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Bangladesh

PM asks govt officials to ensure services for people

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Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today asked the government officials to ensure services for the people, saying Bangladesh became independent to change their fate.

“You (officials) should always keep in mind that people are never deprived of getting services because the independence of the country has been attained for changing their destiny,” she said.

The premier said this while addressing the certificate distribution and closing ceremony of 121, 122 and 123 law and administration courses at BCS Administration Academy in the city’s Shahbag area.

She joined the function virtually from her official residence Ganabhaban here.

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Sheikh Hasina directed the young officials of administration to always think about the people and know the area and livelihood of the people of the locality where they are posted for discharging duties.

“You (administration officials) have the highest opportunity to do the welfare of the people,” she said.

She also said the young officials of administration would get the opportunity to work in a realistic manner whenever they are posted in higher positions in future through the work experience in the field level.

The prime minister said that, “You will be the key to implementing Vision-2041 adopted by the government to turn Bangladesh into a developed country.”

With State Minister for Public Administration Farhad Hossain in the chair, BCS Administration Academy Rector Mominur Rashid Amin delivered the welcome address.

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Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Ministry of Public Administration H N Ashequr Rahman and Senior Secretary of Public Administration Ministry KM Ali Azam also spoke.

An audio-visual documentary on BCS Administration Academy was screened.

On behalf of the prime minister, Farhad Hossain handed over the rector award, crests and certificates among the top positions recipients.

A total of 99 participants took part in the 121, 122 and 123 courses.

Three rector award recipients – Md Navid Rezwanul Kabir, Md Rakibul Hasan and Rezwana Afrin from 121, 122 and 123 courses respectively expressed their feelings.

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Besides, Mahua Afroze and Alauddin of 121, Sabrina Sharmin and Suma Khatun of 122 and Kazi Md Anik Islam and Mehedi Hasan of 123 course secured second and third positions respectively.

The prime minister said that the trained and skilled civil service is one of the most associate tools to implement the commitment of her government.

“What we make commitments, the administration implements it,” she said, adding that, “We want you to pull the country ahead with your knowledge, merit and innovative skills, and serve the people.”

Referring to the second revolution taken by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the prime minister said if he could implement the activities of the second revolution, Bangladesh would have been established as a developed country in ten years.

But, Bangabandhu was not given this scope as he with most of his family members were assassinated brutally in 1975, she said.

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She added, “After the killing of Bangabandhu on August 15, people of the country remained deprived and exploited.”

Mentioning that Bangabandhu gave directive to the public servants to always serve people, she said, “As a government official, I think that you should work to build the country with the spirit of War of Liberation, non-communal and developed Bangladesh”.

She said she wants the country to move forward.

After 21 years, she said Awami League assumed power in 1996 and in the five years, they increased the salary and facilities of government officials as well as continued endeavours to ensure the overall development and welfare of the countrymen.

Sheikh Hasina said the Father of the Nation had started rehabilitation of landless and homeless people, but it was not implemented after his assassination.

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Following his footsteps, she said now her government has taken initiative to make sure that no people in the country will remain homeless and address-less.

In this connection, she referred to the Ashrayan-2 project which has been implemented since Awami League assumed power in the second term, as in the first tenure in 1996 they implemented Ashrayan-1 project.

She also extended her gratitude to the field level administration for successfully implementing the Ashrayan project, saying that, “there can be nothing more happiest moments than seeing the smiling faces of homeless people”.

Now, Bangladesh has become a developing nation fulfilling all criteria, she said.

“As a developing nation, we have to move forward further and make it stronger,” she added.

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As a daughter of the Father of Nation, Sheikh Hasina said her government has to fulfill the basic rights of people and make Bangladesh a hunger-poverty-exploitation free developed country as dreamt by Bangabandhu.

“You, who are working in field-level administration, are the key to implementing the dream of the Father of the Nation,” she said.

Referring to the Constitution’s section-7 that stated “people are the owner of the country”, she said the goal of her government’s all activities is to ensure overall development of the people.

The prime minister said after 1975, who grabbed the power, they only took it as an enjoyment.

But, Sheikh Hasina said, “I am not only the prime minister, also a daughter of Bangabandhu. My responsibility is to ensure the basic rights of each people of the country and make development from grassroots.”

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About the Perspective Plan-2041, she said they have framed a structure, which may be updated in necessity of time.

The country will forward on the basis of the plan through implementing short, medium and long term activities, she added.

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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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Bangladesh

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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