WB for building smart city in Dhaka's east

Posted by BankInfo on Thu, Jul 20 2017 12:26 pm

Study finds vehicle speed now almost near average walking pace

A World Bank finding shows Dhaka's traffic congestion costs 3.2 million working hours per day, and suggests building a planned smart city on its eastern front.

In the last 10 years, average traffic speed of the vehicles has dropped from 21 kilometres to 7.0 kms per hour--only slightly above the average walking pace, it revealed Wednesday at an international conference on 'Development options for Dhaka towards 2035'.

Experts at the meet saw no merit in retrofitting the crammed Dhaka city proper as a quick fix, suiting the capital of a graduating Bangladesh in its development strides.              

The World Bank organised the international meet in Dhaka where experts from Shanghai and Delhi shared experiences of their development history in a bid to facilitate Dhaka city's development.

National and international experts at the conference suggested formulating a comprehensive strategic plan and a coordinated approach with the government entities for refurbishing Dhaka city for making it a vibrant and livable one.

Meanwhile, Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) Mayor Mr Annisul Huq and DSCC Mayor Sayeed Khokon reiterated that except establishment of "city government" it is very difficult for them to develop the capital into an upgraded livable metropolis.

Both said when there will be no coordination among some 56 service- providing agencies in the city,

it will be a real challenging task for developing a vibrant and improved city.

In response, Principal Secretary of the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) Kamal Abdul Naser Chowdhury advised the mayors to make a comprehensive and upgraded plan and then the central government will ensure coordination among different government agencies.

Annisul Huq said: "From my 40 years of business experience and two and a half years as the City Mayor I can say that our efforts for the city development are continuously not sustainable.

 "I never see any outcome from any of the previous meetings or discussions on the city development. I hope this expert discussion will be helpful for us to upgrade Dhaka."

He, however, said: "In last two years we worked. Within next two years you will see a new Dhaka which will be a standard and livable one."

Sayeed Khokon told the audience that they want to turn Dhaka city corporations into "City Government" for a better outcome.

Former Chief Minister of Delhi Sheila Dikshit said metro-rail has changed the transportation scenario in the Indian capital from a worst congestion trajectory in the past.

On Shanghai development experience, former Dean of Pudong Planning and Design Institute, China, Mr Zhu Ruolin said 30 years back Shanghai looked like Dhaka.

But proper planning, development works in phases with the investment from external sources, from the central government, from the public and from the local private sector facilitated the change of the face of the Chinese city, he added.

Meanwhile, the WB at the conference revealed that road surface in Dhaka increased by only 5.0 per cent while population increased 50 per cent and traffic by 134 per cent between 1995 and 2005.  

Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives Minister Khandker Mosharraf Hossain presented a keynote speech at the international conference.  

He said they were facing the toughest time with the water logging in the city.

Policymakers, senior government officials, urban planners, civil-society representatives, and private-sector leaders also joined the brainstorming meet on the need for rebuilding Dhaka.  

Participants discussed preliminary findings of the WB draft report 'Towards Great Dhaka: A New Urban Development Paradigm Eastward'.  

The WB report said the capital of Bangladesh has become one of world's most densely populated cities with 36 per cent of the country's urban population living in Greater Dhaka.  

The WB in its report said to achieve its vision of becoming an upper-middle- income country by its 50th birthday, Bangladesh must manage Dhaka's urban growth.  

"This includes taking full advantage of East Dhaka -- where there is ample availability of land near the core of the city -- to increase the city's economic opportunities and livability," says the World Bank analysis.

Dhaka's urban development has not kept up with the city's rapid growth, resulting in a messy and uneven urbanization process.  Lack of adequate planning has led to congestion, poor livability, and vulnerability to floods and earthquakes.  

Qimiao Fan, WB Country Director in Bangladesh, said: "Based on current trends, Dhaka will have more than 35 million people by 2035.  A productive and livable city of this scale can make enormous contributions to its citizens and the economy.  

"However, Dhaka must seize the opportunity to properly plan, coordinate, and invest for the future to achieve its full potential.  As Bangladesh's long-term development partner, the World Bank looks forward to supporting the city's ambitious transformation."

The WB report says Dhaka's urbanization originated along the northern corridor of the central region, and then expanded westward.  

"Its Eastern half is mostly rural but has the potential to develop rapidly.  Accounting for 40 percent of the city's surface, it has the advantage of being within 5 kms of prosperous areas like Gulshan, which can help support its growth through capital and human resource investments.

"With proper planning and implementation, East Dhaka can become a vibrant pole of activities with higher value added, while helping ease density and congestion in the rest of the city."  

"However, if not managed properly, the rapid and unplanned urbanization of East Dhaka will make congestion and livability worse and expose more people to risks from floods and earthquakes," the World Bank warned.

Martin Rama, World Bank Chief Economist for the South Asia Region, said: "Examples from around the world such as Eastern Shanghai's Pudong District and others demonstrate that proper planning and execution can encourage economic vibrancy, improve livability, and ease congestion.

"With Dhaka's huge and increasing population, developing East Dhaka in a sustainable manner is more effective and economical than attempting to retrofit over-built and over-congested areas. The time to act is now."

Qizheng Zhao, former Vice Mayor of Shanghai, China, shared their experiences on transformations in the Eastern Shanghai's Pudong district, Professor Anthony Venables of Oxford University presented four simulation scenarios for Dhaka's development towards 2035.

Centre for Policy Dialogue Distinguish Fellow Professor Mustafizur Rahman, economist Dr Hossain Zillur Rahman, RAJUK Chairman Abdur Rahman, Economic Relations Division Secretary Kazi Shofiqul Azam, Lead Economist of the WB Iffat Sharif and others also spoke at the conference.

News:Financial Express/20-jul-2017

Banks asked to open help desks to boost FDI

Posted by BankInfo on Thu, Jul 20 2017 12:19 pm

Bangladesh Bank yesterday asked all banks dealing in foreign currencies to set up at least one dedicated help desk in their Dhaka and Chittagong head offices with competent officials to help potential foreigners in making productive investment.

The banks were given 30 days beginning yesterday and asked to inform the foreign exchange investment department of the central bank.

The banks can play a vital role with their proactive guidance and the regulatory framework was adopted in line with the government placing high priority on attracting and boosting foreign direct investment (FDI). FDI inflow stood at $652.59 million during January-March this year, according to the central bank data.

It includes contributions from economic zones, areas designated for industrial units and with special economic regulations providing entrepreneurs various benefits.

The government plans to develop 100 such zones by 2030 on 75,000 acres of land to create jobs for one crore people and produce goods and services worth $40 billion.

Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority has so far awarded licences to eight local private companies to set up 10 economic zones.

AK Khan and Company, Abdul Monem Ltd, Bay Group, Aman Group, Maisha Group and United Group were each awarded one licence while Meghna Group and Bashundhara Group two.

The government itself is also setting up four economic zones -- Mirsarai economic zone in Chittagong, Mongla economic zone in Bagerhat, Srihatta economic zone in Moulvibazar and Sabrang tourism park in Cox's Bazar.

News:Daily star/20-jul-2017

BB starts discussions with banks on boosting remittance inflow

Posted by BankInfo on Thu, Jul 20 2017 10:30 am

Bangladesh Bank (BB) started discussions with commercial banks to find the ways of increasing remittance inflow against the backdrop of its falling trend in recent months.
"According to the government decision, BB on Wednesday held a meeting with senior officials of top 20 remittance-recipient banks to awake of receding remittance inflows," said BB's chief spokesperson Subhankar Saha on Wednesday.
He, also executive director of the central bank, said the government has already moved to bring the remittance inflow in upward trend through finding out its reasons.
He said the falling currency rate against dollar and low oil prices have hit the incomes of the Middle Eastern countries where most of the Bangladeshi migrants work.
"Some NRBs are also using informal channels, including mobile banking, for sending their money home," he added.
Regarding the today's meeting, a senior banker said the central bank called the meeting for taking suggestions from the bankers as the government think to cut remittance-sending cost for improving the flow of inward remittance in the ongoing fiscal year.
He said BB cannot take any decision in this regard yet and it will also hold another meeting with the senior officials of the commercial banks on July 24 for making the decision time buffeting.
"We also suggested the central bank to give incentive to the remittance receivers for motivating NRBs for sending remittance through banking channel," he added.
Recently, Finance Minister AMA Muhith said Bangladeshi expatriates will not have to bear any charge for sending home remittances as the government will take necessary measures in this regard.
"We'll not keep any charge on sending home remittances by expatriates for increasing the inflow of remittances and the Prime Minister has already given us instructions in this regard," he added.
The inflow of remittances dropped to US$ 12,769.45 million in the fiscal year (FY) 2016-17 from $14,931.15 million a year before, according to the BB data.

News:new nation/20-jul-2017

Mahbuub ul Alam new AMD of IBBL

Posted by BankInfo on Thu, Jul 20 2017 10:22 am

Islami Bank Bangladesh Limited has appointed Md Mahbub ul Alam as Additional Managing Director, says a press release.
Currently, he is heading the Corporate Investment Wing and Investment (Credit) Committee of the bank.
As Deputy Managing Director, he performed responsibilities in International Banking Wing, Operations Wing and Retail Investment Wing of the bank.
He joined in Islami Bank in 1984. During his long 33 years career, he served the bank in different capacities as Head of different Branches including as Branch Manager of Local Office, the largest operational unit of the bank and Head of Different Division at Head Office.

News:new nation/20-jul-2017

Dollar sinks on Trump healthcare blow

Posted by BankInfo on Thu, Jul 20 2017 10:11 am

The dollar sank Tuesday as two Republican senators rejected their party's bill to repeal Obamacare, effectively killing it and throwing Donald Trump's economic agenda into doubt.
"European equities are suffering under a weaker dollar after the Republican healthcare bill once again failed to achieve US congressional approval, denting hopes of Trump stimulus and adding to poor US data that has cut the odds of a September rate hike," said Accendo analyst Mike van Dulken.
The pound retreated on official data showing annual British inflation unexpectedly slowed to 2.6 percent in June, dimming the prospect of a Bank of England interest rate hike any time soon.
Since Trump's election victory in November, the dollar has soared along with global markets on hopes his big-spending, tax-cutting policies would fire up the world's top economy and fan inflation.
But seemingly never-ending crises have hobbled his presidency from the start, with opposition to Trump's controversial health care reforms-crucial to freeing up cash-raising questions about his ability to push through other big-ticket measures.

News:new nation/20-jul-2017
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