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Two-Day Zakat Fair 2024 Begins in Dhaka

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Zakat Fair

The two-day Zakat Fair 2024 commenced at Dhaka’s Aloki Convention Centre, urging the affluent to contribute through zakat for poverty eradication.

Eminent economist and former advisor to the caretaker government, Professor Dr. Hossain Zillur Rahman, highlighted zakat as an ethics-based instrument for transforming financial inclusion into the financial empowerment of the poor during the inaugural seminar, “CZM’s Zakat-based Programs: A pioneering Innovation for Poverty Alleviation.”

Organized by the Centre for Zakat Management (CZM) under the theme ‘Making a Difference with Zakat,’ the event aimed to explore the potential of zakat in addressing global financial inclusion and empowering impoverished individuals.

Professor Hossain Zillur Rahman emphasized the need for cautious management of zakat to lower costs, enabling the funds to serve a larger population.

The inaugural function, chaired by Md Shahjahan Mia, Prof Emeritus of the University of Southern Queensland, included addresses from former Chief Election Commissioner Justice Abdur Rouf, former Executive Director of Bangladesh Bank Abdul Awal Sarker, Dr. Fazle Rabbi Sadek Ahmed (Deputy Managing Director of Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation), former government secretary Arastu Khan, and Islamic scholar Prof Mokhter Ahmed.

Several leading business houses, including Rahimafrooz, Khadim Ceramics, Kohinoor Chemicals, Rahim Steel, South Bridge, and Hajj Finance Company Limited, sponsored the Zakat Fair, facilitating discussions on business zakat calculation methods.

Justice Abdur Rouf emphasized that zakat in Islam aims to prevent wealth accumulation in the hands of a few and promote equitable distribution.

CZM CEO Dr. Mohammad Ayub Mia revealed that the organization has assisted 15 lakh people in the last 15 years, with 12,000 individuals currently receiving regular food support.

Abdul Awal Sarker highlighted that proper zakat collection could generate an annual fund of Tk 80,000 crore, sufficient for poverty alleviation in the country.

The Zakat Fair, open from 9 am to 7 pm, features stalls from various financial and zakat institutions, including a zakat consultation desk and stalls with Islamic books.

The event will host six sessions, including a seminar on the ‘Importance of Zakat, Ushar, and Waqf in Human Welfare’ for Khatibs and Imams and a round table session on the ‘Role of Islamic Social Finance in Reducing Inequality.’ The latter, chaired by former caretaker government advisor Abdul Mueed Chowdhury, will have Prof. Wahiduddin Mahmud, Chairman of the Economic Research Group, as the chief guest. Eminent personalities like former Chief Election Commissioner Justice Muhammad Abdur Rauf and former Minister M Nuruddin Khan are expected to attend as special guests and speakers.

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Economy

Bangladesh-Qatar Strengthen Ties with 10 Cooperation Deals

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Bangladesh and Qatar signed 10 cooperation documents on Tuesday, including five agreements and five MoUs, aimed at strengthening ties and elevating relations to new heights.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani witnessed the signing of the documents.

The five agreements cover cooperation in the legal field, promotion and protection of mutual investments, avoidance of double taxation, maritime transport, and the establishment of a Joint Business Council (JBC) between FBCCI & QCCI.

The five MoUs include cooperation in sports and youth, manpower employment (Labour), diplomatic training, education, higher education, scientific research, and between Qatar Ports management Company “MAWANI QATAR” and Chittagong Ports Authority.

Earlier in the morning, PM Hasina warmly welcomed and received Emir Sheikh Tamim at her office.

They had a tête-à-tête meeting at the Prime Minister’s Office, followed by a bilateral meeting.

After signing the visitors’ book, the emir headed for Bangabhaban where the president received him.

A high-level Qatari delegation led by Qatar’s emir is on a state visit to Bangladesh at the invitation of the president and the prime minister.

During the ceremony, a road and a park in Dhaka were named after Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani.

The park, constructed in Kalshi area of Mirpur under Dhaka North City Corporation, and the road from Mirpur ECB point to Kalsi Fly Over were named after Emir of Qatar.

Now, the road and park are known as Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani Avenue and Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani Park.

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Minister Samanta Urges Hospital Preparedness Amid Heatwave

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Health and Family Welfare Minister Professor Dr. Samanta Lal Sen has instructed public hospital authorities to prepare for providing healthcare services as the country faces a severe heatwave.

“Elderly individuals and children are particularly vulnerable during this heatwave. I urge people, especially seniors and children, to stay indoors to avoid heatstroke and related complications,” he stated during a virtual press conference held at the ministry.

State Minister for Health and Family Welfare Dr. Rokeya Sultana and Director General of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) Prof. Abul Bashar Mohammad Khurshid Alam were also present.

Dr. Sen emphasized that the extreme heatwave has created a critical situation in the country, prompting public hospitals to be on standby to offer treatment services.

“In consideration of the health risks to schoolchildren, I have requested the education minister to close educational institutions. Following Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s directive, schools and colleges will remain closed until April 27,” he added.

Dr. Sen mentioned that public hospitals, including Shishu Hospital, have been instructed to take special measures for children. Additionally, dedicated beds have been allocated at Dhaka North City Corporation Hospitals for elderly individuals and children.

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PM Sheikh Hasina Urges Global Action for Climate Resilience

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Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina urged for increasing adaptive capacity and strengthening resilience to build a safe and beautiful world for future generations while inaugurating the four-day UN Climate Adaptation Conference National Adaptation Plan (NAP) Expo 2024 at the Bangabandhu International Conference Center (BICC).

“We aim to build a safe and beautiful world for future generations. Achieving this goal requires increasing adaptive capacity, strengthening resilience, and undertaking coordinated risk reduction initiatives,” she said.

In order to achieve this goal, she put forward six steps.

First, major carbon-emitting countries must take effective action to reduce their emissions to limit global temperature rise to within 1.5 degrees Celsius;

Second, commitments by developed countries to an annual climate fund of $100 billion must be met. This fund must be equally distributed between adaptation and mitigation.

Third, developed countries must ensure efficient energy solutions and the transfer of technologies to developing countries.

Fourth, during the transition to renewable energy, the development priorities of the countries involved should be taken into account based on their loss and damage;

Fifth, all countries must share the responsibility for the rehabilitation of people displaced by sea-level rise, salinity, river erosion, floods, and droughts.

Finally, major economies must work globally in partnership with all stakeholders to ensure a sustainable future for generations to come.

Environment, Forest and Climate Change Secretary Farhina Ahmed, UN Resident Coordinator in Bangladesh Gwyn Lewis, executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Simon Steele and Environment, Forest and Climate Change Minister Saber Hossain Chowdhury were among others also spoke at the programme.

The prime minister said that although Bangladesh’s contribution to global carbon emissions is less than 0.48 percent, it is one of the most affected and vulnerable countries to its negative impact.

“These adverse effects of climate change threaten our potential development and economic prosperity. Continued global warming is raising sea levels,” she said.

As a result, she mentioned, a large swath of southwestern Bangladesh, which comprises about 12–17 percent of the country’s total area, is at risk of submergence by the end of this century.

“We have made the call to the developed world to limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C,” she said.

Sheikh Hasina mentioned that in 2015, Bangladesh formulated the Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and submitted it to the UNFCCC in 2021 after updating.

In the document, she said, Bangladesh set an unconditional 6.73 percent and a conditional 15.12greenhouse gas emission reduction target.

She also mentioned that Bangladesh has reduced the use of fossil fuels and increased the use of renewable energy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and in 2023 it formulated the Mujib Climate Prosperity Plan (MCPP), which aims to reach from vulnerability to resilience to prosperity while combating the adverse impacts of climate change.

Besides, she said in the adaptation and mitigation programs of the MCPP, emphasis has been laid on the spontaneous participation of local people and stakeholders and nature-based solutions.

“Bangladesh has already formulated the National Adaptation Plan (NAP) for 2022–2050 and submitted it to the UNFCCC in October 2022. In this plan, 113 priority programs have been identified in 8 sectors across 11 climate risk areas,” she said.

She stated that for this purpose Bangladesh needs approximately 230 billion US dollars to implement the action plans adopted in the NAP over the next 27 years.

“I urge the rich countries and the international community to provide specific funds and additional financial resources.”

The prime minister said that developed countries are contributing more to global warming through massive carbon emissions.

“It is their moral responsibility to protect the people affected by climate change. During our tenure as the chair of the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF), we repeatedly called for implementing the pledge of providing $100 billion per year by developed countries for adaptation and mitigation activities. I hope the developed countries will abide by their promises.”

She also urged the international community and wealthy nations to continue providing financial, scientific, and technical assistance to Bangladesh and other countries facing threats from the adverse impacts of climate change, even after graduation to developing countries.

According to the COP-26 decision, she said, developed countries should double their adaptation financing by 2025 compared to 2019. She urged rich countries to fulfil this commitment.

“It should be ensured that countries that have already formulated NAPs can easily and quickly access financial support from all available sources, including the UNFCCC, to implement their NAPs.”

PM Hasina said that Bangladesh is taking appropriate actions in adaptation and mitigation to reduce the potential damage caused by climate change.

“In this case, Bangladesh will take the necessary initiatives to access funding from the UNFCCC’s Loss and Damage Fund.”

She said that Bangladesh has always been working with the international community to combat the impacts of climate change.

Under the leadership of the prime minister’s office, she said, Bangladesh has already formed the “Bangladesh Climate Development Partnership (BCDP” with development partners where all parties have agreed on this.

She hoped that the BCDP will significantly contribute to implementing the Mujib Climate Prosperity Plan, National Adaptation Plan, National Determined Contribution, and Vision 2041 of Bangladesh.

“Let’s work together to protect this planet more intensively,” she said.

From the programme, the prime minister also launched the Bangladesh Climate Development Partnership (BCDP).

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