BD set to be a rawhide importing country soon

Bangladesh is expected to be a rawhide importing country soon because of the increasing demand of its leather goods in the international market, industry insiders said.




The leather goods sector, in the July-May period of the current fiscal year (FY 2011-12), achieved over 60 per cent export growth despite a massive fall in overall export performance of the country, EPB (Export Promotion Bureau) data showed.

Following the increasing demand, most of the local tannery owners are now opting for export of different value added leather goods for more profits rather than shipping finished leather.

Besides, some of the export-oriented leather goods manufacturers have already started importing traditional rawhides from abroad to meet the increasing demand of their produce, the industry people said.

They also said that buy orders shifted from China and new investments to the sector have helped propel the export boom of leather goods of the country during the first eleven months of the current fiscal.

“If the trend of increasing buying orders continues, Bangladesh won’t need to export finished leather within a short period of time,” Managing Director of Apex Adelchi Footwear Limited Syed Nasim Manzur told the FE.

“We are very much optimistic that the country would need to import finished or rawhides in bulk immediately rather than exporting the same as the export of the countries value added products of leather goods has been increasing,” Manzur, also President of Leather-goods & Footwear Manufacturers & Exporters Association of Bangladesh (LFMEAB) added.

“Buyers of leather goods are increasingly shifting to Bangladesh from countries like China and Vietnam, as we can ensure international standard, designs and competitive price,” former president of Bangladesh Tannery Association (BTA) Mohammad Shahin told the FE.

However, according to Board of Investment (BoI) statistics, in the last calendar year (2011), some 16 foreign entrepreneurs signed deals with it to invest US$ 15.122 million in footwear units in Bangladesh.

Tres International Footwear Ltd, Mynote Private Ltd, Yuko Lather Goods Ltd, Yuko Leather Goods Ltd, Anwara Shimokawa Co Ltd and Matrighor Ltd are among the prospective new investors.

Besides, 18 local companies including Earth Footwear Ltd, Sharif Melamine Ind Ltd and Amico Footwear Ltd invested nearly Tk 3.03 billion in the tannery and footwear sector in the last two years, the BOI statistics revealed.

The biggest Korean investor in Bangladesh, Youngone, is also installing the largest footwear production plant of the Asia region at Chittagong Export Processing Zone (CEPZ).

Trunks, suit-cases, handbags, shopping bags, belts, shoes, musical instrument cases, travelling bags, rucksacks, map-cases, cutlery cases and other conventional and non-conventional items were among the Bangladeshi items exported to different destinations across the globe.

Italy, New Zealand, Poland, the UK, Belgium, France, Germany, the USA, Canada and Spain are the main importing countries of Bangladeshi leather products.

Besides, India, Nepal, Australia and some other countries are emerging as potential importing nations of Bangladeshi leather goods, the data showed.

World’s renowned importers like Macy’s, Sears, JC Penney-USA, Deichmann-Germany, Bata-Italy, Aldo-Canada and ABC Mart-Japan are buying footwear from Bangladesh.

Country’s total export volume of leather products up to May of FY 2011-2012 was $ 83.28 million against the annual target of $ 69.57 million while it was $ 51.99 million in the corresponding period of FY 2010-11.

100 die, 250,000 stranded in Bangladesh floods

DHAKA, Bangladesh — At least 100 people have died and 250,000 were left stranded by flash floods and landslides in Bangladesh set off by the heaviest rain in years, police and officials said on Wednesday.
The low-lying and densely populated country, which is in its wet season, has been battered by five days of torrential downpours.
The deaths took place late on Tuesday and on Wednesday. Most were caused by landslides, others by wall collapses, lightning strikes and surges of floodwater. Army, police and fire brigade personnel were helping in rescue efforts.
Weather officials said more rain was expected over the next few days.
Hundreds of homes have been washed away, while authorities have moved many families from slums and told others to leave quickly.
At least 23 people were killed in and around the southeastern port city of Chittagong, while 36 died in Bandarban in an area known as the Chittagong Hill Tracts.
“Several more people are feared trapped in hillside homes buried under heaps of mud. Rescue operations are continuing,” Chittagong Deputy Commissioner Faiz Ahmed said.
Officials in the affected areas said about 100 people were missing, many swept away by floodwater, and about 200 injured.
In Sylhet, houses were filled by up to three feet of floodwater, and residents were forced to perch on boats or scramble to high ground. Three children were reported killed.
Flooding also hit districts northwest of the capital Dhaka.
The downpours lashed the borders with Myanmar and India, with the weather office recording 18.2 inches in Chittagong over the past 24 hours.
Disaster control officials said about 150,000 people had been marooned by the floods in the southeast while 50,000 were stranded in Sylhet.
About 50,000 were reported stranded in their flooded homes in the northern districts of Gaibandha and Kurigram.
Local television showed villagers trudging through waist-high water to relief camps while some moved their cattle on to the roofs of buildings for safety.
Farming officials said it was too early to gauge crop damage. “In flash floods, water recedes soon after the rain stops, so we don’t anticipate any major damage to rice and other crops,” one official said.
Most road and rail links between Chittagong and the rest of the country were suspended late on Tuesday, while Chittagong airport was closed after part of the runway was flooded.

With India’s leather exports overshooting the target of $4.2 billion in 2011-12, the fortunes of the industry appear to be on a rebound.

India’s leather industry is at tipping point today. The increasing disposable income of Indians and a wider choice to make fancy but value-for-money footwear have given it a fillip. On the other hand, the demand for leather goods is not upbeat in its traditional market in rich countries. A group of exporting countries led by China, Vietnam, Indonesia, Bangladesh and Pakistan is vying for the shrinking pie by being fiercely competitive in terms of price, quality and delivery.

Still, the leather industry in India is the tenth largest manufacturing sector and one of the top 10 export earners. It has a wholesome linkage to job creation in the rural economy, with 94 per cent of the sector dominated by small and medium enterprises (SMEs). With India’s leather exports putting up an unusually salutary show in fiscal 2011-12, overshooting the target of $4.2 billion, thanks to a clutch of initiatives by the authorities both for manufacture of value-added items and skill development training to workers employed in the industry, the fortunes of the industry appear to be on a rebound.

A study of the Working Group on Leather and Leather Products for the Twelfth Five-Year Plan (2012-17) reckons that the industry can build its growth story on the following strengths: rising disposable income, the low share of footwear and leather components in the overall consumption expenditure of households, the abundance of leather as a raw material, and a low-cost manufacturing base. But to cash in on the innate advantages, the industry must modernise, add capacity and upgrade technology. The Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP), functioning under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, has been a catalyst in creating the basic conditions for the growth of the leather industry through the India Leather Development Programme (ILDP), which was kicked off in the Tenth Plan. The programme has two sub-schemes: the Integrated Development of Leather Sector (IDLS) for the modernisation and technological upgradation of leather units; and the Infrastructure Strengthening of Leather Sector (ISLS) for providing infrastructure facilities and building capacity.

However, even as the intentions of the authorities were sound, the implementation part left a lot to be desired as was highlighted in a House Panel report tabled in Parliament in the Budget session. Analysing the Demands for Grants (2012-13) of the DIPP, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Commerce recalled that in the 2011-12 Budget, a Plan allocation of Rs.240 crore was made for the ILDP, which was subsequently slashed to Rs.180 crore. It noted that Rs.52 crore of this was lying unspent until the beginning of March 2012.

The report particularly singled out the glacial pace of progress in completing the state-of-the-art Leather Tanning Complex in Nellore (Andhra Pradesh), which was provided Central assistance of Rs.29 crore in the Eleventh Plan (2007-12). It upbraided the department that “had it been guarded while appraising the proposal of the special purpose vehicle for establishment of a leather complex at Nellore, it could have easily avoided the embarrassment of loss of time [five years] for the project”.

Despite this criticism by the House Panel, the Working Group recommended the continuation of the ILDP with an enhanced outlay of Rs.3,220 crore. But the department proposed an outlay of Rs.2,420 crore; it was Rs.1,251 crore in the Eleventh Plan. The Working Group suggested the continuation of sub-schemes to provide skill development training and placement to unemployed youths and skill upgradation training to the employed ones; livelihood security and marketing support to artisans and training for traditional artisans; infrastructure-related schemes such as mega leather clusters (in place of leather parks); and environment protection. The Eleventh Plan sub-scheme “Saddlery Development” has been redesigned as “Research & Development and Design & Development”. It has also suggested a new sub-scheme envisaging the formation of a separate Council for Development of Domestic Leather Market in the name of Indian Leather Development and Promotion Council (ILDPC).

Industry circles point out that though the tanning segment has taken positive measures to adhere to the environment norms, given the exorbitant cost of zero liquid discharge (ZLD) technology, research needs to play a key role in fostering cost-effective technologies to resolve the problem of total dissolved solids (TDS) in tannery effluent. Technology ought to be developed for the preservation of hides and skins as an alternative to the extant salt-based preservation.

Twelfth Plan target

With leather export in the final year of the Eleventh Plan being estimated to cross the $4.72 billion target, the government has set an ambitious $14 billion target to be achieved by the end of the Twelfth Plan (2016-17).

This is predicated on the premise that substantial development would supervene in all core areas, namely capacity addition through modernisation and technological upgradation, human resource development, market expansion and diversification, product diversification, infrastructure development, and environment management. Though the Indian leather sector currently exports to about 70 countries, 75 per cent is to the European Union and the United States.

While the share of men’s footwear in Indian leather goods exports is high, the export of ladies’ and children’s footwear needs to be stepped up, besides non-leather footwear. Alongside this, there is an overarching need to develop more Indian brands so as to achieve higher unit value realisation. Exporters are also worried over Chinese investors setting up production bases in Chittagong, piggybacking on Bangladesh’s LDC (least developed country) status to export duty-free leather goods. In order to build a robust domestic production base and make competitive inroads into international markets, the industry wants to have in place a 5 per cent duty credit for exports to the U.S., Russia and Japan under the Market Linked Focus Product Scheme as these markets are dominant in the overall share to Indian industry. As stakes are high for the leather industry in view of its labour-intensive nature and high export-earning prospects with a dominant share of rural orientation and SMEs in the manufacturing chain, the industry is confident that the authorities will continue to safeguard its vital interests over the long haul.

Bangladesh jute report – June ,2012

Rates supplied by the Bangladesh Jute Association



(One bale = 180 kg) (Taka per bale)

Ready Position (in taka) Bangla white special (BW special) 14,000 Bangla white A (BWA) 13,700 Bangla white B (BWB) 12,800 Bangla white C (BWC) 11,300 Bangla white D (BWD) 10,850 Bangla white E (BWE) 10,400 Bangla tossa special (BTS) 14,300 Bangla tossa A (BTA) 14,000 Bangla tossa B (BTB) 13,100 Bangla tossa C (BTC) 11,600 Bangla tossa D (BTD) 11,150 Bangla tossa E (BTE) 10,700

WRS/TRS, HABIJABI, CUT ROPES Bangla white rejection (BWR) 9,250 Bangla white habijabi (BWH) 7,300 Bangla tossa rejection (BTR) 9,500 Bangla tossa habijabi (BTH) 7,300

CUTTINGS Bangla white cuttings A (BWCA) 6,800 Bangla white cuttings B (BWCB) 6,600 Bangla tossa cuttings A (BTCA) 7,100 Bangla tossa cuttings B (BTCB) 6,900

MESHTA Meshta special 14,000 Meshta A 13,700 Meshta B 12,800 Meshta C 11,300 Special meshta cuttings 6,800 Ordinary meshta cuttings 6,600 Meshta- SMR 9,000

STATE OF THE MARKET–REMARKS Quality – good Condition – fair Narayanganj imports – About 3,000 Qntl. Daulatpur imports – About 8,000 Qntl. Market trend – As usual

NOTE Raw jute exports during 2011-2012 (01.07.2011 to 29.02.2012) = 1.37 million bales Value 9.28 billion taka ($1 = 81.78 taka) Source: Bangladesh Jute Association, Dhaka +880-2-9552916, Narayanganj +880-2-7630904

Oil-hungry Bangladesh eyes domestic source

Along the river Piyain in Bangladesh’s land-locked northeastern Sylhet region, tourism and the sale of crushed rock for roads have long been the main drivers for the local economy.

Stone workers wash stones collected from the river Piyain in Jaflong, Sylhet. On May 21st, Bangladesh oil giant Petrobangla announced an oil reserve find of 137 million barrels in the Sylhet gas fields. [Andrew Biraj/Reuters]

With the discovery of oil deep underground, the region’s fortunes — and those of Bangladesh in general – may change.

Economists, energy experts and consumers are cautiously welcoming the discovery of major oil reserves in the Sylhet region, announced by the state-run Bangladesh Oil, Gas and Mineral Corporation (Petrobangla) on May 2nd.

Currently, Bangladesh serves all of its domestic oil needs through imports. But Petrobangla chairman Hussain Monsur said the state-run company has detected oil reserves of 137 million barrels at the Kailashtila gas field in Sylhet. Of this amount, 55 million barrels could be recovered commercially, with a market value of 450 billion taka ($5.5 billion), Monsur said.

Domestic oil means lower inflation

Economists say domestic oil resources could help the government contain inflation linked to fuel price hikes on the international market – and save on costly petroleum subsidies.

“Our domestic oil, if explored, would save our huge subsidy for the import and selling of petroleum products in Bangladesh. In the current fiscal year, the government has spent Tk 10,000 crore ($1.2 billion) as an oil subsidy,” former finance ministry adviser A.B. Mirza Azizul Islam told Khabar.

Syed Yousuf Hossain, chairman of the Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission, said the government had to increase fuel and power prices four times to account for petroleum price hikes on the international market.

“We fall in trouble when the prices of petroleum products go up on the international market. The domestic supply of oil, if available, would improve the power sector,” A. S. M. Alamgir Kabir, chairman of the Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) told Khabar.

Bangladesh imports up to 25 million barrels of crude oil from Middle Eastern countries and Indonesia every year, energy ministry figures show.

From the ground to the power lines

To eventually import less, the nation must adapt its infrastructure, which relies overwhelmingly on gas. More than 76% of Bangladesh’s power units are gas-fed.

Mizanur Rahman, a director of BPDB, told Khabar that out of a potential of 5,500MW from all available sources, oil-fed power plants contribute only 1,500MW of electricity.

“So, we need more fuel to exploit the full potentiality of our oil-burnt plants,” said Rahman. “The demand for oil was going up day-by-day.”

BPDB chairman Kabir told Khabar the country’s current overall daily demand for electricity was 6,500MW, while production stood at 5,500MW– resulting in hours of power outages, including in Dhaka.

A catalyst for business

Bangladesh’s business sector is hungry for an improved power supply.

“Our exports will increase at least by 25% if we are given uninterrupted power supply in the factories. We will earn at least Tk 409.5 billion ($5 billion) more,” Abdus Salam Murshedy, former president of Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association, told Khabar.

The country’s Ready-Made Garment industry (RMG) earned Tk 1.4 trillion ($18 billion) in 2010-11, accounting for 80% of all Bangladeshi exports.

“At present, the big factories use generators to run their factories,” said Murshedy. “But all factories cannot afford generators and they remain idle for hours for power outages.”

One unit of BPDB electricity costs Tk 6.5 ($0.08) while generators cost at least Tk 9 ($0.11) for the same unit, Murshedy said.

The consumer view

Bangladeshis weary of constant load-shedding and sudden government price hikes remain sceptical.

“This is not my headache, whether it is foreign oil or ours,” pharmaceutical company sales agent Abdus Sattar told Khabar. “I am interested in knowing whether the price of oil comes down.”

On average, Sattar spends Tk 500 ($6) daily on fuel, and sees the price going up daily due to fuel hikes on the international market.

Banker Rafiqul Islam is more optimistic.

“If we can meet our oil demands from (our) own source, we would not look at the international market all the time,” he said.

“Prices of all commodities go up with a minimum hike of fuel prices, making people’s life unbearable,” he said.

Dhaka urges world to help Rohingyas settle in Myanmar

Bangladesh yesterday urged the international community not to act in a way that might deprive the troubled Rohingya people in Myanmar of their rights, saying Bangladesh wants them to live in their country in peace.
“They (Rohingyas) are nationals of Myanmar (and) so the international community should not say or do anything that may deprive them of their heir rights,” Law Minister Shafique Ahmed said while talking to newsman on the sidelines of a Law Commission function in Dhaka.
He added: “Bangladesh wants them to live in peace in their own country.”
The minister also acknowledged Myanmar’s steps to stop the clashes at the “instigation of vested quarters”.
Bangladesh last week asked the international community to focus their efforts to end sectarian violence in Myanmar as international pressures apparently mounted on Dhaka to open borders for refugees.
“I’ll request the international community to call upon the Myanmar government to end its internal mayhem, if they sincerely want to resolve the crisis,” Foreign Minister Dipu Moni said in parliament last week.
The United States joined the UN High Commissioner on Refugees (UNHCR) and several other global rights groups two days ago in asking Dhaka to offer refuge to Myanmar’s minority Muslim Rohingyas against the backdrop of deadly violence in Rakhine state.
Bangladesh has refused to allow fresh influx of Rohingyas saying it was already over-burdened with some 400,000 of them for years as they fled their country during the past junta rule there while Moni said Dhaka was unwilling to shelter new refugees also for its own security reasons.
“They (international community) need to have a better understanding. The international humanitarian organisations should ask Myanmar to control its internal strife,” Moni told the parliament.
Moni also said Bangladesh was doing its best to provide comforts to the Rohingya refugees on humanitarian grounds and its border guards are providing food, medicine and fuel to boatloads of Rohingyas in order to help them reach home while being pushed back.

The first ever of Local Industry Exports Solar Panel to Malaysia

Bangladesh has entered in the era of exporting solar panel as against huge quantity of import of the product from China in the recent years.

Customs export sources said that Greenfinity Energy Ltd, a local private manufacturer, has exported the non-traditional high-tech solar panel to Malaysia in a limited scale.

Greenfinity said it has exported customized mono-crystalline solar panel worth about US$ 0.1 million, the first consignment in the first week of March 2012, followed by a few small consignments, the first ever export of the item by any local manufacturer in the country.

Sources said they are expecting more supply orders from Malaysia as the country uses solar energy in cars, street lights, lab research, close circuit camera, residential buildings, surveillance schemes and many others.

The existing production of the country’s six manufacturing plants of solar panel of different sizes and capacity ranges 160 megawatt to 170 megawatt while the total consumption stands at nearly 70 megawatt, sources said.

When contacted, Golam Baki Masud, managing director of Greenfinity Energy Ltd, told the FE this afternoon that his company is also expecting supply orders from Middle East countries like Saudi Arabia and Kuwait and Myanmar.

He said that Malaysia produces good quality solar panel but the companies in the country find our products cost-effective and of good quality.

“We have received further orders from the country and the consignment will be exported by the first week of July,” he said.

Mr. Masud said he has sent samples of solar panel to Saudi Arabia and Kuwait also as per their query. The Middle East countries may place orders for supply of the product, he said.

Huge quantity of low quality solar penal are being imported in Bangladesh from China without test when the country produces more than double the demand. The country does not have any testing facility of solar panel which is unfortunate. It is learnt that country like Nepal does not import solar penal without test.

He said that minimum longevity of quality solar panel is 20-25 years but the imported penals start loosing its power within one or two years.

The Indian government has already banned import of poly-crystalline and mono-crystalline penal, and will stop importing solar cells from 2013, he said and demanded ban on import of finished solar panel in Bangladesh to safeguard the local industry.

The solar panel manufacturing plant set up at Patenga in the port city last year, has emerged to spearhead the encouraging green energy solutions, especially through producing high quality mono-crystalline and poly-crystalline silicon photovoltaic modules of various sizes according to the needs of the people at affordable cost.

The plant went into commercial production in June 2011 after getting its employees trained by experts from Japan and Malaysia.

The Greenfinity installed the first solar testing lab (1 MW) to Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission (BAEC) in Dhaka apart from providing solar panel and services to various government, semi-government and private organizations including seven cadet colleges of the country.

Political instability worries FBCCI

FBCCI president AK Azad and Industries Minister Dilip BaruaFBCCI President AK Azad on Saturday voiced concern over the ‘political instability and volatile economic condition’, and said the country is unlikely to be able to achieve the export target fixed for the outgoing fiscal year.

Identifying political instability and current volatile economic conditions as two major barriers to progress, he said they could not explore some prospective global markets like Russia, Japan and Brazil.

“Despite huge potentials, we couldn’t explore these prospective global markets for Bangladeshi products,” the chief of Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry said while addressing a seminar at its auditorium.

He sought government’s pragmatic initiatives to resolve gas and electricity crises and required development of infrastructures to help grow the economy.

The government set an export target of US$ 26.37 billion for the current fiscal (2011-’12), a 15 percent rise compared to that of a year ago.

Bangladesh exported goods worth US$ 22.93 billion in fiscal 2010-’11, registering a 41.47 percent growth, according to the Export Promotion Bureau.

The export earnings surpassed the yearly target of $18.5 billion, buoyed by shipments of RMG and jute and jute goods. In fiscal 2009-’10, Bangladesh exported goods worth $16.20 billion.

Bangladesh Engineering Industries Owners Association and Light Engineering Product Business Promotion Council jointly arranged the seminar titled ‘Economic Zone for Light Engineering Sector: Opportunities and Challenges’.

Industries Minister Dilip Barua spoke as the chief guest. FBCCI first vice president M Jashim Uddin, vice president Mostafa Azad Chowdhury Babu, Bangladesh Engineering Industries Owners Association president M Abdur Razzaque and Prof Kamal Uddin Ahmed of Buet, among others, took part in the discussion.

Managing Director of Summit Assets Limited Abu Reza Khan presented the keynote paper at the programme.

Bangladesh 91st peaceful country

Bangladesh has been placed in the 91st position among I58 countries in a ranking of peace by the Institute for Economics and Peace.

This year Bangladesh slid six positions from 2011’s 83rd. In 2010, Dhaka’s position was 87th while in 2009 it was 90th.

The world has become more peaceful for the first time since 2009, according to the annual Global Peace Index (GPI) released on Saturday by the Sydney-based Institute for Economics and Peace.

Defence cuts created gains in several indicators of militarisation and improvements in the Political Terror Scale have lead to changes in the annual rankings.

The indicators range from a nation’s level of military expenditure to its relations with neighbouring countries and the level of respect for human rights. The index has been tested against a range of potential “drivers” or determinants of peace – including levels of democracy and transparency, education and national well-being.

Iceland is once again ranked the most peaceful country in the world, followed by Denmark and New Zealand. Syria has seen the biggest drop in margin, falling over 30 positions to be placed at 147th.

According to the Index, most peaceful countries (Top 10) are: Iceland, Denmark, New Zealand, Canada, Japan, Austria, Ireland, Slovenia, Finland and Switzerland.

In the list, 10 least peaceful countries (Bottom 10) are Somalia, Afghanistan, Sudan, Iraq, Democratic Republic of Congo, Russia, North Korea, Central African Republic, Israel and Pakistan.

Somalia is the least peaceful country at 158th position and with a score of 3.392. Afghanistan, Sudan, Iraq and the Democratic Republic of Congo make up the bottom five.

Bangladesh trade show in July at Malysia

70 exhibitors comprising main players in various sectors are expected to take part in the showcase
THE second Showcase Bangladesh will be held at Exchange Trade Centre International at Dataran Merdeka for three days beginning July 13.
The showcase, featuring 70 exhibitors, is expected to be the largest, if not the most important exhibition, to be held there since the centre opened in April.

Bangladesh will be bringing its main players in the banking and finance sector, garment manufacturers, tour and hotel operators as well as suppliers of food and agricultural produce.

Former Bangladesh-Malaysia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BMCCI) president and chairman of the fair organising committee Syed Moazzam Hossain said the nation had lots to offer Malaysia since both share a long history of trade ties.

Among others, it is the second largest garment exporter in the world after China and sends large consignments to Europe, the United States and India.

“We grow cotton, have the skilled workers, and manufacture products with low prices but of high quality,” said Syed.

Food products made there are also halal, making its exports of beef and fish an attractive option for Malaysian halal importers.

“We have signed free trade agreements with almost all developed countries making our exports duty-free. Currently Malaysian exports to Bangladesh stands at US$1.8 billion (RM5.76 billion) while our exports to Malaysia is US$43 million. This trade exhibition is to bridge the disparity between the export value,” he said.

Present at the press briefing to launch the showcase were Bangladesh High Commissioner A.K.M Atiqur Rahman and BMCCI president Syed Nurul Islam.

The exhibition is organised by the governments of both countries and the Malaysia South-South Corporation Berhad, which was represented at the briefing by its general manager Ng Su Fan.

Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed are expected to attend the opening which will also be attended by Bangladesh’ Commerce Minister Ghulam Muhammed Quader, its Civil Aviation and Tourism Minister.

Read more: Bangladesh trade show in July – Central – New Straits Times

Bangladesh needs vibrant pvt sector

Bangladesh’s goal of becoming a middle-income country will only be achieved with the contribution of a healthy and vibrant private sector, German Federal Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, who arrives here today, said.

It also depends on a favourable business climate based on the rule of law, good infrastructure and reliable energy supply, Westerwelle said in an interview with The Daily Star ahead of his arrival.

During his brief visit, the German foreign minister will hold discussion with high-level government officials and civil society representatives to strengthen bilateral ties.

“With our development cooperation, we provide significant support for capacity building and introduction of sustainable technologies,” Westerwelle said.

On a question about Germany’s future investment, he said Germany is the biggest trading partner of Bangladesh within the European Union, and exports from Bangladesh to Germany have increased to more than three billion euros a year.

“I am strongly convinced that we can further deepen our already strong economic ties,” he said, adding that a high-level business delegation from Germany is coming with him.

On German assistance, Westerwelle said Germany has provided more than 2 billion euros in terms of assistance since the establishment of bilateral development cooperation 40 years ago.

“We have dedicated partners in Bangladesh with whom we address key issues such as climate change, energy, energy security, access to renewable energy, health financing, good governance as well as law and justice reform,” the German minister added.

Dhaka considers this trip highly important as Germany is one of the most valued friends and development partners of Bangladesh.

Westerwelle is coming to Dhaka at the invitation of Foreign Minister Dipu Moni.

As par the programme schedule, the German foreign minister will arrive at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport from India at 12:30pm and will go straight to the state guesthouse Meghna.

He will hold bilateral meeting with Dipu Moni at 1:00pm there. The meeting will be followed by a joint press briefing.

Westerwelle will call on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and then meet the representatives of civil society.

The visit wishes to further strengthen the excellent bilateral relations existing between the two countries commemorating the 40th anniversary of German-Bangladesh diplomatic relations this year, a press release of the German embassy said.

$50 million deal inked for cleaner brick kilns

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) on Wednesday signed a $50 million deal with the government to help improve the environment by financing more energy-efficient brick kilns in Bangladesh.
ADB’s Board of Directors approved the “Financing Brick Kiln Efficiency Improvement Project” on 10 May. Under the project, the ADB will provide $50 million in local currency to the Bangladesh Bank which will re-lend the funds to participating financial institutions, said a press release

Senior Secretary of Economic Relations Division (ERD) Iqbal Mahmood and Country Director of ADB’s Bangladesh Resident Mission, M Teresa Kho, signed the agreement in Dhaka.

Under the project, ADB will provide $50 million in local currency to Bangladesh Bank, which will relend the funds to participating financial institutions, the Manila-based lending agency said in a statement.

These financial institutions will then provide loans to brick makers seeking to upgrade their existing kilns to cleaner kilns, or to those looking to build the cleaner kilns for the first time, it said.

“Brick-making is one of the industries that generates large amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses,” said Kho.

The statement said the brick manufacturing sector contributes around one percent of the Bangladesh economy, but it is also highly polluting the environment, burning at least six million tonnes of coal and emitting about 9.8 million tonnes of carbon dioxide every year.

Bangladesh is facing such level of risks as its estimated 5,000 brick fields use the highly polluting fixed chimney kilns.

A fixed chimney kiln uses 240 tonnes of coal and emits 582 tonnes of carbon dioxide per million bricks produced, the statement said. It added the cleanest tunnel chimney uses only 100-120 tonnes of coal and produces 291 tonnes of carbon dioxide.

It said the Bank and Financial Institutions Division under the Ministry of Finance will be the executing agency while Bangladesh Bank will be the implementing agency for the project. The project will be implemented from 2012-2015.

As part of efforts to reduce pollution and coal use, the government has already passed a ruling that no new yearly licences for fixed chimney kilns will be renewed after September 2012 and banning all such kilns from September 2013, the statement said.

To help make the changes in the brick-making sector proceed more smoothly, ADB is also preparing a technical assistance, financed by Japan, the statement added.