Bangladesh Government Activities- April, 2013

Ministry of Health and Family Welfare

Institute of Health Economics (IHE) of Dhaka University, Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare

The government spends about US$ 5 per head on Health, Nutrition and Population Sector Programme (HNPSP) while per capita out-of-pocket expenditure is about US$ 7 which is far short of the required level set by the World Health Organization. According to the WHO, the optimum per capita expenditure for the least developed countries (LDCs) is US$ 34 a year, expart said on 20th April 2013. The present level of government allocation to the health sector is little more than 1.0 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) against the WHO target of 5.0 per cent of the GDP which is hardly adequate to meet the demand of an expanding health sector. Among the nations of South Asia, India spends same as Bangladesh, Pakistan 0.4 per cent of its GDP, Sri Lanka 2.0 per cent, the Maldives 6.3 percent, Nepal 1.5 percent, and Bhutan 3.0 percent for health sector.

Institute of Health Economics (IHE) of Dhaka University with the support of Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare organized the event with an aim to bring together global health economists for the symposium. Dhaka University Vice-Chancellor Professor AAMS Arefin Siddique inaugurated the symposium. IHE assistant professor Azher Ali Molla and Lecturer of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) Nazmul Islam presented a paper on "Sources and Patterns of Health Sector Financing: Option and Challenges in Bangladesh. Arefin Siddique said his university would do its best to strengthen the Institute of Health Economics that is now offering degrees.

Reference: The Financial Express


Ministry of Agriculture

Tk. 43.9cr stimulus for rice farmers Govt. aims to boost aus yields

On 3rd April 2013, the government announced an incentive package for farmers worth Tk. 43.9 core, in a bid to boost yields in the upcoming aus season. Matia Chowdhury, Agriculture Minister said at a press briefing at her secretariat that the government has reserved a total of 3.32 lakh acres of land for Aus cultivation, with the land to be distributed equally among the farmers.

Under the scheme, every farmer will get Tk. 1,296 worth of paddy seeds and fertilizers, while those who opt to cultivate the Ufsi variety of paddy will get 20 kilograms of urea, 10kg of muriatic of potash and 10 kg diammonium phosphate said the Agriculture Minister. The minister expects the incentives would lead to an additional yield of 1.11 lakh tonnes of rice, which at the market rate of Tk. 29 per kg would be worth Tk. 321.90 core.

She also said “We are emphasizing on Aus cultivation as it needs little irrigation after the rain water and the cultivation cost is lower,” and adding that the Upazila Agricultural Rehabilitation officers will distribute the materials among farmers after identity verifications.

Reference: The Daily Star


14 thousand crore taka can be saved by using modern agriculture machinery

Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI)

Modern Agriculture equipments invented by Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI) can save 14 thousand crore taka in a year. A workshop was held on 4th April 2013 at Gazipur BRRI premise. In the workshop findings of a research was shared which was conducted by Farm Machinery and Post Harvest Technology Department of BRRI and it was the initiative of farm machinery technology invention and development (FMTD). In the workshop Agriculture Secretary Mr. Monzur Hossain, scientist, experts, University Professors, Agriculture extension officer, guests from govt. non-govt. organization and farmer attended.

Main paper was presented by Md. Abdur Rahman Additional Director of the project and the chief of farm machinery and post harvest technology department, BRRI. They are providing training and technical support in farmers and agricultural extension officers at field level in 20 Upazilas under 10 Districts. He said already three thousand and six hundred farmers are benefited by this project and 14 thousand crore taka can be saved in the whole country by cultivating Aman and Boro in 10 lakh hector land. In the workshop Director  General of Agriculture  Extension Directorate  Mukul Chandra Roy,  Director General of Bangladesh  Agriculture Research  Institute  Rafiqul Islam Mondal, BRRI Research Council  Executive Chairman Wais Kabir,  Director (Research) Md.  Shamsher Ali, International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) Bangladesh representatives Timthi David Rashel were present.

Reference: The Independent


Bangladesh poverty rate to decrease below 15pc by 2021: Razzaque

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

The Washington-based International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in its '2012 Global Food Policy Report' published the article written by the food minister on March 14, 2013 titled "Vision 2021: Bangladesh Charts a path toward Food Security".In Bangladesh the poverty rate will decrease below 15 per cent and most of the people will be able to consume 2,122 kilocalories of food everyday by 2021, said Food Minister Muhammad Abdur Razzaque in this article.
Bangladesh has taken a comprehensive and synchronized multisectoral approach in pursuit of food security mainly due to strong political commitment of the government said Food Minister. He also said "The country's policies for ensuring food security are guided by its Vision 2021 -- a programme of policies and actions culminating in the year of Bangladesh's golden jubilee-and its national development goals as well as the Millennium Development Goals," the minister said in the article.

It said "The Vision 2021 seeks to ensure that by 2021 most people have a minimum of 2,122 kilocalories per person per day and the incidence of poverty is lowered to 15 per cent". The IFPRI in its reports says that Bangladesh invests 9.0 per cent of national budget to agriculture sector, the second highest in South Asia, reflecting the government policy to increase internal production for attaining self-sufficiency and food security. The investment in Bhutan in the sector is 11.2 per cent, in India 6.8 per cent and in Pakistan 3.1

Reference: The Financial Express


Centre on Integrated Rural Development for Asia and the Pacific (CIRDAP)

Razzaque for storage of organic agricultural produces

On April 2, 2013 Food Minister Dr. Abdur Razzaque worried conducting more research to innovate technologies for the storage of organic agricultural produces. “Cold storage is very expensive to store organic agro-produces like tomato and potato,” he told the inaugural session of a regional workshop in the city.

Organized a seminar at Centre on Integrated Rural Development for Asia and the Pacific (Cirdap)  international conference centre on improving grain storage at household level for food security in rural areas. Local Government and Cooperative Division secretary Dr Mihir Kanti Majumder, Cirdap director general Dr. Cecep Effendi and director Hossein Shahbaz, among others, spoke at the inaugural session. Around 60 national and international experts on food security and grain storage systems took part in the regional workshop.

Dr. Abdur Razzaque said food grain storage is very major factor in ensuring food security speaking on the event. “Historically, Bangladesh is a food deficit country due to natural hazards like flood, drought and cyclone… but there’s no food shortage at that time. Now we’re marginally remaining in food”. He also said, “The government is committed to promoting food security by providing necessary assistance and support of food and relief to vulnerable groups.” Dr Razaque said the government has drawn several programmes and projects to scale up the effective public storage capacity. It has already been increased from 1.4 million metric tonnes (MMT) in 2009 to 1.8 MMT in 2012 and projected to reach 2.1 million MMT by 2014.

Reference:News Network


Ministry of Finance

The Cabinet Committee

50,000 MT wheat import proposal gets govt. nod

On April 1, 2013 the cabinet committee on purchase approved the proposal for importing 50,000 tonnes of wheat to meet the country’s wheat deficit. Amira Pure Foods Pvt. Ltd, a New Delhi-based company, will supply the wheat at a rate of $313.65 per tonnes. The committee approved the proposal for installation of 4.50 lacks more electronic meters to provide power connection in the rural areas at a cost of Tk. 37 crore. It also okayed the proposal for importing 30,000 tonnes of phosphoric acid for fertilizer production at a rate of $463.93 per tonne. Besides, the committee gave the nod for importing 4.50 tonnes of Muriate of Potash fertilizer from the state-owned Belarusian Potash Company under a government-to-government agreement. Finance Minister AMA Muhith presided over the meeting, held at the Cabinet Division.

Reference: The Daily Star


Form agriculture security fund in next budget  

The farmers of Munshiganj and Shariatpur demanded that the government form a fund in the upcoming national budget to ensure the farmers’ security. At separate discussions organized under the banner of the Channel-i TV show “Hridoye Mati o Manush”, the farmers shared their problems and expectations with two ministers, says a press release.
Finance Minister AMA Muhith interacted with Munshiganj farmers on 4th April 2013 in Hasain Banary Char area of Tongibari upazila, where he assured the farmers that a special attention to char development would be given in the next budget and on 5th April 2013, Shariatpur farmers spoke to Food Minister Dr. Abdur Razzak on Kazirhat Abdur Razzak High School ground. The farmers urged the government for an allocation of Tk 25 crore to the Tongibari Farmers Union Channel-i Director and Head of News Shykh Seraj conducted the discussions in both Munshiganj and Shariatpur.

Reference: The Daily Star