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Business  & Finance News

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Compiled by SDNP

Head Lines

Destructive forces will be swept away: Khaleda

The Bangladesh Observer

DHOBAURA (Mymensingh), Mar 16:–Prime Minister Khaleda Zia today said terrorists and those involved in destructive politics would be swept away in the wave of development initiated by the BNP-led coalition government, reports UNB.

She sought united support of the people for carrying forward the politics of development, facing the forces of destruction.

Addressing a huge public meeting at Dhobaura Mohammadia Madrasha ground the Prime Minister listed her coalition government’s ongoing and already done development work in various sectors.

Amidst claps from the audience she said the alliance government had already fulfilled a number of election pledges and would implement other commitments. 

Prime Minister Khaleda Zia inaugurated the construction work of Jaghrakhali bridge at Dhobaura. The 100-meter bridge will be built by LGED at a cost of Tk 1.20 crore in one year.

Tribal boys and girls danced and showered petals from two sides of the road as the Prime Minister passed by.

State Minister for Energy and Mineral Resources AKM Mosharraf Hossain, local MP Dr Mohammad Ali, MA Karim Abbasi MP, Delwar Hossain Khan Dulu MP, Shah Shahid Sarwar MP, Nurul Kabir Shahin MP and ex-MP Advocate Nozmul Huda, among others, addressed the meet. Local BNP president Advocate Fazlul Huq presided.

Prime Minister Khaleda Zia, chairperson of BNP, said no government had done infrastructure development as much as the BNP government carried out.

Criticizing various sorts of misdeeds and misrule of the previous government, she said that the present government was able to stop unfair means in the examinations while mass copying took place during the Awami League regime in a bid to destroy the education system and future generation of the country.

She alleged that terrorism gripped campus all over the country during the previous regime.

She mentioned women’s free education up to class XII along with scholarship for meritorious students as well as cash incentive scheme taken by her government for primary education for rural and urban poor boys and girls.

“Now you have to realize which government is good,” she told the mass gathering. 

The PM said BNP believes in the politics of development and production. So people again and again voted the party to power.

She also mentioned her government’s principle of keeping religious harmony across the country, ensuring the rights of people of all faiths.

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Price of MS Rod not changed

The Bangladesh Observer

A five-member delegation led by Mir Zahir Hossain, President, Bangladesh Association of Cons-truction Industry (BACI) called on Amir Khosru Mahmud Chow-dhury, Minister for Commerce, in his office chamber on Sunday, says a Press release.

The Minister listened to the delegation members about the problems of the construction in­dustry specially the sudden price hike of M.S. Rod. Mir Zahir Hossain, informed the Minister that this sudden abnormal price hike has compelled them to halt any construction work incurring huge financial loss to the contrac­tors. The government has recently reduced duties and taxes on raw-materials for production of M.S. Rod, but the market price has not changed within the tolerable limit of the contractors. "Sammilita Thikadar Samannaya Parisad" along with FBCCI has appealed to the government to allow price adjustment for the contract awarded before price hike of MS Rod as per international practice. The private parties as well as gov­ernment will jointly take all efforts to bring down the market price of MS Rod to a tolerable limit for the interest of all concerned so that the contractors may resume their works without any further loss of time.

The Minister assured the dele­gation that he would give due consideration to the problems of the construction industry includ­ing price hike of M.S. Rod as dis­cussed and also would bring the issues to the concerned ministries for remedial measures in the inter­est of the national development works under implementation. He appreciates the contribution of the construction industry to the GDP and for providing a large scale employment which is, in­deed, a major concern of the gov­ernment.

M. Atiqur Rahman, Vice President, BACI, Aminul Islam, Mustifizur Rahman and Sk. Md. Rafiqul Islam of BACI delegation also spoke in the meeting.

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Manpower export increases significantly


The Bangladesh Observer

Manpower export from Bangladesh had been increased significantly last year despite slowdown in international labour market, reports BSS.

Foreign exchange earnings from the sector had also gone up, said Expatriate Welfare and Overseas Employment Secretary Dabir Uddin Mondol. Manpower export to Malaysia will begin this month, he added.

According to available information of the ministry, about 2.16 lakh people went abroad with job in 2002 and earned around Taka 16,484 crore. While in 2003, the figure was about 2.54 lakh and their earning was over Taka 18,576 crore.

In January 2004, a total of 22,313 people and in February around 16,073 people went abroad with job, sources said adding that expatriate nationals had sent Taka 3,560.83 crore during these two months.

Dabir Uddin Mondol said manpower export in Malaysia had been delayed because of election in that country. However, the export will start from current month, he added.

He said the government is making efforts to export manpower in other countries, including Australia, Japan, Korea, Greece, Spain and Italy.

Around 45 lakh Bangladeshi nationals are now working abroad, he said, adding since establishment of Expatriate Welfare and Overseas Employment Ministry by the present government in 2001, extensive measures have been taken to boost manpower export.

UNB report from Chittagong says: Trading at Chittagong Stock Exchange finished lower, both in terms of volume and value, on Tuesday.

All Share Price Index increased by 0.67 points or 0.04 per cent to close at 1623.15 points from 1622.48 points on Monday.

CSE-30 Index, however, declined by 1.30 points or 0.12 per cent to close at 1525.70 points from Monday’s 1527 points.

Of the 56 issues traded on Tuesday, 20 gained, 20 declined and 16 remained unchanged.

Some 666,980 shares and debentures worth Tk 3.75 crore changed hands as against 1,127,390 shares valued at Tk 4.95 crore on the previous day.

Market capitalisation stood at Tk 89.59 billion from Tk 89.55 billion on Monday.

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Dhaka set to sign Tifa with Washington
Talks today to sort out minor issues

Bangladesh is set to sign a trade and investment accord with the US aimed to give bilateral trade and commerce a shape, as trade officials of the two countries sit at the commerce ministry today to thrash out some minor outstanding issues.

The draft of Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (Tifa) is now in the final stage and it would be placed at the regular weekly cabinet meeting for final approval once the two sides agree on the terms and conditions of the deal, according to the ministry sources.

The agreement will be signed 'at a convenient time', the sources said.

Dhaka would seek duty-free access of its goods to the US market, an increase in the number of items eligible for generalised system of preference (GSP) facilities and benefit from the US bill for Middle Eastern countries at today's talks, the sources said.

A seven-member high-powered delegation headed by Commerce Secretary Suhel Ahmed will sit for the talks. US Assistant Trade Representative Ambassador Ashley Wills, who arrived in Dhaka on a two-day official visit yesterday, will lead the US side.

The chairman of Bangladesh Export Processing Zones Authority (Bepza) has been drafted into the delegation to explain Dhaka's position on the right of association of the workers at the exclusive industrial zones.

Wills will also meet Commerce Minister Amir Khosru Mahmud Chowdhury at the end of the talks.

There is hardly any unresolved issues that may stand in the way of Tifa signing, as the government has already decided to allow limited trade union activities at the exclusive industrial zones following pressure from the US labour unions, said highly placed government sources.

The commerce ministry at an emergency meeting yesterday put final touches to the draft of the deal. "There are some problems with the wording and phrasing of the agreement that would be sorted out during the official talks," Khosru said after the meeting.

The commerce minister said all trade and commerce-related issues between the two countries would come up at the talks. "Bangladesh would aim to increase the flow of US investment and the number of items eligible for generalised system of preference (GSP) facilities."

This is for the first time a formal platform is going to be set up for regular negotiations and discussions over trade-related issues between the US and Bangladesh, according to commerce ministry sources. The US is the single largest importer of Bangladeshi goods, yet there is no formal trade agreement between the two nations, the sources pointed out.

The US imports over $2 billion worth of goods from Bangladesh every year, while it has invested around $1.2 billion in oil, gas and energy.

Readymade garments, frozen foods, leather and leather goods dominate Bangladesh's export basket to the US, while Dhaka's annual import, mainly chemicals and machinery, from that country stands at around $300 million.

The US had offered Bangladesh to sign the agreement in February last year, but a lack of preparation on both sides stalled the process of agreement signing.

Dhaka and Washington exchanged drafts of the agreement several times in last one year on a bid to reach a consensus. The US has Tifa agreement with Sri Lanka in South Asia and a number of countries in the Southeast Asian region.

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