A weekly round up of articles about employment, the labour market, skills training and workforce development.This week’s round up is drawn from The Daily Star. Here is the news for the week ending 29th October 2015.
This week in the Bangladesh English Press…
…we look at the increasing number of consumers and their growing disposable incomes. We see the business climate is still harsh and note how many different initiatives are still needed to support the poor. And getting recognition for women’s work is still a struggle.
Affluent Consumers Grow in Number
According to a report published this week Bangladesh’s affluent class is growing faster than its neighbours’. “Bangladesh: the Surging Consumer Market Nobody Saw Coming” says that thirty to forty million Bangladeshis will leave poverty behind and join the middle class by 2025. Published by The Boston Consulting Group the research says the middle class will grow across the country. Rajshahi, Barisal and Khulna are cities set for burgeoning consumer demand.
Over the last five years the country has become a major source of denim products. Bangladesh exports around two billion dollars worth every year and has taken business away from China because of lower labour costs. The domestic market for denim is also expanding with demand from a growing middle class. This month Bangladesh hosts a Denim Expo.
Locally made diapers are hot. More women are in work and they can pay for consumer goods. And with tax incentives for manufacturers, local companies now have a market share of forty per cent.
But Bangladesh Still a Difficult Business Environment
The World Bank says it’s getting more difficult to start up and run a small or medium-sized business in Bangladesh. According to Doing Business 2016 Bangladesh is now in 174th place out of 189 countries. In the region only Afghanistan is lower.
A state owned hardboard mill used to employ 200. But after a series of starts and stops production ground to a halt in 2013. This week we find the factory is still incurring costs with nothing to show in return.
And Government and Aid Organisations Continue Support for the Poor and Unrecognised
This week Shaheen Anam wrote about the Equality through Dignity campaign. With this campaign Manusher Jonno Foundation has been raising the status of women by highlighting their contribution to the economy. Much of women’s work is unpaid and so has no official economic value. But women farmers play the major role in the production of the country’s most important crop: rice.
Kishorganj, in Northern Bangladesh, has successfully brought an end to begging. By combining two government programmes these unfortunate people are now saving their government entitlements. Using their savings to back loans they can start small businesses and earn enough for a decent living.
The government will create 30,000 more jobs for the unemployed under its National Service Programme. The unemployed receive three months training. After training they are placed in government organisations and paid 200 Taka (about $2.50) a day.
So that’s the news from The Daily Star.