Nepal fully committed to work for collective well-being of peoples of BIMSTEC region-PM

Kathmandu: Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ said Nepal was fully committed to work for the collective well-being of the peoples of Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) region.

In a message delivered on the occasion of the 27th anniversary of inception of the BIMSTEC, Prime Minister Dahal expressed Nepal’s unwavering commitment to the objectives and principles enshrined in the BIMSTEC Charter.

Extending best wishes to the governments and the people of the member-nations on behalf of the Nepal government and on his own, he said regional cooperation stood as a mainstay of stability, economic prosperity and solidarity in today’s complex, dynamic and interconnected world.

The BIMSTEC was established as an intergovernmental forum comprising friendly countries of South Asian and South East Asia to realize the shared aspirations of our peoples for a well-integrated, peaceful and prosperous region through strengthened regional cooperation and partners
hips, the PM noted, adding the forum has made some landmark achievements and much remained to be done to translate the spirit of its Charter into a concrete reality.

“BIMSTEC as a region holds immense potentials and opportunities in uplifting millions of people out of poverty, establishing missing links in connectivity; expanding energy cooperation; enhancing trade, investment and tourism; keeping progress of Sustainable Development Goals and leaving no one behind”, the message reads.

By leveraging its diverse strengths and complementarities, BIMSTEC has continued to make strides towards institution-building process, forge synergies for win-win benefits and deepen collaboration in agreed areas of cooperation, the PM stated.

He further said that Nepal as a lead country in the people-to-people contact sector remained steadfast to further work closely with all the member-states in a spirit of unity and friendship for meaningful partnerships to unlock regional potentials for shared prosperity.

The peace, pros
perity and collective well-being of the peoples of the region hinges on success stories of BIMSTEC, he noted, highlighting urgency of building broader political commitments and consensus for enhanced collaborations and achieving people-centered development.

He further noted that the coming into force of BIMSTEC Carter since last May has provided added momentum to this end.

BIMSTEC aims to support the rapid economic development of member nations by implementing assistance projects for trade, investment, industry, technology, human resources, tourism, agriculture, infrastructure and connectivity expansion.

BIMSTEC was established on June 6, 1997 with the objective of jointly achieving economic growth and social prosperity of the member nations by embracing the spirit of equality and cooperation.

Source: National News Agency RSS

Eid-ul-Azha to be celebrated June 17 in Bangladesh

The holy Eid-ul-Azha, the second biggest religious festival of the Muslims, will be celebrated in the country on June 17.

The National Moon Sighting Committee took the decision at a meeting held at the Baitul Mukarram National Mosque in the capital after the moon of the holy month of Zilhaj was sighted in the sky of Bangladesh territory this evening, said a press release of the Islamic Foundation.

Religious Affairs Minister Md. Faridul Haque Khan presided over the meeting.

The Eid-ul-Azha is celebrated on the 10th day of Zilhaj.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha

PM pays homage to Bangabandhu on historic Six-Point Day

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today paid rich tributes to Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman by placing a wreath at his portrait in front of Bangabandhu Memorial Museum at Dhanmondi here on the occasion of the historic Six-Point Day.

After laying the wreath at 7 in the morning, the Prime Minister stood in solemn silence for some time as a mark of profound respect to the memory of Bangabandhu, the architect of independence.

Flanked by senior Awami League leaders, Sheikh Hasina placed another wreath at Bangabandhu’s portrait as the party chief.

Later, associate bodies of Awami League including Dhaka city AL, Chhatra League, Jubo League, Sramik League, Krishak League, Mohila Awami League and Swechchhasebak League placed wreaths at the portrait of Bangabandhu marking the historic occasion.

On this day in 1966, Bangabandhu launched a massive movement against the misrule of the Pakistanis on the basis of the six- point demand, the Magna Carta of the Bangalees demanding autonomy for the then
East Pakistan.

The Awami League under the leadership of Bangabandhu called for a day-long hartal on June 7 in 1966 throughout East Pakistan pressing the demand for autonomy to end the exploitation, deprivation, subjugation and tyranny of the then central government of Pakistan on the people here.

Ten people, including labour leader Manu Mian, Shafique and Shamsul Haque, were killed as the police and paramilitary East Pakistan Rifles (EPR) opened fire on the demonstrators on the day in Dhaka, Tongi and Narayanganj during the hartal.

The Pakistani atrocities intensified the movement for provincial autonomy turning it into the historic mass upsurge in 1969 that subsequently caused the downfall of the reign of Field Marshal Ayub Khan.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha

Bangladesh has to be saved from conspirators: Bahauddin Nasim

Awami League (AL) Joint General Secretary AFM Bahauddin Nasim,MP, today said Bangladesh will have to be protected from the grip of conspirators under the dynamic leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

‘We want to build Bangladesh with the spirit of the Liberation War,’ he told a memorial meeting of former lawmaker Manu Mojumder organized by Protirodh Joddha Parishad in city’s Krishibid Institution of Bangladesh.

Bahauddin Nasim said his party wants to make corruption-and-terrorism-free Bangladesh as AL leaders and activists’ work for the country and its people.

Manu Mojumder was truly devoted to the ideal of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and was Bangabandhu’s trusted compatriot, he added.

Manu Mojumder was a also very humble person, he continued.

President of Protirodh Joddha Parishad valiant freedom fighter Selim Talukder presided over the meeting while AL Liberation War affairs Secretary Mrinal Kanti Das, AL central leader Dipankar Talukdar,MP, and Krishak League Presiden
t Samir Chanda, among others, also spoke.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha

BNP does not see anything good: Hasan

Foreign Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud today said there are some groups, including BNP, do not see anything good in their eyes in the country.

“In fact, in the last 15 years each budget implementation rate is 92 to 97 percent. A budget of nearly Taka eight lakh crore has been presented in Parliament on Thursday. Every time after presenting the budget, you will see that the BNP holds a press conference and says that this budget is anti-people, budget to kill the poor, this budget will not do any good,” Hasan, also Joint General Secretary of Bangladesh Awami League (AL), said.

The foreign minister said these while speaking as the chief guest at a reception and felicitation ceremony for former presidents and general secretaries of the Chattogram Press Club on the occasion of its 62nd foundation anniversary, held at the Chattogram Press Club this evening.

“The size of the budget has increased 11.5 times in the last 15 years. Per capita income has increased five and a half times. The size of GDP has increased almost
six times. And the number of people living below the poverty line in Bangladesh was 41 percent. It has come down from there to 18.7 percent. Extreme poverty was 22 percent, which has come down to 5.5 percent,” he added.

“If the budget had not benefited the poor, poverty and extreme poverty would not have decreased. People’s income has increased five and a half times in dollar terms, even more in taka terms. This has been possible due to the realistic budget formulation and implementation of that budget by the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her government, the foreign minister added.

Mentioning that journalists are the advanced part of the society, they show the way to the society, they bring out the unmentioned issues of the society, the Foreign Minister said, “Journalists will point out the mistakes of the government, we welcome that. It is helpful in doing the work properly. However, it is often seen that some reports are done in such a way that they are harmful to the country.”

Chattogram Press Club p
resident Salauddin Md Reza Presided over the function while Chattogram Zilla Parishad Chairman ATM Payrul Islam, CDA Chairman Muktijodha Mohammad Yunuch, Deputy Commissioner Abul Bashar Mohammad Fakhruzzaman, and Chattogram Metropolitan Police Commissioner Krishnapad Roy, among others, addressed it as special guests.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha

Lightning strikes kill three in Chapainawabganj

Three persons including two children

were killed by lightning strikes this afternoon.

The deceased were Boby Bhokot, 32, wife of Suvas Bhokot of Alidanga under

Shibganj municipality, Kabita Khatun, 11, daughter of Ershad Ali of Dakkhin

Panka Nishipara under Shibganj upazila and Amena Khatun, 10, daughter of

Islam Ali of Andipur Hatatpara under Bholahat upazila in the district.

Police said Boby Bhokot was hit by lightning strike as she was sitting in

front of her house at around 2 pm. She died on the spot.

On the other hand, Kabita died after being struck by lightning as she went to

take water from a tube well behind her house at 3 pm.

Officer in charge of Shibganj thana Md Sajjad Hossain confirmed the


Officer in charge of Bholahat police station Sumon Kumar said, Amena Khatun

died after being struck by lightning when she was collecting mangoes in the

rain at a nearby orchard at around 2:45 pm .

She was rushed to Bholahat Upazila Health Complex where the doctor on duty

declared her

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha

Ali affirms inflation to decline in coming days

Finance Minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali today affirmed the nation that inflation, which turned out to be one of the major challenges for the government, would come down in the coming days due to the steps and measures taken by the government.

He also expressed his high optimism of attaining the targeted 6.75 percent growth in the next fiscal year (FY25).

“We’ve taken all the necessary measures for controlling inflation and we’re also considering what kind of steps can be taken more in addition to the existing ones in this regard. Due to the various steps, it has been possible to contain inflation at around 9 percent,” he said.

The Finance Minister said this while addressing a post budget press conference at the Osmani Memorial Auditorium in the capital today.

Earlier yesterday, the Finance Minister placed a Taka 7,97,000 crore national budget for the coming fiscal with a prime focus on maintaining economic stability and augmenting steps to materialise the government’s “Smart Bangladesh” vision.

g Minister Major General (retd) Abdus Salam, Industries Minister Nurul Majid Mahmud Humayun, Agriculture Minister Md Abdus Shaheed, LGRD Minister Md Tajul Islam, Housing and Public Works Minister RAM Obaidul Muktadir Chowdhury, Education Minister Mohibul Hasan Chowdhury Nowfel, Prime Minister’s Economic Affairs Adviser Dr Mashiur Rahman, State Minister for Finance Waseqa Ayesha Khan, State Minister for Commerce Ahsanul Islam Titu, Bangladesh Bank Governor Abdur Rouf Talukder, NBR Chairman Abu Hena Md Rahmatul Muneem, Finance Division Secretary Md Khairuzzaman Mozumder accompanied and assisted the Finance Minister at the press conference.

Besides, State Minister for Information and Broadcasting Mohammad A Arafat, secretaries and other senior officials were present at the press conference.

Reminding the audience that the Awami League government was able to contain inflation within two years of the assumption of office in 2009 when the inflation was very high, Ali said, “I want to inform you firmly that inflat
ion will come down in the future due to the various steps taken by the government.”

Ali said in a bid to cushion the commoners from the impact of inflation, various operations including OMS and family cards would continue and coverage of those would be widened further considering their necessity.

He said since containing inflation is the highest priority of the government, the contractionary policy of the government would continue for a few more days and at the same time the government would remain cautious so that the growth is not affected too much.

Mentioning that all kinds of support would continue to ensure smooth operations of the industry, agriculture and services sector, the Finance Minister said, “Due to such steps, the GDP growth reached 5.82 % in the outgoing fiscal year (FY24) despite contractionary measures and we’ll be able to attain 6.75% growth in the next fiscal.”

Answering to a question, Ali said hopefully inflation would come down at the end of this year while the government efforts wou
ld continue in this regard. “We’ve kept the budget size not so expanded so that no pressure is put on the common people.”

Referring to the budget speech, Prime Minister’s Economic Affairs Adviser Dr Mashiur Rahman termed the proposed budget for FY25 as very ‘well considered’ and ‘well balanced’ where efforts would be there to contain the growth and at the same time attention would be there so that other sectors of the economy become more strengthened.

“The overall budget size and policy directives has been clearly specified in the budget,” he added.

About the civil society think tank CPD’s concerns over the proposed budget implementation, the Finance Minister said that implementation of budget is a continuous process while liquidity crisis would not persist as it would go away with the passage of time.

He said the crises that the country was going through — like the impact of pandemic and the onslaught of the Russia-Ukraine war — is now gradually declining as the government has been overcoming those.

Bangladesh has never witnessed situation like Sri Lanka and won’t witness in future…we’re working through a continuous and dynamic model,” he added.

Replying to another question, Ali said that there would be more coordination among the various government agencies and departments to enhance the budget implementation capability.

He also told another questioner that efforts are on to ensure just tax system.

Asked about the proposed provision for losing the duty free car import by the MPs, Dr Mashiur Rahman said that such provision was introduced for the first time in the country by military ruler HM Ershad.

He said the Awami League government as well as the Finance Minister should receive thanks from all concerned for bringing in such provision.

Mashiur also mentioned that due to the courage and brave stance from Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Bangladesh could have built mega infrastructure like Padma Bridge.

Asked whether alleged corrupt former senior rank public servants could avail the tax amnesty, Dr
Mashiur, without mentioning the name of former IGP Benazir Ahmed, said that the ACC has already granted time to him for appearing before it and it is investigating alleged allegations of amassment of wealth by him.

He said that the former official (Benazir) will have all rights as the citizen of the country and the country’s legal system can address the issue.

Replying to a question on inflation, Education Minister Mohibul Hasan Chowdhury said that when there is growth in an economy, then inflation also occurs. But, the challenge before the government is to contain inflation especially food inflation.

He also ruled out the allegation that the country’s economy has been squeezed adding that the general inflation has also increased in the sourcing countries from where Bangladesh imports goods.

Mohibul also informed that the projected budget deficit of 4.6 percent of GDP is not so high adding that no country in the world could implement cent percent of the budget. “Considering regional standards, our borrowi
ngs is still low and no such situation will arise where Bangladesh will become as a loan-based country or economy,” he said.

Responding to a question, State Minister for Finance Waseqa Ayesha Khan said that the increase in the foreign currency reserve has been projected in the next fiscal year not only for introduction of the crawling peg, but also considering the benefits of the offshore banking.

When asked about the proposed provision of whitening undisclosed money through paying 15 percent tax, the NBR chairman said that whenever such scope is given, then critics come up with various criticisms.

But, he said that the taxpayers often could not show their undisclosed money and wealth due to various reasons like -callousness, ignorance, or filing returns through others adding that undisclosed wealth often creates difficulties in selling/buying of land.

Muneem said that the demand for incorporating such provision of whitening black money has come from the business community and also from the commoners to e
nsure compliance in audit.

He said those who have undisclosed money or wealth could not bring it to the mainstream of economy. Rather, they often use those (money or wealth) for lavish products or siphon those abroad. The scope has been given to show such money or wealth in the income tax returns, Muneem added.

Replying to another question, he said the NBR could not calculate the size of the black money, rather other organization of the government could take such stride.

The NBR Chairman said that the government would have to come out of the trend of tax exemptions since it (government) would have to generate more revenues to meet up the expenditure.

Finance Division Secretary Md Khairuzzaman Mozumder said although there is equity mismatch in the capital market, but the government has been working on green bond financing and developing long-term bond market.

He said that the overall exchange rate devaluation of around 27 percent has put an impact on inflation while the government’s high priority now is t
o address inflation.

Mozumder said that the interest rate has been made 8.5 percent and this is very important for controlling the inflation. “Considering these, we’ve kept the target of containing inflation at 6.5%.”

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha

No reason to worry over bank borrowing targets: Ali

Finance Minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali today said that there is no reason to worry over the target for bank borrowings in the proposed budget for the next fiscal year (FY25).

‘The borrowings from banks are a standard procedure, and all the countries even the developed ones borrow more from the banks. So, there is nothing to worry about,’ he said.

The Finance Minister was replying to a barrage of questions at a post-budget press conference at the Osmani Memorial Auditorium in the capital this afternoon after placing a Taka 7,97,000 crore budget for FY25 at Jatiya Sangsad yesterday.

The government has set a target of Taka 1,37,500 crore borrowings from the banks in the proposed budget.

Echoing with the Finance Minister, Prime Minister’s Economic Affairs Adviser Dr Mashiur Rahman said that the government’s bank borrowing is a regular phenomenon, and if the banks do not lend loans, their business would squeeze.

‘Stopping the lending of banks couldn’t be an operation of a well-thought out government or cou
ldn’t be acceptable,’ he added.

Mashiur said that the trend of Non-Performing Loans (NPLs) has increased over time due to various reasons, while it is the pledge of the government to reduce the NPLs as it is also included in the election manifesto.

He said if the operations of the banks are deterred, it also has an impact on economic activities. ‘It’s very much necessary to strike a balance between the economic activities and proper operations of banks. Otherwise, there can be an ominous impact on the economy,’

Finance Division Secretary Dr Md Khairuzzaman Mozumder said that due to the country’s LDC graduation, foreign loans would be gradually dried out, resulting in a greater need for bank borrowings.

He said if there is a shortfall in revenues by the NBR, the government will automatically have to go for bank borrowings. ‘Besides, there is no relation between liquidity crises in banks and this,’

Answering a question, Mozumder said that manpower in the income tax department of the NBR has already increas
ed while the process is at the final stage of increasing manpower in the customs department.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha