Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Friday handed over the Begum Rokeya Padak 2022 to five women for their outstanding contributions towards society, women's education and women empowerment. Sheikh Hasina distributed the Padak at a program in the city's Osmani Memorial Auditorium, marking the 142nd birth and 90th death anniversary of Begum Rokeya Shakhawat Hossain.

The women and children affairs ministry arranged the event to celebrate Begum Rokeya Day 2022 and distribute Begum Rokeya Padak 2022.

Hasina handed over the prestigious medals to five women for their outstanding contributions towards the society, women education and women empowerment. The Women and Children Affairs Ministry organized the event marking the 142nd birth and 90th death anniversary of Begum Rokeya Shakhawat Hossain. The PM focused on her endeavours to ensure the presence of women in different sectors and posts, including the higher court, the armed forces, Border Guard Bangladesh, the posts of secretary, deputy commissioner (DC), superintendent of police (SP) and even officer in-charge (OC) after formation of her government in 1996 and 2009.

The Bangladesh Bank (BB) has formed a Tk 5000 crore Green Transformation Fund (GTF) to provide finance for environment-friendly infrastructures in production and export-oriented industries. Long term loans will be given from this fund. The maximum interest rate will be 5 per cent. A circular in this regard was issued from the Sustainable Finance Department of Bangladesh Bank on Wednesday (December 7).

Director of SFD Department Md Rajab Ali, who signed the circular, said Green Transformation Fund (GTF) has been formed to promote sustainable growth in export and manufacturing-oriented industries with a view to establishing a green economy. Eligible customers from this fund will be provided refinancing facility against bank financing after payment of import price of equipment and machineries. Loan facilities include water efficiency in irrigation, water conservation and management, waste management, resource efficiency and recycling, renewable energy, energy efficiency, heat and temperature management, ventilation and wind flow efficiency, working environment improvement initiatives and other areas.

The VAT sector accounts for more than 37% of the overall revenue collected by the National Board of Revenue. The amount of money going into state coffers from this sector is increasing, and in November of FY23, the amount of VAT collected was up 17% over the same month in FY22.

The National Board of Revenue (NBR) decided to mark National VAT Day and National VAT Week from December 10 to 15 in order to raise awareness and encourage the general public. Apart from this, VAT payers will be given special services directly from Circles, Divisions and Commissionerates regarding registration, returns, e-payments, A-payments, purchase and sale accounting, issue of invoices, use of EFD/SDC machines, he added.

Bangladesh is planning to tap into cooperation possibilities with Gulf countries, focusing on energy and food security after a recent agreement on future partnerships with the Gulf Cooperation Council. Dhaka and the GCC - an intergovernmental economic union of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE - signed a memorandum establishing a framework for cooperation 18.

"Energy cooperation is one of our topmost priority issues which will be discussed during joint consultation. Besides, boosting political cooperation will also be a priority area," said Iqbal Hussain Khan, director general of West Asia at the Bangladesh Ministry of Foreign Affairs. More details and specific proposals are expected to be announced after upcoming talks between Bangladeshi and GCC authorities.

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