Freedom and justice cannot be ignored for development as the absence of justice even leads to a negative impact on the development, said SR Osmani, professor of development economics at the University of Ulster in the UK. He said governments should work to ensure justice through equal resource allocation for all citizens, the rule of law, and freedom of speech as a pathway of a welfare government. Professor Osmani said this while delivering a keynote speech at the opening session of the Annual BIDS Conference on Development-2023, with the theme of development, justice and freedom at a hotel in Gulshan, Dhaka on Thursday. Planning Minister MA Mannan was the chief guest at the conference while former adviser to the prime minister Mashiur Rahman was present as the special guest. Binayak Sen, Director General of the Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS), moderated the programme. "If there is a lack of freedom and justice, credit discrimination occurs and the poor do not get adequate funds, which can lead to social instability," said Professor Osmani. Under the situation, according to the economist, the private sector holds back investments, which ultimately deters development. He said governments should not be fanatical with development. "Rather, they should be obsessed with freedom and justice by ensuring the rule of law and good governance,” he added. Planning Minister MA Mannan shared examples of countries that have developed significantly despite their governments being autocratic. He said some people say if a government stays in power for a long time, it may become an autocrat and autocracy deters development. "How Malaysia and Singapore developed if it is really true?" In Malaysia, Mahathir Mohamad was in power for a long time and he led the country to progress. The same happened in Singapore, the planning minister said. "I expect economists to discuss the impact of the continuity of a government and political stability in development," Mannan pointed out. "Life is a product while freedom and justice are by-products, not basic things. We are trying to ensure a better life for people. We have to work more for the people who remain at the bottom of the pyramid,” the minister said. Binayak Sen said lack of democracy and freedom of minds of people become like stone, and justice is ignored, so these things are equally required for a welfare society. The conference will continue till December 9. The conference will feature a total of 18 papers, 5 special seminars, and 7 public lectures, encompassing various themes such as macroeconomic challenges and policy options, democratic socialism, post-COVID crisis analysis, the Rohingya refugee crisis, the ready-made garments (RMG) sector, updated growth experiences in South Asia, global price shocks and food security, megatrends in gender, population, and development, taxation, unpaid care work, evolving global order, geo-economic spectrum, agrarian change in contemporary Bangladesh, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and more. Esteemed scholars like Wahiduddin Mahmud, Ahsan H Mansur, Binayak Sen, Atiur Rahman, Sajeda Amin, Naila Kabeer, Zaidi Sattar, Hossain Zillur Rahman, Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, Ahmed Mushfiq Mobarak, Syed Abdul Hamid, Patrick Alexander Kirby, Siddharth Sharma, Daniel Resnick, James Thurlow, Paul Dorosh, Gaurav Datt, Syed Moinul Ahsan, Dileni Gunewardena, Ahmad Ahsan, M. Niaz Asadullah, Gayatri B Koolwal, Geof Wood, and others will present key insights on pivotal issues in contemporary development discourse. The conference will conclude with an expert panel discussion titled ‘Economic Policy: Addressing Policy Challenges in the Context of Global and Domestic Uncertainty,’ bringing together distinguished economists, policymakers, civil society members, and stakeholders.
In the month of Victory, Padma Bank has unveiled its new product titled: Bijoy 71. In an effort to celebrate Victory Day with its clients, Padma Bank has offered its clients the opportunity to open a fixed deposit plan at a lucrative 9 percent interest rate in just seventy-one (71) days. According to the bank, the product was recently formally inaugurated at the bank's head office in Gulshan. Read: BGMEA urges members to strengthen business capabilities amidst changing dynamics In just 71 days, customers will receive a year's worth of profit rate. At this time, no other banks or financial organizations are providing such an offer. Mir Shafiqul Islam, head of retail banking division, noted this as another success and stated that victory calls for celebration. Read: NBR selects 525 best taxpayers from districts and city corporations Besides, Padma Bank recently introduced a new monthly savings scheme. The starting amount is from five hundred and its multiples to twenty-five thousand for a period of 3, 5, 8, and 10 years. Under this special offer, the customer will receive 11% to 14% interest rate.
KSA keen to enhance trade with Bangladesh in food, energy, logistics, and manufacturing sectors : FBCCI
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) is keen to strengthen trade ties with Bangladesh in several areas including food, energy, logistics, and manufacturing. Saudi entrepreneurs expressed their interest regarding this during a meeting at the Saudi Bangladesh Business Council hosted by the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) in Dhaka on Wednesday. Investment Minister of Saudi Arabia Engr. Khalid A. Al-Falih joined the meeting as the chief guest. The Saudi Investment Minister said Bangladesh is one of the closest friends of Saudi Arabia and both countries enjoy an excellent bilateral friendship. The Saudi Minister said Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia have trade relations in a few areas. “But now is the time we look for ways on how we can strengthen trade for the mutual benefit of both of the countries. Saudi Arabia’s support to Bangladesh will continue in the future”, he added. Prime Minister’s Private Industry and Investment Advisor Salman F. Rahman urged Saudi Arabian businessmen to invest in Bangladesh. Read: BGMEA urges members to strengthen business capabilities amidst changing dynamics Pointing out the trade potential between Saudi Arabia and Bangladesh he said that the Bangladesh government will provide full support to the businessmen of both countries to utilise these potentials. The FBCCI President Mahbubul Alam said Bangladesh enjoys excellent bilateral relations with Saudi Arabia. “The ties between Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia are mostly based on common Islamic traditions, culture and mutual respect,” he added. Inviting the Saudi investors to invest in Special Economic Zones, Mahbubul Alam said Bangladesh government has allocated 300 acres of land in the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Shilpa Nagar’s to establish the Saudi Arabia SEZ. Deputy Minister for Investors Outreach of KSA Badr I. AlBadr said Saudi Arabia is looking forward to boosting bilateral trade with Bangladesh. Read: NBR falls behind target to install 3 lakh machines to collect VAT “We want to diversify our investment in Bangladesh. We’re looking forward to starting with a few selected sectors, but in the future Saudi Arabia is going to collaborate in many areas with Bangladesh. KSA and Bangladesh will work together to resolve challenges in the future,” he said. Among others, Chairman of the Saudi Bangladesh Business Council Ayad Al Amri, Ambassador of KSA in Bangladesh Essa bin Yousef Al Duhailan, FBCCI Vice President Khairul Huda Chopol, Dr. Joshoda Jibon Deb Nath, Md. Munir Hossain, Directors, and Business Dignitaries from Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia were present at the business council meeting. Also read: Saudi company to operate Patenga Container Terminal under deal with CPA
President of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) Faruque Hassan has called upon apparel exporters to boost their business capabilities in order to adapt to evolving market dynamics. Speaking at a meeting with BGMEA members of the Chittagong region on December 5, he urged them to adopt a pragmatic approach in business negotiations, planning, and restructuring investments to cope up with the emerging challenges. “While the RMG industry is currently navigating through challenging times, addressing immediate concerns, it is imperative for us to think long-term to stay competitive in the global market,” said Faruque Hassan. The meeting was attended by BGMEA First Vice President Syed Nazrul Islam, Senior Vice President S. M. Mannan (Kochi), Vice President (Finance) Khandoker Rafiqul Islam, Vice President Md. Nasir Uddin, Vice President Rakibul Alam Chowdhury, former First Vice Presidents S. M. Abu Tayeb and Nasir Uddin Chowdhury, along with Directors of BGMEA. Faruque Hassan provided an overview of the current status of the RMG industry, with focus on the impacts of the global economic situation, challenges associated with implementing new wage structures, and the priorities to maintain industry competitiveness in the long run, said a media release on Wednesday. He also mentioned that the industry is going through many challenges including increased cost of production due the hike in prices of electricity, gas, and bank rates. Highlighting the recent increase in minimum wage, Faruque Hassan said the hike aims at ensuring a decent livelihood for the industry’s workers. Ensuring workers'well-being means enhancing their productivity, which benefits the industry. He urged the garment manufacturers to engage in discussions with buyers for a rational increase in prices to support the implementation of the new minimum wage. “I have already written to our valued buyers, requesting them to adjust prices for orders, considering the standard of living of our workers and inflation,” remarked Faruque Hassan. He emphasized the importance of fair prices and ethical sourcing for a smooth transition to the new wage scale. BGMEA is actively collaborating with the government and various stakeholders to support the sustainable development of the RMG industry. Faruque Hassan called upon the member factories to find innovative ways to optimize costs, invest in technologies to enhance efficiency, and reduce waste. Acknowledging the industry’s current challenges, Faruque Hassan expressed optimism of overcoming them through collective efforts. “We faced challenges before and emerged even stronger. With our collective efforts, we will be able to overcome all challenges and ensure a brighter future for the industry,” he said.
Under a scheme to bring transparency and modern approach in collecting VAT from businesses the National Board of Revenue (NBR) started installing 3 lakh Electronic Fiscal Devices (EFDs) three years ago, but the revenue agency could set up only 18,005 devices in two years, said the revenue agency’s chairman. Once completed, the NBR believes that an additional Tk20,000 crore would be possible to be collected. Because of such a sluggish progress in installing the devices, the NBR has assigned private company Genex Infosys Limited to speed up the process. Also read: NBR selects 525 best taxpayers from districts and city corporations NBR Chairman Abu Hena Md. Rahmatul Muneem revealed the information in a press conference on the occasion of marking the VAT Day at the NBR Building in Agargaon on Wednesday. The NBR launched the project on August 25, 2020, but the progress was not satisfactory after two years of launching the scheme. The chairman said that the NBR and the Genex have installed the device in 18,505 business establishments, including 500 SDCs (sales data controllers). Also read: Revenue collection up by 14.36 percent in July-October, but behind target: NBR Now the target is to set up 30,000 EFDs and SDCs by December this year and 60,000 EFDs and SDCs every year. Three lakh devices would now be installed over the next 5 years. With the machines, taxpayers would be able to automatically submit tax returns and pay tax online. Muneem said that the VAT payers should continue participating in the monthly lottery using EFD machines-produced challans while purchasing goods or services. The lottery draw of the EFD challan is held automatically in the first week of every month. The lottery has 101 prizes ranging from Tk 1 lakh to Tk 10,000. The issue will be widely publicised on the VAT Day and the VAT Weeks, he said. He said that the purpose of observing the VAT Day and the Week is to increase public engagement and awareness in VAT collection. Also read: NBR extends tax return submission deadline by two months
Bangladesh’s furniture industry landscape has been shaped by several visionary enterprises, and among them, HATIL stands tall as the country’s leading furniture brand. With a considerable annual growth rate, the furniture industry in Bangladesh has made an extraordinary leap in recent years. According to the Export Promotion Bureau, the current size of the furniture industry in Bangladesh is worth Tk 25,000 crore. However, the number is close to Tk 30,000 crore, according to estimates of Bangladeshi furniture manufacturers. Leading the drive towards this growth is HATIL Complex Ltd, recognized as a game-changer in the country’s furniture industry. Established nearly three decades ago, HATIL has grown from a modest door manufacturer to an industry leader with two cutting-edge factories and more than 70 outlets across the country, making its indelible presence felt in the global market. Roots and Entrepreneurial Vision Rooted in the entrepreneurial spirit of Selim H. Rahman, the company's founder, HATIL embarked on its journey by recognizing an untapped niche in the furniture market. Starting as a door seller, Rahman's astute observation of the industry's missing parts propelled HATIL's evolution into a comprehensive furniture solutions provider.
The Red Sea Gateway Terminal International (RSGT), a Saudi company, and Chittagong Port Authority (CPA) on Wednesday signed a concession agreement to manage and operate the Patenga Container Terminal. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and visiting Saudi Investment Minister Khalid A. Al-Falih witnessed the signing ceremony held at the Prime Minister’s Office. CPA Chairman Rear Admiral Mohammad Sohail and CEO of RSGT Jeans O. Foley signed the agreement. Before the event, the Saudi minister had a courtesy meeting with the prime minister at her office. Saudi Minister Khalid A. Al-Falih arrived here on December 5 on a two-day visit. It will be the first foreign company to receive Bangladesh’s offer to operate its ports. RSGT is an international terminal operator representing a partnership between the Red Sea Gateway Terminal of Saudi Arabia and the Malaysian Mining Company (MMC). The combined assets, handling capacity and experience place the terminal operations among the ten largest container terminal operators globally, with a combined annual handling capacity of 20 million TEUs, and equity-weighted throughput of over 10 million TEUS. RSGTI will operate the Patenga Container Terminal for the next 22 years. In May this year in Doha, Saudi Arabia offered to make large scale investment in various sectors of Bangladesh as the country has a stable government and good record of economic growth. Saudi Arabian Minister of Investment Khalid A. Al-Faliah and Minister of Economy and Planning Faisal Alibrahim came up with the offer when they jointly called on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at her place of residence in Doha recently.
A total of 525 people in city corporation and district areas have been selected as best taxpayers after the national level to encourage tax payment. The National Board of Revenue (NBR) published this notification in this regard today (Tuesday). The NBR has selected 77 people in 11 city corporations and 448 people in the category of highest income taxpayers and longtime income taxpayers in 64 districts for the tax year 2022-2023. Also read: Revenue collection up by 14.36 percent in July-October, but behind target: NBR Among these, two people from each City Corporation and district were selected as the longest serving three as the highest taxpayers, and one as the best in the women and youth category. The Ministry of Finance has published the names of the best taxpayers as per the provisions of the district-wise highest and longest ‘Income Tax Paying’ under Tax Payers Policy-2008. Earlier, 141 individuals, institutions, and organizations were selected as the best taxpayers for the tax year 2022-23. Among them, 76 at the individual level, 53 at the company level, and 12 in other categories. Also read: Taxpayers’ number should reach one crore considering individual income: NBR Chairman According to the Ministry of Finance notification, the names of 525 best taxpayers were nominated at the city corporation and district level in the tax year 2022-23. Among them, 77 taxpayers in 11 city corporation areas will be given tax cards and awards as the best taxpayers. The card will be issued to seven taxpayers in each city corporation area and seven taxpayers in each district as the highest taxpayers. Also read: NBR extends tax return submission deadline by two months
Income discrimination widened in the country under the current social security system, which is not suitable to deal with this inequality, said Dr. Binayak Sen, director general of Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS). He said this in a seminar organized on the occasion of 63 years of ICDDRB on Tuesday. Dr Sen also said that inequality is increasing—generally speaking, the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. But the nature of inequality in Bangladesh is somewhat different. Also read: Wealth and consumption inequality widens in Bangladesh: Debapriya According to him, the condition of both poor and rich people in the country has improved, but the rate of improvement of the rich people is higher. Referring to the household survey 2022 he said that the Gini coefficient of consumption inequality at the national level in the country was 0.334; It was 0.356 in urban areas and 0.291 in rural areas. “If the value of the Gini coefficient is zero, it means that there is ultimate equality in the society. 1 means there is ultimate inequality; Crossing 0.50 indicates high inequality in the country. That is, there is high inequality in the country now,” said Dr Sen. Also read: Steps required to increase incomes, minimize inequality: Dr Farashuddin BIDS’ DG Dr Sen presented a keynote paper titled 'Poverty Trends and Determinants in Bangladesh: Insights from Recent Evidence' at the seminar. He said the Covid-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war have adversely affected the country's poverty situation. However, Bangladesh has made significant progress in reducing poverty in the last decade. Dr Sen highlights the main causes of poverty and makes several policy proposals to overcome it. Also read: Working to reduce gender inequality in workplace: FBCCI He recommended the implementation of those policy proposals in the short and medium term considering smart macroeconomic management, sustainable growth, efficient human resource development, and geo-economic conditions. He displayed in the presentation that the tax-GDP ratio is decreasing despite the increase in government expenditure. In 2000-01, the tax-GDP ratio in the country was 8.5 percent. Then in the fiscal year 2010-11, the tax-GDP ratio was 10.4 percent, while the government expenditure as a proportion of GDP was 14.2 percent that year. In FY 2020-21, the tax-GDP ratio was 9.96 percent, but the government expenditure-GDP ratio rose to 15.27 percent. Due to this, the spending capacity of the government is decreasing. Also read: South Asia must continue to reduce inequality to improve access to opportunity: World Bank Canadian High Commissioner in Bangladesh Lily Nichols was the chief guest at the seminar. ICDDRB officials and researchers among others, present in the seminar.
Bangladesh could be getting USD 1.08 billion as loan from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). A senior official of the Ministry of Finance today told UNB that a loan proposal of $400 million for Bangladesh is expected to be placed at the ADB board meeting on December 12, 2023. Read: Banks will provide 7% interest on foreign currency deposits: Bangladesh Bank On the same day, the IMF board meeting will decide on the proposal for a $681 million loan – second tranche of IMF’s $4.7 billion loan – for approval. If both loan proposals are approved next week, $1.08 billion could be added to Bangladesh’s forex reserves. Read: World Bank, ADB support to cope with Rohingya crisis must be grant, not loan: TIB This would bring relief to the foreign exchange shortage which is affecting import bill payments and required dollars to meet Bangladeshi citizens’ overseas education and treatment payments.