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Private Sector Innovation Vital for Bangladesh’s Sustainable Development: UN

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Private Sector Innovation Vital for Bangladesh's Sustainable Development: UN

Gwyn Lewis, the UN Resident Coordinator in Bangladesh, underscored the pivotal role of the private sector in driving comprehensive and sustainable development within the nation. She emphasized the necessity for innovation, collaboration, and financial support from the private sector to aid the government in attaining the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Bangladesh by 2030.

During the inaugural formal meeting, the UN Resident Coordinator warmly welcomed the establishment of the Bangladesh Private Sector Working Committee (BPSWC) along with its subcommittees. These thematic groups, aligned with the country’s SDGs, aim to expedite the implementation of sustainable development objectives through close collaboration between the Government of Bangladesh, the United Nations, and both national and international development organizations.

The committee’s first working meeting, held on Wednesday (August 9), saw the formal selection of the group members. The event was attended by around fifty heads of Bangladeshi private companies, representatives from development organizations, and various UN agency representatives.

The proceedings commenced with opening remarks from key figures including Md. Jashim Uddin, the President of the Federation of Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce & Industries (FBCCI) and Chairman of BPSWC, as well as Ardashir Kabir, President of the Bangladesh Employers’ Federation (BEF). Their comments highlighted the significance of the private sector’s contribution to an inclusive and sustainable development approach.

The UN Resident Coordinator, in her address, commended the initiative and urged active and coordinated involvement from the private sector in achieving the SDGs in Bangladesh. She expressed her warm welcome to the inaugural meeting of the Bangladesh Private Sector Working Committee and its newly formed Thematic SDG Working Groups. These groups, comprising five divisions, are designed to enhance private sector engagement and expedite efforts toward the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Launched in May 2023 by FBCCI, BEF, and the UN Resident Coordinator’s Office in Bangladesh, the establishment of these groups stands as one of the committee’s initial endeavors. The Bangladesh Private Sector Working Committee was instituted to facilitate collaboration between the country’s private sector, the Government of Bangladesh, the UN, and both national and international development organizations. Its primary focus is on critical challenges like job creation, youth employment, and fostering conducive working environments—all essential components in realizing the Sustainable Development Goals.

The meeting also saw the participation of UN representatives in Bangladesh, including notable figures from various UN agencies aligned with the UN’s 2022-26 Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework. Notable names such as Gitanjali Singh from UN Women Bangladesh, Tuomo Poutiainen from ILO Bangladesh, Van Nguyen from UNDP, Emma Brigham from UNICEF, Nur Khondaker from FAO Bangladesh, and Dr. Vibhavendra S Raghuvanshi from UNFPA Bangladesh attended the event, demonstrating a unified commitment to advancing sustainable development.

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Container rate surge enters longest stretch since the pandemic

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Container export

The spot rate for shipping goods in containers to Europe from Asia rose for a ninth straight week, the longest stretch of rising prices since the pandemic disrupted global supply chains in 2021.

The rate for a 40-foot container to Genoa, Italy, from China hit $7,029 over the past week, the highest level since September 2022, according to the Drewry World Container Index released Thursday. The cost to Rotterdam increased to $6,867. Both rates have essentially doubled since April.

For the busy trade route from Shanghai to Los Angeles, the rate rose for a seventh straight week, to $6,441.

While not all freight is moving at such elevated prices, the spot market for containers reflects the supply of available space on ships and the demand from importers. That balance has tightened during the past six months as vessels avoid the Red Sea, where Houthi rebels have attacked commercial traffic, including a bulk commodity carrier that sunk earlier this week.

Most container lines are taking the longer route around southern Africa, creating disruptions similar to those two or three years ago. Ryan Petersen, founder and chief executive officer of Flexport Inc., said “we’re right back almost to where we were during the peak Covid situation.” He’s seeing spot rates even higher than the numbers Drewry just reported.

“Right now, if you want to ship a container from China to here in the UK it will cost you about $10,000 unless you have a contract,” Petersen said during a Bloomberg Television interview in London on Thursday. “And by the way, most of those contracts that were signed at lower prices are not being honoured and they’re adding surcharges to them.”

Petersen said it’s hard to predict how long shipping prices will keep climbing, noting that carriers spent some of their record-high profits made during the pandemic on new vessels that are entering service through 2026, which should help ease the latest capacity crunch.

But he also said uncertainty about delivery reliability later this year is worrying some companies and motivating them to order now rather than wait. Among the threats is a dockworker strike at ports along the US East and Gulf coasts, which Petersen said might send container rates above their pandemic highs if cargo bound for those gateways is significantly disrupted.

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PM Sheikh Hasina Urges UAE Investors to Tap into Bangladesh’s Special Economic Zones

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PM Sheikh Hasina Urges UAE Investors to Tap into Bangladesh's Special Economic Zones

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has called on United Arab Emirates (UAE) investors to invest in Bangladesh’s special economic zones. The request was made during a meeting with UAE Ambassador Abdulla Ali Abdulla Khaseif Alhmoudi at her official residence, Ganabhaban, this morning.

According to the Prime Minister’s Press Secretary, Md Nayeemul Islam Khan, the UAE ambassador assured the prime minister that his country would issue visas for Bangladeshi workers, ensuring they have jobs waiting for them in the UAE. The envoy emphasized the importance of preventing illegal migration from Bangladesh, a concern both countries agreed to address more diligently.

The UAE ambassador also mentioned that several UAE ministers are planning to visit Bangladesh soon to explore new avenues for strengthening bilateral relations. “We already have a very extensive and deep tie, but we are eager to take it to a new height,” Alhmoudi stated.

Alhmoudi highlighted that approximately 20,000 Bangladeshis travel to the UAE each month, with the UAE embassy issuing around 1,000 visas daily—500 directly and 500 through agents. He extended an invitation to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to visit the UAE, noting that UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum are eagerly waiting to welcome her.

In response to Sheikh Hasina’s appeal for UAE investment in Bangladesh’s special economic zones, Alhmoudi said that the visiting UAE ministers would discuss the matter further. The envoy also sought cooperation from the prime minister to expedite UAE investments in Bangladesh, including in the container terminal sector. Sheikh Hasina assured him that her government is accelerating processes across all sectors.

Additionally, Alhmoudi mentioned that a UAE company is in the final stages of negotiating prices to provide an Advance Passenger Information System (APIS) to Bangladesh’s civil aviation sector. The prime minister delegated the task to PMO Secretary Mohammad Salahuddin.

For security reasons, the US, EU member states, and other countries now require detailed passenger information from airlines before travel, known as Advance Passenger Information (API).

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Bata Shoe Reveals Impressive EPS Surge in Q1

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Bata Shoe

One of the listed companies, Bata Shoe Bangladesh Limited discloses its financial reports for the first quarter, (January – March 24).

The company’s earnings per share (EPS) was Tk 13.42 paisa in Q1 of the current financial year (January – March 24). EPS was Tk 9.96 (restated) paisa during the same period last year. As of March 31, 2024, at the end of the first quarter of the fiscal year, the company’s net asset value (NAV) per share stood at Tk 251.35.

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