Health insurance brings smile to RMG workers
Garment worker Mira breathed a sigh of relief when she learnt last November that she would no longer have to bear her healthcare bills. Paying an annual premium of Tk 100, the worker of Millennium Textiles (Southern) and Fashion House Ltd in Ashulia became the holder of a healthcare insurance policy. The policy would cover her inpatient medical bills amounting to Tk 12,000 and outpatient bills, including medicine, of Tk 3,000 for the year. Within three months of enlisting in the scheme, she fell ill with abdominal pains and nausea. Without much fanfare, she headed on over to the company designated hospital — Centre for Woman and Child Health in Ashulia — and was quickly treated by the doctors and handed over medicine worth Tk 1,000. The scheme took care of the bills. A total of 10,000 workers from five factories in Savar, Ashulia and Gazipur have enlisted in the insurance scheme. Of the yearly premium of Tk 575 per worker, Tk 375 comes from Carrefour Foundation, a non-profit organisation working against exclusion. The remainder is divided between the workers and factory owners. Of the 2,200 employed at Millennium Textiles, 1,600 have already enrolled in the scheme. Millennium Textiles adopted the life insurance policy recently, where the workers will receive Tk 30,000 in the case of death in addition to the health insurance. Though health insurance is not compulsory by law, it should be introduced for the betterment of factories since it boosts productivity, reduces workers’ absence and encourages less migration
BGMEA ELECTION: Schedule next month
The schedule for the election of the executive committee of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) is set to be announced next month as the tenure of the current board will end on April 22. Usually, the general members of the BGMEA vote to elect the leaders of the garment sector’s apex trade body. But, in 2015, no election took place, after the two panels — Sammilito Parishad and Forum — had announced their nominees. But later, the Forum nominees pulled out, leaving the Sammilito Parishad’s presidential candidate victorious by default. Since the Sammilito Parishad is currently leading the BGMEA, it is now Forum’s turn to preside over the trade body. The association has turned into an important trade body over the years and is contributing hugely to the economy, as the garment sector accounts for more than 80 percent of the national exports. Last fiscal year, the members of the BGMEA exported garment items worth $30.61 billion, registering 8.76 percent year-on-year growth, according to data from the Export Promotion Bureau.
5G: a revolution not without risks
The recent diplomatic dust-up over Chinese telecoms company Huawei, one of the leaders in developing equipment for fifth-generation mobile networks, has demonstrated that this technology which promises to enable an internet of things and self-driving vehicles also poses risks. 5G stands for the fifth generation of mobile network technology, which should begin to be rolled out in 2020 in Asia and the United States. Each generation has offered improvements in data transmission speed and capacity, and with 5G the networks are really set to make the transition from telephony to other objects. With 5G, transmission speeds should accelerate sufficiently to allow for self-driving cars to take to the roads or for doctors to conduct operations remotely. The promises are always hyped, but the delivery is often a disappointment. Early buyers of 4G smartphones were often let down: their handsets could handle nippy speeds but the backbone of networks were often not yet bulked up to handle the higher data flow. Operators have now built up the capacity of their backbone networks, but if 5G is to keep its promise the number of base stations needed is enormous. Otherwise, users will be forced back onto slower networks. Meanwhile operators are having to invest billions to roll out 5G, which is an issue because competition in many countries has hemmed in prices companies can charge consumers.
Qatar Petroleum to invest $20b in US in major expansion
Qatar Petroleum (QP) is looking to invest at least $20 billion in the United States over the coming few years, its chief executive told Reuters, after the Gulf Arab state quit OPEC, freeing Doha from potential legal risks in the United States. Saad al-Kaabi, who holds the energy portfolio of the world’s top liquefied natural gas (LNG) producer, also said on Sunday QP aimed to announce its foreign partners for the new LNG trains it is building by the middle of next year. But he added QP could carry out the project alone, with no international oil company at its side, if no good offers were made.
Shenzhen, China’s reform pioneer, leads tech revolution
The southern city of Shenzhen is the symbol of the transformative reforms launched by China 40 years ago: former fishing villages that morphed into a global manufacturing hub. Today Shenzhen is again at the heart of a new policy aimed at turning China into a hi-tech innovator and shed its reputation as an assembly line for foreign companies or — worse — an imitator. Modern skyscrapers housing corporations and ambitious startups tower over the mega-city of 13 million people — among them is Wu Yebin, 35, who runs his own tech firm from his 35th floor office. Germany, the United States, Japan, South Korea… All developed countries have done this to develop their manufacturing industry. Silicon Valley is still way ahead in artificial intelligence. But you can find the electronic or mechanical component you need three times faster in Shenzhen. People see Silicon Valley as the tech Mecca. They underestimate Shenzhen a lot because they don’t know what’s happening here. Some of China’s hi-tech ambitions are running into suspicions about its intentions abroad, with the United States and others fearing that they pose security and espionage risks. Telecommunications equipment giant Huawei’s own global expansion has faced setbacks, with some of its services rejected in certain Western countries and its chief financial officer detained in Canada on a US extradition request over alleged Iran sanctions violations.
Mr. Mohammad Ali Khokon becomes BTMA president
Mohammad Ali Khokon has been elected as the president of Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMA) for the term 2019-2020, said a press release on Saturday. Alamgir Samsul Alamin, Abdullah Al Mamun and Abdullah Al Mahmud have been elected as vice presidents of the association. The election results of board of directors and office bearers of BTMA were declared by its election board chairman Jahangir Alamin at the 35th annual general meeting, presided over by the outgoing president Tapan Chowdhury. Mohammad Ali Khokon is the managing director of Maksons Group. He is also the managing director of Maksons Spinning Mills and Metro Spinning. He started his career after completion of MSS from Dhaka University. He has an experience of 32 years in textile business, said the release. Alamgir Shamsul Alamin is a director of Shamsul Alamin Group. Soon after completion of BBA from United States of America he joined the group. At present, he is the director of SA Spinning Mills, Fuad Spinning Mills and Shamsul Alamin Cotton Mills. Currently he is the president of Real State Housing Association of Bangladesh
Boeing opens first 737 plant in China amid US-Sino trade war
Boeing Co opened its first 737 completion plant in China on Saturday, a strategic investment aimed at building a sales lead over arch-rival Airbus in one of the world’s top travel markets that has been overshadowed by the US-China trade war. The world’s largest planemaker also delivered the first of its top-selling 737s completed at the facility in Zhoushan, about 290 km (180 miles) southeast of Shanghai, to state carrier Air China during a ceremony on Saturday with top executives from both companies. Boeing invested $33 million last year to take a majority stake in a joint venture with state-owned Commercial Aircraft Corp of China (COMAC) to build the completion centre, which installs interiors and paints liveries. Chicago-based Boeing calls itself the top US exporter and delivered more than one out of every four jetliners it made last year to customers in China, where it forecasts demand for 7,700 new airplanes over the next 20 years valued at $1.2 trillion. Boeing hopes the plant will relieve pressure at the Seattle-area facility where it plans to boost production next year of its best-selling 737 narrow-body aircraft but has struggled with production delays.
Local and Global Stock Indices *
|Index Name||Close Value||Value Change||Percentage Change|
World Commodities *
|Commodity||Close Value||Value Change||Percentage Change|
|Crude Oil (WTI)||$ 51.33||↑0.13||↑0.25%|
|Crude Oil (Brent)||$ 60.36||↑0.08||↑0.13%|
|Gold Spot||$ 1,237.85||↓1.17||↓0.09%|
Major Currencies Exchange Rates Movement in Last Seven Days *
|USD 1||BDT 83.6725|
|GBP 1||BDT 105.2852|
|EUR 1||BDT 94.6646|
|INR 1||BDT 1.1660|
*CURRENCIES AND COMMODITIES ARE TAKEN FROM BLOOMBERG.