Monthly Archives: August 2009

Malaysian group intends to build car plant

Malaysian group intends to build car plant
Star Business report

The Malaysian Agate group has expressed its interest to build a car plant in joint venture with local the Walton High Tech Industries, officials of both the sides disclosed it yesterday.

The group will also import Walton-made motorbike and freeze and market those in Malaysia and some other countries.

“Bangladesh is a big market for cars and other motorised vehicles. Production cost will be relatively cheaper because of huge surplus labours,” said Agate Group Managing Director Sultan Abdul Quadir at a press briefing at the Walton headquarters at Motijheel in Dhaka.

The group has also planned to invest in the country’s power sector and human resource development, Quadir said.

Agate’s proposals include setting up 1,000-megawatt power plant based on coal fired facilities, medical schools and other training facilities to create qualified nurses and other technicians and imparting training to the local people with a duration ranging from three months to three years for overseas job market.

In the field of international trade, the delegation on behalf of the Malaysian government expressed its desire to export 1.5 million tonnes of palm oil to Bangladesh.

Quadir expressed his interest during a meeting with Commerce Minister Faruk Khan at his office Sunday.

Agate Group operates duty free outlets to sell cigarettes, cosmetics, jewellery, leather goods, perfumes, fashion wear, watches, textiles and electrical goods in Malaysia. The company also operates colleges to provide courses in engineering, electronics and information technology.

It involves in software development for finger print identifications, general security systems and warfare related technological equipment.

The group has a coalmine in Indonesia and a 1,200-megawatt power plant in Gujarat in India.

Walton Directors Mahbubul Alam and Abul Bashar Howlader were present at the press conference.

GP rolls out mobile handset

GP rolls out mobile handset

Mime artistes perform at the launch of Grameenphone V100”, the Tk 3,199 self-branded handset from the countrys largest mobile operator, at Dhaka Sheraton Hotel yesterday.Photo: STAR

Mime artistes perform at the launch of "Grameenphone V100”, the Tk 3,199 self-branded handset from the country's largest mobile operator, at Dhaka Sheraton Hotel yesterday.Photo: STAR

Star Business Report

Grameenphone yesterday unveiled a mobile handset under its own brand name. “Grameenphone V100” is a complete package of voice, internet and value added services.

The Tk 3,199 handset also has a built-in camera and FM radio. The mobile phone will hit the market today. First-day buyers will receive a Tk 100 recharge card and a T-shirt.

The phone has an inbuilt ‘GP menu’, which lists all its attractive VAS (value added service), in a single menu.

Malaysian Agate Group wants to set up motor plant in Bangladesh

Malaysian Agate Group wants to set up motor plant in Bangladesh
UNB, Dhaka

Malaysian Agate Group is interested to set up a motor plant in Bangladesh, as it finds a huge market in the country and in its neighbouring nations for motor cars and other vehicles.

Addressing a press conference at Walton’s Motijheel office here, Agate Group’s Founder and Chairman Dr. Sultan Abdul Kadir said his group is willing to set up a motor plant in Bangladesh.

The Malaysian business group recently signed an agreement with local RB Group to import its Walton brand products to market those in South East Asian countries where Agate has its business.

The Agate Group’s chairman said his company finds very good potentials to market Walton products and motor vehicles to be produced here in countries like Malaysia, Indonesia, Cambodia, Singapore and Myanmar.

A delegation of Agate Group, led by Sultan Abdul Kadir, is now visiting Bangladesh to explore business potentials here. The delegation called on Commerce Minister Faruk Khan Sunday and visited Walton’s manufacturing unit in Gazipur yesterday. The press conference was informed that setting up a power plant and establishing a manpower training institute is also included in the Agate Group’s future venture in Bangladesh.

The training centre’s main target will be to train up the local skilled and unskilled manpower to send them to Malaysia. Mentioning Bangladesh as a brotherly country, Sultan Abdul Kadir said there is huge natural resources and very cheap labour in Bangladesh which the country could easily exploit to produce world-class products.

BSF kills 70 Bangladeshis in last eight months

BSF kills 70 Bangladeshis in last eight months with the latest killing on August 31

From 1 January 2000 to 31 August , 2009 stands at 797

Tuesday September 01 2009 02:03:02 AM BDT

BSF has gunned down yet another Bangladeshi on Monday 31 August taking the total of such killings to 70 during the eights months of this year. The latest victim was identified as Ershad Ali 32, a cattle trader who was killed along Putkhali border on Monday.(The Bd Today)

According to a UNB report: Indian Border Security Force (BSF) killed a Bangladeshi cattle trader at Putkhali border early Monday. BDR sources said BSF troops of Angrai camp caught Ershad Ali, 32, after a chase while he was returning home from India.The Indian border guards then beat him and tortured him with electric shock, leaving him dead on the spot. The body of Ershad, resident of Khalshi village in Benapole port thana, was left at no man’s land from where BDR recovered it.

According to statistics projected by ‘Adhikar’, a non-government human rights watchdog, some 62 Bangladeshi civilians were killed by the Indian BSF from January 1 to July 11 this year. It said: in more than nine years between 1 January 2000 and 10 July 2009 a total of 789 people were reported killed, 846 injured and 895 abducted by the BSF.

With the latest killing on August 31 the total number of Bangladeshis killed since 1 January 2009 stands at 70 , and that from 1 January 2000 to 31 August , 2009 stands at 797.

The killings of unarmed Bangladeshis by the BSF on the border are continuing in clear violation of the spirit of good neighborliness as well as international law and despite repeated pledges by the Indian authorities to stop it. In every meeting between BSF and BDR and also between the higher level officials of the two countries, the Indian side assures that killing of Bangladeshis by its forces on the border would come to an end immediately. But this pledge is seldom implemented.

Indian BSF had pledged very recently once again to stop killings of Bangladeshi citizens on the border. The assurance was given by BSF Chief Mahendra Lal Kumawat at a joint press briefing on conclusion of the three-day high level BDR-BSF conference in Dhaka on July 14. But it appears that BSF does not mean what it says and hence it continues killing Bangladeshis.

BSF kills 2

BSF kills 2
Star Report

Indian Border Security Force (BSF) killed two Bangladeshi nationals at Meherpur and Benapole on Sunday and yesterday.

The victims are Ershad Ali alias Engine, 32, a cattle trader of Khalshi village in Benapole, and Sariful Islam, 30, of Ishakhali village in Meherpur.

BSF troops of Angrai camp caught Ershad Ali yesterday at Benapole when he was returning from Bongaon and beat him up and tortured with electric shock that left him dead, BDR sources said.

BDR later recovered the body.

In another incident, BSF shot Sariful Islam dead at Ishakhali border on Sunday. BSF took away the body after the incident.

BSF informed BDR of the incident Sunday night.

A BSF team of Taipur camp at Tehatta thana in Murshidabad opened fire on him when he was crossing the border about 4:30am, BDR sources said.

Ceramics brace for high demand

Ceramics brace for high demand

Ceramic tableware is in the race to keep up with growing demand on domestic and international markets. Photo: FARR CERAMICS

Ceramic tableware is in the race to keep up with growing demand on domestic and international markets. Photo: FARR CERAMICS

Sajjadur Rahman

Domestic and export demand for ceramic tableware is rising rapidly, widening the gap between its demand and supply.

The demand-supply gap was estimated at 21,257 tonnes in fiscal 2007-08. It is expected to rise to 22,544 tonnes in four years, according to a recent study by the syndication department of Prime Bank Ltd.

“Bangladesh enjoys a comparative advantage in manufacturing ceramic tableware, particularly in export markets, due to cost competitiveness,” said Touhidul Alam Khan, executive vice president and head of the syndication finance unit of Prime Bank.

Ceramic manufacturing is a gas-based, labour intensive and skills-oriented business.

Traditionally, Japan, UK, Germany and other European countries dominated exports of ceramic tableware to world markets. But a jump in production costs, including wages and currency appreciation, made ceramic manufacturing unfeasible for the nations.

Khan said Bangladesh has certain competitive advantages over its competitors an availability of gas, cheap labour and the generalised system of preferences (GSP) that allows Bangladesh’s duty-free exports to Europe. There is no quota restriction either on the export.

There are nine ceramic tableware manufacturing companies in the country with a total capacity of nearly 24,000 tonnes a year as of 2008, of which an average of 48 percent is being exported and the remaining 52 percent is used in the domestic market, the study found.

Bangladesh exported ceramic tableware worth over $33 million in fiscal 2008-09, of which over 80 percent was destined to Italy, UK, USA, Germany, France, Canada and Sweden.

“We are getting export orders from new countries, like Turkey and India, every month,” said Iftekhar Uddin Farhad, managing director of FARR Ceramics, a fully export-oriented factory. The company’s exports to India will cross Tk 5 crore in 2009, he said.

“Our factory, which has a production capacity of around 30,000 pieces, is fully booked for the next months,” Farhad said.

Monno and Shinepukur ceramics have the highest production capacity of nearly 60,000 pieces a day followed by Standard Ceramic industries with 40,000 pieces a day, the study shows.

Ceramic tableware is considered sophisticated, fashionable and an indispensable household item worldwide. The products are also being used in all types of social functions, offices, community centres, hospitals, hotels and restaurants.

“Ceramic tableware has become a common household item in Bangladesh with a continuous rise in use among middle income groups in the past decade,” Khan said.

Malaysian firm propose to invest $3 billion

Malaysian firm propose to invest $3 billion
Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha . Dhaka

In a major move the Malaysian Agate Group of Companies has proposed investing US$ 3 billion in different projects in Bangladesh.

The group identified three major areas such as power generation, manpower development and trade promotion for such investment.

Dr Sultan Abdul Qader, leader of the a 13-member visiting delegation of the Agate Group expressed the desire in Dhaka on Sunday to commerce minister Faruk Khan when they met him at his secretariat office.

The proposal include setting up 1000MW power plants based on coal fire facilities, setting up medical schools and other training facilities to create qualified nurses and other technicians, developing manpower having three months to three years training suitable for employment market abroad.

The delegation also proposed exporting 1.5 million tonnes palm oil to Bangladesh from Malaysia.

The commerce minister praised the Malaysian move especially under joint ventures. Faruk Khan said Bangladesh had a huge population adding Malaysia could mobilise capital and technology to utilise it to the mutual benefit of both the countries.