Nation this week
The United Nations is making plans to help Bangladesh relocate thousands of Rohingya refugees to a remote island off its coast. According to Reuters, a document drawn up by the World Food Programme (WFP), the UN's food aid arm, shows the agency has supplied the Bangladesh government with detailed plans - including a timeline and budget - of how it could provide for thousands of Rohingya transported to the island within weeks. It stresses that any relocation should be voluntary and done "in accordance with humanitarian principles and code of conduct".
The document seen by Reuters, labelled as a "Concept of Operations" and dated March 12, outlines how the organization and its partners "may facilitate the identification, staging, forward movement, reception, and sustainment of refugees" on Bhasan Char, estimating an initial appeal for donor funding of between $8.6 -$19 million.
Leaders of three of the most powerful business associations of the country-BGMEA, BTMA and BKMEA -urged the government not to raise gas prices saying that they would have no option but to fold-up business if gas price is hiked unreasonably. "How could we sustain our industries if gas price is hiked 132 percent as proposed by the gas distribution companies?" said Siddiqur Rahman, president of BGMEA, while reading out a joint statement of the three leading business bodies at a press conference.
He said the proposed gas price hike, if implemented, will have a big impact on the overall garment and textile sector as it will increase the overall cost by 5 percent, since gas is a primary fuel of many linkage facilities like boiler, washing and finishing machines. The country's garment sector has apparently been under tremendous pressure following the labour wage increase.
Elections to 117 upazila parishads concluded amid a low turnout of voters and several incidents of violence in the third phase of the fifth UP elections. The low voter turnout was similar to what was observed during the first and second phases. Besides, several incidents of violence and irregularities were reported from different areas.
Five people including a policeman sustained bullet injuries in separate clashes during elections in Chattogram and Cox's Bazar districts. An activist of ruling Awami League was killed by leader of Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (Jasad) in post-upazila polls violence at Lakshmipur village of Mirpur Upazila ibn Kushtia. A group of Awami League supporters allegedly vandalised seven houses of Hindu community during post upazila polls violence in Tikari village of Sadar upazila in Jhenidah. And the authorities were forced to suspend voting at all 89 centres of Katiadi upazila in Kishoreganj following allegations of huge irregularities.
The banking sector's capital base eroded alarmingly last year on the back of an increase in default loans. As of December last year, banks' capital adequacy ratio (CAR), which determines the adequacy of banks' capital in relation to their risk exposure, stood at 10.5 percent, down from 10.8 percent a year earlier, according to data from the central bank.
Banks were required to keep at least 11.8 percent CAR in December last year as per the roadmap set by the central bank for implementing Basel III, a set of international banking regulations developed by the Bank for International Settlements in order to promote stability in the international financial system, this year. From the first quarter of this year, their CAR must be 12.50 percent or else they will face trouble in conducting business with foreign banks in line with Basel III regulations.
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