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Bangladesh now appears as a ‘development miracle’: PM

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Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today placed a proposal in the Jatiya Sangsad (JS) to hold a special discussion on the occasion of the Golden Jubilee of the country’s independence, pledging to take Bangladesh to a dignified position by building it as a developed and prosperous country.

“In this historic moment of observing the golden jubilee of the country’s independence, our commitment will be to take Bangladesh to a dignified position on the world stage by transforming it into a “Sonar Bangla” free from poverty and hunger, repression and discrimination, and a developed and prosperous country, overcoming all the challenges, as envisioned by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman,” she said.   

The Leader of the House moved the proposal under Section 147 of the Rules of Procedures in the 15th session of the 11th parliament.

At the beginning of the day’s sitting, President Abdul Hamid gave a commemorative speech marking the golden jubilee of the country’s independence.  

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Speaker Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury chaired the sitting.

In the proposal, the Prime Minister said, “The parliament opines that the golden jubilee celebration of the country’s independence in 2021is a glorious chapter in the national life of the Bangalees. Bangladesh is marching forward at irresistible speed. Bangladesh now appears as a “development miracle” in the whole world arena.”

She told the parliament that that the country’s independence was achieved following the path of the Language Movement from 1948 to 1952, six-point of 1966, mass uprising of 69 under the leadership of the all time best Bangalee and Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, his historic March 7 speech, March 25 genocide, declaration of the independence by Bangabandhu in the early hours of March 26, formation of the Mujibnagar government on April 17 and the sacrifice of 3 million of martyrs and 200,000 mothers and sisters.

The Prime Minister said that the final victory was achieved on December 16, 1971 with the surrender of the Pakistani army. 

The Father of the Nation formulated the country’s constitution after returning to the country on January 10 in 1972 and he delivered a speech in Bangla in the United Nations on September 25 in 1974.   

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The Prime Minister also said that during adoption and implementation of various plans to rebuild the war-ravaged country, darkness descended on the national life on August 15, 1975 as the country’s president and Father of the Nation along with most of his family members were assassinated.  

She added that the four national leaders were assassinated inside the prison, power was seized illegally and the constitution was shattered through military decree while democracy and the rule of law were ruined.

Returning home from exile on May 17 in 1981 as elected the President of the Awami League, she said, “I engaged myself in the struggle of restoring democracy and the rule of law alongside ensuring the people’s rights for vote and food.”  

After assuming office in 1996, Sheikh Hasina said that they had tried the assassins of Bangabandhu while the trial of the war criminals was initiated.

Bangladesh has attained the recognition of a developing country coming out of the least developed country (LDC) status through implementation of the “Vision 2021”, she added.

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The Prime Minister in her proposal said that “Digital Bangladesh” announced in 2008 is now a reality.

“Success has been achieved in every field of human resource development such as reduction of poverty, attainment of food self-sufficiency, 100 percent electrification across the country, construction of houses for nine lakh homeless people, social security activities, women’s education and empowerment, skill in disaster management, student stipends and prevention of maternal and child mortality,” she continued. 
 
Every economic index such as economic growth, remittance and reserve has witnessed robust growth while Bangladesh has ranked 41st in the world economy, she said. 

The Prime Minister in her proposal said that the Delta Plan 2100 has been formulated to deal with the adverse effects of climate change.

She said the incentive package announced to overcome the crisis arising out of the Coronavirus pandemic has kept the country’s economy moving.

The construction of metro rail, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Karnaphuli tunnel and the Padma Bridge by own finance have proved Bangladesh’s capability in the world, she opined.  

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“Demarcation of maritime boundaries with India and Myanmar and launching of Bangabandhu satellite in space have added a unique milestone to the triumph of Bangladesh’s success,” she said.

Mentioning that the center point of parliamentary democracy is the Jatiya Sangsad, Sheikh Hasina said that the parliament has been playing an effective role in fulfilling aspirations of the people by ensuring transparency and accountability of the government.

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Bangladesh

Bailey Road Fire |  a wake-up call for commercial buildings and beyond

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M. Mahmudur Rashid

Vice President,Electronics Safety and Security Association of Bangladesh – ESSAB

We always talk about the unsafe conditions of old Dhaka, but the tragic incident of Bailey Road is an example of how we are building a new Dhaka. It is not an accident; it is the result of our actions. From the building owner to the authorities, everyone is equally responsible. Unplanned restaurants have been built on every floor of many multi-storied buildings. If not aware now, dire consequences are waiting for us. We have to think again, which is more expensive? The price of safety equipment or the price of life!


Building on Bailey Road – Green Cozy Cottage has permission from Rajuk as a mixed-use (commercial office and residential apartments), building type: E and R. It is absolutely illegal to set up a commercial kitchen/restaurant in a building without proper permission and occupancy approval. Green Cozy Cottage should have fire safety plans approved by the Fire Service and Civil Defence.

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The building should have fire exits with fire doors, evacuation paths, fire alarm systems and fire-fighting systems. Apart from that, a commercial kitchen/restaurant kitchen hood should have a specially designed automatic wet chemical type fire suppression system. Fire protection systems for a typical office or shopping area and a restaurant are not the same. Each restaurant had a live fire inside the building. They should also have a fire-separated area for storing cooking oil and gas.

But, unfortunately, Green Cozy Cottage has no fire exit with a fire door, no fire hydrant system and no kitchen fire suppression system in any of the restaurants. There were large LPG gas cylinders on each landing of the stairs. Here are some recommendations to prevent these types of fire hazards – 

Responsibility of building owner/user-


•    Building construction according to BNBC.
•    Do not change occupancy without proper authorization and arrangements.
•    Maintain proper fire exits with fire doors, emergency lighting systems, fire alarm systems and fire hydrant systems.
•    Install automatic fire sprinkler systems where required.
•    Install wet chemical-type kitchen suppression systems for kitchen hoods.
•    Store cooking oil, LPG gas and other flammable items in fire-separate zones. It also requires permission to do so.
•    A refuge area is recommended in multi-storied buildings to take shelter in case of a fire accident.
•    Use high-quality electrical appliances, accessories, electrical wiring and ovens.
•    Use proper ventilation and fire-rated dampers in central HVAC ducts.
•    Use CO2 or ABC powder extinguishers with a minimum capacity of 6 kg per 550 square feet area.
•    Use wet chemical extinguishers for class K fires (cooking oil/fat).
•    Regularly maintain and check all electrical and safety equipment.
•    Every establishment needs a trained rescue and fire-fighting team.
•    Arrange regular fire drills, at least once every six months.

Government responsibility

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•    Ensure enforcement of building codes and make necessary renovations
•    Facilitate the import of fire safety equipment, all establishments including commercial buildings need duty free facilities to import fire safety equipment like export-oriented factories.
•    Need to reduce the 7.5% VAT on the supply of fire safety equipment and 15% VAT on the consultancy service of fire safety plan.
•    Prevent import and marketing of defective and substandard fire safety equipment
•    Encourage banks to invest in procurement of fire safety equipment on easy terms
•    Popularize fire insurance.
•    Take action against those who construct dangerous buildings and structures in violation of the law
•    Incorporate fire safety and disaster management into the education system
•    Incentive package needed for entrepreneurs to start manufacturing and investing in fire safety equipment business in Bangladesh.
•    Build adequate fire hydrants on roads and reservoirs in cities
•    Enhancing fire service capacity through new technology and manpower
Public Responsibilities:
•    Avoid renting and using unsafe buildings
•    Get basic training in the use of fire safety equipment
•    Construct buildings/structures by building codes and fire safety regulations
•    Install proper fire safety equipment in every house, office, shop, and factory.
•    Be careful when using all types of electrical and gas appliances
•    Follow all safety instructions and signage.

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Bangladesh

Bangladesh’s apparel export to USA dips over 25% in 2023

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Bangladesh’s apparel shipments to the United States, its single largest export destination in 2023, declined 25% year on year to $7.29 billion due to high inflation caused by the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war.

Bangladesh’s apparel exports to the US was $9.72 billion in 2022, according to the US Department of Commerce’s Office of Textiles and Apparel (Otexa) data.

The data also mentioned that the country’s overall apparel imports also declined 22.04 % year on year to $77.84 billion, while the import value was $99.86 billion a year ago.

In terms of volume, Bangladesh RMG export to the USA in 2023 also plunged about 28% to 2.25 billion square metres from 3.13 billion square metres in 2022, according to the Otexa data.

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Talking to The Business Standard, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association President Faruque Hassan said that the global apparel market was very volatile in 2023 as every country has reduced their imports due to high inflation driven by the Russia-Ukraine war.

He said that the largest apparel importer country – the US – also decreased their consumption due to the high inflation in 2023.

He said Bangladesh was not the only country which experienced negative growth in apparel export to the US market; every exporting country had the same experience in 2023.

The BGMEA president hoped that this market will be better in the coming days.

He also mentioned that the US inflation and interest would be stable, which may help the market rebound in coming months.

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The share of Bangladeshi apparel in the US market was about 10% in in 2022, while it fell to 9.37% last year.

However, Bangladesh’s position remained unchanged as the third-largest apparel exporter to the US market after China and Vietnam, which occupied their positions with 20.96% and 18.21% share respectively.

The OTEXA data showed, in 2023, Chinese apparel export to the USA fell 10.83% to $16.32 billion from $21.75 billion a year ago.

Vietnam and India’s apparel exports in 2023 decreased 22.29% and 21.42% respectively.

Indonesia and Cambodia’s apparel export to the United States fell 25.19% and 23.58% respectively in the year.

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UK: Bangladesh makes huge progress in last 20 years

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British High Commission Dhaka’s Development Director Matt Cannell has said the government of Bangladesh has made huge development over the last twenty years.

Cannell said: “The UK has a strong and vibrant partnership with the government of Bangladesh in a range of areas, including diplomacy, trade and development.”

He said they are increasing their work to help end preventable deaths of mothers and newborn children in 11 countries around the world, including in Bangladesh.

“I would like to particularly applaud the work of newly trained midwives in improving maternal and newborn health care,” Cannell added.

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Head of Human Development Department of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office in the UK Chris Carter said Bangladesh is rightly applauded for its family planning and immunization programs, and the government’s commitment to driving down maternal and child deaths, such as the Bangladesh Every Newborn Action Plan.

“We hope to do more to help build on these efforts. It has been incredible to see the beginning of another Bangladesh success story to develop a new icddr.b alternative formula for Ready-to-use Therapeutic Food (RUTF),” Carter said.

The British High Commission Dhaka recently co-hosted a roundtable with the government of Bangladesh and other development partners to discuss how to step up efforts to end preventable deaths of mothers, babies and children in Bangladesh.

Director General of Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) Prof Dr Abul Bashar Mohammed Khurshid Alam attended the roundtable as the chief guest.

Chris Carter set out how the UK plans to work closely with the government and partners to sustain and build on Bangladesh’s progress on ending preventable deaths.

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This includes working on quality, affordable health services and also addressing underlying issues, such as poor nutrition.

The roundtable included an initial consultation about how to tackle the remaining issues that cause preventable deaths of mothers, babies and children in Bangladesh.

This will help to inform the UK’s approach and identify areas where the UK, the government of Bangladesh and other partners can intensify their collaboration, said the British High Commission in Dhaka on Sunday. 

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