Draft of Export Policy 2024-2027 approved eyeing $110b export target in 2027

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) today approved the draft of the Export Policy 2024-2027 eyeing for a $110 billion export target in FY27. The approval came from the 8th meeting of the CCEA this year held today at the Cabinet Division conference room at Bangladesh Secretariat with Finance Minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali in the chair. Ali presided over the meeting virtually as he was infected with COVID-19. Briefing reporters after the meeting, Cabinet Division Secretary (Coordination and Reforms) Md Mahmudul Hossain Khan said that the day's meeting approved a total of two proposals. He said following a proposal from the Ministry of Commerce, the day's meeting approved the Export Policy 2024-2027 since the previous Export Policy expired in 2023. Mahmudul informed that the fresh Export Policy has been framed considering the LDC graduation related challenges, putting priorities on sectors and products considering their potentials and to augment efforts to make branding of Bangladesh abroad. The secretary said the salient features of the new Export Policy include facing challenges of LDC graduation, the impacts of COVID-19 and Russia-Ukraine War, long-term strategic vision, 4th industrial revolution, providing support to the micro, small and medium entrepreneurs, setting export target at $110 billon in the last year of Export Policy in 2027, taking steps to increase the participation of the women entrepreneurs in the export-oriented sectors, adoption of environment-friendly and circular economy, taking specific policy for the small and women entrepreneurs to boost their exports, including vegetables and handicrafts as potential priority exportable items, including sipping, dyeing, printing, finishing, manufacturing as special development sector, including pharmaceuticals, medical equipments as potential items in the policy alongside handicrafts, finding alternate ways of providing stimulus to the exporters following rules and regulations of the WTO, updating the list of export prohibited products and the export list of conditional products. Mahmudul said the day's CCEA meeting also approved a proposal from the Ministry of Commerce for extending the timeframe of procuring essential items by the state-run Trading Corporation of Bangladesh by import or locally by one year till June 30, 2025 as the timeframe is due to expire on May 26, 2024. He informed that some one crore low-income group families are enjoying the facilities of procuring essential items at subsidized rates from the TCB and the day's meeting approved a proposal for allowing TCB to procure such essential items by another one year for state requirement. Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha

Stocks extend losing streak

Stocks today extended its losing streak as the risk-averse investors preferred to book profit on quick-gaining shares. DSEX, the key index of the Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE), closed the day with 58.22 points down and settled at 5,527.40 points. The DS30 index, comprising blue chips, fell 14.14 points to finish at 1,977.79 and the DSE Shariah Index (DSES) closed the day with 12.80 points down to close at 1,212.97. Turnover, a crucial indicator of the market, decreased to Taka 5,263.35 million on the premier bourse, which was Taka 6,643.67 million at the previous session of the week. Out of 395 issues traded, 301 closed lower, 61 remained higher and 33 others remained unchanged on the DSE trading floor. RECKITTBEN became the most-traded stock, followed by Marico, UNILEVERCL, BERGERPBL and EASTRNLUB. RELIANCE1 was the day's top gainer, soaring 8.77 per cent while BAYLEASING was the worst loser, losing 3 per cent. The Chittagong Stock Exchange (CSE) also fell sharply with the CSE All Share Price Index (CASP I) losing 104.57 points to settle at 16,060.23 and its Selective Categories Index (CSCX) shedding 65.03 points to close at 9,669.68. Of the issues traded, 174 declined, 32 advanced and 28 issues remained unchanged. The port-city bourse traded 35.22 lakh shares and mutual fund units with a turnover value of Taka 13.61 crore. Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha

Workshop on environmental, social risk management held

The Economic Relations Division (ERD) and the New Development Bank (NDB) today successfully organised a comprehensive workshop focusing on Environmental and Social (E andS) Risk Management and Use of Country Systems. The event, held at a city hotel, gathered key stakeholders from government agencies, financial institutions, civil society and the private sector to delve into crucial discussions on NDB's Environmental and Social Framework (ESF) and its compatibility with Bangladesh's E andS country system, said a press release here. The workshop commenced with a vibrant inaugural session graced by the welcome notes of Joint Secretary of ERD Masuma Akter and the Chief of ESG Department of NDB. Subsequently, the Director General (DG) of Indian Regional Office of the NDB, Dr. DJ Pandian provided an overview of NDB's operations and opportunities in Bangladesh to finance sustainable development across multiple sectors. Secretary of the ERD Md. Shahriar Kader Siddiky addressed the programme as the ch ief guest with Additional Secretary and Wing Chief of Asia, JEC and F andF Wing Md. Anwar Hossain in the chair. They conveyed profound insights and gratitude, setting a tone of collaboration and commitment to address environmental and social challenges in project implementation. Throughout the event, participants engaged in informative sessions aimed at enhancing understanding on identifying and managing E andS risks from project preparation to implementation. Key modules included an overview of NDB's Environmental and Social Framework (ESF), a review of Bangladesh's Environment and Social Country System, and discussions on good practices in E andS risk management, enriched by case studies and technical recommendations. The interactive nature of the workshop was further underscored by engaging Q andA sessions following each module, allowing for exchange of perspectives and insights among participants and experts from NDB. The workshop concluded with closing remarks by ERD, highlighting the imp ortance of continued collaboration and knowledge-sharing initiatives in advancing sustainable development agendas. NDB extended a vote of thanks, expressing appreciation for the fruitful discussions and reaffirming its commitment to supporting Bangladesh in its journey towards environmentally and socially responsible project implementation. In addition to the structured sessions, attendees had the opportunity to network and engage in an open house session, fostering deeper connections and partnerships in the realm of environmental and social risk management. The event not only served as a platform for knowledge dissemination about the NDB's ESF but also as a catalyst for capacity building, equipping stakeholders with the tools and insights necessary to navigate the complexities of E andS risk management in project financing. Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha

Semiconductor sector can be $10 billion industry by 2041: Palak

State Minister for Posts, Telecommunications and Information Technology Zunaid Ahmed Palak today said semiconductor sector can be a US$10 billion industry by 2041. "Semiconductor manufacturing industry has a great potential to be a billion dollar sector in Bangladesh. Here in Bangladesh there are a few design houses and they are doing well but in chip fabrication, assembly, testing and packaging we still lag behind. Proper policy support and required incentives can create a $10 billion semiconductor industry by the year 2041," he said. Palak said this while speaking as the chief guest at a seminar on "Unleashing the potential of semiconductor industry in Bangladesh" organized by Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) at DCCI in the city. In his speech, Palak said that the uses of microchip, Nano chip and manufacturing of semiconductors are growing day by day and if the government can give a right policy support to the sector, it will be possible to earn at least $10 billion from exporting semicondu ctor items by 2041. He again reiterated the urgency and need of a semiconductor policy for the faster development of this sector. At the same time, he also urged for an industry-academia collaboration to create a highly skilled and technologically advanced work force especially compatible for this sector as the demand is very high at home and abroad. He later said that the government has already established hundreds of digital labs, 5G testing is going on, more than 13 crore internet users inside the country, 19 crore mobile users, nearly 100 percent electrification across the country; these are some of the indicators of Bangladesh's digital progress and readiness. "And if we can give proper policy support, incentive and guidelines coupled with skilled manpower having high-end sophisticated technology then we will be able to achieve the target of smart Bangladesh by 2041," he added. He also said that we have to make plans to create at least 50 thousand chip designers in the country. Later he said that w ith the help of talented entrepreneurs and enthusiastic private sector the country will be able to become knowledge based smart Bangladesh by the year 2041. DCCI President Ashraf Ahmed suggested that for successful implementation of import substitution industrialization and export diversification, Bangladesh should prioritize the development of the semiconductor industry. Many countries are investing heavily in the semiconductor industry, creating a high demand for skilled workers, he said. He mentioned that the government should focus on cultivating a skilled workforce required to meet the growing demands of the semiconductor industry in Bangladesh. He also underscored the importance of simplification of administrative procedures for setting up semiconductor businesses, including licensing, permits, and import/export regulations. He further said that a transparent and efficient regulatory environment will encourage investment and reduce operational hurdles. He also recommended ensuring robust protectio n for intellectual property (IP) to encourage innovation and attract foreign investors. Bangladesh also needs a holistic framework to develop an ecosystem for sustainable and inclusive growth of the semiconductor industry taking into account the views of stakeholders, he later opined. Managing Director of the Bangladesh High-Tech Park Authority G S M Jafarullah informed that the government is developing innovation hubs in ten universities in the country. In Shibchar, Madaripur, on the 70 acres of land, the government is establishing Sheikh Hasina Institute of Frontier Technology, he informed. He said work of 21 high-tech parks out of the targeted 94 has nearly been completed. Moreover, he mentioned, the government is facilitating private sector entrepreneurs with land and space at the knowledge parks and software parks. He invited the private sector to invest in the semiconductor industry more. Government is also considering the best possible tax benefits to the ICT sector so that we can attract more l ocal investment or FDI in this sector, he added. Department of Nanomaterials and Ceramic Engineering of BUET Professor A. S. M. A. Haseeb presented the keynote paper. Managing Director of Bondstein Technologies Ltd Mir Shahrukh Islam, Co-founder and vice president of the Software Teton Private Ltd. Razib Hasan, and Additional Managing Director of Walton Digi-Tech Industries Liakat Ali, among others, spoke on the occasion. Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha

DCCI mourns death of Rashed Maksud Khan

President of Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) Ashraf Ahmed and members of the Board of Directors expressed deep condolences at the death of Rashed Maksud Khan, former President of Dhaka Chamber. Rashed Maksud Khan, who breathed his last on 20 April at the Combined Military Hospital at the age of 84, served Dhaka Chamber as its President in 1995 and 1998. A renowned industrialist, Khan was the founder of Bengal Fine Ceramics Limited. He was also the Chairman of Everest Fine Porcelain Limited and Director of Bangladesh German Fine Footwear Limited, engaged in different area of businesses like manufacturer and exporter of Ceramic, Readymade Garments and Footwear etc. His Namaz-e-Janazah was held on 21 April after Zuhur Prayers at the Gulshan Society Mosque, Dhaka. Later, he was buried at the Banani graveyard. Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha

Waseqa for implementing gender budget effectively to build smart Bangladesh

State Minister for Finance Waseqa Ayesha Khan today underscored the need for implementing gender budgets effectively for building smart Bangladesh. 'Gender budgets should not only be formulated, but also implemented effectively,' she said while speaking at a workshop on Gender Budget Report 2024-25 Preparation held at the Finance Division in the capital as the chief guest. She said that discrimination can be eliminated through the formulation of a gender budget and its effective implementation. Noting that the empowerment of women is essential to keeping pace with sustainable development, she said the Awami League-led government is working on women's empowerment, giving special importance to it. She hoped that the gender budget could make a special contribution to advance women in workplaces or economically backward areas. The state minister said that Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had made sufficient allocations for the development of women in the 1972 budget . "Bangab andhu knew that the development of women is necessary to advance the country financially,' she added. Presided over by Secretary Finance Division Dr Md Khairuzzaman Mozumder, the workshop was addressed by Women and Children Affairs Secretary Nazma Mobarek as a special guest. Mohammad Saiful Islam, Additional Secretary, Budget-1, Finance Division, Ministry of Finance and National Program Director of Strengthening Public Financial Management Program to Enable Service Delivery (SPFMS) gave a welcome address. A presentation on the Gender Budget Report 2024-25 was made by Mahedi Masuduzzaman, Joint Secretary Finance Division, where five thematic areas with gender relevance have been identified, including women's empowerment and social status enhancement; economic participation and equality, increase women's effective access to public services; education, health and well-being for women's development. The presentation also underlined the challenges for women in Bangladesh, including labour force partic ipation, income disparity, workplace challenges, reproductive health rights, nutritional issues, early marriages and harassment. Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha

Govt to procure 1.70 lakh MTs fertilizer, 10,000 MTs lentil

The government today approved separate proposals for procuring some 1.70 lakh metric tons of fertilizer and 10,000 metric tons of lentil to meet the growing demand of the country. The approvals came from the 11th meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Government Purchase (CCGP) in this year held today at the Cabinet Division Conference Room at Bangladesh Secretariat with Finance Minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali in the chair. Ali chaired the meeting virtually as he was infected with COVID-19. Briefing reporters after the meeting, Cabinet Division Secretary (Coordination and Reforms) Md Mahmudul Hossain Khan said that the day's meeting approved a total of 19 proposals. Of the approved proposals, one was from the Ministry of Commerce, two from the Ministry of Agriculture, one from the Secondary and Higher Education Division, five each from the Ministry of Industries, Power Division, four from the Local Government Division and one from the Ministry of Railways. He said following a proposal from the Ministry of Commerce, the state-run Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) would procure 10,000 metric tons of lentil locally by Open Tender Method (OTM) from Ease General Trading, Dhaka and Nabil Naba Food Products Ltd, Dhaka with around Taka 101.94 crore with per kg lentil costing Taka 101.94. Following two separate proposals from the Ministry of Agriculture, the Bangladesh Agricultural Development Corporation (BADC) would procure some 40,000 metric tons of MOP fertilizer under the 1st lot from Canadian Commercial Corporation, Canada with around Taka 125.40 crore with per ton fertilizer costing $327.75. The BADC in another proposal will procure 40,000 metric tons of DAP fertilizer from MA'ADEN, Saudi Arabia under state-level agreement with around Taka 228.36 crore with per ton fertilizer costing $554. Following separate proposals from the Ministry of Industries, Bangladesh Chemical Industries Corporation (BCIC) would procure 30,000 metric tons of bulk granular urea fertilizer from Muntajat, Qatar, under the 13th lo t with around Taka 92.29 crore with per ton fertilizer costing $282.50. In another consignment, the BCIC will procure 30,000 metric tons of bulk granular urea fertilizer from SABIC Agri-Nutrients Company, Saudi Arabia with around Taka 91.13 crore with per ton fertilizer costing $288.33 while the BCIC in another consignment would purchase 30,000 metric tons of bagged granular urea fertilizer with around Taka 95.93 crore where per ton fertilizer would cost $366.375. Mahmudul said the day's CCGP meeting approved another proposal from the Ministry of Industries under which four buffer godowns would be constructed in four districts -- Joypurhat (15,000 metric tons), Sirajganj (20,000 metric tons), Lalmonirhat (10,000 metric tons) and Dinajpur (20,000 metric tons) of the country. The four buffer godowns will be constructed under the 1st revised project for construction of some 34 buffer godowns in different parts of the country for preservation of fertilizer and its distribution. Mahmudul said the day's meeting also approved a proposal from the Ministry of Railways under which Taka 177.48 crore cost variation has been made for the 1st revised project for procurement of 20 meter gauge diesel electric locomotives and 150 meter gauge passenger carriages. He informed that with the unused loan amount from the Economic Development Cooperation Fund (EDCF), some 35 more meter gauge carriages would be procured with zero interest rate for which the DPP of the project would be recast. Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha

Hasan seeks $100m from Japan for ship breaking industry

Foreign minister Dr. Hasan Mahmud today sought 100 million US dollars assistance from Japan for making Bangladesh's ship breaking industry safe and sustainable. "I requested Japan to help us with 100 million US dollars for developing the ship breaking sector which is one of the biggest in the world," he told reporters after holding a meeting with visiting Japanese Parliamentary Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs Hosaka Yasushi at the foreign ministry here. Currently, the foreign minister said Bangladesh breaks 8000 scrapped ships annually while neighboring India breaks 10000 per year. "They (Japan) had helped India to improve their ship breaking industry . . . so in line with that I also sought their help in this regard," he said. During the meeting, Hasan also sought continuation of Japanese support, long-term plan for development of Southern Chattogram under the BIG-B initiative to enhance connectivity in the region and beyond. He also emphasized on more Japanese investments in Bangladesh, particularly in the Special Economic Zones in Araihazar and Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Shilpa Nagar at Mirsarai in Chattogram. The foreign minister thanked Japan for sending the Trade Negotiating Team for EPA which will visit Dhaka from May 19-23, 2024 for the 1st round of Japan-Bangladesh Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) Negotiations. He apprised the Japanese vice minister that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's government would like to strengthen the existing strategic partnership between Bangladesh and Japan to further height and engagements. Hasan expressed satisfaction at the good progress of JICA-assisted mega-infrastructure projects, including Matarbari deep seaport, Matarbari Coal Fired Power Plant, Dhaka Metro Rail. He thanked Japan for the continued efforts towards a durable solution for the safe, sustainable and dignified return of the forcibly displaced Myanmar nationals Rohingyas to the Rakhine State for peace, stability, and security in the region. The foreign minister expressed hope that an Economic Part nership Agreement (EPA) would be concluded to get Japanese financial concessions by 2026 when Bangladesh will be graduated from LDC status. Both the Vice Minister and Foreign minister expressed satisfaction at the close cooperation between Bangladesh and Japan in different multilateral fora and hoped that both the countries will continue close cooperation for international peace and security, and sustainable development. The foreign minister thanked the Vice Minister for representing the government of Japan in the ICPD30 Global Dialogue in Dhaka. Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha

Bangladesh’s outlook remains bright: HSBC

The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC) Limited in Bangladesh organised an event on Sunday titled "HSBC Economic Outlook: A Perspective on Bangladesh" highlighting the latest global and Asian market developments and sharing a perspective on Bangladesh. Salman F Rahman, Private Industry and Investment Adviser to the Prime Minister, attended the programme as the chief guest. The event featured a keynote presentation by Frederic Neumann, Chief Asia Economist and Co-Head of Global Research Asia, HSBC where he shared insights on the latest macroeconomic outlook. Dr Rubana Huq, Managing Director, Mohammadi Group and Vice-Chancellor, Asian University for Women, and Zaved Akhtar, Chairman and Managing Director, Unilever Bangladesh and President, Foreign Investors' Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) were the key speakers at the event. The event was also attended by Md Mahbub ur Rahman, Chief Executive Officer, HSBC Bangladesh and Gerard Haughey, Country Head of Wholesale Banking, HSBC Banglades h. Over 200 clients and stakeholders, representatives from embassies, regulators and government officials were also in attendance at the event. During the keynote presentation, Frederic Neumann highlighted the near-record high foreign direct investments flowing into Asia and stressed the need for Bangladesh to capitalise on this opportunity. HSBC expects Bangladesh's GDP growth of 5.9% for this coming fiscal year, and 6.3 percent for fiscal year thereafter. Frederic added, the average incremental GDP in the next four years will be over US$ 60 Billion which is more than the predicted incremental GDP of many other Asian peers. The acceleration in growth should be supported by household spending and improving purchasing power amid easing inflation pressures. Meanwhile, remittances are expected to rebound as well, driven by an improving global outlook, helping to further support consumption. Investment spending, too, is expected to pick up, led by exporters who are benefitting from the improving global trade c ycle. Fred presented a Global Economic Policy Uncertainty Index that graphically represented the global uncertainties over the years. The index peaking during the pandemic posed multifaceted challenges which Bangladesh emerged with resilience. Despite these headwinds, the outlook for Bangladesh remains bright, with growth expected to improve further as fiscal and structural reforms gain traction. An interactive question and answer session followed which opened the floor for further elaboration on the subject matter. The forum also facilitated a panel discussion consisting of Salman F Rahman, Frederic Neumann, Dr Rubana Huq, Zaved Akhtar and moderated by Md Mahbub ur Rahman. The panel's multi-industry experience allowed for a deeper discussion on the growth prospects and strategies for advancing Bangladesh economy. During the panel discussion, Salman F Rahman said, "Despite doing well internally, economic repercussions arising out of external factors have posed challenges for the country, including declini ng forex reserves and the appreciation of the dollar against the taka. We need to focus on domestic revenue mobilisation, modernising the tax collection system with wider tax net and, diversification of exports." During his presentation, Frederic Neumann added, ''Bangladesh is well positioned to thrive in the coming years, building on its growing competitiveness, especially for ready-made garments. Meanwhile, easing inflation pressures should support household spending, giving the economy an extra boost." During the event, Md Mahbub ur Rahman added, "As the world economy is on a gradual recovery, in Bangladesh, empowered by our skilled workforce, fueled by the surge in domestic demand, and buoyed by the rebounding remittances, our trajectory towards progress remains unwavering. We are encouraged by the positive signs in Bangladesh's economy, and we remain committed to supporting the country's growth. ." In this regard, Gerard Haughey added, "In the face of ever-evolving macroeconomic and geopolitical lands capes, staying abreast of market dynamics is imperative. We, at HSBC, are committed to empowering our clients by providing invaluable Global Research insights from our award winning team, enabling them to proactively capitalise on emerging business opportunities with precision and foresight." The panel discussion acknowledged the challenges for Bangladesh while highlighting positive developments and areas of opportunity. Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha

Weather to remain partly cloudy in hilly region

Kathmandu: The weather will be partly cloudy in the hilly areas of the country including Bagmati, Gandaki, Lumbini and Karnali provinces, the Department of Hydrology and Meteorology said. Light rain is taking place at one or two places of the hilly region in Koshi province. According to the Meteorological Forecasting Division, the weather will be partly to generally cloudy in the hilly region of Koshi province and partly cloudy in the Tarai region this afternoon. Light to moderate rain with thunder and lightning is likely to occur at a few places of the hilly regions of Koshi and Gandaki provinces and at one or two places of the hilly regions of the rest of the provinces. Light snowfall is likely to occur at one or two places of the high hilly and mountainous regions of Koshi, Gandaki and Karnali provinces. Similarly, the weather will be partly cloudy in the hilly regions of Koshi, Gandaki and Karnali provinces tonight. There is a possibility of light snowfall at one or two places of the high hilly and m ountainous regions of Koshi and Gandaki provinces. In the next 24 hours, light rain accompanied by thunder, gusty winds and lightning is likely to occur at a few places of the hilly regions of Koshi and Gandaki provinces and at one or two places of the hilly regions of the rest of the provinces. In view of possible snowfall at one or two places of the high hilly and mountainous regions of Koshi, Gandaki and Karnali provinces, the Department has urged the people to remain alert as there will be partial impact on daily life as well as agriculture, health, tourism, mountaineering, road and air transport in the region. Source: National News Agency RSS

AL programmes on Sheikh Hasina’s homecoming day

The ruling Awami League (AL) has taken elaborate programmes marking the 44th homecoming day of Prime Minister and AL President Sheikh Hasina that falls on May 17. As part of the programmes, the party leaders will greet the premier, the eldest daughter of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, at her Gonobhaban residence here at 9 am on Friday. A discussion will be held at Dhaka District AL Bhaban in city's Tejgaon area at 3:30 pm with AL Presidium Member Engineer Mosharraf Hossain in the chair. National leaders and intellectuals will address the meeting. Special doa and prayers will also be offered at mosques, temples, churches and pagodas to mark the day. Doa will be offered at Baitul Mukarram National Mosque after Jummah prayers. Christian Community will hold special prayer at Mirpur Baptist Church at 9 am on the day while Buddhist Community at International Buddhist Monastery in city's Merul Badda at 10 am and Hindu Community at Dhakeshwari National Temple at 11.30 am. On May 17, 1981, Sheikh Hasina returned home after a long exile. Boarding on an aircraft of the Indian Airlines, Sheikh Hasina reached the then Kurmitola Airport here from the Indian capital of New Delhi via Kolkata at 4.30pm on that day. Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was brutally killed along with most of his family members on August 15, 1975 and his two daughters-- Sheikh Hasina and Sheikh Rehana --- luckily escaped the carnage as they were abroad. In a national council session of Awami League on February 14, 15 and 16 in 1981, Sheikh Hasina was elected as party president in her absence and then she returned to the country on May 17. AL General Secretary and Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader asked the party leaders and workers and its associate bodies across the country to take programmes in line with the central ones. Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha

EBL, US state department to work jointly on climate change adaptation

a private commercial bank in Bangladesh, and the US Department of State today inked an agreement to collaborate on the EBL Climate Change Adaptation Award. The prize will be announced annually with the aim of recognizing and celebrating the best practices by corporations, manufacturing companies, NGOs operating in Bangladesh, and climate activists who have demonstrated excellence and leadership in implementing climate change adaptation projects and initiatives. The agreement was signed by visiting Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs Donald Lu and EBL Acting Managing Director Ahmed Shaheen at the EMK Centre, Dhaka, said a press release issued by the US embassy here. In his speech, Donald Lu said, 'The United States and Eastern Bank share a common goal of promoting work to combat climate change among Bangladeshi businesses, civil society, and elsewhere. We look forward to supporting EBL's establishment of this important new climate change adaptation award.' US Amb assador to Bangladesh Peter Haas said, 'US Embassy Dhaka is excited about this new partnership with Eastern Bank. By helping EBL recognize businesses and organizations doing exceptional work in climate change in Bangladesh, we hope to help inspire more action in this critically important area.' EBL's Acting Managing Director said, 'Extreme weather events worldwide are urging us to act quickly on climate adaptation, mitigation, and finance.' Terming this initiative a unique one, Shaheen said the program aligns with EBL's vision of being a socially responsible and environmentally friendly bank. The award categories cover a wide range of sectors and themes, such as renewable energy, water conservation, sustainable agriculture, urban resilience, biodiversity protection, and disaster preparedness. The award winners will be selected by a panel of judges, comprised of experts from academia, civil society, media, and international agencies. The nomination process for the EBL Climate Change Adaptation Award 2024 will be announced soon through newspaper, electronic media and EBL website and social media platforms, the release said. Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha