize climate-responsive fiscal management reforms and undertake green and resilient infrastructure investment. Better management of climate-related risks will enhance financial sector resilience as w ell," he added. He mentioned that the IMF team is grateful to the Bangladesh authorities and other stakeholders for their hospitality and candid discussions. "The team held meetings with State Minister of Finance Waseqa Ayesha Khan, Bangladesh Bank Governor Abdur Rouf Talukder, and other senior government and Bangladesh Bank officials. The team also met with representatives from the private sector, think tanks, bilateral donors, and development partners," he added. Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha

AIIB renews commitment to strengthen Bangladesh’s sustainable development

DHAKA, Finance Minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali today visited the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) Abu Dhabi Hub Office, which is the first overseas mission of AIIB, operational since September 2023. Welcomed by Yuanjiang Sun, Head of the Hub, and senior officials of the Bank, the Finance Minister's visit was recognized as pivotal in fostering robust development cooperation between AIIB and Bangladesh. After a tour of the facilities, the Finance Minister engaged in discussions with AIIB officials, reviewing the status of ongoing and pipeline projects in Bangladesh, said a press release. They explored further cooperation opportunities in renewable energy, transportation, smart city development, water supply, urban development, and other potential sectors. While appreciating AIIB's partnership with Bangladesh to promoting sustainable infrastructure and fostering economic growth of the country, the Finance Minister reiterated Bangladesh's continued support for the Bank's endeavors in the region a nd beyond. He expressed optimism that the AIIB Abu Dhabi Hub would contribute significantly to realizing AIIB's agenda in the region. Ambassador of Bangladesh to the UAE Abu Zafar and Additional Secretary of ERD Anwar Hossain, among others, accompanied the Finance Minister during the visit. AIIB, a multilateral development bank, strives to promote sustainable infrastructure development and regional connectivity, prioritizing economic growth, poverty reduction, and environmental sustainability. Bangladesh is a founding member of AIIB and the Finance Minister is a member of the Board of Governors of the Bank. Bangladesh is currently the 5th largest recipient of AIIB's financing. In the afternoon, the Finance Minister visited the Embassy of Bangladesh in Abu Dhabi. There, he toured the facilities at the chancery, which are dedicated to providing consular and welfare services to the expatriate Bangladeshi community. Engaging in discussions with embassy officials, he expressed satisfaction with the embassy's activities and its expatriate-friendly environment. The Finance Minister is presently in Abu Dhabi for a three-day visit to attend the 13th AIM (Annual Investment Meeting) Congress-2024 at the invitation of the UAE government. Apart from participating in the AIM events, he engaged in bilateral meetings with UAE dignitaries, fostering fruitful discussions aimed at enhancing bilateral relations through meaningful engagements. The Finance Minister is expected to return home tomorrow. Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha

World Red Cross Day being observed today

Kathmandu: The World Red Cross Day is being observed by organizing several programmes today with the slogan 'keeping humanity alive'. The world celebrates World Red Cross Day, on May 8 every year to honour humanitarian works and principles of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. The day helps highlight the humanitarian values and activities of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. These associations play a crucial role in assisting and aiding people impacted by different natural disasters, armed conflicts, and different crises, everywhere. It is the day when the legacy of Henry Dunant, the pioneering volunteer who founded the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement more than 160 years ago, is commemorated and respected. Humanity has been weakening in the modern and tech-savvy world due to inter-country and inner wars, violence and discrimination. Likewise, frequent incidents of disaster, drought and famine due to the negative impacts of rising global temperature and climate change have also made the efforts for protecting humanity more pressing. In this context, the theme of the year has been set to remind the people of the significance of compassion, love, affection, support, and treatment on this day. In a message of best wishes on the occasion, Secretary-General of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) Jagan Chapagain has called for elevated level of humanitarian service with the challenges mounting on keeping humanity alive. Respect for international humanitarian law not only preserves the humanity of people affected by crises, it preserves our own humanity - both today and in the future, the message reads. As an inseparable part of the Red Cross movement, Nepal Red Cross Society was founded on 19 Bhadra 2020 BS The Nepal Red Cross now has 1,615 sub-branches, including province offices in all seven provinces and district branch offices in all 77 districts, and 6,934 junior and youth circles across the country. The community-based or ganization has a robust member base of 930,000 members. The Nepal Red Cross has been annually offering its humanitarian services to over 2.5 million people. IFRC's country representative for Nepal Ajmat Ulla informed that humanitarian support will continue in Nepal. Source: National News Agency RSS

AL joint meeting on Friday

DHAKA, Awami League (AL) will hold a joint meeting with its central leaders, presidents-general secretaries of Dhaka North-South city units and Dhaka District and all associate bodies at 4 pm on Friday. The meeting will be held at the party's central office on Bangabandhu Avenue here with Awami League General Secretary and Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader in chair, said a party press release. Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha

Probe report in militant snatching case on June 10

DHAKA, A Dhaka court here today fixed June 10 for submitting report in a case filed against the miscreants who attacked police to snatch away two death-row convicts from the court premises in the capital in 2022. Dhaka Metropolitan Magistrate Rashedul Alam fixed the date afresh as the Investigation Officer (IO) of the case failed to submit the report today. On November 20, 2022, four miscreants riding on two motorcycles snatched Abu Siddik and Moinul Hasan, capital punishment awardees in publisher Faisal Arefin Dipan murder case, from police custody, after spraying some chemical on their eyes. On February 10, 2021, eight people including suspended army Major Syed Ziaul Haque Zia were sentenced to death and fined Taka 50,000 each for killing publisher Dipan. Dipan, 43, a publisher of Jagriti Prokashani, was hacked to death at his office in the city's Shahbagh area on October 31, 2015. Later, his wife filed a murder case with Shahbagh Police Station in this regard. Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha

1st phase of UP polls held peacefully: Quader

DHAKA, Awami League (AL) General Secretary and Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader said today that the first phase of the upazila elections was held peacefully with satisfactory voter-turnout. "Some astray incidents took place. Some people were injured, but no fatality was reported. Election Commission (EC) stated voter turnout was 30 to 40 percent. In this situation I think the presence of voters is satisfactory," he told a press conference organized at the political office of the Awami League President at Dhanmondi in the capital. The Election Commission and the administration have taken a very firm stance to organize the polls, he said, adding that leaders and workers of the party have also performed due responsibilities. "That's why the first phase of the election was held peacefully," he continued. AL Joint General Secretary Hasan Mahmud, Organizing Secretaries BM Mozammel Haque, SM Kamal Hossain, Mirza Azam and Afzal Hossain, Publicity and Publication Secretary Abdus Sobhan Golap and Deputy Secretary Sayem Khan were present, among others. Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha

10 trawlers sink in Bay of Bengal, 34 rescued

CHATTOGRAM, At least 34 people have been rescued after ten salt laden trawlers sank off the Anwara upazila coast due to a storm in the Bay of Bengal. However, trawler owners claimed that many sailors are still missing. At least 15 to 20 trawlers loaded with salt from Kutubdia, Maheshkhali and Banshkhali of Cox's Bazar fell into the storm at Anwara coast around 8 am on Wednesday. Of them, at least 10 trawlers sank and Coast Guard and Naval Police have already rescued 34 people from the trawlers, Gahira Bar Auliya Naval Police In-charge Titu Dutta told the news agency. Coast Guard and Naval Police teams are working to rescue the missing people, he added. Abul Kashem, a resident of Qutubdia area and the owner of the missing Bar Aulia trawler, said his trawler was on the way to Chattogram city from Qutubdia with salt when it met the tragic incident. AFM Nizam Uddin, Superintendent of Naval Police, said several trawlers loaded with salt have sunk in the morning storm and most of the trawlers are from Kutubdi a, Pekua area of Cox's Bazar. "Our team members are in the scene and joined the rescue operation. No casualty has been reported so far," he added. Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha

Elections to three upazilas start peacefully in Chapainawabganj

CHAPAINAWABGANJ, The polls to three upazilas of the district started peacefully today as part of the 1st phase upazila elections across the country. Polling started at 8 am in Nachole, Gomostapur and Bholahat upazilas elections and will continue till 4 pm without any break. Deputy Commissioner (DC) AKM Galiv Khan said the voting started peacefully in three upazilas of the district. He hoped that the elections would be finished in a neutral, free, fair and violence-free atmosphere. District election officer and also returning officer Md. Rezaul Karim said all necessary measures including security have been taken so that the voters can exercise their franchise going to the polling centres without any fear and hindrance. A large number of RAB, BGB, police and Ansar personnel has been deployed and one judicial magistrate is on duty in each upazila and one executive magistrate in each union, he added. There are also striking forces to help the civil administration and the election commission. District elec tion office sources said the voters are casting their votes in 184 polling centres of the three upazilas. The number of total voters in Nachole upazila is 1, 25,076-- 62,744 male and 62,332 female. In Gomostapur upazila, the number of voters is 2, 26,030-- 1, 12,592 male and 1, 13,437 female as in Bholahat upazila, the number of voters is 86,229-- 42,517 male and 43,712 female. Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha

Polling in Jamalpur Sadar held peacefully

JAMALPUR, Voting in the first phase of Upazila Parishad Election in Jamalpur Sadar Upazila of the district was held peacefully . District Election Office sources said voters cast their voting rights amid a peaceful environment from 8 am to 4 pm without any break. The office said during polling law enforcers were active in maintaining the law and order situation. Five candidates for chairman post, three candidates for vice-chairman post and two candidates for woman vice-chairman post are contesting in the polls. Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha