Grameenphone Selects Intec Solution

Intec Telecom Systems, one of the world’s leading providers of Business Support Systems (BSS) solutions, has announced that Grameenphone, the largest network operator in Bangladesh, has deployed Intec’s market-leading InterconnecT software to assist in regulatory compliance while driving operational efficiencies.

Grameenphone, whose network offers coverage for nearly 98 percent of Bangladesh’s population, is widely acknowledged as one of the most innovative operators in the region; the first operator to introduce pre-paid services, its entire network is EDGE/GPRS enabled, allowing access to high-speed Internet and data services from anywhere in the coverage area. There are currently nearly three million EDGE/GPRS users on the Grameenphone network.

Following deregulation of the Bangladesh wholesale telecom market, interconnect traffic levels continue to rise significantly. By implementing Intec’s market-leading InterconnecT software, Grameenphone will significantly increase efficiency of settlement for domestic, inter-operator and international traffic, essential for a dynamic operator such as Grameenphone dealing with both traditional and next-generation IP-based products and services, on a single system. This includes multi-party settlement with a variety of third party service providers for services such as content downloads and multi-media messaging.

“With changing regulatory requirements, accurate and prompt intercarrier reports are vital,” commented Mr. Raihan Shamsi, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer and Acting CFO, Grameenphone. “Not only is Intec’s expert technology among the best in class and gives us improved operational efficiencies, but we also enjoy relations that are core to our own values.”

“Grameenphone is an operator of great integrity, operating in an increasingly competitive market. It is an honor to continue to work with the team, using our expertise and powerful, world-class solutions that make a tangible difference to operational efficiency,” concluded Graeme Paynter, Intec VP for Asia Pacific.

Grameenphone had previously elected to install Intec’s Inter-mediatE, a robust and fully scalable mediation system in order to manage voice and data traffic. The key driver for this was to future proof the business by ensuring the ability to manage not only existing levels of traffic, but vastly increased levels in future years. Intec has a strong reputation as the global leader for mediation, along with an enviable customer base across Asia-Pacific, and is supported by a highly accomplished professional services team. These were both important factors in Grameenphone’s decision process for InterconnecT.

About Grameenphone

Grameenphone Ltd. is the largest telecommunications service provider in Bangladesh with more than 23 million subscribers as of December 2010. Grameenphone was the first company to introduce GSM technology in Bangladesh when it launched its services in March 1997. With a nationwide network that covers almost 100 percent of the population, Grameenphone’s entire network is EDGE/GPRS enabled and so all our subscribers have access to the internet and approximately 4.5 million people are using our internet services. Grameenphone is a joint venture between Telenor (56%) of Norway and Grameen Telecom (34%) of Bangladesh.

Grameenphone is a public limited company listed with the Dhaka Stock Exchange Limited and Chittagong Stock Exchange Limited.

About Intec

Intec supplies solutions to over 60 of the world’s top 100 telecoms carriers, and is one of the world’s fastest growing suppliers of Business Support Systems (BSS) solutions.

Intec’s 400 plus customers include AT&T, Antel, Cable & Wireless, The Carphone Warehouse (UK), China Unicom, Deutsche Telekom, Eircom (Ireland), France Telecom, Hutchison 3G, O2, Orange, T-Mobile, Telefonica, Vodafone, Virgin Mobile, Vivo and Verizon. Intec works closely with its customers, many of whom have been with Intec since its inception, to add real value and ROI to their business by providing the highest standards of performance, flexibility and robustness to help communications service providers service their customers effectively and profitably. Intec’s comprehensive and expanding range of products, solutions and services includes:

— Retail billing and customer management

— Multi-service mediation and activation

— Inter-carrier billing settlements including US CABS and ITU-based settlement

— End-to-end content partner management

— Optimized wholesale routing and trading

— Real-time pre/post-paid mediation and charging

— Pre-integrated solutions for wholesale, wireless and core IMS charging functions

Founded in 1997, Intec is listed on the London Stock Exchange (ITL.L) and has over 1,600 staff and 31 offices in 24 countries. For more information, visit the Intec website at www.intecbilling.com.

SOURCE: Intec Telecom Systems

Bangladesh to raise garment worker wages: minister

Bangladesh will raise the minimum wage for millions of garment workers, a minister said Wednesday, as workers staged another mass protest that blocked the country’s main highway.

A new wage board, with union representatives, manufacturers and industry experts, has been set up to propose new basic pay levels for the country’s 2.5 million garment workers, said Labour and Manpower Minister Mosharraf Hossain.

“We will hike wages within the next three months. There will be a substantial increase in wages,” Hossain told AFP, adding that the board would take into account the rising cost of living due to inflation.

Bangladesh is one of the world’s cheapest manufacturing destinations, with a minimum wage of around 1,700 taka (25 dollars) per month.

This rate was put in place after a string of deadly protests in 2006 left dozens killed and saw hundreds of factories vandalised or torched.

This year, protests over wages have again spilled over on the streets in the country’s main industrial hubs, leading to a series of clashes with police.

On Tuesday an estimated 35,000 garment workers blocked the country’s main highway between the capital Dhaka and port city of Chittagong demanding entry-level salaries be fixed at 5,000 taka.

Unions have repeatedly petitioned the government and garment manufacturers — the country’s most influential industrial group — to raise wages to the 5,000 taka mark. They have threatened to strike until the demand is met.

Garments accounted for nearly 80 percent of Bangladesh’s 15.56 billion dollars of exports last year. The country’s 4,500 factories employ around 40 percent of the industrial workforce, most of them women.

Key western retailers including Wal-Mart, H & M, French giant Carrefour and Levi Strauss in January wrote to the prime minister requesting across-the-board wage increases.

Current wages are “below the poverty line” and have “contributed to unrest” among workers, the letter said.

US to increase climate fund for Bangladesh

The US is going to more than double its financial assistance in the coming financial year to help Bangladesh addresses challenges of climate change. United States Climate Envoy Ambassador Todd Stern stated this when he met with Bangladesh Speaker Abdul Hamid Advocate, MP and accompanying delegation in the State Department yesterday.

Ambassador Todd Stern appreciated Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for her leadership in the Copenhagen Summit (COP15) and stated that without leadership like that of Prime Minister Hasina, COP-15 wouldn’t have eventually turned out positive.

Speaker Abdul Hamid thanked Ambassador Stern for their continued support and hoped that US will work with other donor countries, as well, to channel more resources through multilateral forum. Ambassador Stern added that projected assistance of US14 million in the coming financial year is in addition to what they are planning to channel to Bangladesh through multilateral channels. It may be noted that United States allocated US$6.00 million in the current financial year for Bangladesh.

Saber Hossain Chowdhury, MP, who is also Chairman of Committee on Climate and Environment of All Party Parliamentary Group (AAPG) elaborated on elements of Bangladesh’s strategy to face challenges of climate change and showed how Bangladesh is way ahead in terms of mitigation and adaptation practices. Chowdhury also emphasized on the need to broader international support structure to make more resources available to countries like Bangladesh. Ambassador Stern assured that they are aware of Bangladesh’s exemplary works in facing the challenges of climate change and accordingly, the US is also working with other partner countries to help Bangladesh in its preparedness to face the challenges of climate change.

The meeting was also attended by Ambassador to USA and State Minister Akramul Qader, Abdul Momin Talukder, MP, Reza Ali, MP, Ishrafil Alam, MP, Shampad Barua, Ps to Speaker and Shishir Shill, Secretary General of AAPG.

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Speaker meets Joseph Crowley

BSS, Dhaka

The Bangladesh Parliamentary delegation led by Jatiya Sangsad Speaker M Abdul Hamid Advocate now visiting the United States had a meeting with founder of Bangladesh Congressional Caucus and its Co- chairman Joseph Crowley at the House of Representative in Washington.

During the meeting, they discussed the parliamentary procedures of both Bangladesh and the United States as well as ways and means to further increase bilateral trade between the two countries, a JS secretariat press release said here on Wednesday.

Different other issues of Bangladesh including education system, adverse impact of climate change, women empowerment, good governance, trade and commerce and investment also came up for discussion in the meeting.

At one stage of the meeting, Speaker of the US House of Representative Nancy Pelosi joined the meeting where she and Speaker Abdul Hamid Advocate agreed to increase cooperation among the parliamentarians of both the two countries.

Later, Majority Whip of the US House of Representative James E Clyburn paid a courtesy call on Speaker Abdul Hamid Advocate and discussed various matters of mutual interest.

WIND POWER :first U.S. offshore wind farm, approved -Overview

The first U.S. offshore wind farm, a giant project 5 miles/8 km off the Massachusetts coast, was approved on Wednesday after years of opposition involving everyone from local Indian tribes to the Kennedy family.

U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar gave the green light for the 130-turbine, 420-megawatt Cape Wind project in Horseshoe Shoal, Nantucket Sound, in what supporters considered a huge step forward for renewable energy in the United States.

“This project fits with the tradition of sustainable development in the area,” Salazar said in Boston.

Although small in terms of its production — the $1 billion facility would produce enough electricity to power about 400,000 houses — its approval raises hopes that other offshore wind projects will follow.

Several projects that could power hundreds of thousands of customers have already been proposed for the East Coast and the Great Lakes.

The turbines, more than 400 feet high, will dot an area of about 24 square miles (62 square km), larger than Manhattan, and be visible low on the horizon from parts of Cape Cod.

German conglomerate Siemens AG will provide the turbines.

The decision to approve Cape Wind, subject to certain conditions designed to protect offshore waters from damage and reduce visibility, is expected to face legal challenges, but Salazar said he was confident the approval would stand.

Supporters have argued that wind farms represent a giant push for renewable energy efforts and reducing dependence on foreign oil, and fit well with the Obama administration’s energy strategy.

“Greenpeace has been campaigning to get the Cape Wind project built for nearly a decade, and today’s victory is worth celebrating. It long overdue,” said Kert Davies, research director at the environmental group.

YEARS OF REVIEW

Cape Wind was subject to years of environmental review and political maneuvering, including adamant opposition from the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy, whose six-acre (2.4 hectare) family compound in Hyannis Port overlooks Nantucket Sound.

A final ruling was near in 2009, but delayed further after two Wampanoag Indian tribes complained that the giant turbines would disturb spiritual sun greetings and possibly ancestral artifacts and burial grounds on the seabed.

Opponents have deemed the project an eyesore, and raised issues ranging from a detrimental effect on property values in the popular vacation area south of Boston, to possible damage to birds, whales, fishing, aviation, and historic sites.

The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, a federal agency in charge of safeguarding historic landmarks, recommended this month that the project be rejected.

The governors of six eastern U.S. states shot back in a letter to Salazar, arguing that other offshore projects will likely be abandoned if the Cape Wind project was rejected.

Salazar cited that letter as part of his decision. “We believe there is huge potential for offshore wind along the Atlantic. We don’t want to be second to anyone,” he said.

U.S. wind generation increased by 27 percent last year, accounting for 2 percent of total electricity supplies, according to the Energy Department. Wind power supports about 85,000 American jobs.

“Renewable energy projects like these not only help fight climate change, they can create jobs and play a central role in our economic recovery,” said Frances Beinecke, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Several countries have achieved much higher levels of wind power generation, often with large government subsidies, including Denmark, Spain and Portugal.

…………………OVERVIEW

LOCATION: Wind farm developers Cape Wind would build 130 turbines over a 25-mile stretch of Nantucket Sound. The 400-foot turbines would be between five miles off Cape Cod at their closest point to land to 14 miles off Nantucket at the greatest distance.

ENERGY: Cape Wind says it can generate power by 2012 and eventually would supply three-quarters of the power on Cape Cod, which has about 225,000 residents.

COST: Estimated at more than $2 billion, to be privately funded with opportunities to obtain federal stimulus dollars and tax credits.

OPPOSITION: Native American tribes say the project would interfere with sacred rituals and desecrate tribal burial sites. Others claim it would hurt the ecology of Nantucket Sound and endanger marine traffic while raising energy prices.

sources

Hasina urges leaders to build peaceful, green SA

Sources :

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina addresses the plenary session of 16th Saarc Summit in Thimpu, Bhutan
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at the plenary session of the 16th Saarc Summit urged the leaders of South Asia to turn the region into a peaceful and green area.

?Let us build a green and peaceful South Asia,? Hasina told the summit at the traditional parliament building at the heart of Thimphu, Bhutan.
She stressed setting up a Himalayan council for assisting the countries in the region affected by climate change.

Hasina said while the COP-15 in November last year generated hopes of a comprehensive, long term programme and it now required to “lock in” the key global players in COP-16 at Mexico City later this year for concrete commitments covering greenhouse gas emissions cuts, and guaranteeing fund and technology.

She expected the proposed Himalayan Council to ensure a unified approach of the SAARC countries towards that end.

Hasina suggested that an international adaptation and research centre be set up in Bangladesh for recommending measures adaptive with the chanting climate since the country had experience of adaptation.

“The Center could facilitate exchange of scientific data, eco- friendly technologies, experience in renewable energy and assist the relevant SAARC Regional Centers to realize their mandates. It could also help implement the SAARC Convention on Cooperation on Environment,” she said.

She said the global warming and climate change already impacted our nations with the Himalayan glaciers melting up and sea level rising coupled with land degradation, desertification and salinity.

The prime minister said the adverse geophysical changes with increasing frequency of cyclones and floods were retarding our economic growth, poverty alleviation efforts and millennium development goals.

The two-day long summit began with the aim to take united initiative to fight climate change impacts and boost trade in the region.

The theme of the summit is ?Conservation of Environment and Climate?

16 th SAARC summit Started with Regional Strong Commitment

The Sixteenth Summit of the South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC) has begun at Thimpu of Bhutan from Wednesday.

The main agenda of the summit has been fixed as aiming to take united initiative to deal with climate change and boost trade for economic development of the region.The stage is ready for the opening of the 16th Saarc Summit at 1:30pm, which is expected to outline a “new vision” for addressing other challenging issues like terrorism, poverty alleviation and regional cooperation, and further strengthen the economic integration of the South Asian countries.

Leaders will figure out ways to address the threat of climate change as an integral part and pull millions of people out of abject poverty, combat terrorism and deal more effectively with the region’s natural disasters.

Thimpu is prepared to hold the summit of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) comprised of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka amid tight security.

Bangladeshi Prime Minister (PM) Sheikh Hasina, Indian PM Manmohan Singh, Pakistani PM Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse, President of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai, Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed, Nepalese PM Madhav Kumar and Bhutanese PM Lyonchhoen Jigmi Y Thinley will attend the summit, which will mark the 25th year of the establishment of the body in Dhaka in 1985

Chief Whip Vice-Principal Abdus Shahid said the SAARC summit must reflect political goodwill of regional cooperation in sharing common resources like the water and energy to ensure food security and livelihood of rural people who rely heavily on agriculture

SAARC diary: Tiny Thimphu takes a giant leap
For tiny Bhutan, hosting the SAARC summit is a big step on the international stage. Thimphu, the nascent democracy’s picturesque capital, is throbbing with South Asian leaders who are trying to give a fresh lease of life to the moribund organisation.

The first thing that struck Sheela Bhatt, in Thimphu to cover the summit, was that whiff of fresh air — opulent and serene. Here are her first impressions on the eve of the summit.

When one attends any South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation there is only one fear. All the recent the SAARC summits are overshadowed by shadow-boxing between India and Pakistan diplomats. MORE>>>>>

Bhutanese refugees pin homecoming hopes on SAARC Summit( Sources )
Tens of thousands of Bhutanese refugees, forced to leave their homes for nearly two decades, are pinning their hopes on the 16th SAARC Summit starting in Bhutan from Wednesday, dreaming it would set in motion talks for their return.
Nepal is home to the largest number of Bhutanese refugees who amount to nearly a sixth of the Buddhist kingdom?s population.
There were over 108,000 refugees living in closed camps in eastern Nepal under the supervision of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees while nearly 10,000 more live outside the camps.

Evicted from Bhutan due to their ethnic roots and adherence to non-Buddhist religions, the younger refugees began to opt for a new life in western countries after Thimphu government refused to take them back.

Now an estimated 30 percent of the refugees have already exited Nepal for a fresh start in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Denmark and Norway and more are expected to follow in the days to come.
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Indian and Pakistani PMs ‘to meet’ at regional summit
Sources : The prime ministers of India and Pakistan will meet on Thursday at a regional summit in Bhutan, the Indian foreign ministry has said.

Manmohan Singh and Yousuf Raza Gilani have arrived in Bhutan for the two-day gathering of South Asian countries.

The Indian official said that the two leaders will meet on the sidelines of the summit.

He gave no indication as to how long the talks would last or what would be on the agenda.

The meeting will come in the same week that India arrested a woman working as a diplomat in its Islamabad embassy on charges of spying for Pakistan.

There has been no response yet from Pakistan. The neighbours have a history of mistrust and have fought three wars.

Asked about the possibility of talks between the two leaders at the South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation (Saarc) meeting, Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi was quoted as saying by The Hindu newspaper: “We all live in hope. I think talks and engagement are a sensible way to move forward.”

Indian PM Manmohan Singh, who arrived in Bhutan early on Wednesday, said the “winds of change are blowing across the world”.

“South Asia cannot be immune to the trend of greater integration, both at the regional and global levels.”

Relations between the two neighbours have been strained since the Mumbai (Bombay) attacks of November 2008, which India blamed on Pakistan-based militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba.

The attacks left 174 people dead, including nine gunmen.

Delhi put peace talks on hold suggesting that “state elements” in Pakistan were involved too.

Pakistan admitted the attacks were partly planned on its soil, but denied any official involvement.

In February, Pakistan and India held their first formal talks since the 2008 attacks and agreed to “remain in touch”.

And earlier in April, Mr Gilani and Mr Singh held “informal talks” at a reception hosted by US President Barack Obama

Bangladesh starts Pandemic (A/H1N1 influenza )Vaccination Campaign On May 4

It was a year ago that the term “H1N1″ entered the American consciousness, stamped in 72-point tabloid type. In April 2009 researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) discovered that two children in California had been infected with a new strain of influenza virus ? what would become known as H1N1 ? even as Mexican health officials grappled with major outbreaks of a new flu-like illness. By the end of the month, with new cases popping up in New York City, Canada and Europe, officials had come to realize they had a global emergency on their hands.

On April 27, 2009, World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Margaret Chan announced that the agency would raise the global flu pandemic alert level, from 4 to 5 ? the first concrete step toward acknowledging that the world was caught in the grip its first new pandemic in more than four decades. “This virus has the potential to spread very widely,” said Chan at the time.
(See “The Year in Health 2009.”)

Within weeks the H1N1 virus was spreading around the world, and by June the who had raised the alert level again, officially declaring an influenza pandemic. Since most people had no immune protection against the H1N1 virus, which had been simmering in swine populations for years before jumping into human beings in Mexico, it spread rapidly.
The Bangladeshi government is set to kick off the pandemic vaccination campaign on May 4, as the World Health donated vaccines are due to reach shortly, China’s Xinhua news agency reported, citing a local daily on Tuesday.
The campaign is also an awareness programme as the number of A/H1N1 influenza positive cases are increasing in the nation.

“The campaign will start on May 4 with the training of civil surgeons and other key officials in Dhaka,” Mahmudur Raman, director of the Institute of Epidemiology Disease Control and Research (IEDCR), was quoted as saying by leading English newspaper The Independent on Tuesday.

Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) will follow the recently adopted “national plan of action on pandemic influenza vaccination “to conduct the campaign with the help of IEDCR, the national focal point on the pandemic influenza.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) will give 15.5 million vaccines, Raman said adding that the first consignment of 2.5 million vaccines will be used to protect the most vulnerable groups from the novel virus that has so far killed seven people in the country.

A 34-year-old woman became the first in Bangladesh to die from complications of the A/H1N1 flu this year on Friday.

A total of 329,691 health workers will first receive the vaccines to ensure no disruption in the healthcare services if the country sees further outbreak of the virus.

Some 1.98 million pregnant women of third trimester (last 14 weeks) are also the target group of the first round vaccination.

According to the plan, the training will be imparted at national,city corporation, municipality, district and sub-district levels.

The second consignment of 13 million vaccines will come one month after the delivery of the first consignment and it will be given to the people at risk of severe diseases, including diabetes, chronic respiratory, cardiac, renal, liver and neurological diseases, all pregnant women, and young adults aged above six months.

The IEDCR chief Raman said the total number of the identified flu cases in the country stood at 968 till Monday while the number of cases were 814 until December, 2009 since recording its first A/ H1N1 case on June 18 of the same year.
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From the start, the vast majority of H1N1 cases seemed relatively mild, but officials still had to work to keep the population from panicking. “This is obviously a cause for concern,” said President Barack Obama on April 27, 2009. “It’s not a cause for alarm.”

Read more

The decision to allow screening of Indian films in cinema halls in Bangladesh is to be repealed

RoCho-Shoma-Rodo
Bangladeshi film-makers and actors say they have forced the government to reverse last weekend’s decision to allow cinemas to show Indian films.The decision to allow screening of Indian films in cinema halls in Bangladesh is to be repealed. The decision came only hours after a protest at the FDC by producers and actors involved in the Bangladesh film industry. After attending a programme at Sonargaon Hotel Monday, Commerce Minister Faruk Khan said, “We had recently decided to import Indian films. But will now revert to our previous position.”

” I think govt should allow Indian film @partially. Both side has benefit -fear of fair competition is not good for fair Development -guru”

Representatives of the film industry complained that the move could wipe out thousands of jobs.

There has been no official word yet from the government.

But a leading Bangladeshi film star told the BBC that the prime minister’s office had indicated the ban on Indian films would not be lifted after all.

The star, Razzak, said that a demonstration would not now go ahead as planned.

Film industry leaders had warned that 25,000 jobs could be in danger if Bangladeshi cinemas were allowed to show Indian movies.

They were banned in 1972 to protect local film makers and the local culture.

But cinema owners complain that Bangladeshi-made films are simply not popular enough, and that the middle-classes in particular prefer now to watch pirated DVDs of Bollywood films in the comfort of their own homes.

The previous government clamped down on the cinemas showing pornographic movies and many have since been forced to close.

On Saturday, the commerce minister announced that the ban on Indian films would be lifted to help the cinemas, but the actors seem to have won the argument – at least for now

Bangladesh Bank gearing up to full digital -to cope with changed global finacial situation

The central bank of Bangladesh will complete its transformation to computerization by the end of 2011, officials told Media Sunday.

The World Bank has urged the central bank of Bangladesh to coordinate and speed up implementation of information technology and to formulate a comprehensive project plan that identifies all the dependencies.

?The current global financial crisis has underscored not only the importance of a sound legal and regulatory framework, but also the need to have legal rules for cross-border insolvency and crisis management,? the World Bank said in an Information Note issued in Dhaka on Sunday.

The Financial Sector Assessment Program (FSAP) findings show that the Bangladesh Bank Order (BBO) and Banking Companies Act (BCA) do not have adequate provision to cope with a changing global financial situation.

?There is thus an urgent need to improve the provisions of BBO and BCA,? the World Bank said, adding that the Bangladesh Bank needs to ensure that it has legal powers to own and supervise payment systems including the automated clearing house and securities depositor
“We’re now working to implement the ongoing Central Bank Strengthening Project (CBSP) along with IT components within the stipulated timeframe,? a senior official of the Bangladesh Bank, the country?s central bank, told in Dhaka.
There is no alternative but to implement the automated system in the central bank to bring dynamism in its overall activities, the bank official added.

The World Bank-funded project began in 2003 and was scheduled to take four years. Unable to complete the major components of the project on time, the central bank had received a two-year extension from the World Bank, which is providing US$ 37 million of the total project cost of $46.13 million.

The Washington-based multilateral lending agency had also agreed to extend the timeframe of the project to the end of 2011, another Bangladesh Bank official said, adding that networking of the central bank has almost completed under the CBSP.

The World Bank is supporting the government initiative to enable the central bank to play its role as country?s monetary authority, bank regulator and supervisor

Bangladesh seeks financial help as imported oil bill to meet growing energy needs

Sources :Bangladesh seeks financial help as imported oil bill to meet growing energy needs.State-run Bangladesh Petroleum Corp is seeking help to pay for an estimated $4.3 billion of oil imports in the next fiscal year to run new power plants to meet growing energy needs, a top executive said on Monday.

BPC, Bangladesh’s only fuel importer and distributor, normally buys up to 3.8 million tonnes of refined and crude oil annually at costs between $2.5 billion and $3.5 billion, its chairman Anwarul Karim said.

“But for the next fiscal year our import may rise to 4.4 million tonnes as the government plans to set up several oil-fired power plants,” he told.
Bangladesh now imports oil from Vietnam, Malaysia, Maldives, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, India and United Arab Emirates.

But officials said it was also looking for other sources to buy the additional fuel.

To meet the rising fuel bill, Bangladesh has asked the Jeddah-based Islamic Development Bank (IDB) to provide more funds, Karim said. The IDB gives Bangladesh about $1.2 billon a year now to pay for oil imports.

“We have also asked Bangladesh’s central bank to allocate additional funds for oil import,” Karim added.

The new power plants fuelled by diesel and furnace oil will add more than 1,350 megawatts of power to the national grid, a partial fulfilment of promises by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to ease a nagging power crisis that affects households and industries.

But BPC, which sells many fuels below cost as part of a complicated subsidy programme, has accumulated losses of $2.83 billion that may rise to $3.05 billion at the end of the current fiscal year ending in June 2010

Bangladesh Calls bids for 550 megawatts (mw)

The Bangladeshi government has invited bids from interested local and foreign firms for setting up three more power plants in the country on build, own and operate (BOO) basis to generate upto 550 megawatts (mw) of electricity, energy officials said Saturday.

“All the three plants will be run by either furnace oil or natural gas,” chairman of Power Development Board (PDB) ASM Alamgir Kabir told the FE.

Two of them, to be built at Keraniganj and Madanganj, will have 150 mw to 225 mw capacity each and generate electricity for 22 years and the remaining one at Jamalpur with 100 mw will generate power for 15 years.

State-owned PDB earlier invited pre-qualification (PQ) bids for the three plants and set June 6 next as the last date for submission of documents.

With these three, 11 fossil fuel run power plant projects are now put on offer for the private bidders from home and abroad to generate a total of 2,120 mw electricity.

The BPDB will provide land for the power plants and purchase electricity from the operators at their offered rates.

The state-owned Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC) will provide fuel for the furnace oil-run IPP power plants.

Contract signing with the bid winners for all the power plant projects is expected to take place in January 2011.

The power ministry will appoint an evaluation committee for each of the projects to scrutinise the applications.

The aspiring sponsors may apply either individually or as a consortium for the power plant projects, but they must have previous international experience in this field.

In case of consortium, the lead member and the operating members must have required equity participation and experience and must meet financial and technical criteria as stated in the bid documents.

The government is putting electricity generation high on agenda as it has pledged to increase the country’s overall electricity generation to 5000 mw by 2011 and to 7000 mw by 2013.

Bangladesh’s electricity generation is now hovering around 4000 mw against the demand for over 5500 mw during peak hours.

The power ministry recently presented a number of power plant projects, including those already offered, before the investors during three overseas road-shows in London, New York and Singapore.

Bangladesh lifts ban on Indian films

By nex few days you will able to see Bollywood world standard film in Bangladeshi Cinema Hall.According to Agence France-Presse, Bangladesh has lifted a four-decade ban on Indian films. Some Bangladeshi actors and technicians may be none too happy, as they dislike competition just like most everybody else ? Hollywood included. Bangladeshi movie theater owners, however, are ecstatic.

In fact, exhibitors were the ones who pressured the Bangladeshi government to end the ban, which began in 1972, the year following the country?s independence. (For those who don?t know; Bangladesh and Pakistan used to be one country. The whole thing goes back all the way to the British Raj and a bloody legacy of colonialism mixed with tribalism.)According to Agence France-Presse, Bangladesh has lifted a four-decade ban on Indian films. Some Bangladeshi actors and technicians may be none too happy, as they dislike competition just like most everybody else ? Hollywood included. Bangladeshi movie theater owners, however, are ecstatic.
Films produced by India’s huge Bollywood entertainment industry have been banned from Bangladesh’s cinemas since 1972, a year after the country’s independence, to protect the local movie industry.

“We lifted the ban to boost the cinema industry,” Bangladesh Commerce Minister Faruk Khan told AFP.

Cinema hall owners, who have been clamouring to be allowed to show Indian films, said they expected to start showing Indian films shortly.

Kazi Firoz Rashid, president of Bangladesh Cinema Halls Owners Association, said the government’s decision was “the best thing to have happened” to the country’s cinemas.

The number of cinema theatres has slid to 600 in 2010 from 1,600 in 2000 in the country with Bangladeshi films and soft-porn English-language films shown in movie houses failing to draw viewers.

“Film enthusiasts can easily see good Indian films on cable television so why should we stop Indian films being screened in our cinemas?” Rashid said.

“By contrast, the standards, scripts and production of Bangladeshi films are so stale and poor they have trouble winning hearts or making enough money,” he said.

Pirated DVD copies of Bollywood movies circulate widely in Bangladesh in the absence of them being shown in cinemas and the films are hugely popular.

The lifting of the ban comes amid warming relations between India and Bangladesh after ties worsened between the neighbours when an Islamist-allied government was in power in Dhaka from 2001 to 2006.

“The new order scraps the ban and allows screening of Indian and other South Asian films in local cinemas provided they have English subtitles,” the government’s Film Censor Board chief Surat Kumar Sarker said.

But not everyone supports the move.

“Indian films will completely destroy our film industry and our culture. At least 25,000 people will be jobless,” said Masum Parvez Rubel, a leading star and a co-coordinator of a newly created front against Indian films.

“We have appealed to the commerce minister and the authorities to reverse the decision. Otherwise, we’ll protest until the last drop of blood,”

Instead of protesting and trying to prevent the opening up of Bangladeshi screens to Bollywood movies (which can be seen on local television), local talent should join forces with the “enemy.” It would then be a win-win situation.

we wish through hybriding the culture both contry will enjoy the interaction of culture.