Reform Initiatives to Ensure Safe Fisheries Resources
86. Our government is working persistently to ensure the quality and safety standards of fish and fish products. We have formulated the ‘Hilsha Fisheries Management Action Plan’ and have started implementing it. Under this action plan, all fishing is banned for 65 days a year at sea during the breeding season. In addition, Jatka (premature hilsha) fishing is prohibited from November- June each year for which support is provided to the fishing households in the form of Vulnerable Group Feeding (VGF). Thus, we have been able to increase the hilsha production by more than two-fold. Hilsha production grew to 5.65 lakh MT in fiscal year 2020-2021, whereas it stood at 2.99 MT in FY2008-2009. At present, Good Aquaculture Practice (GAP) and Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) - based management systems are in operation at all stages of shrimp farming. Around 2.7 lakh shrimp farms and 9 thousand 651 commercial fish farms have been registered as part of operating traceability system for the purpose of facilitating fish and fish-products export. In tandem, a scheme ofe-traceability is being piloted. Implementation of “The Fish and Fish Products (Inspection and Quality Control) Act 2020” has begun and this opened the door of secure and standard fish farming for internal and foreign export market.
87. Considering the priority of overall agriculture (Agriculture, Food and Fisheries), I propose to allocate Tk. 33,698 crore in the budget for fiscal year 2022-2023 which was Tk. 24,345 crore in fiscal year 2021-2022.
Health and Family-Welfare
COVID-19 Recovery and Protecting Lives
88. You are aware that since early 2020, the whole world has been passing through an unprecedented global crisis due to several waves of the COVID-19. The health hazard still existed up until early 2022. Bangladesh is continuously putting efforts to protect lives and recover the economy by revamping the health sector. Considering the impact of the COVID-19 on public health, the COVID protocol is still being strictly observed, precautionary measures are being taken, plans are being formulated and adequate budget is being allocated to overcome the weakness of the health sector. The purchase of vaccines on time and the mass vaccination of the population in a phased manner are among the key actions that have been taken by the government. As a result, the spread of the virus has come under control and we have been able to reduce the death rate to a great extent compared to other countries. At the same time, the government has been able to protect lives and livelihoods by attaching priority to the health and family-welfare sector through adoption of medium and long-term plans.
89. Among the six priority sectors for development mentioned in the 8th Five Year Plan, the most significant are - ‘Rapid Recovery from COVID-19 to Restore Human Health, Confidence, Employment, Income and Economic Activities’. By giving the highest priority to this agenda, the government is trying to boost up the confidence level of the people by strengthening the public health system, creating job opportunities by keeping economic activities normal. At the same time, the government is continuously trying and taking initiatives to increase productivity. Strengthening the health sector is the government’s top priority sector in the medium and long-term plans for development. In the second Perspective Plan (2021-2041), the government has a target to achieve development in various indicators of the health sector including the increase of the life expectancy to 80 years. Following the National Health Policy 2011, various strategies are being taken up to ensure quality health services for the people of all strata in the society. These include, among others, the adoption of the 4th Health, Population and Nutrition Sector Programme and the formulation of the Healthcare Financing Strategy (2012-2032).
90. To ensure good health and medical care for all citizens the government has given priority to the health, nutrition and population sector after a successful recovery from the pandemic so that every citizen gets quality health service which helps build a healthy and energetic population. To protect lives, strategies were adopted at the very early stage of the pandemic and action plans were adopted to support the strategy. Implementation of a range of activities is underway according to the COVID-19 Bangladesh Preparedness and Response Plan which is a good example of early initiative of the government to combat the pandemic. To stop the spread of the virus, the key initiatives of the government include - to establish 879 COVID-19 testing laboratories throughout the country, to provide treatment for the COVID-19 patients, to keep ready 89 COVID-19 dedicated hospitals, to keep13,193 COVID-19 isolation beds and 1,174 COVID-19 ICU ready throughout the country, to establish central oxygen line in 119 centres, to recruit 10,000 doctors in three phases, to create the post of 10 junior consultants (specialist doctor) at every health complex which has been developed to 50 beds, etc. Moreover, the health workers who died while performing their official duties have been compensated and the doctors, nurses and other health workers who are at the service of COVID-19 patients have been given honorarium. By taking these steps we have been able to combat COVID-19 successfully.
Vaccination Programme to Protect from Spread of COVID-19
91. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the government has set a unique example by preparing the vaccine strategy, allocating sufficient resources to procure vaccines and successfully completing the vaccination program covering all eligible populations in a phased manner. The National Deployment and Vaccination Plan (NDVP) under the Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) has been prepared and updated. The government has procured vaccines from the COVAX Cost Sharing Facility and through bilateral contracts from the manufacturers in India and China. Free doses have been received through the global COVAX initiative and from the United States and other bilateral partners. During the first two years of the pandemic and in the ongoing fiscal year, the government has received budget support assistance and vaccine financing from numerous bilateral and multilateral development partners including the World Bank, Asian Development Bank (ADB), International Monetary Fund (IMF), Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), Agence Française de Développement (AFD), Economic Development Cooperation Fund (EDCF, Korea), European Investment Bank (EIB) and OPEC Fund Development (OFID). These external assistances helped the government to improve the capacity of health and other key social sectors.
92. Following the declaration made by the Hon’ble Prime Minister, the government is implementing the vaccination programme for all citizens of the country at free of cost. At the initial stage, 80 percent of the total population was planned to be vaccinated, but later the target was reduced to 70 percent as per the guidelines of WHO. In the earlier stage, the people who were under health-hazard risk were vaccinated on a priority basis. Later, all populations above 12 years of age have been included forvaccination. Government hospitals and health facilities were used as vaccination centers. The vaccination of the first doses started on 08 February 2021 and the second doses started on 08 April 2021. Later the booster doses, approved by the WHO, was administered. While conducting the vaccination programme the gender balance has been ensured. So far, a total of 12.9 crore first doses, 11.8 crore seconddoses and 1.5 crore booster doses have been administered.
Implementing Emergency Measures to Combat the Pandemic
93. The government is laying emphasis on how to combat such a complex pandemic situation as we experienced during COVID-19. To this end, the government is planning to develop the capacity to respond and control such pandemic quickly, conduct research in this sector and develop the institutional capacity, technical knowledge and skilled manpower to up-scale the overall capacity. In the last two fiscal years, sufficient budget has been allocated to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to implement the important activities to combat COVID-19 and for the development of the health sector. To meet any emergency expenditure, we earmarked Tk. 10 thousandcrore as block allocation. Although the infection of COVID-19 coronavirus has reduced drastically, the fear of its reappearance still persists as the outbreak of COVID-19 is still evident in many countries. Bearing in mind the COVID-19 related health hazards, we are also proposing a block allocation of Tk 5 thousand crore for the coming fiscal year.
94. Some of the projects taken in the last fiscal year to combat COVID-19 will continue in the next fiscal year. ‘COVID-19 Emergency Response and Pandemic Preparedness’ project is being implemented with support from the World Bank and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), and the ‘COVID-19 Response Emergency Assistance’ project is being implemented with the help of the Asian Development Bank. The Hon’ble Prime Minister has given the directives to establish a high-quality institute in the country for manufacturing all types of vaccines including that for coronavirus. Accordingly, the 100 percent state-owned Essential Drugs Company has taken steps to set up a state-of-the-art vaccine manufacturing plant at Gopalganj, with financial and technical assistance from the Asian Development Bank.We will eventually transform this plant into an international standard vaccine research and production center so that we do not rely on overseas sources for vaccines.
Initiatives to Provide Specialized Health Service
95. We have started a screening system including the formulation of a guideline for medication and control of non-infectious diseases like high blood pressure, cancer, diabetes and kidney related diseases. The non-infectious disease related information has been incorporated into the Management Information System (MIS) software of the Health Directorate. A Venom center of very high quality has been established at Chattogram Medical College. Bangladesh has achieved remarkable success in eradication of infectious diseases. We are at the point of eradication of diseases like Filaria and Visceral Leishmaniasis.The government has set up a target to make Bangladesh free from Malaria by 2030. The government is also working relentlessly to control the diseases carried by Aedes mosquitoes especially Dengue and Chikungunya through a programme since January 2017. Chikungunya management guideline has been formulated. National Dengue Guideline has been formulated and diagnosis charges at the hospitals have been reduced. Remarkable success has been achieved in the treatment of Rabies and worm-related diseases. For timely initiatives taken by the government, the infection rate of AIDS is below 0.01 in Bangladesh. HIV testing and counseling service is being provided in 28 hospitals.
96. The government is continuously working for autism and autistic children. In the meantime, 1.33 lakh autistic children have been given treatment. Child Development Centre has been established in 16 Medical College Hospitals including at Dhaka Shishu Hospital and it has also been planned to do so in 15 more Medical College Hospitals and 9 District Hospitals. For the safety and development of the autistic children Tk. 1 crore and 30 lakh has been allocated during COVID-19 and we will also allocate sufficient budget in the next fiscal year. The work is going on to establish new 211centres in addition to the existing 103 centres to provide Therapeutic services to the disabled people in the remote areas of the country. Moreover, the disabled people and who are at risk of disability are getting Therapeutic services by 40 mobile therapy vans in remote areas of the country. To achieve ‘Universal Health Care Coverage’ steps have been taken to formulate ‘Health Protection Law’. ‘Infection Protection Guideline’ has been prepared for the community clinics. ‘Government Outdoor Dispensary Operational Guideline’ has already been finalised and under this guideline at least 8 Government Outdoor Dispensaries (GoD) will start functioning in the next fiscal year.
97. According to the election manifesto of the government, 100-bed cancer units are being established in 8 Divisional Hospitals. Moreover, the implementation of the project to establish 50-bed dialysis unit at medical college hospitals and 10-bed dialysis unit at district hospitals is underway. We have started establishing Burn Units at Rajshahi, Sylhet, Barishal, Rangpur and Faridpur Medical Colleges under a project with the support from Saudi Government. Besides, for the management of medical waste at the district level and Medical College Hospitals, the implementation of the ‘Medical Waste Management’ project is underway. The implementation of the feasibility study project to rebuild and transform Dhaka Medical College Hospital into 5,000bed modern world-class hospital is well in progress. In addition, the project for the development and expansion of Pabna Mental Hospital to international standards and the establishment of full-fledged mental health unit at every divisional level medical college are going to be taken up. We have planned to establish Bangabandhu Health City at Mohakhali.
Continuation of the achievement of health indicators
98. You are aware that the government is firmly committed to build a healthy, energetic and active nation by providing quality health, nutrition and family welfare (HNP) services as part of its constitutional obligations. To meet this obligation, a range of activities are being implemented under Health, Nutrition and Population Sector Programme (4th HNPSP). Besides, Bangladesh has demonstrated remarkable success in achieving the targets of MDG goals by bringing all people under primary health care service. We are fully convinced that, given the success, we achieved while implementing the task to achieve MDGs goals we will be able to achieve the targets of SDG by 2030.
Development in Medical Education Sector
99. We are implementing various development activities in health, nutrition and population sector according to the Perspective Plan, National Health Policy and 8th Five Year Plan. As a part of it, much importance is being given to higher investment and higher training in medical education. Confronting all the challenges to achieve our targets we will give priority to activities such as bringing all the Post-Graduate Medical Education Degrees under one platform, modernization of examination system, continuous training of the teachers, giving more emphasis on research by the medical education teachers and developing the quality of education in non-government sector. The government is continuously trying to ensure quality service at non-government medical colleges, medical education and training institutions, to keep the education expenses within the reach of the population, to modernize of nursing education and to keep it updated according to the need of the country. For the development of nursing college, we will complete Dhaka Nursing College accreditation this fiscal year. Following the directives from the Hon’ble Prime Minister, the activities are going on to establish a medical university in every division and transforming Nursing Institute into Nursing College. For the development of medical education, steps have been taken to establish simulation lab in eight medical colleges.
100. In order to form a base for fundamental and action research in the medical science sector in the country and to use this knowledge in health service, health education, public health, microbiology, pathology and disease control sector, we created an ‘Integrated Health-Science Research and Development Fund’ of Tk. 100 crore. To use this fund properly ‘Integrated Health-Science Research and Development Fund Use Guidelines 2020’ has been prepared and according to this guideline a national level committee has been formed. In the current fiscal year, a total of 23 researchers/research institutions have been selected for starting their research tasks. An amount of Tk.100 crore will also be allocated to this fund in the next fiscal year.
Family Welfare and Protection of Mother and Child Health
101. We have taken up various priority-based activities for the development of mother and child health under the 4th sector programme. This includes the training of the doctors on maternity health care services, the training of the field-level workers on ‘community-based skilled birth attendant’, providing integrated service for the pregnant women, the expansion of the ‘Mother Health Voucher Scheme’, the early detection of cervical and breast cancer, etc. The government has introduced a three-year Midwifery Course and created 3,000 Midwife posts. Recruitment against the newly created posts is going on. ‘The Development of Child and Mother Health and Health Management System’ project is being implemented. Now the Comprehensive Emergency Obstetric Care Service is being provided in all medical college hospitals of the country, in 59 Zilla hospitals, in 132 Upazila Health Complexes throughout the country, and in the rest of the Upazila Health Complexes the “Basic Emergency Obstetrics Service’ is also available. A 200-bed Mother and Child Health Training Institution has been set up at Lalkuthi, Dhaka. To expand health service up to the grass-root level of the country we have established 102 10-bed Mother and Child Welfare Centre at Union level, and another 57 centres are under construction. The government is working to provide adolescent health service. For this, ‘Adolescent Friendly Health Service Corner’ has been set up in 1103 service centres. For proper physical and mental development of the adolescents, service and information are being provided through 603 ‘Adolescent Friendly Health Corner’ at Union Health and Family Welfare Centres and at Mother and Child Welfare Centres.
102. Considering the health sector as a priority, we are proposing an allocation of Tk. 36,863 crore for Health and Family Welfare sector in the next fiscal year 2022-2023 which was Tk.32,731 crore infiscal year 2021-2022. The allocation is meant for the overall development of the sector.
103. You are already aware that the government is relentlessly working to build Sonar Bangla as envisaged by the Father of the Nation by giving the highest importance to the education sector and has adopted education as one of the main strategies for development. One of the major tools to achieve Vision-2041, in continuation of Vision-2021, is quality education. We formulated our National Education Policy, 2010 and it is being implemented in phases. The government is committed to achieve excellence in education and research to move ahead with the agenda of inclusive development. We have taken a range of initiatives for the advancement of science-based education and development of education infrastructure.As part of the digitalization of education, we will further expand online education that was started during the pandemic. At the same time, we continue to provide stipends through mobile banking, and expand the scope of various training. Besides, we will pay special attention to increase the spending capacity of the sector and monitor the quality of spending.
Special Initiatives in Education Sector to Compensate the Loss during Pandemic
104. Our education programme was disrupted since the first week of March 2020 due to the spread of coronavirus infection. However, the government took various steps to continue the academic schedule by keeping the education activities free from the negative effects of the pandemic. As you know, the government was forced to close all educational institutions during the pandemic period to ensure the safety of life, but continued teaching online and through Bangladesh Television, Bangladesh Radio and Community Radio. With the significant improvement of the pandemic situation, the government opened all the schools and colleges in phases from March 2022 and allowed them to deliver academic programmes in person. However, we are broadcasting, the ‘Learn at home’ programme through Parliament Television, Bangladesh Television, Bangladesh Betar and Community Radio to keep the students focused on their studies even after the reopening of school. In addition, to ensure close monitoring of the student’s study progress, the teachers are continuing their regular teaching activities through mobile phones and personal communication with the students.
Primary and Mass Education
105. Considering the primary level as the foundation of education, the government has taken various steps to modernise primary education. In line with the Eighth Five Year Plan and Sustainable Development Goals, we have taken initiatives to implement various action plans for the expansion and development of primary education. Our government has been distributing free four-color textbooks to primary school students through the ‘Book Festival’ on January 1 every year since 2010.In the academic year 2022, a total of 9 crores 98 lakh 58 thousand 874 textbooks have been distributed to all the primary schools of the country. Proper health protocols were observed during this distribution to all the students of pre-primary and primary levels including students from ethnic minority communities. We have started 1-year term pre-primary education for children of 5+ years old since the academic year 2011. Steps have been taken to introduce 2-year term pre-primary education by including the children of 4+ years old considering the age, ability, talent and comprehensibility of the students. In order to make Mujib Borsho memorable to the students, a kit allowance for dress, bag and shoes amounting Tk. 1,000 each has been distributed among them.
106. New infrastructure has been set up and the teachers have been appointed to enhance the quality of education as a whole. A total of 1,495 new government primary schools have been set up in areas where there is no school and 12 new primary training institutes (PTIs) have been set up in 12 districts where there is no such institute. A total of 2 lakh 737 teachers have been recruited from 2009 to 2020. A total of 26,366 posts of teachers have been created for pre-primary classes in government primary schools and the recruitment is underway for a total of 32,577 Assistant Teachers which include newly-created posts. The salary of the Assistant Teachers has been raised in three steps including up-gradation of the post of the headmaster in government primary schools to 2nd class. In order to set up multimedia classrooms, 50,416 government primary schools have been provided with 58,921 laptops with internet connectivity, multimedia projectors and sound systems. As of now, major maintenance works in 8,820 schools and minor repairs in 90,423 schools have been completed across the country. Adequate resources have been allocated to continue education in the eventuality of any emergency.
107. The government is working to ensure 100 percent enrollment at primary level, alleviate hunger of students, meet daily nutritional needs, curb dropout rate, increase completion rate of primary education cycle, increase regular attendance rate of enrolled children and improve quality of primary education. Through the project titled ‘School Feeding in Poverty Striken Areas’, which was completed in December 2021, one packet of nutritious biscuits weighing 75 grams was distributed among 27,57,165 students of 15,460 government primary schools in 104 upazilas on a daily basis. In addition, through the implementation of the ‘Reaching Out of Schools (ROSC) Phase-II Project’, which was completed in December 2021, a total of 690,000 students at village level and 46,547 in urban areas aged between 8-14 years coming from the disadvantaged, neglected, poor and vulnerable families who successfully completed their education have been registered. In FY2020-2021, stipends and kit allowances of Tk. 3,304 crore have been disbursed to the accounts of mothers of 1.40 crore students through G2P system.
108. In my last budget speech, I announced to carry out motivational and sensitization activities for the identified illiterate people. At present, under the second phase of the ‘Basic Literacy Project in 64 Districts’, a target of imparting literacy to 21 lakh illiterate men and women has been set. Literacy is being promoted through non-formal education bureaus, where 1,473 posts have been created at the upazila level. In addition, a development project titled Non-Formal Education Development Programme (NFEDP) is being planned.
Giving Importance to Children with Special Needs
109. We have launched an integrated education programme to ensure that all the children irrespective of religion, caste and creed, including the children with special needs in the society are educated in the mainstream government primary schools. We allocated funds to each Upazila on demand basis for the purchase and distribution of disability aids (wheel-chairs, crutches, hearing aids, spectacles, etc.) for children with special needs in the field level.
110. I am proposing to allocate Tk. 31,761 crore for primary and mass education in the next fiscal year 2022-2023, which was Tk. 26,314 crore in the current fiscal year 2021-2022.
Secondary and Higher Education
111. We are continuing our efforts through multifarious activities like scaling up the rate of education at the secondary level, bringing gender equality in education, implementing academic programmes consisting of general, science and technology-based education and training, providing financial assistance including scholarships to students and teachers, taking various initiatives for talent development, crafting supportive policies and environment, augmenting capacity and construction and development of infrastructure, providing financial benefits to teachers of private educational institutions registered under MPO scheme, distributing free textbooks, introducing of e-books, setting up of Upazila ICT training and research centres etc. to bring quality in education. The Non-government Teacher Registration and Certification Authority (NTRCA) has recruited 38,283 teachers for private educational institutions, and 15,163 teachers are in the process of being recruited. A total of 12,000 classrooms are being constructed in FY2021-2022. Introduction of e-book, establishment of Upazila ICT training and resource centres and converting one private school into a model school in each 315 Upazilas have been implemented. A sum of Tk.1,000 crore has been allocated as seed money for the Prime Minister’s Education Assistance Trust Fund to ensure the education of poor meritorious students deprived of quality education. Work on finalisation of manpower structure including the formation of board of trustees and formulation of trust management rules has begun. In the FY2021-2022, a one-time grant of Tk. 8 crore has been provided as grant to the poor and meritorious students and in the FY2022-2023 an additional one-time grant of Tk. 20 crore will be given for the same purpose.
112. The Innovation Team of the Department of Secondary and Higher Education is working to ensure maximum utilization of ICT and digital technology in education management and education activities. In the FY2021-2022, as many as 16,420 teachers were given training on ICT. 16,300 ICT teachers will be trained in IT in the FY2022-2023. In addition, more than 62,000 contents have already been uploaded to the Teachers’ Portal with the aim of expanding the quality teaching activities, through which the teachers themselves can contribute to improving the content quality. Sufferings of concerned stakeholders have been mitigated by ensuring online services for admission, registration, change of institution, publication of test results etc. Correction of mistakes in certificates, renewal of recognition, and nomination of representatives are also being done online. You will be happy to know that from the FY2018-2019, applications for special grants for educational institutions, teachers and students are being accepted online and money is being distributed through mobile banking. A total of 15,676 out of 20,499 secondary schools, and a total of 700 out of 4,238 colleges across the country have introduced online classes. In addition, various educational institutions are conducting classes through online social media (Zoom, Messenger, Facebook group, YouTube etc.), recording classes and uploading videos on teen/adolescent windows, teacher windows and YouTube. Numerous measures have been taken considering the increased reliance on information technology-based education during COVID-19.
113. The implementation of the project titled ‘The Expansion of Science Education Opportunities in Government Colleges’ has begun to build 2,607 classrooms including multimedia classrooms, 200 language-cum-ICT labs, 1,000 science labs, 46 furnished hostels,-office equipment and ICT equipment in 200 government colleges across the country. Once completed, the project will facilitate the admission of additional 2 lakh students. Side by side, implementation of another project titled ‘Development of Government Secondary Schools’ that aims to enhance capacity development and quality improvement of education of 323 government secondary schools across the country by constructing new academic buildings and providing up-to-date expansion of multimedia classrooms and necessary equipment, books, sports equipment, scientific equipment, furniture and office equipment has also been initiated. Once the project is implemented fully, opportunities of admission for further 3.29 lakh students will be opened up. Three projects are underway for establishing Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Aviation and Aerospace University, conducting a feasibility study of Bangamata Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib University of Science and Technology and setting up Khulna Agricultural University. In addition, 43 projects are being implemented for further development of various public universities.
Emphasis on Research and Science Education
114. In the last FY2021-2022, the National Science and Technology (NST) Fellowship grant amounting to Tk.137.76 crore to 22,220 students and researchers and grants amounting to Tk. 189.10 crore to 6,362 research projects for cultivating science and for research and technology innovation have been awarded. As part of the initiative for promoting research in medical education, the Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences (INMAS) at the campuses of the Shaheed Suhrawardy Medical College Hospital, National Chest Disease Institute and Hospital of Mohakhali, and Medical College Hospitals of Mohakhali, Pabna, Kushtia, Jessore, Cox’s Bazar, Gopalganj, and Satkhira and the Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences (INMAS) at Mymensingh and Pet-CT scans with cyclotron facilities at INMP, Savar are going to be set-up.
115. I am proposing to allocate Tk. 39,961 crore for the secondary and higher education sector in the budget for next fiscal year 2022-2023 which was Tk. 36,487 crore in the currentfiscal year 2021-2022.
Technical and Vocational Education and Madrasa Education
116. To takeadvantage of the demographic dividend of the country, the government is laying emphasis on the quality technical and vocational education. The enrollment rate in technical education, which was less than 1.0 percent 12 years ago, is now 17.25 percent. In the 2022 academic year, 26,846 students have been enrolled in pre-vocational courses from 6th to 8th grade and 20,613 students from the 9th grade of 134 technical schools and colleges have been enrolled up to January 2022. A national task force has been formed to formulate the ‘Blended Education Master Plan’ that will facilitate building a skilled workforce to address the current situation of pandemic and the challenges of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Learning Management System (LMS) has been developed and through this LMS, 60 teachers from 60 educational institutions have been trained to develop e-courses. To address the problem of future employment opportunities of students studying emerging technologies together
126. There is no alternative to increasing the productivity of the industrial sector and improving the quality of manufactured goods to maintain the pace of development for a sustainable, universal, and environment-friendly economic development in continuance of the development achieved in the past decades. The development philosophy of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was to build a ‘Sonar Bangla’ rich in industries and free from hunger and poverty by developing a production-oriented economy. To increase the contribution of the industrial sector to 41.86 percent of GDP, in line with the Eighth National Five-Year Plan we have formulated time-befitting policies and identified implementation strategies for industrial expansion. According to the BBS, the contribution of the industrial sector to the GDP in FY2007-2008 was 17.7 percent, which stood at 35.36 percent in current FY2021-2022.
127. For the last 13 years, we have been giving priority to agriculture /labor-intensive industries in the budget. Considering the growing demand for urea fertilizer for the development of agriculture in Bangladesh, we have started commercial production of urea fertilizer at the Shahjalal Fertilizer Factory at Fenchuganj in Sylhet District at a cost of Tk. 4 thousand 985 crore as promised by the Hon’ble Prime Minister. A project for turning the Palash Urea Fertilizer project into a highly modernized and environment-friendly factory with superior technology and higher capacity is currently under implementation which will have a daily production capacity of 2,800 metric tons upon completion. In addition, a project has been undertaken to set up an energy-efficient and state-of-the-art/ highly modernized technology and environment-friendly plant at Fenchuganj in Sylhet with an annual production capacity of 24,000 metric tons of urea-formaldehyde.
128. The government has taken various initiatives to ensure a safe environment in the industry sector. To move chemical factories and warehouses scattered in old Dhaka to safer places as soon as possible, a project titled ‘Building Warehouses for Storage of Chemicals’ is underway temporarily at the premises of Ujala Factory Ltd. at Shyampur. A total of 54 godowns will be constructed under this project. As pledged in the election manifesto, the establishment of ETP has been made compulsory in the red and orange marked factories set up in BSCIC industrial cities as part of the environmental protection programme.
129. We need more foreign investment to continue our growth. One of the key factors that work behind attracting the desired level of investment is the business-friendly environment.The government has continued its efforts to create an investment-friendly environment by putting in place the necessary infrastructure and legal reforms to attract huge investments in the country.The government has also been organising and sponsoring seminars and workshops, roadshows, and trade shows in and out of the country.All these arrangements are meant to identify potential investors, highlight the existing investment opportunities to them, attract them to invest, and expedite the elimination of investment-related roadblocks. Bangladesh Trade and Investment Summit (Virtual) and International Investment Summit were held to attract trade and investment on the occasion of Mujib Year and Golden Jubilee of Independence. Bangladesh has actively participated in Expo 2020 held in Dubai to strengthen Bangladesh’s position in international trade, increase export volume, and present its recent achievements of Bangladesh to potential investors. The Hon’ble Prime Minister participated as the keynote speaker at the High-Level Panel on Redefining the Future for Women organised on 8 March 2022 on the occasion of International Women’s Day at the Expo Venue. Our participation in the Expo has brightened the image of Bangladesh to the investor community.
130. Establishment of 100 economic zones in the country is well in progress. The administrative approval has already been accorded to the proposal for establishment of 97 economic zones, of which the implementation work of 28 economic zones is underway. Allocation of land has been made to 196 entities in various public economic zones with a proposed investment of about US$25 billion. Moreover, the investment in private economic zones is about US$ 4 billion. In order to make the PPP project implementation and the activities of the PPP authorities more robust and dynamic, steps are being taken to enact the ‘PPP (Amendment) Act, 2022’. In order to enhance the confidence of investors in the projects under PPP initiatives investment development programmes are continuing.The legal and regulatory framework of the PPP authorities is being simplified to implement large as well as social infrastructure projects under PPP in the future.
Achieve Growth through Trade
131. To continue the pace of development of Bangladesh, the government is taking a wide range of initiatives for diversity and excellence of Bangladeshi products in domestic and international markets. In the first fiscal year after independence, where the country earned export income of US$ 348 million by exporting only 25 products to 68 countries, in FY2020-2021 we earned an amount of US$ 45.37 billion by exporting 751 items of goods and services to 203 countries and regions. The garment sector accounted for the major share of Bangladesh’s export earnings, amounting to US$ 31.46 billion in FY2020-2021, which was 81.16 percent of total exports. The skills development training for the workers and employees of various industrial organizations through the SEIP project under the Finance Division is ongoing. To sustain the exports in the readymade garments sector, 1,47,557 employees related to this sector have already been trained by the SEIP project. As the contents of the training are tuned with specific skill needs of the RMG sector, the training helps increase overall productivity of the sector.
132. To bring dynamism in export trade and strengthen Bangladesh’s position in the competitive world market, a time-befitting Export Policy 2022-2024 has been formulated recently. According to the Export Policy (2022-2024), the products which have the potentials for diversification are being identified as ‘High Priority Sector’ and ‘Special Development Sector’. Declaration of ‘Product of the Year’ and action plans and special facilities for market expansion of these products are also being executed. Export incentives for 43 items of goods and services have been announced for FY2021-2022 as a part of various policy support for product diversification. Apart from this, various strategies have been adopted to increase exports. For example, in 2022, ‘ICT Products and Services’ have been declared as ‘Products of the Year’. Through the Export Competitiveness for Jobs (EC4J) project, two state-of-the-art technology centres of international standard will be built on 10 acres of land in the Mirsarai Economic Zone under Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Industrial City and on five acres of land in Bangabandhu Hi-Tech City, Kaliakair.
133. A bridging between the industry and the academia is essential for trade, investment and industrial development of Bangladesh. Such connections can provide strategic direction for transforming creative thinking into innovation. Having the objective in mind, the apex business body, FBCCI, is going to establish the ‘FBCCI Innovation Center’. The main objective of the proposed innovation center will be "Connecting Ideas", which will help young people to bring their creative ideas into reality. The government has always given priority for exploring innovative thinking of the youth, and therefore, it will provide encouragement and necessary assistance in setting up this Innovation Center proposed by the FBCCI.
134. To support the growth of e-commerce in Bangladesh and to encourage new start-ups, which will create new job opportunities, a project titled ‘My e-commerce, My own business’ has been taken up by the government. The objective of this project is to harness skills of new entrepreneurs and to develop small and medium enterprises in this sector in the rural areas of Bangladesh. The government drafted the National Digital Commerce Policy in 2018. Although e-commerce business boomed during the pandemic, it was riddled with scams as well. The government has recently introduced digital commerce business ID (DBID), which is issued by the Registrar of Joint Stock of Companies (RJSC) to e-commerce entities, to restore public confidence on e-commerce sites and also to protect consumer interests.
135. To enrich the tourism sector, steps have been taken to set up Sabrang Tourism Park, Naf Tourism Park, and Sonadia Eco-Tourism Park in Cox’s Bazar district with accommodation and recreational facilities to international standards. The country’s tourism industry was hit hard during the COVID-19 pandemic. To help the industry in this situation, the government has declared an incentive package of Tk.1 thousand crore. Ten government-funded projects are under implementation for the development of potential areas for tourism in Bangladesh. The task of formulating a tourism master plan to develop the tourism industry has been taken up. To achieve economic prosperity through the development and growth of tourism, steps are being taken for the physical infrastructure development and beautification of the tourist areas of different districts and Upazilas by branding 36 districts having tourism potential. Documentaries and television commercials are being prepared featuring Bangabandhu’s contribution to the development of the tourism industry and for the preservation of the attractive spots where there are precious memories of our liberation war.