Inside Bangladesh

Ctg container depot explosion: Death toll raises to 16

Publish: 09:14 AM, 05 Jun, 2022


The death toll has risen to 16 in a fire and explosion at the BM Container Depot in Sitakunda Upazila of Chattogram. Besides, more than 400 were injured. 

The identities of the deceased could not be known immediately.

Rajib Palit, assistant director of Chattogram Medical College Hospital (CMCH), confirmed the information to Daily Bangladesh. 

He said the burn victims are being treated in different wards of CMCH. Under the pressure of additional patients, many are being treated on the hospital floor in addition to the ward. Besides, many blood donors are needed. Those willing to donate blood have been asked to contact the ground floor of the hospital. 

Accordning to fire service sources, the fire broke out at BM Container Limited in Shitalpur area around 9:00 pm on Saturday night (June 4). On information, three units of Kumira Fire Service rushed to the spot and started work to control the fire. Later, at around 11:45 pm, fire spread from one container to another. While the fire service men and container depot staff were trying to extinguish the fire, a huge explosion went off due to the chemical container. 

The victims might have been injured due to the explosion. Locals and CMCH sources said some policemen and fire service men were also among the injured. 

At 3:30 last night, 24 units of the fire service were working to control the fire.

Ctg   Fire   Chattogram  


Inside Bangladesh

PM for putting climate change victims in charge of fighting its impact

Publish: 02:36 PM, 01 Dec, 2023


Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has coauthored an article with CEO of the Global Center on Adaptation Patrick Verkooijen on climate change in the famous American weekly news magazine, Newsweek.

The article was published on Thursday (November 30) while the global leaders are convening for the COP28 climate summit in Dubai to find ways to fight climate change impact globally.

Following is the full article:

Let's Put People Back at the Heart of Climate Action

By Sheikh Hasina and Patrick Verkooijen

Climate change is a global disaster inflicted by the rich upon the poor-and increasingly upon themselves. Global leaders convening for the COP28 climate summit in Dubai need to understand that their top-down approach can never work. Rather, we need to put the victims in charge of the fight back and fund their battle.

The climate breakdown will not wait while leaders equivocate. It is already unleashing typhoons and floods on communities, and spreading hunger through crop failures and drought. Only a tiny fraction of climate funding reaches the people battling the worst effects of climate change-they are without the resources needed to protect themselves and their livelihoods, leaving them more vulnerable. Climate injustice is being exacerbated.

Climate action at a global level makes no sense unless it helps protect people on the frontlines of climate change. We need to find ways to quickly and efficiently channel all necessary funding to locally led climate-resilience initiatives. This calls for fresh thinking and a new approach. At COP28, the world needs to double down on adaptation finance. The Loss and Damage Fund must become fully operational so we can respond rapidly and urgently to meet the needs of local communities to rebuild infrastructure and adapt more effectively to climate impacts. This is also a vital step toward climate justice.

Moving from Global to Local

To ensure adaptation finance flows from developed to developing countries double to reach $40 billion by 2025, as pledged at COP26 in Glasgow, finance providers must on average increase annual adaptation flows by at least 16 percent between 2022 and 2025. Yet adaptation finance flows to developing countries declined 15 percent in 2021 to $21.3 billion. That is clearly too little. Yet less than 6 percent of this sum, and perhaps as little as 2 percent, reaches climate-resilience projects led by local communities. Estimates vary due to a lack of properly tracking and reporting money flows-and this needs to improve. But it's also because climate policy and decision-making flows from the top down.

The people who know which towns, streets, fields, and homes are most vulnerable are those who live there. We must encourage and empower them to get together and draw up and implement their own projects to protect themselves against the consequences of climate change.

This is easier said than done. Local communities often lack the time and skills to manage longer-term projects aimed at strengthening climate resilience. They need help and training to draw up project proposals; and to access funding they need basic things such as legally constituted organizations and bank accounts.

Bangladesh has always been a leader in locally led climate adaptation and recently the government has been exploring various ways to channel climate assistance to local communities. The Mujib Climate Prosperity Plan makes it easier to access low-interest loans for adaptation, has a climate risk fund to train communities and local governments to lead adaptation, expands green banking services, and explores paying communities for ecosystem services.   

Through the Global Hub on Locally Led Adaptation in Dhaka, the government is also helping scale up solutions and share best practices with other vulnerable regions of the world. These efforts are already achieving dramatic improvements on the ground.

From Challenges to Opportunities

In Mongla, the second-largest seaport in Bangladesh, the mayor and residents are drawing up a plan to identify economic opportunities in their climate challenges. Like other major cities, Mongla has seen a large influx of climate migrants even as it struggles with rising sea levels-a consequence of global warming-that are contaminating the city's fresh water supplies. Mongla is mapping settlements, identifying key climate vulnerabilities, and developing locally led initiatives. With the support of the U.K. and Canadian governments working through BRAC, an international development agency, and the Global Center on Adaptation, it is hoped that Mongla's People's Adaptation Plans might become a blueprint for other towns and cities adapting to climate change.

This shows us that locally led adaptation is the way forward. But we need to massively scale up these approaches. For that, we need to find ways to finance local communities, without creating undue risk for donors. Strong intermediary organizations can be valuable here to act as a transmission belt to accelerate People's Adaptation Plans into the portfolio of large financiers, including international finance institutions such as the World Bank and Asian Development Bank.

COP28 will only be a success if it achieves real benefits for the communities most affected by the climate crisis. This year's climate summit must ensure that finance flows to the poor communities most affected by climate change, and into locally led, appropriate, and effective adaptation. If we achieve this, the world will have taken a big step toward redressing the gross injustices of climate change.


Prime Minister   Sheikh Hasina   Global Center on Adaptation   Newsweek   COP28   Climate Change  


Inside Bangladesh

President asks DSCSC graduates to use knowledge for people's wellbeing

Publish: 02:22 PM, 30 Nov, 2023


President Mohammed Shahabuddin today asked the graduates of 'Defence Services Command and Staff Course (DSCSC)-2023' to utilize their skills and knowledge for people's welfare.

"The 21st century's challenges are multifaceted, ranging from conventional to non-traditional . . . The rigorous training you have undergone here will flourish you with skills and knowledge which is necessary to face these complex challenges," he said.

The President was addressing the Graduation Ceremony of DSCSC Course at Sheikh Hasina Complex in Mirpur Cantonment here.

He said being public servant, it is your utmost duty to provide all-out efforts in implementing programs taken by the government for people's welfare.

This year a total of 257 officers, including 49 overseas officers from 24 friendly countries took part in the training course.

"You (graduates) will carry out duties and responsibilities with honor, courage, and dauntless dedication by maintaining rules-regulations and constitution of your respective countries," the President hoped.

He also congratulated the graduates for their successful completion of the DSCSC course as the graduates were awarded certificates as recognition of their dedication and hard work.

President Shahabuddin conveyed his special appreciation to the DSCSC Commandant and other concerned, for successfully completing the program with utmost professionalism, hoping that DSCSC's outstanding professional offerings would continue at a similar pace in the days to come.

The DSCSC has a pivotal role in making leaders who can contribute tremendously to ensuring security and prosperity of their respective countries, he mentioned.

 The Head of State said the government of Bangladesh is committed to strengthening country's Armed Forces Division and so, has adopted the "Forces Goal-2030' to develop, expand, and modernize the Armed Forces.

 The DSCSC is the oldest tri-service military training institute in Bangladesh. A total of 6236 officers have, so far, successfully graduated from this prestigious institution.

Referring to the dream of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman to improve the life standard of countrymen, eradicate poverty and ensure happy and prosperous life of people, the President said all-out measures were taken by Bangabandhu to materialize his dreams.

But anti-liberation forces halted that process by assassinating Bangabandhu and most of his family members on August 15, 1975, the Head of State said.

After Bangabandhu's assassination, “we have experienced many ups and downs in our economy”, he said.

About DSCSC activities, the President also said that DSCSC brings together military leaders from diverse backgrounds, cultures, and perspectives.

"The bonds forged here would foster goodwill and understanding beyond boundaries in future”, he hoped.

President Shahabuddin also took part in two photo sessions.

Commandant of Defence Services Command and Staff College Major General Md. Faizur Rahman delivered welcome speech at the function.

Chiefs of the three Services, senior civil and military officials, among others, were present.


President   DSCSC   Graduates   Mohammed Shahabuddin   Mirpur Cantonment  


Inside Bangladesh

Micro, small, medium enterprises in Bangladesh face a financing gap of $2.8 billion

Publish: 02:11 PM, 28 Nov, 2023


In Bangladesh, the micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSME) sector faces a financing gap of $2.8 billion, according to IFC, a member of the World Bank Group.

With nearly 10 million SMEs contributing to about 25 percent of the country's GDP, enhancing SME financing is key to boosting economic growth, it said on Tuesday.

To explore the various aspects of financing for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Bangladesh, IFC, in association with Bangladesh Bank and the government of Norway, organized a conference in Dhaka.

Experts, policymakers, and stakeholders from across the world shared their insights to help foster a resilient and inclusive environment for SME financing in the country.  

The event touched upon the partnership between IFC and Bangladesh Bank, results of an impact assessment study carried out on women-owned SMEs, next-generation SME financing trends, and global best practices in SME financing.

It also addressed the challenges and opportunities in SME financing, identifying solutions and innovations in light of global SME finance developments.

Highlighting the joint efforts of IFC and Bangladesh Bank in SME financing, the conference showcased initiatives, including developing the country’s first Credit Guarantee Scheme (CGS), reforming an SME finance policy, and strengthening the sector’s capacity.

IFC’s impact study on CGS, supported by the Norwegian Embassy, revealed that the number of first-time borrowers receiving loans in cottage, micro, and small enterprises and the average ticket size of the loans for women-owned micro and small enterprises was statistically significantly higher after the launch of CGS than ever before. Women entrepreneurs who received CGS-backed loans reported that it helped their businesses survive amid crises and provided new impetus to thrive.

Speaking at the conference as the chief guest, Governor of Bangladesh Bank, Abdur Rouf Talukder, said that recognizing that cottage, micro, small and medium enterprises (CMSMEs) are the backbone of society, Bangladesh Bank is spearheading several initiatives to mainstream medium and small businesses into the financial landscape.

"This includes establishing a new and dedicated Credit Guarantee Department that has already piloted an online platform—the Credit Guarantee Information Management System—to help lodge applications seamlessly. We are at an important crossroads of economic development and must ensure that everyone, especially those who often get left out, can be part of the financial picture," he said.

Deputy Governor of Bangladesh Bank, Abu Farah Md. Nasser, said a strong SME sector is akin to a superpower for creating jobs, export earnings, and productive proficiency.

"Now more than ever, we need to work together to enhance credit guarantee schemes, tap into alternative databases for SME lending, and ultimately fast-track CMSME finance in Bangladesh. We want to bridge the gap between rich and poor, make sure men and women have equal opportunities, and boost economic growth across the country," he said.

Martin Holtmann, IFC Country Manager for Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Nepal, said Bangladesh is rapidly accelerating its economic development, and creating more and better jobs is a priority they share with the country as long-term partners since 1985.

"IFC’s collaboration with Bangladesh Bank to develop SME solutions highlights a milestone in achieving financial inclusion and economic advancement and underscores the transformative power of partnerships, innovation, and our collective commitment to progress. We aim to increase access to financial products that are affordable, sustainable, and responsive to risks while developing institutional, operational, and policy frameworks to ensure the benefits of economic growth permeate every facet of this dynamic nation,” he said.

Espen Rikter-Svendsen, Ambassador of the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Bangladesh, said, “Lack of access to finance is the biggest impediment to the growth of SMEs in Bangladesh, particularly for the women-headed SMEs."

Recognizing and addressing the challenges faced by SMEs and women entrepreneurs is not just a matter of economic significance but also a step towards fostering gender equality, he said.

"It is essential to create an environment that facilitates easier access to finance for SMEs, encourages more women to take on entrepreneurial roles, and provides them with the necessary financial resources to succeed," said the ambassador.

Other participants included Qamar Saleem, CEO of the SME Finance Forum; Abdoulaye Seck, Country Director of the World Bank for Bangladesh and Bhutan; and managing directors and CEOs of leading banking and non-banking financial institutions in Bangladesh.

The event also included technical sessions and panel discussions focusing on global best practices and a future roadmap to accelerate the SME financing market in Bangladesh.

Bangladesh   financing gap   IFC   World Bank   GDP  


Inside Bangladesh

PM for master plan over use of land in upazilas

Publish: 02:07 PM, 28 Nov, 2023


Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today directed the authorities concerned to work out a master plan for every upazila over using land.

 She gave the directive at a cabinet meeting with herself in the chair at her office in the city's Tejgaon.

 "The Prime Minister has instructed that every upazila should have a master plan in terms of land use," Cabinet Secretary Md Mahbub Hossain said at a briefing at the Secretariat here after the cabinet meeting.

 He, however, said that the Local Government Division has already taken initiative in this regard and started working to formulate the master plan.

 According to the cabinet secretary, the Prime Minister asked the authorities concerned to complete the formulation of the plan within the quickest possible time.

 Noting that the master plan will ensure rational use of land in the development process, Mahbub said the Prime Minister asked to monitor so that houses and industries cannot be built here and there or land could not be used in any other way.

 Once the master plan is formulated, it will bring discipline in using land, he added.

 Besides, the cabinet approved the draft of the Personal Data Protection Act 2023 in principle, keeping a provision for forming a regulatory board, Mahbub said.

The board will have a chairman and four members, he said, adding that it will function like boards of other statuary bodies.

As per a provision of the law, those, who will collect and process data, have to be registered with the board, the cabinet secretary said.

 Mahbub said that the cabinet also approved the 'Joyeeta Foundation Act 2023' in principle.


Prime Minister   Sheikh Hasina   master plan   land in upazila   cabinet  


Inside Bangladesh

24 women get AL tickets for JS election

Publish: 02:29 PM, 27 Nov, 2023


Twenty four women candidates have got Awami League tickets out of 298 constituencies the party named candidates for the 12th Jatiya Sangsad polls slated for January 7.

The ruling party's general secretary Obaidul Quader announced the names in a press conference at its Bangabandhu Avenue central office here this afternoon.

AL President Sheikh Hasina and JS Speaker Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury will contest the polls from Gopalganj-3 and Rangpur-6 constituencies respectively.

The other women candidates are singer Mamtaz Begum (Manikganj-2), Sagufta Yasmin (Munshiganj-2), Sanjida Khanam (Dhaka-4), Rumana Ali (Gazipur-3), Simin Hossain Rimi (Gazipur-4), Meher Afroz Chumki (Gazipur-5), Selima Ahmed (Comilla-2), Dr Dipu Moni (Chandpur-3), Khadizatul Anwar (Chattogram-2), Faridunnahar Laily (Lakshmipur-4), Shahin Akhter (Cox's Bazar-4), Afruja Bari (Gaibandha-1), Mahabub Ara Begum Gini (Gaibandha-2), Umme Kulsum Smriti (Gaibandha-3), Shahadara Mannan (Bogura-1), Habibun Nahar (Bagerhat-3), Jinnat Ali Henri (Sirajganj-2), Shammi Ahmed (Barishal-4), Sultana Nadira (Barguna-2), Matia Chowdhury (Sherpur-2), Nilufar Anjum (Mymensingh-3) and Sayeda Zakia Noor (Kishoreganj-1).


Women candidates   AL tickets   JS election   Jatiya Sangsad polls   Sheikh Hasina