Bangladesh targets Japan intended for excessive textile exports

Textile production
Textile production

Bangladesh garment manufacturers said Sunday they have targetted Japan as their next big market to offset a drop in orders from the United States and Europe caused by the global financial crisis.

?Bangladesh plans to raise the value of its textile exports to Japan to $1 billion over the next two years, a senior business leader said on Thursday.

“Now we are fully prepared to attract more and more buyers from Japan which will help to grow our market many folds day by day,” said Mohammad Fazlul Hoque, president of Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturer and Exporter Association (BKMEA).

“A massive black cloud has gathered over our heads,” said Fazlul Hoque, president of Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA).

?”Orders in September have fallen by 10 percent, and the indications are there that the industry will experience a sharp decline like the one we experienced immediately after 9/11 in 2001,” he said.

Bangladesh exports only $50 million worth of ready-made garments to Japan which annually consumes $23 billion worth of ready-made garments, mostly importing from China, Fazlul said.

“Recently we, along with other textile entrepreneurs, visited Japan and did several interactions with most of the leading textile importers who committed to increase trade volume with us,” Fazlul told reporters.

He said that BKMEA would organize a 3-day international exhibition from Monday to present the products to the potential importers and about 150 buyers across the world will participate.

Most of the leading textile importers from Japan and also buyers from the United States, China, India, Hong Kong, South Africa, Australia, Italy, Netherlands, Russia, Belgium will participate in this showcase, he said.

“Japan is the world’s fourth largest garment importer. Yet last year we exported 6.4 million dollars’ worth of apparel there, against Japan’s total import of around 9.3 billion dollars,” he said.

“We have to enter the Japanese market at any cost to survive the coming storm. We have identified that in four out of ten top Japanese apparel items, we have huge price advantages,” he added.

The group, whose members generate nearly 55 percent of the country’s entire clothing exports, has invited ten top Japanese buyers this year to inspect Bangladeshi factories.

Readymade garments, which account for 80 percent of total exports, earned more than $11 billion in the last fiscal year.

Bangladesh has set 13 percent higher export target of $17.6 billion for the current fiscal year to end June 2010.

Bangladesh’s overall exports grew 10.3 percent to $15.56 billion in the 2008/09 fiscal year, down 4.76 percent from the previous year and the lowest growth in six years, following the global slowdown.

Earnings from knit textiles from July to June of the previous fiscal year (2008/09) rose 16.2 percent to $6.4 billion while exports of woven garments rose 14.5 percent to $5.9 billion in the same year.

The garment trade is the backbone of Bangladesh’s manufacturing industry, accounting for 80 percent of total exports and 40 percent of industrial jobs.

Bangladesh, Burma border line complexity Heats Up

Border line confliction
Border line confliction

The potential for conflict between Bangladesh and Burma appears to have gotten more serious after Bangladesh said it is responding to threats from its eastern neighbor, accusing it of having combined troops on the border and readied warships and fighter jets ?in preparation for a large-scale conflict.”

The Burmese military brought in tanks, artillery guns and 13 warships along its border with Bangladesh on Sunday, The Bangladeshi Daily Star newspaper said, quoting sources at the Bangladeshi Armed Forces.

Bangladesh in turn has strengthened its military build-up in a bid to repulse an incursion by Burma and is preparing 30 warships in Chittagong and Khulna ports, a Bangladesh Navy official stationed at Chittagong told the newspaper.

Officially however, Dhaka sought to play things down over the Burmese insistence on erecting a border fence.

Bangladeshi Foreign Minister Dipu Moni rejected reports on Sunday on the heavy military build-up by Burma along the Bangladesh border, saying it was ?a routine movement of the security personnel.?

Talking to reporters at the Foreign Ministry, Dipu Moni said information gathered from the Bangladesh Ambassador and the Defence Attache in Myanmar, the Foreign Minister of Myanmar whom she met recently in Colombo and the Myanmar Ambassador in Dhaka suggest that the reports of the troops movement is not beyond the routine matter.

“But we notice that a section of the media is publishing reports with a negative attitude and there is question about the basis and objectivity of those reports,” she said, adding that publication of exaggerated news with distorted information cannot be good for the country.

Dipu Moni said it seems that certain quarters are trying to create problems or crisis between the two friendly neighboring countries with an ulterior motive to reap benefit out of it.

However, the newspaper said, ground reality did not support the foreign minister?s claim ?as various sources in the military, Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) and intelligence agencies said that the situation on the border remained tense?.

Dhaka fears problem on the sea front too. ?Burma has sent in artillery guns that will bring Chittagong under their firing range,? a Bangladeshi navy officer apparently told the newspaper.

?We in the Bangladesh Navy suspect that Burma wants to intrude into our sea and declare a large chunk of area as their Maritime Exclusive Zone,? the naval official said.

Bangladesh?s maritime borders with both Burma and India remain undefined and are a source of tension since all three neighbors want to explore for oil and gas in the Bay of Bengal.

U.S. Govt-funded carbon financing workshop opens in Bangladesh

Carbon Financing Conference

U.S. Ambassador James Moriarty Wednesday said Bangladesh could use carbon financing to invest in greenhouse gas emission reduction projects to support the conservation and co-management of protected areas and other natural resources in the country.

Speaking at a U.S. government-funded carbon financing workshop in the city, he said as part of a series of activities to improve the environment, the U.S. government is working with other donors to help restore thousands of hectares of forest land in Bangladesh.

?U.S. government-funded workshop on Global Climate Change and Carbon Financing: Opportunities for Bangladesh opened in the capital, Dhaka on Wednesday.

U.S. Ambassador to Bangladesh James F. Moriarty and Bangladesh State Minister of Environment and Forest Dr. Hasan Mahmud inaugurated the workshop.

“Participants will explore opportunities for carbon financing in Bangladesh as means to reduce emissions, increase adaptation and improve land use while alleviating poverty and conserving biodiversity,” a U.S. embassy press statement said in Dhaka.

This workshop is organized by USAID’s Integrated Protected Area Co-management (IPAC) project and the United States Forest Service in partnership with the Bangladesh government, Jahangirnagar University and Independent University of Bangladesh as part of a capacity building effort for protected area co-management and conservation.

The U.S. government, through USAID, is working to improve the lives of the people of Bangladesh, especially the very poor.

The USAID administers programs in Bangladesh in five broad areas: improving health and pre-primary education, creating income opportunities for rural poor, supporting good governance, enhancing food security, and strengthening disaster preparedness and providing emergency assistance following natural disasters.

The U.S. government has provided more than $5 billion in assistance to Bangladesh since 1971. In 2009, U.S. assistance will total about $180 million, according to the statement.

Electricity Can bring the Automated Development of Bangladesh-Vision 2020

The Government of Bangladesh aims at providing electricity to its entire rural population by 2020 to help boost social development and economic growth. In 2002, access to electricity in Bangladesh was about 30 percent. With the Rural Electrification Board connecting about 400,000 consumers every year, it would take it more than 35 years to provide access to all. Furthermore, it is physically difficult and economically not feasible to bring the whole country under a grid based electricity network because Bangladesh is a delta with more than 400 rivers.

To achieve the government?s target of full access in a cost effective manner, this project proposed a two track approach: (i) expand the electricity distribution grid to connect new consumers and
(ii) support renewable energy options to provide electricity in areas not reached by the grid by making solar home systems (SHS) available to households and a biomass pilot project to electrify village markets and associated small enterprises and households. The project is implemented by the Rural Electrification Board (REB) through its rural electric cooperatives (Pally Bidyut Samities ? PBS) and the Infrastructure Development Company (IDCOL) through its participating organizations ? mainly NGOs and private sector companies. IDCOL provides the participating organizations with subsidies and concessional loans to purchase PV systems in bulk, and the partners can then provide credit to rural households to buy systems.

As of September 2006, the project has brought electricity to more than 400,000 consumers in Bangladesh. Access to electricity has increased to 38% from 30% in 2002. At the same time 80,000 consumers had been provided with Solar Home Systems (SHS), surpassing the original target of 50,000. These households, connected by SHS, would have never received electricity if only conventional electrification methods had been used.

This is some of the impact electricity is bringing to people?s lives (findings of a baseline survey measuring the socioeconomic impact of rural electrification):
– Time spent by a child on reading/studying is likely to increase by about 6 percent under electric lighting than when kerosene lamp of dry cell battery is used
– Increase of electricity use at home leads to a decrease of 20 percent in children?s school-days missed caused by illness, compared to non-electrified areas;
– Electricity use at home makes 18 percent more time available per day for listening to radio compared to areas without electricity
– Time spent on household chores decrease by 6 percent in the electrified households compared to non-electrified households
– Use of electricity at home increases the incidence of home business by about 8 percent compared to non-use of electricity at home

– The total project cost is about US$ 298 million, of which IDA provided US$ 191 million credit, government provided US$ 92 million, GEF provided US$ 8 million grant, and local communities provided US$ 7 million equity.
– Apart from the investment component of increasing access to rural people, IDA contributed in designing components to increase the financial viability of the rural electric cooperatives.
– By rationalizing the service boundaries between urban and rural utilities and renovating of the old distribution network (both supported by the project) the system losses of REB have been reduced from more than 18 percent in FY 2001 to less than 13 percent in FY 2006.
– Rationalizing the service boundaries reduced duplication of investment as previously both the urban power utilities and REB were connecting consumers in semi-urban areas. As this project has clearly demarcated service boundaries and the urban utilities are transferring their assets in semi-urban areas to REB, investment requirement to connect the same consumers have been halved.
– This project proved the importance of renewable energy options as a practical method of electrification. Previously, government had little faith in these schemes. Now government has also started to contribute funds to promote renewable energy options
– With support from IDA, REB is computerizing its Head Office along with most of the PBSs and is carrying out a financial restructuring study to review the subsidy mechanism of the PBSs and to find out ways to target the subsidy better and to commercialize the financially viable PBSs.

To achieve the Government?s vision of the power sector is to provide electricity for all by 2020, government needs to ensure that REB and PBSs are working towards this vision in a sustainable manner. IDA strategy is to strengthen the managerial capability of the Rural Electrification Board to ensure that it can function autonomously and at arms length from the government. This would require some changes in the way REB is currently structured. IDA would like to support this change given the strategic role of REB in rural electrification. The SHS market created by this project would also require some further support to become mature. While other donors such as KfW and GTZ have already shown interest further assistance from IDA and GEF may be required.

Bangladesh outlines first tiger plan


The Royal Bengal Tiger
The Royal Bengal Tiger

The Bangladesh government has created its first national plan to conserve the endangered Royal Bengal tiger:

The Tiger Action Plan intends to save an estimated 300-500 tigers in the Sundarban mangrove forest.
The area in the south-east of the country has one of the largest remaining Bengal tiger inhabitants.
Experts have described the plan as “a tiger-sized leap for conservation” which will preserve the Bengal tiger – the world’s largest tiger sub-species.
On Tuesday a conference on tiger conservation in Nepal began with a warning that traders and poachers were better organized than conservationists.
World Bank President Robert Zoellick said that the illegal activities of traders and poachers was estimated to be worth over $10bn annually.
Officials and conservationists in Bangladesh say they hope that they have now made progress in protecting one of the world’s largest tiger inhabitants.
“We involved the top tiger conservation experts from Bangladesh and around the world in the review process and as a result we have a strong and well thought-out document capable of uniting tiger conservation efforts in the country,” said Professor Anwarul Islam of the Wildlife Trust of Bangladesh.
The plan argues that saving the tiger will also help to save the Sundarbans, which represents almost half of Bangladesh’s remaining forest.
“The conservation of the Sundarbans and the coastal green belt is critical for the security of the nation, particularly in light of predicted impacts of climate change. As the national animal of our country, the tiger represents an ideal key point for our conservation efforts, particularly for the Sundarbans.”
The plan was drawn up by the Bangladesh Forest Department and the Wildlife Trust of Bangladesh with help from the Zoological Society of London, the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the University of Minnesota.
It will be very effective for the conservation of our sundarban forest biodiversity and ecological balance.

Interest Rate On 20-Year Bonds go up In Bangladesh

20 Years perception
20 Years perception

? The interest rate on Bangladesh Government Treasury Bonds (BGTB) increased on Tuesday as commercial banks were not interested to buy longer term bonds with lower interest rates, treasury officials told AHN Media.

?The yield, generally known as coupon interest rate, of the 20-year BGTB rose to 9.100 percent on the day from 8.5900 percent of the previous mart held on August 25 this year, according to mart results.

?”Most of the commercial banks are not interested to invest their excess liquidity in long-term securities with lower interest rate,” a senior treasury official of a private commercial bank told AHN in Dhaka, preferring secrecy.

?He also said the banks want to shift their investment portfolios following increasing demand for fresh investment in different sectors including trade and agriculture.

?Bidders offered $34.00 million (BDT 2.351 billion) for the bond at a mart, held at the central bank in Dhaka on the day, according to a Bangladesh Bank (BB), the country’s central bank, mart result, issued on the day.

?”Of those, a bid amounting to total of $2.31 million (BDT 160 million) was accepted and $15.76 (BDT 1.09 billion) was devolved on primary dealers,” the mart result said.

?The central bank of Bangladesh earlier selected nine primary dealers- eight banks and a non-banking financial institution (NBFI) – to handle government-approved securities in the secondary securities market.

?Currently, four government bonds, 5-year, 10-year, 15-year and 20-year, are being traded in the market.

Bangladesh picks ‘Circle’ for Oscar

Country selects pic for foreign-language film race


The Bangladesh Federation of Film Societies has selected Golam Rabbani Biplob’s “Beyond the Circle” (Britter bairey) to rep the country in the Academy’s foreign-language film race. Biplob’s helming debut “On the Wings of Dreams” was the country’s 2007 choice.

Released in September, pic centers on a na?ve rural flute player who gets taken for a ride.

The Impress Telefilm production, starring Jayanto Chattopadhyay, unspooled in Toronto’s Contemporary World Cinema section last month.

The closing date for submissions to the foreign language category was Oct. 1. Nominations will be announced Feb. 2 and the Academy Awards take place on March 7.


More? Detailab:?

“Britter Bairey,” Golam Robbani Biplob’s latest film is going to have its premiere at the 34th Toronto International Film Festival, scheduled to start from September 10. Produced by Impress Telefilm Ltd, the film will be screened as part of the ‘Contemporary World Cinema’ section.

“Britter Bairey” is Biplob’s second feature film. His debut film “Swapno-danay” (released in 2007) was acclaimed by critics and movie enthusiasts alike, and won a total of 32 international awards including the Best New Asian Director at the Shanghai International Film Festival in 2007.

Talking about his latest work, Biplob said, “‘Britter Bairey’ tries to zoom in on the present corporate culture and its impact on our people and values.”

The plot: The protagonist of the film is Haripada (played by Jayanto Chattopadhyay). Haripada is Hindu, but has adopted a Muslim boy named Moqbul (played by Firoz Kabir). A potter by profession, Haripada is also a talented musician, and indulges in playing flute in leisure. His first encounter with urban elements happens when a reporter from the city comes to his village and interviews him. After the interview gets published, Haripada is invited to Dhaka. Eager to experience city life, Haripada and his son come to Dhaka for the first time. Here he is contacted by a music company, which sees his musical talent as a lucrative product, and the organisation tries to exploit it. Haripada and his flute are promoted through media — newspapers, press conferences et al. This system of branding and merchandising everything starts to get under Haripada’s skin, and he finds it very difficult to cope with the corporate culture. Each time he tries to escape to his village, the music company somehow finds him and drags him back. The film chronicles a rural man’s troubles, holding on to his values and identity.

“Playing flute was something which Haripada did in his own time, at will, to satisfy his creative urges. But in the city, he is being forced to do it. He despises this, and desperately tries to find his way out of this system,” explained Biplob.

The cast also includes Fazlur Rahman Babu, Shahidul Alam Sachchu, Rasheda Rawnak, Azharul Islam Khan and others. Bappa Majumder is the music director of the film.

Biplob is optimistic that “Britter Bairey” can recreate the kind of success his last film attained.

“Britter Bairey” is scheduled to be released in Bangladesh later this month.