Sri Lanka China venture to make specialty tea

8 Apr

TOKYO, July 16 (Reuters): Pressure mounted on Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso? Thursday after ruling party lawmakers called for a meeting to debate the party’s ailing fortunes at which his harshest critics are expected to seek his resignation.
Aso’s plan for an election on August 30 — announced just a day after the opposition Democrats trounced the conservative Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) in a Tokyo metropolitan vote-has sparked chaos in the ruling party.
Surveys show the opposition Democratic Party will win the national election, which must be held by October.
Only 16.3 per cent of respondents to a poll published by Jiji news agency Thursday said they supported Aso and his cabinet, down 7.8 percentage points from a similar poll a month ago.
Asked which party they would vote for in the election, 37.4 per cent opted for the Democrats and 19.5 per cent for the LDP.
A Democrat victory would end more than 50 years of almost unbroken rule by the business-friendly LDP and improve chances of resolving a policy deadlock caused by a divided parliament, where the opposition controls the upper house and can delay bills.
A petition demanding the meeting of LDP lawmakers was handed to LDP Secretary-General Hiroyuki Hosoda, top government spokesman Takeo Kawamura told reporters.
Under party rules, the meeting must be held within seven days, although Aso could dissolve the lower house first.
Kawamura said Aso was ready to respond if the meeting was held, but would likely stick to his election plan.
“Our term of office is fixed and the prime minister’s choice of August 30 is close to the deadline,” he added. “I don’t think the prime minister will change his mind.”
Aso has come under fire for a series of policy flip-flops and gaffes at a time when Japan is suffering its worst recession in 60 years.
In a further sign of disarray, Finance Minister Kaoru Yosano-widely seen as the architect of the Aso administration’s economic policies-and Agriculture Minister Shigeru Ishiba are among those who signed the petition.
The two met the premier Wednesday to press home their views on the party’s difficulties following the loss in the Tokyo assembly election.
It was not clear, however, how many of those who signed the petition want to ditch Aso.
Aso has made it clear he has no intention of resigning and a majority of lawmakers at the meeting would be needed to bring forward a vote for the party leadership set for September. Only a handful of lawmakers have openly called for Aso to resign.
Although there are potential alternatives within the party, including Health Minister Yoichi Masuzoe, analysts say a last-minute change of leadership ahead of the election would do little to boost the party’s fortunes.
“Among those who signed the petition, there are some who want to change the party leader, while there are also opinions that we need to review the outcome of the Tokyo election,” former prime minister Yoshiro Mori told a television programme Thursday. “Some also want to have a place to discuss the manifesto.”

TOKYO, July 16 (Reuters): Pressure mounted on Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso? Thursday after ruling party lawmakers called for a meeting to debate the party’s ailing fortunes at which his harshest critics are expected to seek his resignation.
Aso’s plan for an election on August 30 — announced just a day after the opposition Democrats trounced the conservative Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) in a Tokyo metropolitan vote-has sparked chaos in the ruling party.
Surveys show the opposition Democratic Party will win the national election, which must be held by October.
Only 16.3 per cent of respondents to a poll published by Jiji news agency Thursday said they supported Aso and his cabinet, down 7.8 percentage points from a similar poll a month ago.
Asked which party they would vote for in the election, 37.4 per cent opted for the Democrats and 19.5 per cent for the LDP.
A Democrat victory would end more than 50 years of almost unbroken rule by the business-friendly LDP and improve chances of resolving a policy deadlock caused by a divided parliament, where the opposition controls the upper house and can delay bills.
A petition demanding the meeting of LDP lawmakers was handed to LDP Secretary-General Hiroyuki Hosoda, top government spokesman Takeo Kawamura told reporters.

Table 1: Savings, Investment, Current Account Balance 2006-09 (%GDP)
Gross Domestic Investment Gross National Savings SavingsSurplus Current Account Balance
Bangladesh 24.2 29.2 5.0 1.0
India 35.9 37.1 1.2 -2.89
Pakistan 23 24 1.0 -8.37
Sri Lanka 27.2 22.7 -4.5 -7.32
Nepal 28 28.5 0.5 2.62
China 42.9 48.7 5.8 10.00
Vietnam 38.7 32.8 -5.9 -9.38
Source: Asian Development Bank (ADB)

First and foremost, it signifies our inability to invest all our available resources. Second, it could be that our financial intermediation is not efficient. Savers and investors are two divergent groups. It is the financial system ? banks and non-bank financial institutions ? that bring savers and investors together. In a smoothly functioning financial system, such an excess of savings (investible capital) would have reduced interest rates, increased the demand for investment and restored savings-investment equilibrium. That none of this is happening tells us that there is some stickiness or major inefficiency in the financial intermediation process. Third, we have been made aware of the poor performance of ADP implementation in recent years, which has had the effect of reducing the share of public investment in total investment. Problems with power and infrastructure have pulled back potential private investment as well. Lately, the global economic slowdown has compounded the problem. So the overall investment climate has not been conducive to result in an improvement in the investment-GDP ratio, which has remained stagnant for nearly five years and shows no sign of improvement.
????????? There is one more dimension to the paradox not to be ignored. There is a one-to-one relationship between current account of the balance of payments and national accounts. For several years running, our current account has been posting a modest surplus, which was close to one percent of GDP in the last fiscal year. A current account surplus implies that the economy generated more income from domestic production and foreign earnings (remittances) than it spent on goods and services ? domestic and foreign. In national accounting terms, this corresponds to the excess of savings over investment. That is to say, the savings-investment surplus should equal ? or approach equality with — current account surplus, which should then be also 5 percent of GDP rather than only one percent. How do we explain the incongruence of the two figures?
????????? The aggregate economic relationship point to the fact that some of our national savings is not invested in the domestic economy but abroad. In the absence of capital account convertibility, this would not be permissible, though India has allowed Indians to invest abroad under limited convertibility of the capital account. It is common knowledge that a significant part of worker remittances might not be coming through official channels. That creates one scope, among others, for investment of national savings abroad. In addition, both exporters and importers have multiple conduits ? well known to those who mange the country?s financial system — for parking resources abroad outside the purview of the non-convertible capital account regime.
????????? All this points to the fact that capital in the present day and age could be quite mobile. It would be na?ve to think that all savings of Bangladeshis are in the domestic economic system. Although our current account is convertible (done in 1994), non-convertibility of capital account puts numerous bounds on current account transactions. So the incentive for parking domestic capital outside is not eliminated. These days, with interest rates in developed financial markets being at near zero, the relatively high returns in domestic banks and financial institutions should attract resources parked outside the country to be ploughed back in though other uncertainties of life and limb in Bangladesh might still prompt the flight of capital. I reckon it is only a matter of time when restrictions on outward and inward movement of capital will have to be relaxed, even under the regime of non-convertibility.? This is more so because of the new initiative of government to encourage public-private partnership (PPP), particularly in mega-projects. Unless the restrictive rules of capital mobility are relaxed, it will remain a battle for private capital to move in or out; and an uphill task for those in the private sector trying to mobilize funds from international capital markets.
????????? Dr. Sattar is Chairman, Policy Research Institute of Bangladesh.
?Research support was provided by PRI?s Rubayat Chowdhury
zaidisattar@gmail.com

Table 1: Savings, Investment, Current Account Balance 2006-09 (%GDP)
Gross Domestic Investment Gross National Savings SavingsSurplus Current Account Balance
Bangladesh 24.2 29.2 5.0 1.0
India 35.9 37.1 1.2 -2.89
Pakistan 23 24 1.0 -8.37
Sri Lanka 27.2 22.7 -4.5 -7.32
Nepal 28 28.5 0.5 2.62
China 42.9 48.7 5.8 10.00
Vietnam 38.7 32.8 -5.9 -9.38
Source: Asian Development Bank (ADB)

First and foremost, it signifies our inability to invest all our available resources. Second, it could be that our financial intermediation is not efficient. Savers and investors are two divergent groups. It is the financial system ? banks and non-bank financial institutions ? that bring savers and investors together. In a smoothly functioning financial system, such an excess of savings (investible capital) would have reduced interest rates, increased the demand for investment and restored savings-investment equilibrium. That none of this is happening tells us that there is some stickiness or major inefficiency in the financial intermediation process. Third, we have been made aware of the poor performance of ADP implementation in recent years, which has had the effect of reducing the share of public investment in total investment. Problems with power and infrastructure have pulled back potential private investment as well. Lately, the global economic slowdown has compounded the problem. So the overall investment climate has not been conducive to result in an improvement in the investment-GDP ratio, which has remained stagnant for nearly five years and shows no sign of improvement.
????????? There is one more dimension to the paradox not to be ignored. There is a one-to-one relationship between current account of the balance of payments and national accounts. For several years running, our current account has been posting a modest surplus, which was close to one percent of GDP in the last fiscal year. A current account surplus implies that the economy generated more income from domestic production and foreign earnings (remittances) than it spent on goods and services ? domestic and foreign. In national accounting terms, this corresponds to the excess of savings over investment. That is to say, the savings-investment surplus should equal ? or approach equality with — current account surplus, which should then be also 5 percent of GDP rather than only one percent. How do we explain the incongruence of the two figures?
????????? The aggregate economic relationship point to the fact that some of our national savings is not invested in the domestic economy but abroad. In the absence of capital account convertibility, this would not be permissible, though India has allowed Indians to invest abroad under limited convertibility of the capital account. It is common knowledge that a significant part of worker remittances might not be coming through official channels. That creates one scope, among others, for investment of national savings abroad. In addition, both exporters and importers have multiple conduits ? well known to those who mange the country?s financial system — for parking resources abroad outside the purview of the non-convertible capital account regime.
????????? All this points to the fact that capital in the present day and age could be quite mobile. It would be na?ve to think that all savings of Bangladeshis are in the domestic economic system. Although our current account is convertible (done in 1994), non-convertibility of capital account puts numerous bounds on current account transactions. So the incentive for parking domestic capital outside is not eliminated. These days, with interest rates in developed financial markets being at near zero, the relatively high returns in domestic banks and financial institutions should attract resources parked outside the country to be ploughed back in though other uncertainties of life and limb in Bangladesh might still prompt the flight of capital. I reckon it is only a matter of time when restrictions on outward and inward movement of capital will have to be relaxed, even under the regime of non-convertibility.? This is more so because of the new initiative of government to encourage public-private partnership (PPP), particularly in mega-projects. Unless the restrictive rules of capital mobility are relaxed, it will remain a battle for private capital to move in or out; and an uphill task for those in the private sector trying to mobilize funds from international capital markets.
????????? Dr. Sattar is Chairman, Policy Research Institute of Bangladesh.
?Research support was provided by PRI?s Rubayat Chowdhury
zaidisattar@gmail.com

Inter-city High Speed Train Image

Tejgaon Railway Station as a transport hub with Long-term Vision:? This is an excellent and convenient location for linking existing railway, future light train, city bus transport or future subway and other transport network. Provision for subway, mass rail transit stations in at least 3 grade separation must be arranged.? Even if it is not possible to develop it fully immediately, no short-sighted hasty plan should be allowed to destroy its long-term potentiality.? No land should be allowed to be grabbed or wasted for other purpose. Any unplanned development in and around it must be stopped immediately until long-term comprehensive plan is ready and approved by all concerned.

Elevated Light train passing through population centers:? In addition to a light train line planned (as per RAJUK map) from Kaliganj to Gazipur via north of Uttara, Savar and other places there, a light train or elevated light train service may start from Tongi to touch Pallabi, Mirpur, Mohammadpur, Dhanmodi, New market, Azimpur, and proceed further to Saidabad, Jatrabari and Demra.

Circular railway, elevated light train: ?As in most of the big cities with land constraint, a circular railway touching all population centers of the city, from where long distance railway and roads move out tangentially or radially to link satellite cities, may be built in Dhaka and Chittagong..? Many new roads or railway lines may have to be elevated to save wetland, canals and rivers.

Train Stations:? The train stations may not initially be costly structures. Most of the railway stations must be easy to access, have entrance level platforms, have sufficient parking space, and have provisions for bus stops to pick up and unload passengers, have places for taxis to wait in line to pick up passengers, and other facilities.??????

Public Bus service shall be an essential mode of transport, but it must be systematic and planned. Buses and their operation must be standardized. One route may be licensed to any one city bus operator company. The practical management aspects may be documented for effective, smooth transport suited to all age group of passengers. Ad hoc measures should? be avoided.
Manufacture of Railway coach locally: The railway workshops which already undertook some manufacturing works may be revamped and given technological input for local manufacture of various rail line equipments.
Railway Test Track:? To maintain or improve the quality of the railway service, railway authority shall build and use a 7- to 15- km test track for test, experimentation and improvement.
Development of Water way: ?We may fully develop and utilize our river and waterway transport system by utilizing part of the existing infrastructure, which the government is also considering.
Subway:? Subway may not be our immediate choice, in view of risk of inundation of major areas of the city every year and our lack of technological capability to counter the effects? immediately. In future it may be essential for connecting missing links.
About 15-feet wide footpath may be necessary for subway exit and entrance. Management of traffic and establishment of continuous, safe foot path will ease much of the existing traffic congestion within the city immediately, but it will not solve the problem without mass transit and public transport system.
Railway, neglected since 1880s, is now drawing governmental? attention for its development. If the government can show political will and courage to take initiative, massive work may be started without much or any foreign loan.
?We expect our government will not compromise with long-term national interest. Our economy is already bleeding. Let us start acting wisely, deploying relevant development policy instruments before it is too late.
?
(The writer is Chairman, The Institute of Development Strategy (IDS), Dhaka.
The views expressed here are his own, and not necessarily of the organization he represents. E-mail: idsrahman@msn.com Tel: 02-8855112) Sweden wins Eurovision Song Contest
Favourite Loreen has triumphed for Sweden at the 57th Eurovision Song Contest, with her club track Euphoria. The former Swedish Idol contestant led from early on in the voting at Baku, challenged only by Russia’s Buranovo Grannies, Serbia and hosts Azerbaijan.?? BBC. ly uncertain in key trading partner countries, particularly in Europe due to the unfolding sovereign debt crisis. The United States is showing some signs of recovery but overall the growth prospect for 2012 in advanced economies remains bleak while growth has slowed in developing countries (see Box 1).
Commodity prices continue to represent a key country risk. Global food prices remain at elevated levels. However, international rice prices have fallen thereby helping to keep domestic rice prices in check. Oil prices have fluctuated and crude oil prices rose sharply in the months leading to March 2012 due to escalating tensions in the Middle East. The price of a barrel of crude oil averaged USD 117 in March 2012, 13 per cent higher than its average in December 2011, and 8.0 per cent higher than a year earlier. Since then concerns over the global recovery has led to decline in commodity prices generally, with Brent crude oil dropping under USD90 a barrel for the first time since December 2010. However a further round of quantitative easing in advanced countries in light of the current Eurozone crisis could lead to speculative flows into commodity markets. Moreover the uncertainties in the Middle East continue to persist. Hence the current easing of commodity market prices may not sustain itself in 2012/13.
Recent economic developments: In FY10 and FY11 the global economy was reeling from the global financial crisis of 2009 and in order to avert an impact on the Bangladesh economy, broad money growth and specifically private sector credit growth were eased. The Bangladesh economy as a consequence of this stance, and other pro-active measures, emerged largely unscathed from the global crisis, averaging over 6.0 per cent growth between FY09 and FY11. In FY12 the economy faced a different set of challenges related to rising inflation and balance of payments pressures. In order to address these challenges BB’s monetary stance was more restrained than earlier years and yet able to accommodate a private sector credit growth rate (18.5 per cent) which was more than sufficient to meet the initial GDP growth target. The monetary growth targets set in January 2012 were met and the outcomes – falling inflation and containment of external sector pressures – were achieved.
Domestic output growth was projected at 7.0 per cent in the FY12 Budget assuming stable domestic and global economic conditions. Provisional figures from the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) estimate economic growth of 6.32 per cent in FY12 compared to 6.71 per cent in FY11. The main reason behind the lower number appears to be a slowing of agricultural growth which according to these provisional numbers has slowed from 5.13 per cent in FY11 to 2.53 per cent in FY12. This is largely due to the base effect of two consecutive years of record growth but also they could be revised upwards once the ‘Boro’ rice crop is accounted for. Yet industrial growth, which is the sector most affected by access to timely credit, is estimated at 9.47 per cent in FY12, higher than the 8.20 per cent in FY11. An important driver of this higher industrial growth is faster growth of small scale industries which increased from 5.84 per cent in FY 11 to an estimated 7.18 per cent in FY12. Service sector growth of 6.06 per cent in FY12 was marginally lower than the 6.22 per cent achieved in FY11 (see Table 1).

economy, broad money growth and specifically private sector credit growth were eased. The Bangladesh economy as a consequence of this stance, and other pro-active measures, emerged largely unscathed from the global crisis, averaging over 6.0 per cent growth between FY09 and FY11. In FY12 the economy faced a different set of challenges related to rising inflation and balance of payments pressures. In order to address these challenges BB’s monetary stance was more restrained than earlier years and yet able to accommodate a private sector credit growth rate (18.5 per cent) which was more than sufficient to meet the initial GDP growth target. The monetary growth targets set in January 2012 were met and the outcomes – falling inflation and containment of external sector pressures – were achieved.
Domestic output growth was projected at 7.0 per cent in the FY12 Budget assuming stable domestic and global economic conditions. Provisional figures from the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) estimate economic growth of 6.32 per cent in FY12 compared to 6.71 per cent in FY11. The main reason behind the lower number appears to be a slowing of agricultural growth which according to these provisional numbers has slowed from 5.13 per cent in FY11 to 2.53 per cent in FY12. This is largely due to the base effect of two consecutive years of record growth but also they could be revised upwards once the ‘Boro’ rice crop is accounted for. Yet industrial growth, which is the sector most affected by access to timely credit, is estimated at 9.47 per cent in FY12, higher than the 8.20 per cent in FY11. An important driver of this higher industrial growth is faster growth of small scale industries which increased from 5.84 per cent in FY 11 to an estimated 7.18 per cent in FY12. Service sector growth of 6.06 per cent in FY12 was marginally lower than the 6.22 per cent achieved in FY11 (see Table 1).

Challenges in sourcing cotton: Bangladesh has been facing enormous challenges to sourcing cotton to feed its twenty billion-dollar apparel industry for the last couple of years. For a country considered a rising textile power, the challenges have been the painful reminders of the intractable problems plaguing Bangladesh. India, for example, has been serving as one of the most important sources of cotton for Bangladesh. However, for the last couple of years, it has been proven to be one of the most unreliable and undependable sources.
Several events that marked the 2010-11 cotton-year, have changed the landscape of the Bangladesh cotton industry. It is widely believed that these events will continue to have impact on the cotton industry for a foreseeable period of time. Series of Indian governmental ban on cotton export in 2010 and 2011 triggered a rally in the cotton market that never experienced in the history of cotton. As a result, the New York ICE futures settled at an unprecedented level of 214 cents/lb in March 2011.
The Bangladeshi spinners took a considerable position in Indian cotton before the export ban in April 2010, only to find the Indian merchants default on contracts en masse, citing the governmental export ban. However, the import data suggests that the Indian cotton continued to pour in Bangladesh with a peak volume of 52,000 MT just in April 2010. Unfortunately most of the cotton did not reach to its intended buyers; rather, it was deliberately shipped to other buyers for extra profits, taking the advantage of already soaring market price. Indian merchants circumvent the system to ship cotton elsewhere to take advantage of the higher cotton prices.

(Dr Quamrul Ahsan is the Editor-in-Chief of Cotton Bangladesh, an international cotton and textile magazine and Md Sarwar Jahan is an Assistant Editor of Cotton Bangladesh. They can be reached at e-mail: editorinchief@cottonbangladesh.com)

Source: http://www.thefinancialexpress-bd.com/more.php?news_id=157947&date=2013-01-24

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