PM for utilizing untapped potentials of ‘Blue Economy’

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today asked the authorities concerned to stress more on utilizing the untapped potentials of the ‘Blue Economy’.

The Premier gave the directive while chairing a meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) held at the NEC Conference Room in the city’s Sher-e-Bangla Nagar area here today. Ministers, State Ministers, Planning Commission members and secretaries concerned attended the meeting.

Later Planning Minister MA Mannan and State Minister for Planning Dr Shamsul Alam briefed the reporters about the outcome of the meeting.

The Planning Minister said the day’s meeting approved a total of 11 projects involving an overall estimated cost of Taka 13,655.98 crore. “Of the total project cost, Taka 3,129.87 crore will come from the government while the rest of Taka 10,526.11 crore as project assistance.

Dr Alam said the issue of ‘Blue Economy’ mainly came into the forefront when the government was framing the ‘Delta Plan 2100’

He said that a separate chapter has been dedicated to the ‘Blue Economy’ in the Delta Plan while they have also proposed earlier for launching Blue Bond to Bridge the funding gap for materializing the Delta Plan-2100 since the issuance of such kind of ‘Blue Bond’ could be very much attractive while many countries have also issued it.

The State Minister noted that although many years have elapsed after the country’s maritime boundary verdict, but the progress towards tapping ‘Blue Economy’ is not so much due to lack of coordinated efforts to some extent. He also informed that a Delta Wing is also being formed to expedite the process in this regard.

General Economics Division (GED) member of the Planning Commission Dr Md Kawser Ahmed said that the Prime Minister is not in favour of forming the separate Ministry on ‘Blue Economy’.

He said that they are framing a report on how to institutionalize the initiative of ‘Blue Economy’ and how to add the contributions of such economy to the GDP.

The Planning Minister said that the Prime Minister was apprised about the summary of the latest Household Income and Expenditure Survey which will be unveiled tomorrow.

Mannan said that Premier was happy to see the outcomes of the report especially the downward trend of the poverty rate despite the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine War.

Regarding the issue of uncounted contributions of the womenfolk to the GDP, the Prime Minister said this is not acceptable as the contributions especially the household contributions of the women had been added, then the GDP would have been much higher.

He said that the females usually do many works like as washing clothes, cooking adding that the Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS) has been directed in this regard to make some work.

Shedding lights on this issue, Dr Alam said that the BBS estimates the GDP following the system of national accounts in light of the Statistical Commission of the United Nations.

Due to limitations in international formula, he suggested for forming a shadow satellite account and thus estimating the contributions of the women through pricing their labour in the financial terms.

Turning to the issue of building sluice gates in the haor regions, the Planning Minister said that the Premier has expressed her concerns over such infrastructures and asked the authorities concerned to come out gradually from building such sluice gates.

Sheikh Hasina also directed the authorities for not constructing any permanent road in the haor region rather for constructing all-weather roads.

While repairing the flood affected roads, she directed the LGRD Minister for building culverts in those areas of the roads where the pressure of water was immense.

The Planning Minister said that the Prime Minister has also directed the Secondary and Higher Education Division as well as the Technical and Madrasah Education Division to prioritize the orphans of the Shishu Poribar in imparting technical based education.

When asked whether the price hike of fertilizer would put an impact on inflation, Mannan said there might be an impact, but it was not possible right at the moment to determine the extent of impact.

Supplementing the Planning Minister, Dr Alam said there would be no impact of this if there is high yield of food grains.

Replying to a question, Mannan said that the Prime Minister is not in favour of recruiting many consultants in the development projects as the local human resources has improved a lot.

He also informed that the trend of incorporating consultants in the projects would decline in the coming days.

Answering to another question, Planning Division Secretary Satyajit Karmakar said that the project for constructing Chancery Complex in Islamabad has been revised again since there has been huge inflation in Pakistan side by side the government of Bangladesh wants to make it more scenic and a ‘flagship project’.

Of the approved 11 projects, seven are new while four others are revised.

The approved projects in the meeting are: Export Competitiveness for Jobs (EC4J), 2nd revised with an additional cost of Taka 93.15 crore, Construction of some 34 buffer godowns in various parts of country to facilitate preservation and distribution of fertilizer, 1st revised with an additional cost of Taka 365.43 crore, Bangladesh Environmental Sustainability and Transformation Project (BEST) with Taka 2,995.88 crore, Emergency assistance to rehabilitate flood management with Taka 699.81 crore, Affected rural infrastructures rehabilitation due to flood in 2022  with emergency support from ADB with Taka 1,123 crore, Development of Sylhet-Charkhai-Sheowla highway with Taka 4,257.07 crore, Rehabilitation of Sylhet Chatakbazar Section of Bangladesh Railway affected severely due to flood in 2022 with Taka 241.59 crore, Emergency assistance to reconstruct water supply and sanitation system affected due to flood with Taka 343.91 crore, Construction of Bangladesh Chancery Complex at Islamabad, 4th revised with an additional cost of Taka 17.56 crore, Development of Bangladesh Land Survey Education, 1st revised with an additional cost of Taka 61.43 crore and Accelerating Transport and Trade Connectivity in Eastern South Asia (Access)-Bangladesh, phase-1 (BLPA component) with Taka 3,457.15 crore.

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