Bangladesh will soon get a clear idea about the sea resources in the country as a survey is being carried out.
Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal, while placing national budget for the fiscal year 2020-2021 in Parliament on Thursday said, to gather information on fishery and other resources in the deep sea, a modern survey is being carried out.
When completed, he said, it will provide the government with a clear idea about the sea resources in the country.
To utilise the potential of blue economy, the government is actively considering to enhance communication and sign memorandum of understanding (MOU) with countries that have seen successes in similar endeavours, Minister Kamal said.
"We strongly believe that steps taken by us will open avenues for unleashing all the potentials of our blue economy," he said.
The Finance Minister said Bangladesh possesses a blue economy with immense potential.
He said the extraction and utilisation of even the smallest part of the vast sea resources spread across 1 lakh 18 thousand 813 sq. km of the Bay of Bengal will make a huge impact on our economy.
Minister Kamal said the Vision 2041 has laid emphasis on ensuring the exploration, extraction and proper utilisation of resources of the Bay of Bengal.
FTAs & PTAs
The government, as part of its efforts to effectively face the challenges of LDC graduation, has taken initiatives to conclude Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) and Preferential Trade Agreements (PTAs) to develop trade relations with different countries and enhance our exports, said the Finance Minister.
He said feasibility studies to examine the FTA potentials with 11 countries have so far been completed.
Again, Minister Kamal said, significant progress has been made in concluding PTAs with Nepal, Indonesia and Bhutan, and it is expected that these agreements will soon be concluded.
In various ongoing negotiations at the WTO, he said, they have been continuing their efforts to ensure that Bangladesh continue to enjoy the LDC-specific benefits for a certain period even after the country’s graduation from the Least Developed Country (LDC) status.
The Finance Minister said Bangladesh has become a role model of humanitarian support provider in the world by providing safe shelter, food, healthcare service to 11 lakh Rohingyas who were forcefully dislodged from their homes in Myanmar.
"We will continue with this gesture of humanitarian response in the coming fiscal year too," he said.
Minister Kamal said they have established a National Disaster Response Coordination Cell (NDRCC) to transmit coordinated early warnings and critical disaster information to the grassroots level.
He said Bangladesh has been successful in engaging volunteers during disasters.
Some 56 thousand volunteers have already been given trainings and provided with necessary rescue equipment, and a database of them has been prepared, said the Finance Minister.
He said some 35 thousand urban volunteers have been specially trained for disaster response in urban areas.
Regular drills are being conducted to keep these volunteers ready for disasters like earthquake, cyclone and fire, he said.