Japan approves $700b stimulus package
Japan’s government on Tuesday approved more than $700 billion in fresh stimulus to fund projects from anti-coronavirus measures to green tech, the country’s third such package this financial year. The Covid-19 pandemic has wrought global economic carnage and countries across the world have announced massive cash injections.Japan’s latest package, worth 73.6 trillion yen ($708 billion), includes loan schemes and actual government spending of around 40 trillion yen. It is the first stimulus spending Prime Minister YoshihideSuga has announced since taking office in September, and comes as Japan faces a spike in Covid-19 infections, with record numbers of new cases reported in recent weeks.The package also features a $20 billion green tech fund designed to support projects from renewable energy development to pollution reduction. In October, Suga set a 2050 deadline for Japan to become carbon neutral, significantly firming up the country’s climate change commitments.
PIFIC rolls out $40m fund for four sectors today
A US $40 million worth of fund will be made available for the country’s four targeted sectors to address their infrastructure constraints to help diversify the export basket and create fresh and quality jobs. The Public Investment Facility for Infrastructure Constraints (PIFIC) fund will be rolled out under the Export Competitiveness for Jobs (EC4J) project implemented by the commerce ministry with support from World Bank Group.The $40 million PIFIC facility is expected to cover 15-20 infrastructure projects within industrial clusters of the selected sectors across the country. About $0.5 million to $2.0 million grant will be given to each small works while $2.0 million to $10 million will be provided for larger ones, the project director said, adding that a feasibility study must be conducted for larger works.PIFIC is accepting applications from industrial associations, business groups or consortiums of industrial clusters. It will select suitable applications and provide guidance and actively assist the nominated candidates in formulating a complete project proposal.
Dutch tech can boost farm output of Bangladesh
Bangladesh needs a huge amount of Dutch investment and support of its superior technologies to boost productivity in agriculture, speakers told a summit yesterday. Half of Bangladesh’s population is engaged in agriculture, where there is scope for growth through the adoption of Dutch technologies, said FA Ansarey, managing director and chief executive officer of ACI Agribusiness.”Bangladesh-Netherlands Investment Summit 2020″ organised by the Bangladesh embassy in the northwest European country with support from the Dutch government.Bangladesh had a rapidly growing middle class which was set to be the next big potential consumers. BoukeHamminga, commercial director at industrial equipment supplier Royal Pas Reform, said his organisation has been providing agricultural machinery to Bangladesh since 2004, enabling the mechanisation of the agriculture sector.
Bumpy road awaits exporters
The rise of mega trading blocs, potential adverse consequences of LDC graduation, growing competition in key markets and a weakened multilateral system will make Bangladesh’s trade journey challenging during the eighth five-year plan period, a think-tank said yesterday. Average tariffs facing Bangladesh’s export are set to rise by 9 per cent, and potential shipment loss could be to the tune of 14 per cent following the graduation to a developing nation in 2024, the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) said.Following graduation, Bangladesh will lose 1 per cent to 4 per cent of its annual exports amounting to $7 billion, said ShamsulAlam, a member of the General Economics Division of the Planning Commission. He spoke during a virtual discussion on “The Eighth Five Year Plan: Addressing Covid-19 Challenges and Sustainable LDC Graduation”, organised by the CPD.The possible fall in the export (around 5.7 per cent annually) could cause a loss in employment, particularly in the garment sector. An estimated 538,770 jobs could be lost due to preference erosion.The 8FYP covers the midway journey towards attaining the goals and targets of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.Zahid Hussain, a former lead economist of the World Bank’s Dhaka office, said the country needs relief from the virus and the economic distress in the next two years. The support measures unveiled by the government have to be implemented properly, he said. Along with monetary support, the role of fiscal policies has to be strengthened as the former alone can’t help the country ride out the crisis.