English language What the papers say

Global warming is disastrous for Bangladesh

Bangladesh climate expert warns of dire consequences for the country due to global temperature rises. And Government fails to control release of untreated waste from factories located on public industrial estates.

Research group releases report showing pandemic has had a negative effect on a wide range of investment indicators. Dhaka business group also pessimistic about business environment under the pandemic and calls for key taxation and lending reforms.

And Government to buy $2 million of digital content for secondary level education to recover learning loss.

A weekly round up of articles about work, employment, social security, business and the economy. This week’s round up comes from The Daily Star. Here is the news for the week ending:

12th August 2021

This week in Bangladesh…

Global Warming is Disastrous for Bangladesh (Image Anik Sarker/Unsplash)

Global warming will bring dire consequences for Bangladesh. Experts predict heavier rainfall, more coastal flooding, tidal surges and stronger cyclones for Bangladesh. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released its Sixth Assessment Report: “Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis” this week.

News in Bangladesh for the week ending 12th August 2021

Education, Work, and Social Security

Venture capital fund provides digital education content

The Government is paying 170 million Taka ($2 million) for new digital education content.

The content consists of interactive visual material targeted at secondary school students and will be available on television and the internet.

The digital material aims to recover “learning loss.” Schools have been closed for the past 17 months.

The purchase includes 30 million Taka (about $350,000) for expert review to ensure the material meets the national curriculum standards.

Startup Bangladesh Limited will provide the content. Startup is a venture capital fund managed by the Government’s Information and Communication Technology Division.

Business, Economy and Trade

Pandemic hits private investment

Key measures show impact of pandemic on the Bangladesh economy.

Private investment as proportion of GDP, industrial loan disbursement and private sector credit growth have all fallen during the pandemic.

But public investment grew from government stimulus packages designed to protect the economy.

And there are some signs of an uptick in SME loan disbursement again resulting from the uptake of Government-backed loan facilities.

State Minister for Planning, Shamsul Alam, responded to the latest figures from the quarterly survey from South Asian Network on Economic Modelling.

Professor Alam indicated that the Government would consider the latest data and readjust its response to the economic effects of the pandemic if necessary.

Experts believe the economy will struggle until the pandemic is under control. And that vaccinations were key to managing the pandemic.

Dhaka business group cautious about recovery

The Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) believes 2.2 million jobs have been lost due to the pandemic.

The overall economy fell into a crisis due to a rapid spread of Covid-19 cases across the world while poverty rate increased to 30 per cent from 9 per cent

Rizwan Rahman, president of the Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Rizwan was speaking at a conference to present the business perspective on the economy, which DCCI organises twice a year.

He warned of a potential loss of $4 to $6 billion dollars in export earnings. This could happen when Bangladesh graduates from it Least Developed Country status in 2026 and loses some preferential trading arrangements.

Rizwan made a number of proposals to improve the business environment in Bangladesh. These included full automation for payment of tax and custom duties.

He said that private sector credit would grow if repayment and collateral requirements were less stringent. But Rizwan also warned of a crisis among small and medium enterprises. And suggested more streamlined and lenient government loan policies would help.

In response the Minister for Planning, M A Mannan, said the Government would continue to consult businesses in the development of revenue and tariff policies.

Last week we reported on a much more upbeat assessment – from HSBC – of the longer-term economic prospects for Bangladesh.

Climate, Energy and Environment

Global warming puts Bangladesh in a desperate situation

Experts predict heavier rainfall, more coastal flooding, tidal surges and stronger cyclones for Bangladesh.

Due to global warming, frequency of category 4, category 5 cyclone will increase in Bangladesh. Due to this, frequency of storm surges will also rise and the coastal areas will be badly affected,

AKM Saiful Islam, Lead Author – Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its Sixth Assessment Report: “Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis” this week. This the first time IPCC has released regional factsheets.

Saiful Islam – a professor at Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology – also said Bangladesh will suffer from rising sea levels and increased coastal salinity.

Regulators fail to stem pollution

Thirty per cent of the factories operating in industrial estates managed by the Government’s Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation do not have effluent treatment plants.

Factories in Bangladesh that generate chemical waste must have effluent treatment plants. But many release untreated waste into open drains and water bodies.

The Department of the Environment (DoE) says it does not have sufficient human resources to punish violators.

And Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation (BSCIC) says it does not have the authority.

[BSCIC] cannot mete out punishment to the violators. But DoE has the legal right to punish them. We are giving the owners some time for setting up the effluent treatment plant and if they cannot comply with it, the DoE can fine or shut them down,

Md Mostaque Hassan, Chairman Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation

Some factories are constructing new treatment plants. But many do not have the land required to build the new plants. And the Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation has not set up central plants on their industrial estates.

Covid Updates

Government to purchase 60 million doses of Sinopharm from China for November delivery.

138 million people will need to be vaccinated in Bangladesh according to Government health officials

Canada will consider request to provide Covid vaccines to Rohingya people in Bangladesh

186 tonnes of liquid medical oxygen arrived this week from India on the “Oxygen Express” bringing the total delivered to over 1400 tonnes.