Dhaka Courier

The joint mechanism among Bangladesh, Myanmar, and China

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The joint mechanism among Bangladesh, Myanmar, and China, aiming to expedite the repatriation of Rohingya refugees to their homes in Rakhine, Myanmar, began operating with its maiden meeting held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The director general of the Foreign Ministry’s Southeast Asia wing, and the ambassadors of Myanmar and China in Bangladesh are the members of the tripartite forum.

Following the foreign minister-level meeting among Bangladesh, Myanmar, and China on the sidelines of the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York on September 23, the formation of such a mechanism was agreed upon to expedite the repatriation process. It includes China directly for the first time in such a process regarding the Rohingya crisis. The next meeting under the mechanism is scheduled for the coming week.

 

Employees of Sanofi Bangladesh, a subsidiary of a French multinational pharmaceutical company, have demanded a compensation package from the company in light of its decision to wrap up its operations in Bangladesh. Sanofi Bangladesh Employees Welfare Committee President Anower Hossen said: “If our demands are not met within 72 hours, we will go for tougher actions." He also sought government intervention to ensure that their demands were met.

The committee’s general secretary Sanjeeb Kumar Chakraborty said that they had issued a 48-hour ultimatum on October 21 on the same demand but the authorities did not respond. He said Sanofi should stay in Bangladesh as the company was a profitable one during the last ten years.  Sanofi has around 1,000 employees and many local sellers are directly associated with the business in Bangladesh.

 

The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association reiterated its demand for exemption from repayment of at least Tk 238 crore in loans for 133 ‘sick’ readymade garment factories. BGMEA President Rubana Huq at a meeting with Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal at his office in the Secretariat also demanded payout of a 1 percent special cash incentive without attaching any conditions.

In the budget for the current fiscal, the government announced 1 percent cash incentive for RMG exporters but the Bangladesh Bank imposed some conditions to avail the benefit. Earlier, the BGMEA president placed before the finance minister a charter of demands that included the waiver from repayment of loans for ‘sick’ industries. To help the local apparel exports become more competitive worldwide, the BGMEA chief also urged the minister to devalue the local currency against the US dollar by Tk 2.

 

State-run Teletalk is getting its 2G licence renewed without clearing about Tk 6,000 crore of dues. The carrier owes about Tk 5,700 crore as spectrum charge and another few hundred crore in social obligation fees and some other charges. As per rules, all dues must be cleared for licences to be renewed.

Teletalk’s 2G licence had expired on August 31 and Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission has already given the operator the no-objection certificate to continue its business, which will see the certificate renewal backdated. As of August, the state-owned carrier has 43.87 lakh active customers with 2.7 percent market share. In the middle of last year, the operator hit its peak of 49 lakh active users and 3.5 percent market share. Mustafa Jabbar, telecom minister, has said “we need to count Teletalk as an instrument of the government’s service wing.”

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