Bangladesh’s Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina, has announced that the nation’s relevant authorities will evaluate a proposal put forth by the Danish shipping and logistics giant, Maersk Group. The proposal pertains to the construction and operation of a novel container terminal at Laldia in Chattogram.
During a meeting at her office with Robert Maersk Uggla, the CEO of Maersk Group, and Danish Charges D’Affaires in Bangladesh, Andres B Karlsen, Prime Minister Hasina affirmed her government’s openness to considering the proposition. Highlighting the growing engagement between the two countries, PM noted that more than 50 Danish companies are currently active in Bangladesh.
Maersk Group’s interest in establishing and operating an APM terminal at Laldia was acknowledged by the premier, who conveyed her remarks through a media briefing held after the meeting. Sheikh Hasina also shared insights about the formulation of a logistic policy through a national committee to stimulate port development in the country.
With the Chattogram and Mongla ports already operational, and the forthcoming Payra Port’s imminent activation, Hasina highlighted the potential for India, Nepal, and Bhutan to utilize these ports for mutual benefits. Emphasizing the advantages, she pointed out the allure of the Payra port, which is expected to bring multiple opportunities.
Robert Maersk Uggla, the CEO of Maersk Group, acknowledged the immense potential within container shipping and logistic support in Bangladesh. He expressed enthusiasm for investing in port and logistic infrastructure, alluding to significant opportunities in these sectors. Notably, he underlined that renowned companies like H&M, M&S, and Walmart are keen on importing more Ready-Made Garment (RMG) products from Bangladesh.
Uggla also commended Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s vision to create a technologically advanced Bangladesh and foresees its manifestation at Chattogram seaport. He articulated the Group’s eagerness to engage in the development of ports and logistic support in Bangladesh, citing the supportive stance of the Danish government toward the nation’s logistic policy.
Prime Minister’s Principal Secretary, M Tofazzel Hossain Miah, and Chairman of Chattogram Port Authority, Rear Admiral Mohammad Sohail, were also present during the productive exchange of ideas. As Bangladesh’s leadership examines the proposal, the potential collaboration with Maersk Group marks a significant stride toward bolstering the nation’s maritime and logistic endeavors.
Bangladesh’s Commitment to SDGs Unshaken Despite Global Challenges, Says PM
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has reaffirmed her government’s unwavering commitment to implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), even in the face of challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, the Ukraine war, and the climate crisis. She made this declaration during a meeting with Helen Clark, Chair of the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (PMNCH), at the United Nations Headquarters.
As part of her commitment to healthcare services accessibility for all citizens, PM Sheikh Hasina mentioned the implementation of the National Health Sector Strategic Plan (2011-2030) and a 27% increase in healthcare sector allocations for the current fiscal year 2023-24.
Helen Clark commended Bangladesh’s exceptional progress in healthcare under Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visionary leadership, citing the nation’s remarkable achievements in reducing maternal and child mortality rates and ensuring universal healthcare services.
Bangladesh’s GDP Growth to Reach 6.5% in FY24: ADB
Bangladesh’s economy is anticipated to expand by 6.5% in fiscal year 2024, reflecting an improvement in domestic demand and enhanced export growth, as per the recent Asian Development Bank (ADB) report titled “Asian Development Outlook (ADO) September 2023.” This growth projection is slightly higher than the 6.0% recorded in the previous fiscal year, driven by a recovering euro area.
Inflation is predicted to decrease to 6.6% in the current fiscal year, down from 9.0% in FY2023. Additionally, the current account deficit is expected to narrow marginally, from 0.7% of GDP in the previous fiscal year to 0.5% in FY2024, thanks to improved remittance growth.
The report identifies the main risk to this growth projection as a potential deterioration in export growth if global demand remains weaker than anticipated.
ADB Country Director Edimon Ginting commented on the government’s effective management of external economic uncertainties, highlighting ongoing infrastructure development and crucial reforms aimed at enhancing the investment climate. These structural reforms encompass bolstering public financial management, mobilizing domestic resources, optimizing logistics, and deepening the financial sector to foster private sector growth, diversify exports, and create productive employment opportunities in the medium term.
The report also underscores the importance of addressing climate change by expanding domestic renewable energy supply in the context of elevated oil prices.
The revival of private consumption, driven by moderate inflation and increased remittances, coupled with the completion of significant government infrastructure projects boosting investment, is expected to stimulate economic growth. However, the initial uptick in interest rates following adjustments to the country’s monetary policy framework may temper private investment.
Inflation is projected to ease due to lower global non-fuel commodity prices, increased agricultural production, and the initial tightening of monetary policy under the new framework.
FBCCI, BMCCI Collaborate to Boost Trade & Investment Between Bangladesh & Malaysia
The Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI), the country’s foremost trade organization, has joined hands with the Bangladesh-Malaysia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BMCCI) to bolster business and investment opportunities and narrow the trade deficit between Bangladesh and Malaysia. Both organizations aim to facilitate the export of skilled labor from Bangladesh to Malaysia, a crucial labor market for the nation.
During a courtesy meeting at the FBCCI Icon in Dhaka on September 19, 2023, FBCCI President Mr. Mahbubul Alam expressed these intentions while meeting with a BMCCI delegation, led by its President, Syed Almas Kabir. The collaboration between FBCCI and BMCCI seeks to address Bangladesh’s substantial trade deficit through Free Trade Agreements (FTAs), Preferential Trade Agreements (PTAs), and other trade mechanisms. Both organizations are committed to working together to tackle this issue.
The meeting was attended by FBCCI Director Hafez Hazi Harun-Or-Rashid (CIP), Mohammad Nizam Uddin, BMCCI Senior Vice President Mr. Sabbir Ahmed Khan, Vice President Mr. Jamilur Rahman, BMCCI Secretary General Mr. Md. Motaher Hoshan Khan, Director Mr. Mamunur Rahman, and other dignitaries.
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