The Prime Minister’s son and adviser on ICT Affairs, Sajeeb Wazed Joy, has come out in favour of a negotiated settlement to the long-running dispute between telecoms regulator BTRC and two of the country’s leading mobile networks, Grameenphone and Robi. During a meeting with officials of the carriers, BTRC and the National Board of Revenue, Joy is said to have voiced his preference for an out-of-court settlement, instead of appointing outside administrators to run the two companies and realise the money.
Following an audit, the telecom regulator in 2016 claimed that Grameenphone owed it Tk 12,579.95 crore and Robi Tk 867.23 crore for dodging revenue share, taxes and late fees accumulated until December 2014. The companies maintain that the audit was flawed. The BTRC last week got the government’s consent in appointing administrators for the two companies, after which the High Court issued a two-month injunction in favour of GP.
Bangladesh continues to witness decline in overseas jobs over the last two years amid unabated malpractices in recruitment process, falling demand in the Gulf countries and an absence of effective steps to explore new markets. More than a million Bangladeshis secured jobs overseas in 2017 but that came down to 734,181 last year, according to the Bureau of Manpower Employment and Training.
In the first eight months of this year, the number was 417,084, and it is projected to just cross 625,000 by the year end. Labour migration experts and recruiting businesses fear this trend will affect the inflow of remittance, create pressure on local job market and the economy. An estimated one crore Bangladeshis working abroad sent home around $15 billion in remittances last year, which experts say could be much higher if the malpractices in recruitment are checked and migrant rights ensured overseas.
More than 50 of the country’s top cricketers announced that they would boycott all cricketing activities unless the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) met an 11-point list of demands put forward by them. National stars Shakib Al Hasan (also captain), Tamim Iqbal, Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah Riyad were leading figures behind the announcement, which was made during a press conference at the Academy Ground in Mirpur.
The players’ strike means that the upcoming third round of the National Cricket League (NCL), the national training camp from October 25 to prepare for the tour of India, and the tour itself may be in jeopardy. The 11-point list includes resolution of payment irregularities in the Dhaka Premier League (DPL), a return to the players’ transfer system in the DPL, a return to the franchise-based model of the BPL, improvements in infrastructure & facilities and increased payments for first-class cricketers.
The government has apparently identified about 4,000 Rohingyas who would form the first batch of refugees to be relocated to Bhasan Char from their Cox’s Bazar camps. Officials claimed to be in touch with the UN agencies on facilitating their transfer to the remote Bay of Bengal island in Noakhali.
“We want to take good preparations to start shifting Rohingya people to Bhasan Char and to this end we would begin dispatching officers to the island from November 1,” disaster management and relief secretary Shah Kamal said. Meanwhile, the National Implementation Committee for Administrative Reform in a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina approved a Home Ministry proposal for establishing a new police station at Bhasan Char.