Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday (September 13, 2023) told the parliament that the Bangladesh’s food security remains protected even amid the ongoing international crisis. “Bangladesh has successfully faced Covid-19 pandemic. The food security remains protected in the country amid the current international crisis as well,” she said. The premier made the remarks while replying to a question from Awami League lawmaker Md Shahiduzzaman Sarkar (Naogaon-2). Earlier, Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhry presented the question-answer session at the beginning of the day’s business. Despite move to rein in price hike, food inflation rose to 12.54 percent in August: BBS The PM said Bangladesh has already attained food autarky. “The government has been working intensively to maintain our (food) self-sufficiency,” she said. She said the crisis has been created in the global supply chain of different commodities including foods following the Covid-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war. “In this situation, the government has regularly been taking various steps on national and international levels to ensure food security by facing this crisis,” said Hasina. She said Bangladesh has successfully attained the food autarky thanks to agricultural research, extension, continuous materials support and policy support in the agriculture sector. “Bangladesh has now become a role model on the global stage in case of food security,” she said. Dhaka finds Russian agri commodities competitive on price, but payment issues linger She said the country’s food grains production was 328.96 lakh metric tons in 2008-09 fiscal year, which went up to 477.68 lakh metric tons in 2022-23 fiscal year. Efforts to continue for recognition of 1971 genocide: PM In reply another question from Awami League lawmaker Anwer Hossain Khan (Laxmipur-1), the prime minister said many countries demanded the recognition of genocide committed in their respective countries as International Genocide Day. Later, the United Nations General Assembly on September 11, 2015 adopted a resolution through discussion to observe December 9 as the International Day for the Prevention of Genocide. “Since December 9 has been observed as the International Day for the Prevention of Genocide, the proposal to observe another International Day on the same issue would not be rational,” she said. She, however, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Liberation War Affairs and the Liberation War Museum and some members of the martyrs' families are making efforts to achieve international recognition of the genocide taken place in Bangladesh in 1971. The leader of the House said individuals and organizations working on the genocide are also working to attain the recognition of the genocide. She said international recognition of the 1971 genocide taken place in Bangladesh is as complex and time-consuming as any other genocide in the world. However, it would be easy to get international recognition of genocide by creating the global public opinion in favor of recognizing the genocide committed in Bangladesh. “Efforts will continue on the part of the government in this regard,” she said. Onion prices cross Tk 100 per kg in Dhaka after India imposes extra duty 854km highways made four-lane, 1,131 bridges constructed since 2009: PM Some 854 kilometers of highways have been upgraded to four-lane ones, while 11,434 kilometers of highways have been developed and construction of 1,131 bridges (123,254 meters) has been completed through 431 projects under the Department of Roads And Highways during the three terms of the present government from 2009 to 2023, said the Prime Minister replying to a question of Jatiya Party lawmaker Hafiz Uddin Ahmed (Thakurgaon-3). In the current financial year, she said the works are underway to upgrade some 574km of highways to 4-lane ones, develop 4,634km of highway and construct 750 bridges (64,844 meters) under 131 projects. Sheikh Hasina said the highway development projects completed during her three consecutive tenures from 2009 to June 2023 includes Up-gradation of Dhaka-Chattogram National Highway to 4-lane (Daudkandi-Chattogram Section) project, Joydebpur-Mymensingh Highway Development Project, Joydevpur-Chandra-Tangail-Elenga Highway Project with service lanes on both sides; Jatrabari Intersection-Mawa section of Dhaka- Khulna (N-8) Highway (including Ekuria-Babubazar link road). Read more: Despite move to rein in price hike, food inflation rose to 12.54 percent in August: BBS Among the bridges constructed in the three terms of the government were 2nd Kanchpur Bridge, Meghna Bridge, Gomti Bridge, Payra Bridge (Lebukhali Setu) over Payra River on Barisal-Patuakhali highway and Madhumati Bridge constructed over Madhumati River under Cross-Border Road Network Improvement Project (Bangladesh), she added. Proposed investment in economic zones rose to US$ 26 billion: Answering a question from AL lawmaker Md. Mamunur Rashid Kiron (Noakhali-3), the Leader of the House said that the overall proposed investment in the economic zone has now reached USD 26 billion. Besides, 41 companies have started commercial production and 50 industries are under construction in different zones, she said, adding that these industries have produced products worth USD 14.8 billion and exported products worth USD 291 million, creating 50,000 jobs in these industries. Read more: Half of Boro paddy procurement target not achieved yet, Food Minister tells JS
2023 BRICS Summit: Lot of interest in how new members are chosen and which countries would be eligible
As the leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa get ready to meet for the 15th BRICS summit, on August 22–24, observers have high hopes for what will come out of the meeting. It will be the first time that representatives of the five emerging economies will meet in person – in South Africa – since the COVID-19 pandemic. Many other countries are looking to BRICS as a way to help their own economies recover as well, according to an article published today by China Daily. It was shared by the Chinese embassy in Dhaka. Since the group’s growth is likely to be announced at the BRICS summit, there is a lot of interest in how new members are chosen and which countries would be eligible. The article quotes Philani Mthembu, executive director of the Institute for Global Dialogue at University of South Africa, saying the fact that the summit will be BRICS’ first physical meeting since the COVID-19 pandemic shows that the member countries are making progress towards recovery, even though the Ukraine war has affected all. BRICS Summit: PM Hasina’s meetings on sidelines yet to be confirmed, says foreign ministry spokesperson ‘BRICS and Africa: Partnership for Mutually Accelerated Growth, Sustainable Development, and Inclusive Multilateralism’ is the theme of this year’s summit. Mthembu remarked on the multilateral aspect: “There is an acknowledgment that multilateralism has been in crisis in the last few years. It has not achieved the things it set out to do… One of the key focus areas in the theme is strengthening inclusive multilateralism. It is important that South Africa brings an African focus into the theme.” Kenyan scholar Cavince Adhere, who studies international relations and focuses on China-Africa development cooperation, said that African countries expect BRICS to give them more chances to trade and invest with member countries. PM Hasina formally invited to attend BRICS Summit in South Africa Noting that the people of the BRICS countries make up more than 40% of the world’s population as a whole, he said that access to these large markets could help many emerging economies in Africa grow and develop quickly. The China Daily article quoted Adhere as saying, “In an increasingly polarized world, BRICS can create an enabling avenue for African countries to fashion a more inclusive global economic and political order, which has been dominated by Western powers.” Opposition to BRICS proves BNP is against development of the country: Info Minister He said the fact that more than 40 countries have said they want to join BRICS at the summit shows how popular the group is, since most countries think that if they join, they can solve their development problems. Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will attend the BRICS Summit 2023, the foreign ministry has confirmed. Bangladesh has received the formal invitation from the host South Africa. The summit will be hosted at the Sandton Convention Centre (SCC) in Johannesburg. Earlier, Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen had said that Bangladesh is likely to become a member of BRICS in August this year. “BRICS leaders are thinking of taking some emerging economies – around eight new countries including Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Indonesia and Bangladesh,” he told reporters. Bangladesh, India have stepped into new era that will help both economies: Shahriar Alam
Inflation continues to persist at a high level in Bangladesh, affecting the lifestyles of common people severely as they struggle to survive on limited earnings in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic. Figures released on Sunday showed general inflation remained virtually unchanged at 9.69 percent on a point-to-point basis for the month of July, having been 9.74 percent in June, said the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS). The Ministry of Finance and Bangladesh Bank (BB) have blamed the external factors for inflation while they failed to adopt the right fiscal and monetary policy measures, said economists. Read: General inflation virtually unchanged at 9.69 percent in July Talking with UNB former governor of the Bangladesh Bank Dr Atiur Rahman said Bangladesh could not go for adequate tightening of the monetary policy in time to rein in inflation while the US Federal Reserve continues to raise policy rates persistently. He said, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has also been raising policy rates consistently, while agriculture production rising consistently to strengthen the supply side. The market imperfections caused by growth curtail the root cause of higher food inflation and other necessities. The depreciation of the Taka had also been raising imported inflation at these times. The rent-seeking on the roads by some quarters besides higher transport prices due to readjusted fuel prices may have also been fuelling inflation from the supply side, Dr Atiur said. Read: Bangladesh Bank working to normalise inflation and dollar crisis despite geopolitical challenges He suggested the ways out may be to further tighten monetary policy and reduce public expenditure to reduce public borrowing from the central bank to align fiscal policy along with tighter monetary policy. The competition commission and Consumer Protection Authority must wake up to break the curtails. The roads should also be made rent-free to facilitate smooth flows of goods and daily necessities. The exchange rate must be stabilized at a single rate and hurdles for small entrepreneurs in opening letters of credit with adequate dollar support could ensure smooth supplies of imported goods for consumption and raw materials for continued production of goods and services could also help stabilize the prices of the same. Read: Ex-governors optimistic MPS can claw back inflation, implementation the key The regulators should keep on communicating well in anchoring the inflation expectations so that inflation does not get embedded in consumer psychology. Dr Zahid Hussain, the former lead economist of the World Bank's Dhaka office, told UNB that no measure has been taken to rein the inflation so far. He said the reigning repo rate is not affecting the market, and the increase of 1.0 percent in interest rate from July is not making any impact on the money market. He pointed out that printing currency to meet government expenditures is also fuelling inflation. Read: CPD dismisses budget's projections on growth, inflation, revenue collection Dr Zahid said there is no control over pricing of essentials products in the market, and businesses are making hefty profits showing supply-side uncertainty in the wake of the foreign exchange crisis. Dr Ahsan H Mansur, former economist of IMF and executive director of Policy Research Institute (PRI), told UNB that the BB printed more currency (taka) in a single year than it had in the last 50 years, which brought additional inflationary pressure. Denying the BB claim of printing money as a regular matter that has no impact on inflation, Mansur said printing money against the US dollar, which commercial banks sold to the central bank is a different issue. Explaining the situation, Dr Mansur said despite the dollar crisis, the printing of high-speed money (printing currency) is continuing, which obviously brings impact on higher inflation, resulting in Bangladesh’s inflation rising while Sri Lanka and other Asian countries’ inflation is falling.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday (May 31, 2023) said that the government is making every effort to keep Bangladesh's economy alive despite the global economic recession caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and the Ukraine-Russia war. The prime minister said this while responding to a tabled question of Awami League MP elected from Chattogram MA Latif for PM’s question-answer session. She said the government has been able to quickly bring the country's economy to the pre-Covid high growth trend dealing with the recession, inflation and instability in the global economy caused by the pandemic and the war. Read more: President Erdogan and PM Hasina vow to take Dhaka-Ankara ties to new height “Amid the crisis over Covid, our growth in the financial year 2019-20 was 3.45 percent which was one of the highest in the world for that period,” she claimed. She said that due to the various steps taken by the government to boost the economy, the GDP growth in the financial year 2020-21 increased by 6.94 percent. “It further increased to 7.10 percent in FY 2021-22.” Hasina also highlighted various measures taken by the government to keep the economy of the government alive. Read more: PM calls for more Swedish investment as H&M boss calls on her These included government expenditure rationalisation, social protection, subsidies in electricity, energy and agriculture sectors, export incentives, rise in remittance inflow, monetary policy etc, she said. In response to the question of Jatiya Party MP elected from Dhaka Syed Abu Hossain, the prime minister highlighted the various steps taken by the government to control the prices of daily commodities and said as a result of the government's activities, it has been possible to control the prices of essentials and the poor people are benefiting from it. In response to the question of Jatiya Party MP elected from Pirojpur Rustam Ali Farazi, the she said that it will be possible to start rail traffic on the Dhaka-Mawa-Bhanga section of the Padma Bridge Rail Link Project by September 2023 and the Jessore section from June 2024. Read more: Work together to regain lost glory in science and technology: PM Hasina to Muslim community In response to reserved seat MP Kha Mamata Lovely's question, the prime minister said that 555,134 families have been rehabilitated through the Ashrayan project.
COVID-19′s origins remain hazy. Three years after the start of the pandemic, it’s still unclear whether the coronavirus that causes the disease leaked from a lab or spread to humans from an animal. This much is known: When it comes to COVID-19 misinformation, any new report on the virus’ origin quickly triggers a relapse and a return of misleading claims about the virus, vaccines and masks that have reverberated since the pandemic began. It happened again this week after the Energy Department confirmed that a classified report determined, with low confidence, that the virus escaped from a lab. Within hours, online mentions of conspiracy theories involving COVID-19 began to rise, with many commenters saying the classified report was proof they were right all along. Far from definitive, the Energy Department’s report is the latest of many attempts by scientists and officials to identify the origin of the virus, which has now killed nearly 7 million people after being first detected in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in late 2019. The report has not been made public, and officials in Washington stressed that a variety of U.S. agencies are not in agreement on the origin. On Tuesday, FBI Director Christopher Wray told Fox News that the FBI “has for quite some time now” assessed that the pandemic’s origins are “most likely a potential lab incident in Wuhan.” But others in the U.S. intelligence community disagree, and there’s no consensus. Many scientists believe the likeliest explanation is that the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 jumped from animals to humans, possibly at Wuhan’s Huanan market, a scenario backed up by multiple studies and reports. The World Health Organization has said that while an animal origin remains most likely, the possibility of a lab leak must be investigated further before it can be ruled out. People should be open-minded about the evidence used in the Energy Department’s assessment, according to virologist Angela Rasmussen. But she said that without evaluating the classified report, she can’t assess if it’s persuasive enough to challenge the conclusion that the virus spread from an animal. “The vast majority of the evidence continues to support natural origin,” Rasmussen told The Associated Press Wednesday. “I’m a scientist. I need to see the evidence rather than take the FBI director’s word for it.” Many of those citing the report as proof, however, seemed uninterested in the details. They seized on the report and said it suggests the experts were wrong when it came to masks and vaccines, too. “School closures were a failed & catastrophic policy. Masks are ineffective. And harmful,” said a tweet that’s been read nearly 300,000 times since Sunday. “COVID came from a lab. Everything we skeptics said was true.” Overall mentions of COVID-19 began to rise after The Wall Street Journal published a story about the Energy Department report on Sunday. Since then, mentions of various COVID-related conspiracy theories have soared, according to an analysis conducted by Zignal Labs, a San Francisco-based media intelligence firm, and shared with The Associated Press. While the lab leak theory has bounced around the internet since the pandemic began, references to it soared 100,000% in the 48 hours after the Energy Department report was revealed, according to Zignal’s analysis, which combed through social media, blogs and other sites. Many of the conspiracy theories contradict each other and the findings in the Energy Department report. In a tweet on Tuesday, U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Republican from Georgia, called COVID-19 a “man made bioweapon from China.” A follower quickly challenged her: “It was made in Ukraine,” he responded. With so many questions remaining about a world event that has claimed so many lives and upended even more, it’s not at all surprising that COVID-19 is still capable of generating so much anger and misinformation, according to Bret Schafer, a senior fellow at the Alliance for Securing Democracy, a Washington-based organization that has tracked government propaganda about COVID-19. “The pandemic was so incredibly disruptive to everyone. The intensity of feelings about COVID, I don’t think that’s going to go away,” Schafer said. “And any time something new comes along, it breathes new life into these grievances and frustrations, real or imagined.” Chinese government officials have in the past used their social media accounts to amplify anti-U.S. conspiracy theories, including some that suggested the U.S. created the COVID-19 virus and framed its release on China. So far, they’ve taken a quieter approach to the Energy Department report. In their official response, China’s government dismissed the agency’s assessment as an effort to politicize the pandemic. Online, Beijing’s sprawling propaganda and disinformation network was largely silent, with just a few posts criticizing or mocking the report. “BREAKING,” a pro-China YouTuber wrote on Twitter. “I can now announce, with ‘low confidence,’ that the COVID pandemic began as a leak from Hunter Biden’s laptop.”
The United Nations forecast Wednesday (January 25, 2023) that global economic growth will fall significantly to 1.9% this year as a result of the food and energy crisis sparked by the war in Ukraine, the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, persistently high inflation and the climate emergency. Painting a gloomy and uncertain economic outlook, the U.N. Department of Economic and Social Affairs said the current global economic slowdown “cuts across both developed and developing countries, with many facing risks of recession in 2023.” “A broad-based and severe slowdown of the global economy looms large amid high inflation, aggressive monetary tightening, and heightened uncertainties,” U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a foreword to the 178-page report. The report said this year's 1.9% economic growth forecast — down from an estimated 3% in 2022 — is one of the lowest growth rates in recent decades. But it projects a moderate pick-up to 2.7% in 2024 if inflation gradually abates and economic headwinds start to subside. Read More: Global economic growth will slow down in 2023, but will pick up in 2024: IMF chief In its annual report earlier this month, the World Bank which lends money to poorer countries for development projects, cut its growth forecast nearly in half, from it previous projection of 3% to just 1.7%. The International Monetary Fund, which provides loans to needy countries, projected in October that global growth would slow from 6% in 2021 to 3.2% in 2022 and 2.7% in 2023. IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said at last week’s World Economic Forum in Davos that 2023 will be a difficult year, but stuck by the projection and said “we don’t expect a global recession.” Shantanu Mukherjee, director of the economic analysis and policy division of the U.N. Department of Economic and Social Affairs, highlighted the growing income inequality in the world at a news conference launching the report. Between 2019 and 2021, he said, average incomes for the top 10% rose by 1.2% while the incomes of the lowest 40% fell by 0.5%. Read More: Bangladesh-Turkiye Business Forum launched to usher in new era of economic cooperation “The top 10% now earns on average over 42 times what the lowest percentiles” earn, Mukherjee said. According to the U.N. report, this year “growth momentum has weakened in the United States, the European Union and other developed economies, adversely affecting the rest of the world economy.” In the United States, GDP is projected to expand by only 0.4% in 2023 after estimated growth of 1.8% in 2022, the U.N. said. And many European countries are projected to experience “a mild recession" with the war in Ukraine heading into its second year on Feb. 14, high energy costs, and inflation and tighter financial conditions depressing household consumption and investment. The economies in the 27-nation European Union are forecast to grow by just 0.2% in 2023, down from an estimated 3.3% in 2022, the U.N. said. And in the United Kingdom, which left the EU three years ago, GDP is projected to contract by 0.8% in 2023, continuing a recession that began in the second half of 2022, it said. Read More: China’s economic growth falls to second-lowest level in four decades With China’s government abandoning its zero-COVID policy late last year and easing monetary and fiscal policies, the U.N. forecast that its economy, which expanded by only 3% in 2022, will accelerate to 4.8% this year. “But the reopening of the economy is expected to be bumpy,” the U.N. said. ”Growth will likely remain well below the pre-pandemic rate of 6-6.5%.” The U.N. report said Japan’s economy is expected to be among the better-performing among developed countries this year, with GDP forecast to increase by 1.5%, slightly lower than last year’s estimated growth of 1.6%. Across east Asia, the U.N. said economic recovery remains fragile though GDP growth in 2023 is forecast to reach 4.4%, up from 3.2% last year, and stronger than in other regions. Read More: AL govt's ouster a 'must' to tackle political, economic crises In South Asia, the U.N. forecast average GDP growth will slow from 5.6% last year to 4.8% this year as a result of high food and energy prices, “monetary tightening and fiscal vulnerabilities.” But growth in India, which is expected to overtake China this year as the world’s most populous nation, is expected to remain strong at 5.8%, slightly lower than the estimated 6.4% in 2022, “as higher interest rates and a global slowdown weigh on investments and exports,” the U.N. report said. In Western Asia, oil-producing countries are benefiting from high prices and rising output as well as a revival in tourism, the U.N. said. But economies that aren’t oil producers remain weak “given tightening access to international finance and severe fiscal constraints,” and average growth in the region is projected to slow from an estimated 6.4% in 2022 to 3.5% this year. The U.N. said Africa has been hit “by multiple shocks, including weaker demand from key trading partners (especially China and Europe), a sharp increase in energy and food prices, rapidly rising borrowing costs and adverse weather events.” Read More: Burden of Bangladesh’s economic and political stability must be shared One result, it said, is mounting debt-servicing burdens which have forced a growing number of African governments to seek bilateral and multilateral support. The U.N. projected economic growth in Africa to slow from an estimated 4.1% in 2022 to 3.8% this year. In Latin America and the Caribbean, the U.N. said the outlook “remains challenging,” citing labor market prospects, stubbornly high inflation and other issues. It forecast that regional growth will slow to just 1.4% in 2023 from an estimated expansion of 3.8% in 2022. “The region’s largest economies – Argentina, Brazil and Mexico – are expected to grow at very low rates due to tightening financial conditions, weakening exports, and domestic vulnerabilities,” the U.N. said. Read More: Bangladesh considering ‘pros and cons’ of Indo-Pacific Economic Framework: Momen For the world’s least developed countries, the U.N. said growth is projected at 4.4% this year, about the same as last year but significantly below the UN's target of 7% by 2030.
The 10th edition of Dhaka Lit Fest officially began on Thursday, after a three-year hiatus due to the global Covid-19 pandemic. Revered as Bangladesh's biggest event showcasing world literature and culture with the participation of around 500 writers, poets, performers, intellectuals, journalists and internationally acclaimed prize-winning speakers, the 2023 edition is featuring 170 sessions during the four-day event. State Minister for Cultural Affairs KM Khalid inaugurated the event alongside Nobel laureate litterateur Abdulrazak Gurnah, and Indian writer-literary critic Amitav Ghosh at Bangla Academy's Abdul Karim Sahitya Bisharad (AKSB) auditorium in the morning. DLF Directors Sadaf Saaz Siddiqi, Kazi Anis Ahmed and Ahsan Akbar were also present at the inauguration ceremony. "After a long hiatus due to the pandemic, Dhaka Lit Fest is finally being held with the presence of global literary dignitaries. The Ministry of Cultural Affiars is proud to be associated with this prestigious event as always, and I wish the event the success it deserves," KM Khalid said at the ceremony. Indian writer and literary critic Amitabh Ghosh said, "I grew up hearing stories about Bangladesh as my grandmother was from Madaripur district and all her life, she had her Madaripuri accent. It was amazing for me growing up hearing this wonderful dialect, this wonderful language. However, Bangladesh was a kind of absence in my life as I live in India, and I think only those of us who have the experience of that separation can really understand what this absence means.” Nobel laureate writer Abdulrazak Gurnah said, "Unlike Amitav Ghosh, I cannot tell the story of how I began here and how I belong here because, for me, this is the first time coming to Dhaka and Bangladesh, or indeed, this whole side of the subcontinent,” he said. “So I’m expecting all kinds of revelations, events to happen that I have not seen before. And I’ve already got a bit of a taste from the performances earlier, the dance – the very beautiful dances – the lovely costumes, the music, and then that incredibly energetic performance by the drummers.” Earlier in the morning, the proceedings began with a performance of spiritual songs at the Bangla Academy lawn. Read more: Curtain rises on Dhaka Lit Fest 2023 Thursday The event remained suspended for three years due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The ninth DLF was held in November 2019. Organizers say the historic Bangla Academy premises will become more vibrant due to the presence of eminent personalities from five continents, including two Nobel Prize-winning authors -- namely Orhan Pamuk and Abdulrazak. The event will feature winners of the Pulitzer, International Booker, Neustadt International, PEN/Pinter, Prix Médicis, Academy Award, Windham-Campbell Prize, Albert Medal, Waterstones Children's Book Prize, and Aga Khan Award. This event features with conversations, dialogues, film screenings, art exhibitions, music, cultural shows and much more. According to the organizers, only children up to 12 years of age will not need any ticket to enter. Read more: Dhaka International Folk Fest underway
The Korean Community in Bangladesh will hold ‘Korean Night 2022’ at the backyard of the Embassy of the Republic of Korea on December 9. This annual event has been suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic and will be resumed for the first time in three years. This time, it is not only to show the harmony and unity of the Korean community in Bangladesh, in particular on the occasion of the year-ending season, but also to celebrate the 50 years of diplomatic relations between Korea and Bangladesh which is due in 2023, said the organisers on Thursday. The Korean Community in Dhaka, in close copperation with Korean Embassy, has prepared a variety of programs at this Korean Night such as K-pop performances, concert by invited professional Korean singers, appreciation-award giving, lucky draw and games. Read more: Republic of Korea to celebrate its National Day virtually in Dhaka About 500 Korean residents across Bangladesh are expected to come and join. South Korean Ambassador to Bangladesh Lee Jang-keun and leaders of the Korean community in Bangladesh will deliver congratulatory messages hoping that this event brings harmony and unity not only among the Korean communities but also among the Koreans and Bangladeshis. It will also provide an opportunity for sharing creative ideas on various diplomatic, economic, political, and cultural programs for the next year when the two countries celebrate the 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties, said the organisers. Besides, the Korean Community will also hold a Charity Bazzaar for the underprevileged people at Dhaka Korean Church on December 9. Read more: 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties in 2023 will take Bangladesh-South Korea relations to new height: Envoy Currently 1,500-2,000 Koreans reside in Bangladesh, mostly engaging in investment and business activities in particular in ready-made garment(RMG) sector. Koreans in Bangladesh, many of them are long-time residents in the country, have been playing a vital role in contributing to developing Bangladeshi human resource, accelerating economic prosperity and sterengthening the bilateral relationship between two countries.
The overall number of global Covid-19 cases has now crossed 650 million. According to the latest global data, the total case count mounted to 650,329,085 while the death toll from the virus reached 6,647,711 on Tuesday morning. The US has recorded 100,906,111 cases so far, while 1,106,990 people have died from the virus in the country, both highest counts around the world. Read: China eases controls, gives no sign when ‘zero COVID’ ends India reported 226 new COVID-19 cases on Monday, the same tally recorded as the previous day, showed data released by the health ministry. The country also logged two more COVID-19-related deaths during the past 24 hours, taking the overall death toll to 530,630 since the beginning of the pandemic, the ministry said. The Chinese mainland on Monday reported 4,988 locally transmitted confirmed COVID-19 cases, the National Health Commission said Tuesday. Monday saw no new deaths from COVID-19, with the total death toll at 5,235. Covid in Bangladesh Bangladesh reported another Covid-linked death with 26 more cases in 24 hours till Monday morning. With the new numbers, the fatalities rose to 29,435 and the caseload to 2,036,663, according to the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS). Read: Citizens aged above 60 to get 4th dose of Covid vaccine: Health Minister The daily case test positivity increased to 0.96 per cent from Sunday’s 0.68 per cent as 2,706 samples were tested during the period. The mortality and recovery rates remained unchanged at 1.45 percent and 97.52 per cent, respectively.
The government of Bangladesh has projected to improve the ratio of revenue to GDP to 10.6 percent in the mid-term (by 2024-25 fiscal), even though the revenue sectors are suffering a lot due to the COVID-19 pandemic and Russia-Ukraine War. The ratio of revenue to GDP expresses total government revenue as a percentage of gross domestic product. The vast majority of government revenue comes in the form of tax collection. Consequently it is also sometimes known as the tax-GDP ratio. Other smaller revenue streams include things like bonded warehouses, a customs-controlled warehouse for the retention of imported goods until the duty owed on them is paid. According to an official document, the revenue-GDP ratio for the running 2022-23 fiscal has been estimated at 9.7 percent, rising to 10.4 percent in the 2023-24 fiscal. Read more: IMF suggests updating GDP report every 3 months It said that in preparing fiscal policy, the government has been maintaining an expansionary fiscal stance by keeping the budget deficit at a moderate level. Moreover, the government has taken up many reform initiatives to improve the revenue-GDP ratio which is low compared to the neighbouring countries. Due to the rebasing of GDP to the 2015-16 fiscal, the ratio has dropped even further. Although revenue-GDP ratio has been growing slowly due to high GDP growth, revenue growth has been on a positive trend. The official document of the Finance Ministry said that several reform initiatives have been taken by the government to reinforce domestic resource mobilisation as well as to improve the revenue-GDP ratio. It is envisaged that positive impacts of ongoing and future reforms will ensure significantly higher revenue and hence, total revenue is projected to grow to 10.6 percent of GDP in the fiscal 2024-25. Read more: Bangladesh has one of the lowest debt-to-GDP ratios: Finance Minister tells ADB In south Asia Bangladesh has the lowest tax-GDP ratio. A 2016 World Bank report said that the South Asian tax -GDP ratio is 19.1 percent in Nepal, 16 percent in Bhutan, 12 percent in India, 9.9 percent in Afghanistan, 9.1 percent in the Maldive while in Bangladesh it is 8.8 percent. In 2017 Bangladesh's position in tax-GDP ratio slid to 7.6. According to available data from World Economic Outlook of October 2019 issue, the revenue GDP ratio of the country is 9.9 percent on average since 2015-2019 while it is 19.8 percent for India, 23.9 for Nepal, 14.7 for Pakistan, 13.5 for Sri Lanka, 25.6 for developing countries and 35.9 for developed countries. Due to COVID-19, the revenue collection declined while pressure mounted on the budget as the government made high expenditure to face the adverse impact of the economic situation. The Russia-Ukraine war just added to the woes for the revenue collection authorities as the economic conditions across the globe are suffering heavily. Read More: Without reforms, Bangladesh’s GDP could fall below 4% by 2035: World Bank study The document stated that of the 10.6 percent of the revenue GDP ratio in 2024-25 fiscal 9.0 percent will come from National Board of Revenue (NBR), 0.5 percent will be from non-NBR sources while 1.1 percent will be from non-tax sources. The target for the revenue GDP ratio for 2023-24 fiscal has been estimated at 10.4 percent where 8.8 percent will be from National Board of Revenue (NBR), 0.5 percent will be from non-NBR sources while 1.1 percent will be from non-tax sources. In the running 2022-23 fiscal the government is projected to get 8.3 percent from National Board of Revenue (NBR), 0.4 percent from non-NBR sources while 1 percent from non-tax sources. In the previous 2021-22 fiscal, the government had projected to boost the revenue GDP ratio to 11.3 percent with 9.5 percent from National Board of Revenue (NBR), 0.5 percent from non-NBR source while 1.2 percent from non-tax sources. Read More: Bangladesh’s GDP likely to grow by 6.6% in FY 2023: ADB But in the revised estimation, it lowered down the ratio to 9.8 percent where 8.3 percent was from the NBR, 0.4 percent was from non-NBR sources and 1.1 percent from non-tax sources. The COVID-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war was the main cause of lowering down the ratio. The document said that the government has taken various reform activities to improve the overall revenue collection. It mentioned that an automated system has been introduced for VAT and income tax collection along with bonded warehouses. Read more: Focus on extending tax net to enhance Tax-GDP ratio: ICAB The document hoped that apart from reforms programmes for modernisation of the tax administration, expansion of the tax net, developments in tax compliance and law amendment, and simplification of the tax system in Bangladesh would create significant positive impact on revenue collection in the future.