Monthly Archives: May 2010

7 labour wings to be opened at missions in six countries

7 labour wings to be opened at missions in six countries
More than Tk 10 crore sought for operation
Asif Showkat

The government will open seven more new labour wings at missions in six countries to provide more facilities to the Bangladeshi expatriate workers in those countries, official sources said.

The establishment ministry has approved a proposal of the ministry of expatriates’ welfare and overseas employment for opening the seven new labour wings which was also earlier approved by the cabinet about two months back.

The proposal is now waiting for the finance ministry’s approval as the expatriates’ welfare ministry has sought more than Tk 10 crore a year for the maintenance of those seven new labour wings.

Source in the expatriates’ welfare ministry said that countries where the labour wings are likely to be set up are Malaysia, Japan, Jordan, Italy, Sudan and Saudi Arabia.

Officials of the ministry said that the government would open another labour wing in Malaysia and two other labour wings would be opened in Bangladesh’s biggest labour market in Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah and Riyadh.

The officials also said that the yearly cost of operation of each labour wing would be between Tk. one and Tk one and a half crore.

The Bangladesh government has recently opened a labour wing in the war-ravaged Iraq.

Expatriates welfare ministry’s secretary Zafar Ahmed Khan told reporters on Tuesday that Bangladeshi workers would get legal assistance from the proposed labour wings in the six countries.

Zafar said though the expatriate Bangladeshis’ official remittance is some 12 percent of the gross domestic product, the government investment is very little for them.

He also said soon after approval of the proposal from the finance ministry, the labour wings would be set up.

At present, only 13 labour wings are operating in different countries across the world.

Last year, the amount of money sent by the migrants was $10.72 billion. It is estimated that almost the same amount comes through unofficial channels every year.

Currently, Bangladesh has about 65 lakh people working in some 100 countries across the world who are sending remittances.

Around 35,000 Bangla-deshi workers go abroad every year. Bangladesh exports a high percentage, 57 per cent, of unskilled workers. But there is a large number of skilled and semi-skilled Bangladeshis working abroad.


Bumper production of wheat in Thakurgaon

Bumper production of wheat in Thakurgaon

THAKURGAON,Bangladesh,May 4 (BSS)-A bumper production of wheat has brought smile on the faces of the farmers of Thakurgaon district.

Department Agriculture Extension (DAE) sources said this year the average production of wheat was 3.19 tons per hectare against the target of 2.30 tons fixed by the department. The total production in the district stood at 1,69,070 tons while the target was 1,21,900 tons, up by 47,170 tons.

DAE Deputy Director Daliluddin Ahmed told BSS that Thakurgaon is the best wheat growing area in Bangladesh. In this area winter exists for a long period. The soil and other conditions of Thakurgaon district are suitable for wheat production. Wheat is a cold loving plant.

Due to prolonged winter, favorable weather condition, easy availability of fertilizer and proper irrigation the bumper production of wheat was achieved this year, he said.

He said the farmers of Thakurgaon cultivated wheat on 53,000 hectares this year which was 4,500 hectares less than last year. But the production of the crop surpassed the last year’s yield.

Daliluddin said that this year wheat was cultivated on 15,000 hectares in Thakurgaon Sadar upazila, 10,500 hectares in Pirganj, 8,000 hectares in Ranisankail, 11,500 hectares in Baliadangi and 8,000 hectares in Haripur upazila.

Country’s 1st solar panel assembling plant opens

Country’s 1st solar panel assembling plant opens
Staff Correspondent

The first-ever solar panel assembling plant in the country was launched in Savar yesterday to make solar panels available on the local market at a competitive price.

Solar panels, assembled at the plant, are expected to hit the market in a month.

The plant set up by local company Electro Solar Power Ltd (ESPL) is capable of assembling solar panels with a production capacity of 10-megawatt electricity a year, said company officials.

Prime Minister’s Adviser on energy affairs Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury inaugurated the plant at Ashulia in Savar. Syed Manzur Elahi, former adviser to a caretaker government, was also present there.

“It’s a positive initiative. Such ventures will facilitate the country’s economic development,” said Tawfiq.

He said the ESPL’s initiative would support the government’s goal of meeting a part of the electricity demand through green energy.

The government aims to meet 5 percent of the country’s energy demand through green energy by 2015 and 10 percent by 2020.

The government decided to install solar systems in government buildings, he said.

“We hope that there will be no problem in marketing locally-assembled solar panels,” Tawfiq said.

ESPL, a sister concern of Electro Group, was established in 2009. The company will import solar cells and other accessories, and assemble them, said its officials.

The plant has the capacity to assemble solar charger, battery and other accessories for solar home systems.

Ansar Uddin, managing director of ESPL, said they hope that their initiative would help ease the ongoing power crisis a bit.

Bangladesh turns to Africa to offset Indian cotton ban

Bangladesh turns to Africa to offset Indian cotton ban
Commerce minister says govt to facilitate import from African nations

Fazlur Rahman

Bangladesh plans to make Africa its main import source for cotton after India slapped a ban on export of the textile raw material, sending prices of yarn sky-rocketing in local market, commerce minister Faruk Khan said Sunday.

Khan unveiled the plan at a seminar in the city where leading cotton growers from Sub-Saharan Africa made the case for importing their “cheap” but “high quality” cotton to offset the fallout of Indian ban.

“We will utilise the scope to import low-cost but high quality cotton from the African countries,” the commerce minister said at the opening ceremony of ‘Bangladesh Cotton Marketing and Textile Training Event’ at a city hotel.

Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMA), International Trade Centre (ITC) and Bangladesh Cotton Association (BCA) organised the two-day international event. Representatives from several African nations are taking parting in the event.

His comments came as the prices of yarn, which is made of spinning cotton, doubled to 90 cents a pound in April, driven by increased global demand and a ban on cotton export by second largest producer India.

Bangladesh, which almost imports cent per cent of its cotton from overseas and some 15 per cent from India, has been hard hit by the price hike.

Local spinners were forced to raise their yarn prices to the global level, affecting the knitwear manufacturers – the main users of yarn – at a time when the global apparel market showed signs of turnaround after two years of recession.

The commerce minister admitted the country’s apparel factory owners are currently “under pressure” due to abnormal hike in yarn prices in the global market and hoped that import from Africa would ease the pressure.

“The demand for cotton in Bangladesh will also help the African exporters,” Mr Khan said adding that the international seminar would help match-make African exporters and Bangladeshi importers.

He said there are some problems in importing cotton from Africa. “Those problems will be solved through discussion. The government will extend all-possible assistance to this effect.”

The minister said Bangladeshi exporters could now consider investing in overseas textile sector. “In that case, African can be the best place for investment.”

BTMA president Abdul Hai Sarker said the Sub-Saharan countries can become the country’s main source for cotton. “The African producers can easily meet up Bangladesh’s demand for cotton.”

Bangladesh on an average consumes 4 million bales of cotton a year, whereas the Sub-Saharan nations are capable of producing around 200 to 300 million bales of the textile raw material per year.

Mr Sarker said the African exporters have to improve shipment schedule to capture Bangladesh’s cotton market. “A shipment from Uzbekistan now takes around 15 days to reach Bangladesh against four months from the African countries.”

“We have proposed them to establish a buffer stock in Bangladesh’s ports so that we can bring cotton within two to three days to our factories.”

“They are also actively considering our proposal to set up buffer stock in the places convenient for Bangladeshi importers,” the BTMA president said.

Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association president Fazlul Huq, BCA president Mohamamd Ayub and ITC programme manager Matthias Knappe also spoke on the occasion.

Bangladesh-Japan to invest $1m in Comilla EPZ

Bangladesh-Japan to invest $1m in Comilla EPZ

DHAKA, Bangladesh, May 2 (BSS) – J B Networks Co. Limited, a Bangladesh- Japan joint-venture company, will invest 1 million US dollar in Comilla Export Processing (EPZ).

The company will set up a Tableware Manufacturing Industry in the Comilla EPZ.

The company will also create employment opportunity for 126 people.

An agreement to this effect was signed between the Bangladesh Export Processing Zones Authority and J B Networks Co. Limited in BEPZA Complex, Dhaka recently.

Md Moyjuddin Ahmed, Member (Investment Promotion) of BEPZA, and Kazi Iqbal Mustafiz, Managing Director of M/s. J B Networks Co. Limited, signed the agreement on behalf of their respective organizations.