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PM asks youth to work for forming cooperative




Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Saturday, November 5, called upon the country’s youths to engage in inspiring people to form cooperatives for boosting food production and pulling the country ahead further.

“The youths will have to come forward. We can go a long way if the youths do their activities in bringing village people together as everyone will have the responsibility,” she said.

The premier was addressing a function on the 51st National Cooperatives Day at Bangabandhu International Conference Center, BICC as the chief guest, joining virtually from her official residence Ganobhaban in Dhaka.

She told the youths not to chase after the job but rather get involved in food production activities such as poultry and fish cultivation by forming cooperatives.

Referring to the 100 special economic zones being established by the government, she said, “you (youths) can set up food processing factories there, which will not only meet the local demand but also can help export abroad.”

Sheikh Hasina said she believes that the country could attain desired economic success through cooperatives.

She also urged all to work in combination to overcome the crisis that was created in the country due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the Russian-Ukraine war as well as sanctions and counter-sanctions.

With State Minister for Rural Development and Cooperative Swapan Bhattacharjee in the chair, Register and Director General of the Department of Cooperatives Dr. Tarun Kanti Sikder delivered the welcome address.

Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives Minister Md Tazul Islam and Rural Development and Co-operative Division Sectary Md. Mashiur Rahman also spoke as a special guest.

A total of nine Samobay Samity (cooperative associations) and one person were given National Cooperative Award-2021 on the event.

On behalf of the prime minister, Md Tazul Islam handed over the award. Each awardee was conferred with a gold medal and a certificate.

At the outset of the function, a video documentary on national cooperative day was screened. The theme of the day is “Bangabandhu’s Philosophy, Development of Cooperative.

The prime minister said cooperatives are absolutely essential for agricultural production, life and livelihood of the people in the country.

“Cooperatives create enormous scopes in a densely populated country like ours. Paying attention to it, we will have to strengthen cooperatives,” she said.

She stressed the need for giving utmost importance to cooperatives for the development of the country’s people.

Sheikh Hasina said her government is working for the people and wants to create scopes so that every individual can improve their life and livelihood.

She said her government opened every sector for private entrepreneurs so employment is generated.

Talking about inflation, the premier said the price of every commodity has soared throughout the world due to the war and Covid-19, which affected Bangladesh also and almost all the countries are now suffering from high inflation.

“Everyone has to run using its reserve (of foreign currencies). Also, we are to do it for the well-being of the common people of the country,” she added.

She said that now Bangladesh needs to purchase fertilizers, fuel and edible oil at very high prices amid high transportation costs for the sake of the people and agricultural production.

The head of government said although the country has cent per cent electricity coverage, but now they are facing much trouble in generating power as imports of fuel and gas are being hampered due to the war.

“I hope that we can overcome this situation,” she said, referring to the measures taken by the government such as solar power, coal-fired power plant as well as the import of power from Nepal and Bhutan.

She, however, reiterated her call to the countrymen to put concentration on savings and exercising austerity as well as boosting food production.

She once again requested all not to spare any inch of land uncultivated but rather made a call to produce whatever they can.

She said the current progress of Bangladesh should in no way be interrupted.

Though the Covid-19 and current war and sanctions slowed down the progress to some extent, the government’s goal is to go forward overcoming this situation and build the country as Sonar Bangla as dreamt by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, she added.

Sheikh Hasina said her government’s goal is that the rural people would get civic facilities, improved life and lead a decent lifestyle.

In this context, she mentioned several schemes, including “My House My Farm” (Amar Bari Amar Khamar) and “My Village My Town” (Amar Gram Amar Shohor) programmes, which were taken by her government for the development of rural people.

“We want to transform every village into a town,” said the prime minister.

She stressed the need for the construction of modern houses through cooperative societies to make modern flats affordable for the villagers as well as to protect arable lands by stopping the indiscriminate construction of homes everywhere.

The government has also started a project titled “Palli Janapad” to construct modern houses in a planned way for the rural people, she said.

The premier said her government took the ‘My House My Farm scheme’ and micro-saving project under the scheme so that the poor people don’t need to bear the burden of micro-credit rather they can save money and take loans, forming a cooperative society under it.

If they save Tk200, the government would add another Tk200 to it till two years and the money would remain deposited in Palli Sanchay Bank, she added.

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PM Sheikh Hasina Delivers Independence Award




Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday (23rd March) handed over Swadhinata Padak (Independence Award) to 9 individuals and one institution in recognition of their outstanding contributions to the country.

The programme to distribute the highest civilian award was held at the Osmani Memorial Auditorium.

Freedom fighter Colonel Shamsul Alam (retired), Lieutenant AG Mohammad Khurshid (posthumous), martyred Khwaja Nizamuddin Bhuiyan, and Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury Maya received the award for their contributions to Bangladesh’s independence and the Liberation War in 1971.

Bangla Academy winner Begum Nadira Jahan (Surma Zahid) and ICDDRB Acting Senior Director Dr. Firdausi Qadri received the award for their contributions to research and training.

The late Mohammad Moinuddin Ahmed (Selim Al Deen) got the award for his contribution to literature.

Pabitra Mohan Dey and ASM Raqibul Hasan received the honour for their contribution to culture and sports, respectively.

The Department of Fire Service and Civil Defence has been awarded in the public service category.

Bangladesh honours individuals and institutions with the award every year ahead of Independence Day that is celebrated on March 26. The award was intriduced in 1977.

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Dhaka’s air quality ‘unhealthy’ today reports AQI




Dhaka’s air quality took the ‘unhealthy’ zone on Thursday morning (23rd March).

With an air quality index (AQI) score of 137 at 8:56 am, Dhaka ranked 8th in the list of cities worldwide with the worst air quality.

An AQI between 101 and 200 is considered ‘unhealthy’, particularly for sensitive groups.

Pakistan’s Lahore, India’s Delhi and Thailand’s Chiang Mai occupied the first three spots in the list, with AQI scores of 186, 180 and 164, respectively.

An AQI between 201 and 300 is said to be ‘poor’, while a reading of 301 to 400 is considered ‘hazardous’, posing serious health risks to residents.

In Bangladesh, the AQI is based on five criteria pollutants—Particulate Matter (PM10 and PM2.5), NO2, CO, SO2 and Ozone.

Dhaka has long been grappling with air pollution issues. Its air quality usually turns unhealthy in winter and improves during the monsoon.

As per the World Health Organization (WHO), air pollution kills an estimated seven million people worldwide every year, largely as a result of increased mortality from stroke, heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancer and acute respiratory infections.

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’17 Banks Facing Liquidity Crisis over Violating Loan disbursement limit’



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Despite Bangladesh Bank’s initiatives to promote good governance in the banking sector, 17 banks have recently violated their loan disbursement limits, and are now embroiled in a severe liquidity crisis.

Having been over-aggressive in providing loans, they are now unable to recover the loans and attract new deposits as desired, according to the latest internal report of the central bank.

The banks should not sanction any new loans until they restore the ratio of their loans to deposits in accordance with limits set by Bangladesh Bank, which regulates the financial sector.

Conventional banks can provide loans of up to Tk 87 for every Tk 100 in deposits, while Shariah-based banks can give loans of up to Tk 92 for every Tk 100 in deposits, according to the rules of Bangladesh Bank.

This is called Advance Deposit Ratio (ADR) or loan-deposit ratio limit in banking terms.

According to the central bank report covering January 1-26 of this year, 17 banks violated the limits set for them on lending orders due to a lack of discipline.

As a result, the concerned banks have been plunged into an extreme liquidity crisis, making it difficult for them to sanction new loans. Some of them are even unable to pay depositors in some cases.

Experts fear that the existing situation has created additional risks for depositors. According to them, irregularities, corruption and ‘ghost loans’ – loans to firms that turn out to be non-existent -are behind the collapse of the banking system’s loan disbursement process.

“In the banking sector, there have been allegations of giving large amounts of ghost loans in recent times. If this continues, the sector will be at risk,” said ABM Mirza Azizul Islam, economist and adviser on finance to the last caretaker government.

Mirza Azizul told, “Lending beyond the limit against deposits disrupts the credit system.”

Besides, the debt collection situation of the banks is not satisfactory now. In such a situation, if the non-performing loans increase further with additional loans, then there is a danger for the bank and its depositors will suffer, he added.

He suggested the intervention of the central bank in these banks immediately.

According to the Bangladesh Bank report, the ADR of National Bank Ltd stood at 98.23 while that of AB Bank was 96.64 in its conventional stream and 103.45 in its Shariah stream.

State-owned Basic Bank’s ADR stood at 91.17, One Bank’s was 89, and multinational National Bank of Pakistan’s was 87.52. Widespread irregularities and corruption have already been reported in these banks.

Apart from this, Community Bank’s ADR was 88.28, NRB Bank at 88.05 and IFIC Bank’s ADR was 87.48, the report states.

Shariah-based Exim Bank’s ADR stood at 100.28, Standard Bank’s at 96.28, Premier Bank’s Islamic Window 155.09 and Bangladesh Commerce Bank’s Islamic Window’s ADR was at 133.26.

Apart from this, the ADRs of five other Shariah-based banks ranged between 93.01 and 104.54.

A managing director (MD) of a private bank told that the lending limit has undoubtedly been set by Bangladesh Bank based on adequate research and global best practices. No bank should have to cross the limit.

“These violations are creating risk in the banking sector. Depositors in particular will be at greater risk. Already some banks and non-bank financial institutions are not able to return money to depositors,” he said, maintaining anonymity.

The central bank has also extended the period of ADR adjustment five times to allow the banks to bring their lending practices in line with the limits.

However, many banks could not coordinate this. In such a situation, Bangladesh Bank even increased the required ADR to improve the overall liquidity situation of the banking sector to maintain the pace in credit flow to the private sector.

The executive director and spokesperson of Bangladesh Bank, Md Mezbaul Haque, told that although some banks may at times find themselves in violation of the ADR set for them, the central bank would under normal circumstances give them time to get themselves back within the limit.

“But if they stay outside the limit for long, then they must be warned and action would be taken accordingly,” Mezbaul said.

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