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 Financial Express. Here is the news for the week ending 24th March 2016.
This week in the Bangladesh English Press…
….International Chamber Commerce debates sustainable development goals while United Nations conferences on urban policy. Trade agreements in flux with China and Malaysia. And pharmaceuticals and light engineerings receive policy support. The Government supports poor fisherman and protects vulnerable farmers.
Policy and Investment for the Poor
It will be a challenge for Bangladesh to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. There are still shortfalls in all forms of investment. This means more public and private investment and better use of international development assistance. These issues came out of a roundtable organised by the International Chamber of Commerce.
Experts argue for implementation of the National Urban Policy drafted in 2011. This would include customised plans for each regional urban centre. Housing and employment for the poor can be addressed through this policy said experts at a regional conference organised by the United Nations Development Programme in Dhaka.
Trade and the Economy
Bangladesh could actually benefit from trade liberalisation. Although many people have argued the opposite. Evidence shows that the country’s leading sectors, ready made garments and leather products, have benefited from lower tariff regimes. The manufacturing sector in Bangladesh has many competitive advantages. These advantages would not be lost through protection. The major constraints on growth are issues unrelated to trade policy such as poor infrastructure and logistics.
China wants to increase its investment in Bangladesh to strengthen economic ties between the two countries.
According to Malaysian officials existing arrangements for the supply of labour to Kuala Lumpur will not be affected by the recent freeze on labour migration. Officials also believe that existing levels of manpower in the construction sector are sufficient to manage current projects in Malaysia.
Industrial Planning for Growth
The pharmaceutical industry currently employes 115,000 people. And like the ready made garments sector, it is also a labour intensives industry. It could be countries key to the economic development with an increasing number of job opportunities.
Bangladesh has just authorised the construction of specialised industrial zones. These will be dedicated for light engineering and electrical goods manufacturing. So these sub-sectors can finally receive suitable physical infrastructure. This also means enabling regulation and planned investment. The measures will create sustainable growth in these key sectors.
Fish and Farming
The Government could provide better income for fishermen. This could be done by improving access to markets. But fishermen still need training on technical aspects of their trade. And unfortunately chemical pollution has also affected the bodies of water that fisherman use. The Government could also protect the livelihoods of small fisherman by ensuring access to fishing areas.
Bangladesh is piloting an insurance scheme for poor farmers to protect them from losses due to bad weather. The crop insurance programme is supported by the Asian Development Bank and is being trialled in three districts.
Farmers have beaten targets for mustard seed oil by fifty five per cent this year. This has mostly been due to free seeds and fertilisers to flood hit farmers. Typically the farmers sell seed at 1600 to 2000 Take per maund (about forty kilograms). And they feel this is a fair rate for their produce.
Going, Going, Gold
Very soon there may be no goldsmiths in Bangladesh. Homemade jewelry is being replaced by ready-made imports. At one time there were 400,000 goldsmiths in Dhaka but now there are only about 20,000. Wages are down and very people are taking up the training required for this skilful trade.
And that’s all the news from The Financial Express for this week.