James Gardinar underscores skill development, access to US digital platform fo Bangladeshis
News desk, Barta24.com
James Gardiner, Economic Officer, who focuses on technology issues for the U.S. Embassy, spoke about the importance of continuing education and skills development and access to U.S. digital platforms for Bangladeshis in the ICT sector. Mr. Gardiner made the statement last evening at the Certificate and Award Giving Ceremony organized by CodersTrust at Banani Main Office.
During the ceremony, about 150 trainees who recently completed their training at CodersTrust, received certificates. The event was attended by the Founder and Chairman of CodersTrust, Mr Aziz Ahmad, former Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister and Adviser of CodersTrust, Dr. Abdul Karim, former Secretary of the Prime Minister's Office, ICT Division and Ministry of Education and Adviser of CodersTrust, Mr. Nazrul Islam Khan, Managing Director of Bangladesh Hi-Tech Park, Mr Bikarna Kumar Ghosh, and Dean of National University, Prof. Dr. Md. Nasiruddin Mitul.
While stressing on the need of develponing our young generation to skilled human redources the guests of honor spoke highly of CodersTrust highlighting many success stories of producing highly skilled human resources in our country and placing them in the global job market. CodersTrust is an Edtech Company working in Bangladesh since 2015 and now expanding its ventures both at home and abroad through collaboration with different international development agencies like the UNDP and Universities in Bangladesh like BRAC University, ULAB and National University. Since its activation, CodersTrust Bangladesh trained over 60,000 people including women who have been self-employed. CodersTrust has been contributing to international online IT jobs and achieved a reputation as one of the most trusted skill development institutes in Bangladesh.
`Sheikh Hasina government’s important goal is to develop the country'
News Desk, Barta24.com
Chittagong Hill Tracts Affairs Minister Bir Bahadur Ushwe Sing MP said, The hill region is the land of immense beauty. Bandarban has already been identified as an attractive city for tourists. He said a new plan has been taken to decorate the tourist city Bandarban.
The government has taken initiatives to further modernize various roads and important points and sights in the municipal area. The tourism industry will play an important role in the economic development of the country and the unemployment of the locals of the hill areas.
Chittagong Hill Tracts Affairs Minister Bir Bahadur Ushwe Sing said this while speaking as the chief guest at a meeting of the Law and Order Committee at the conference room of the Deputy Commissioner organized by the Bandarban district administration.
Deputy Commissioner Yasmin Parvin Tibriji presided over the function, among others Bandarban Police Super Mr. Tariqul Islam, Bandarban Civil Surgeon Dr. Nihar Ranjan Nandi; Bandarban Municipality Mayor Mohammad Islam Baby, Chittagong Hill Tracts District Council member Laxmipada Das and senior officials of Bandarban district were present on the occasion.
Speaking as the chief guest, Minister Bir Bahadur Ushwe Sing, MP, also added that the development work of internal roads, including highways, is underway so that tourists can travel comfortably in the tourist city of Bandarban. The important function of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s government is to develop the country. In continuation of the government's development, once there will be great success in the tourism sector of the hill areas. Minister Bir Bahadur said the tourism sector will be more prosperous in the future.
Bandarban will move forward, and the socio-economic condition of Bandarban and the quality of life of the local people will improve. The Minister Bir Bahadur also added that Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman worked for the freedom struggle of this country and his worthy daughter, Honorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, has been working relentlessly for the development of Bangladesh under the ideals of her father. He called upon all concerned to work unitedly for the overall development of the country.
The law and order situation in the district and recent issues were discussed in the meeting. The health department informed the meeting that 15,000 malaria patients have been identified in the country, out of which 12,000 have been identified in Bandarban. The issue of health awareness is very important in the meeting. The meeting also discussed in details the modernization and expansion of the tourism industry.
Both are promising countries for foreign investors: Guner Ureya
Ambassador of the Republic of Kosovo in Bangladesh Guner Ureya said, Both Kosovo and Bangladesh are promising countries for foreign investors and both countries have areas of investment that should be explored. Since such a situation exists between Kosovo and Bangladesh, the importance of joint ventures rather than mutual direct investments is appearing. If both parties can bring a part of the manufacturing capacity of Bangladesh on one side and Kosovo on another side with its capacities as a country next-door to big consumer markets, together they can create an incredible synergy. If both parties manufacture together and target third-country markets, they may achieve excellent results.
He said this in an interview with Bangladesh Travel Writers Association (BDTWA) recently.
In this interview, Lee Guner Ureya also said,
BDTWA president Ashrafuzzaman Uzzal, executive member Shakil Bin Mushtaq and Md. Zakaria Mondol were present in the interview session.
Here is the interview of the Excellency-
Ashrafuzzaman Uzzal: According to the current state of both country’s bilateral trade status, how does H.E see future trade relations?
Guner Ureya: Considering the fact that only a few years ago, we had almost zero trade between the two countries, we should not underestimate our current trading volume. According to the Kosovo Agency of Statistics in 2021 trade volume between the two countries was around 13,200,000 Euros. In the first 8 months of 2022, our trade volume was around 11,602,000 Euro. These figures are very promising. Kosovo is pleased with the improvement in trade and other relations between the two countries and is confident that the trade volume will steadily increase in the upcoming years.
Ashrafuzzaman Uzzal: How can we work together for Bangladesh–Kosovo’s bilateral tourism development?
Guner Ureya: The most important factor affecting tourism cooperation is mutual perceptions. It is strengthened by multifaceted cooperation and convergence of mutual perception. Cooperation in cultural, trade, and other fields will both increase interaction and help us get to know each other better. In addition to all these, tourism portfolios of both sides, attractions, modern infrastructure, and promotional events like fairs and familiarization trips, will also lead to the development of our cooperation in the field of tourism.
Ashrafuzzaman Uzzal: Which country has the most investment in KOSOVO and in which sector?
Guner Ureya: Most of FDIs are from Switzerland, Germany, Türkiye, the United Kingdom and Albania, particularly in real estate and services. There are considerable foreign investments in the manufacturing sector as well.
Ashrafuzzaman Uzzal: What are the challenges you see for more Kosovo investment in Bangladesh?
Guner Ureya: Let me clarify a thing. Both Kosovo and Bangladesh are promising countries for foreign investors and both countries have areas of investment that should be explored. Since such a situation exists between Kosovo and Bangladesh, the importance of joint ventures rather than mutual direct investments is appearing. If both parties can bring a part of the manufacturing capacity of Bangladesh on one side and Kosovo on another side with its capacities as a country next-door to big consumer markets, together they can create an incredible synergy. If both parties manufacture together and target third-country markets, they may achieve excellent results.
Ashrafuzzaman Uzzal: Many people visit to TURKEY from Bangladesh and its only 1h 40 minutes from Istanbul to Kosovo. Can Kosovo consider this for the frequent travelers to visit Kosovo and facilitate their Tourist visa from BANGLADESH?
Guner Ureya: Tourism is very important for the promotion of the values of our countries and for our economies. Sure, we recommend tourists visiting the countries of the region to visit Kosovo as well. We also started to provide visa services at our Embassy in Dhaka. Besides Kosovar visas, those who have multiple Schengen visas can easily visit our beautiful country. Our doors are always open to those who want to see the beauties of Kosovo. I just have to highlight an issue. There are those who see tourism as an area of exploitation for illegal immigration. As Kosovo, we are very strict on this and we do not allow such abuses.
Ashrafuzzaman Uzzal: How do you see Bangladesh economically in 10 or 20 years?
Guner Ureya: If you keep this development trend and ensure progress in income sharing, your country will be qualified as developed as planned in 2041. Economic growth will lead to the allocation of more financial tools for better infrastructure. Investments to be made in areas such as education and health will help the development of the whole society. In a word, a more prosperous atmosphere will be provided for everyone.
Ashrafuzzaman Uzzal: Have you visited any tourist places in Bangladesh? How were your experiences? Do you have any favorite places in Bangladesh?
Guner Ureya: Alongside historical monuments and sites, Cox's Bazar caught my attention. The routes to the historical places are tiresome, but you feel good after you arrive. Cox's Bazaar is excellent, but there is still a lot of work to be done to attract foreign tourists. Accommodation prices in the hotels are very high there. This is a situation related to the high demand for accommodation from domestic tourists. Honestly speaking, more investments and other arrangements are required to attract foreign tourists in Cox’s Bazar. In the tourism sector, "being only beautiful" is not a sufficient criterion for success.
Ashrafuzzaman Uzzal: During your stay in Bangladesh what impressed you the most?
Guner Ureya: The hospitality and friendliness of Bangladeshi people fascinated me the most. Your people are very nice and friendly.
Ashrafuzzaman Uzzal: During your stay in Bangladesh what disappointed you the most?
Guner Ureya: Traffic.
Ashrafuzzaman Uzzal: How many Kosovo citizens live in Bangladesh? What are the major reasons behind their stay?
Guner Ureya: We have a very small number of Kosovars with residence in Bangladesh. Besides diplomats and their family members, there are Kosovars working for international organizations.
Ashrafuzzaman Uzzal: What are the top five exports and Imports between Kosovo and Bangladesh? Are there any potential sectors that both countries are missing?
Guner Ureya: I'm sure that in a few years we'll be counting to 5 or even more articles of import and export between the two countries. Currently, the main trade items are RMG. Of course, there is also the modest pharmaceutical products trade. Food, furniture but also ICT services are among other potential sectors for the trade of goods and services between the two countries.
Ashrafuzzaman Uzzal: How many Bangladeshi students go to Kosovo each year and how many of them got Scholarships?
Guner Ureya: The doors of Kosovo universities are open to international students. We would be pleased to have Bangladeshi students studying in our country. So far, we have identified only one Bangladeshi graduate from one of Kosovo's universities. We hope this number will increase. For the first time, there is ongoing work on a scheme for a scholarship for international students in Kosovo. An announcement will be made once the process is completed.
Ashrafuzzaman Uzzal: Is there any High official visit this year and how many were in between the two countries?
Guner Ureya: Recently, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, H.E. Mr. Kreshnik Ahmeti visited Dhaka. On the other side, Hon'ble Minister of Education of Bangladesh participated Women Peace Security Forum held in Prishtina on 22-23 October 2022. The Prime Ministers of both countries have sent invitations to each other for an official visit. Both Excellences have very busy schedules. I hope it comes about soon.
Ashrafuzzaman Uzzal: Is there any tax-free agreement/FTA between Kosovo and Bangladesh?
Guner Ureya: There is an ongoing process of negotiation for the finalization of the Agreement for Economic Cooperation and Agreement on Avoidance of Double Taxation and Prevention of Fiscal Evasion between the two countries. On the other hand, the Stabilization and Accession Agreement with the European Union is in force and Kosovo’s aim is to be a part of this great European family through the integration process. Therefore, we have to comply with EU criteria regarding FTAs. Our trade arrangements with Bangladesh will proceed in parallel with the arrangements your country will make with the EU.
Ashrafuzzaman Uzzal: We heard one Kosovar Girl has been to Bangladesh and wrote about BANGLADESH, we will be happy to have her write up about Bangladesh and what were her experiences in Bangladesh?
Guner Ureya: Yes, Ms. Lavdi Zymberi visited different parts of Bangladesh and she left here with friendly impressions. As far as I know, she posts her impressions on her own blog. I will forward your write-up request to her.
Ashrafuzzaman Uzzal: BDTWA wishes to invite some Kosovar Travel Writer, Professional photographer to visit Bangladesh for 7 to 10 days and BDTWA wish to visit Kosovo as well to write a travel book and to make a travel blog about Kosovo, can you arrange a FAM trip to Kosovo?
Guner Ureya: Of course, we are aware that such familiarization trips are important. We have organized such trips for tour operators and journalists from a few countries before. In the future, taking into account the demands and priorities of the stakeholders in the tourism sector, we can organize such an event between Kosovo and Bangladesh as well.
BAT Bangladesh hosts Road Safety Workshop in Dhaka
Road safety is a sustainable development challenge for the Asia-Pacific region, especially for Bangladesh. Amid the rising number of accidents, the country has observed National Road Safety Day on Saturday (October 22nd, 2022) under the theme "Follow the law on the road, return safely home".
According to the Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA), the government has set goals to reduce road accidents by 25% by 2025 and 50% by 2030 as per the sustainable development goals (SDGs). In alignment with the government's vision, the country's leading multinational organization BAT Bangladesh hosted 'Road Safety Workshop 2022' at the capital's Six Seasons Hotel on Sunday, October 30th. The primary objective of the workshop was to create a collaborative platform where we can showcase our best practices, discuss our shared challenges, and unite together as we work towards common goal of eliminating accidents and serious injuries from road networks. A total of 25 participants from multinational corporations and local businesses, including Unilever Bangladesh ltd., Coca-Cola Bangladesh Beverages Ltd., Linde Bangladesh Ltd., Daraz Bangladesh Ltd., A.H. Khan & Co. Ltd., RedX and Paperfly Pvt. Ltd attended the workshop.
Mr. Bora Gulpinar, Regional Head of Sustainability-BAT and Swad Us Sami, Country Sustainability Manager-BAT Bangladesh, delivered opening speeches and shared their expectations.
The forum acknowledged the need for a collaborative approach to look for road safety best practices and bringing in digitalization to take control over road safety. Also, all organizations agreed on feasibility analysis for engaging and empowering the female drivers for achieving greater gender equality. Rumana Sharmin, Sustainability manager- TM&D and Secondary Supply chain, facilitated the workshop and engaged the panel members in a series of discussions emphasizing the urgent need for developing the capability of the relevant personnel associated with road safety. To achieve the goals of reducing road accidents by ensuring technological advancement, drawing world-class internal controls for road safety through collaborative opportunities between MNCs and government sectors, the participant groups considered new outcomes and sustainable solutions for an improved vision of road safety.
In the closing statement, Mr. Charles Kyalo, Head of Operations-BAT Bangladesh, said, "With the increase of economic growth in Bangladesh, the number of vehicles is rapidly increasing. Road accidents happen due to various reasons, including reckless overtaking, inefficiency in driving, lack of adequate rest for drivers, violation of traffic laws by pedestrians and social unawareness. Developed communication infrastructure and up-to-date transport services are perquisites to sustainable socio-economic development. Prioritizing on that, our government has ushered in a new era in constructing and re-constructing new roads and bridges, including construction of Metrorail, Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) lines, elevated expressways, flyovers, overpasses, bridges and underpasses. Also, the government formed the task force to bring discipline in the road transport sector, training efficient drivers and control accidents."
"It is highly appreciable how different multinational organizations have come forward in creating greater awareness to prevent road accidents and create safer roads in the country", he added.
State Minister for Power, Energy & Mineral resources Mr. Nasrul Hamid has said, open pit coal mining is only possible at Phulbari Coal reserve. He was responding to a series of questions on power & energy at the national parliament on Tuesday. Referring local coal extraction posed by Member of Parliament (MP) of Constituency Dinajpur-6 Mr. Shibli Sadiq the state minister stated in his response that, coal reserve in Dighipara mine can be extracted through underground mining.
Earlier honorable Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury asked Mr. Sibli Sadiq for raising his supplementary question in question-and-answer session in the National Parliament.
Raising the question Mr. Sibli Sadiq MP said, While we are struggling to run many of our power plants due to fuel crisis, the Dighipara coal field that has been discovered in my constituency could have been a blessing for the country. I do not know, why there is no progress in developing this coal field despite having completion of feasibility study. We have seen comments from many countries on climate change issue and proposing ban on burning fossil fuel, but they have been burning coal for long, way back 200 years, and enjoying a higher living standard. But why we are unable to utilize this resource? My submission to honorable minister, please let us know why the development activities of this mine is not started?
In his tresponse, State Minister for Energy, Power & Mineral resources has said, want to make response giving some information on this. There are 5 discovered coal fields in Bangladesh: Barapukuria, Phulbari, Dighipara, Khalaspir and Jamalganj. We can extract coal from Phulbari by open pit mining method. About 90% coal can be extracted removing overburden materials. Currently we are mining coal from Barapukuria at a daily rate of 1500-2000 tonnes through underground method. Many people ask me about coal mining, so I want to give this information. Honorable Speaker, I want to let all honorable MPs know through you that Dighipara is close to Barapukuria mine. We have already completed the feasibility study and found that, underground mining is feasible there. The coal to be mined from 300 meters below the surface and only 15-20% can be extracted. What I have said, open pit mining is only feasible in Phulbari. Other deposits are to be extracted by underground method. Jamalganj has huge reserve but coal cannot be extracted by underground method even. Because the coal situated in much deeper depth.
Nasrul said, we tried, how easy way can extract coal, but coal mining in Barapukuria has created a big lake. Underground mining leads to subsidence on the ground and thus damages agricultural land. Honorable PM Sheikh Hasina has said to us, if there is any mining technology comes in future, which will not damage lands of the farmers, then coal can be extracted taking environment into consideration. Our farmers’ land, crops, future food security is the first priority. If there is any alternative, any advanced system and management of that, then coal can be extracted. This is the reason why we are not extracting coal from this mine (Dighipara). We are now slowly extracting coal from the existing Barapukuria mine. Farmers have been growing crops for hundreds of years on their lands, and would continue doing this for the next 30/40 or 50 or 100 years. As food security is our first priority, if we can make a better arrangement for farmers and their land in future, then will extract coal from our coal mines.
Asia Energy Corporation, an Australia British owned multinational company has has done detail feasibility study and environmental and social impact assessment on Phulbari under a contract. The Study found the scientific solutions to environment, agriculture, water, bio diversity and rehabilitation issues and now waiting review and final node.