Muhith’s last bang
The size of the national budget for the 2018-19 fiscal, slated to be Finance Minister AMA Muhith’s last, will be in the region of Tk 460,000 crore. It would continue a trend followed over most of the last decade that the Awami League has governed with Muhith as finance minister, that has seen the government take up ambitious programmes with large increases in the annual budget from year to year. Even as the public sector’s inability to implement the programmes has been consistently exposed, leading to revised budgets in the third quarter of every fiscal, Muhith has remained unapologetic in scaling up ambition. The announcement this week means the next budget hence will represent an increase of 15 percent over the original budget for 2017-18, which was Tk 400,266 crore before being revised. It means the size of the national budget will have shot up by nearly 5 times (from Tk 98,000 crore in 2009) over the course of Muhith’s time in office.
Roads claiming lives and limbs
Rozina Akhtar, who had lost a leg in a road accident in the capital on April 20, died at Dhaka Medical College Hospital on April 29. Doctors said she had contracted septicaemia, an infection of blood, which might have caused her death. She was shifted to the intensive care unit (ICU) of DMCH on Saturday as her condition worsened, said Partha Sankar Paul, resident surgeon of the hospital’s burn and plastic surgery unit. Originally from Mymensingh, Rozina had been working as a domestic help in Banani for nine years to support her seven-member family. She lost her right leg as a BRTC bus ran over her when she was reportedly jaywalking in Banani around 8:30am.
Lightning strikes again and again
Lightning and thunderstorms killed at least 31 people as nor’westers raged through the country on April April 29-30, reported our sister newsagency UNB. Life was particularly disrupted in the capital, after heavy rain inundated many roads. The nor’wester swept through the capital and most of the country from 6am to 12pm on the first day, with the highest 69-millimetre rainfall recorded in Mymensingh, according to Met office records. Around 55 millimetres of rainfall was recorded in the capital during the six hours when many thoroughfares went under knee-deep water in Dhanmondi, Mohammadpur, Farmgate, Karwan Bazar, Begunbari, Badda, Green Road, Mirpur, Shewrapara, Sher-e-Bangla Nagar and Old Dhaka. It took hours for the water to recede, bringing misery to public life.
Pathao on the move
The country’s leading two-wheeled ride-hailing firm Pathao closed a pre-Series B round of financing from a number of investors including Go-Jek, the Indonesian firm that it is modelled on, with a valuation of over $100 million, according to a company statement. Other investors in the round include Openspace Ventures (formerly NSI Ventures), Osiris Group and Battery Road Digital Holdings, Pathao said. While the quantum of funds raised in the round was not disclosed, previously it was reported that the company was looking to raise at least $30 million. Pathao CEO Hussain M Elius told DEALSTREETASIA that the fresh funds will be used for “continued growth in more cities, expansion of food vertical and launch of PathaoPay”.