On trade and industry

 

Export Policy

Bangladesh formulates its Export Policy on a regular rolling basis with a mid-term range. The latest version was formulated in 2021, to span until 2024. The Export Policy usually identifies strategic sectors of the economy that have export potential, boost forex reserves and need policy support. For example, the current policy identifies 14 sectors. It also factors in general global trends (like the Fourth Industrial Revolution) and geostrategic risks (like the 2020 covid-19 pandemic-induced shocks). It also focuses on enhancing an open trade regime through partnership.

Export Promotion Bureau 

The Export Promotion Bureau is Bangladesh’s highly reputed export promotion agency. It formulates export policies. It takes value inputs from the private sector in the policy formulation process. It also conducts market diversification projects, which are aligned with the country’s development agenda.

Trade and Tariff Commission

The Trade and Tariff Commission is a trade-related agency to regulate the import policy of Bangladesh. It essentially places tariffs on imports by evaluating the economy’s needs. It also provides research and policy support on the competition regime, trade agreements, dumping practices and government budgeting. It maintains close consultation with local industries.

Industrial Policy

Bangladesh formulated its latest Industrial Policy in 2022. Previous versions were in 1973, 1975, 1982, 2005, 2010 and 2016. The policy is designed to expand the economy, create jobs and harmonise public–private efforts. It also aims at reducing poverty and unemployment by harnessing the IT-based Fourth Industrial Revolution. The target is to balance the interests of workers and entrepreneurial development. With a view to mitigating the scarcity of skilled workers in the industrial sector, the policy stresses the need for training. At present, the policy is undergoing a reform.

Small and Medium Enterprise Policy

Bangladesh formulated its Small Medium Enterprise (SME) Policy in 2019. This identifies SMEs as a core driver of the economy. The 7.8 million mapped SMEs across the country contribute 25% of gross domestic product.  The main target is to formalise them by linking them with finance, technology and markets. The strategic objectives include introducing a guarantee fund, providing soft condition loans to SMEs, assisting start-ups, providing training, offering facilities for women entrepreneurs, preparing a data server for SMEs and promoting environmentally friendly SME industries.

Small and Medium Enterprise Foundation

The Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Foundation is a government-established non-profit for SME development in Bangladesh. It is licensed by Bangladesh’s Ministry of Commerce. It implements SME policy strategies adopted by the government. It also has an advocacy arm. It facilitates financial support for SMEs and provides skills development and capacity development training. At the core of its mission is poverty eradication.

Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation

Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation (BSCIC) is a publicly owned body providing manufacturing facilitation to small industries of Bangladesh. It has a country-wide network to provide doorstep services (such as financing and capacity-building) for entrepreneurs. It also has 74 small industrial parks.

Bangladesh Investment Development Authority

Bangladesh Investment Development Authority is the apex investment promotion agency in Bangladesh. It was formed in 2016 under the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority Act. It represented a merger between two former agencies, the Board of Investment and the Privatisation Commission.

 

On health

 

Health Policy

Bangladesh formulated its first Health Policy in 2000. A revised policy was crafted in 2011. The policy acknowledges healthcare as a right and acts as an inter-sectoral document covering health, nutrition and population-related services. Its core pillars are health for all and strengthened emergency response. The policy identifies public health indicators such as life expectancy, infant mortality and immunisation outreach as areas for investment.

Mental Health Act

Bangladesh enacted its prime Mental Health Act in 2018, replacing the redundant colonial-era Lunacy Act of 1912. The law focuses on the welfare of citizens with mental health conditions around the country. There are provisions protecting their dignity and property while facilitating access to rehabilitation.

Mental Health Policy

Bangladesh formulated its Mental Health Policy in 2022. This is a framework of action for quality mental healthcare. The policy encapsulates comprehensive care, treatment and rehabilitation for people with mental health conditions. It also strengthens the governance of the mental healthcare sector.

Mental Health Strategy

Bangladesh formulated a decadal Mental Health Strategy (from 2020 to 2030) to establish a responsive country-wide system for mental healthcare services. This incorporates features to enable access to information.

Psychosocial Counselling Policy

Bangladesh formulated its Psychosocial Counselling Policy in 2016. The aim of this is to provide services related to mental health and overall wellbeing for a healthy nation. The policy has a 360° approach to ensuring the population is culturally, mentally and socially healthy. It aims to increase access to psychosocial services for all people.

Directorate General of Health Services

Bangladesh’s most empowered health sector agency is the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS). This is housed at the country’s health ministry. Implementing wide-ranging health services and programmes is its key responsibility. Additionally, DGHS offers technical assistance to the rest of the ministry.

Community clinics

Community clinics are public health centres that offer primary healthcare to people at the grassroots. This initiative was launched in 1998. It functions under a public–private partnership model. It is estimated that an average of 40 patients visit each clinic every day, 95% of them women and children. Maternal healthcare, reproductive health, family planning and diagnosis of non-communicable diseases are the main services in the community clinics.

 

On wildlife

 

Wildlife Crime Control Unit

Bangladesh established its wildlife crime-curbing agency, the Wildlife Crime Control Unit, in 2012. It is housed in the country’s environment and climate change ministry. The unit operates combining wildlife inspectors, forest guards and personnel from different law enforcement agencies. It has a forensics lab and also collaborates with different civil society organisations for technical support.

Wildlife Conservation and Security Act

Bangladesh enacted the main wildlife-related law, the Wildlife Conservation and Security Act, in 2012. The law strengthens the conservation, biodiversity safety and wildlife management regime of the country. It replaced the previous wildlife-related law, the Wildlife (Preservation) Act of 1974. The law identifies definitions, key stakeholders, violations and penalties relating to conservation.

Wildlife Conservation Masterplan

Bangladesh formulated its long-term conservation strategy, the Wildlife Conservation Masterplan 2015–2035, in 2015. It provides direction for the wildlife management of the country. It details the guidelines for land use and governance stipulated under other wildlife policies such as the Biodiversity Strategy, the Tiger Action Plan, the Elephant Conservation Action Plan and the Wildlife Crime Strategy.

Tiger Action Plan

Bangladesh formulated its decade-long tiger conservation policy, the Tiger Action Plan 2027, in 2018. Tigers are indigenous to Bangladesh, especially its Sundarbans mangrove forest. The tiger is also the symbolic ‘national animal’ of the country. This is the second policy document on tigers, the first one having been published in 2009. It has three major parts: the importance of tiger conservation for the country; the threats and challenges to the tiger; and specific conservation action points. It also outlines stakeholder collaboration, research, capacity-building and the resource envelope for implementation.

Elephant Conservation Action Plan

Bangladesh formulated its decade-long elephant conservation policy, the Elephant Conservation Action Plan 2027, in 2018. Elephants are indigenous to the country and are found in abundance across different habitats. Species such as wild Asian elephants have become critically endangered. The policy gives guidelines and a monitoring framework for elephant conservation. It has three parts: the status of elephants and their habitats in the country; the threats to elephants and their habitats; and goals for an integrated conservation effort.

Wildlife and Nature Conservation Circle, Department of Forest

In Bangladesh, the Forest Department, housed at the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, is responsible for conservation and wildlife management. The chief wildlife warden is the chief conservator of forests, who oversees a circle called the Wildlife and Nature Conservation Circle. Under this are different workstreams on wildlife management and environmental conservation.

 

On green finance

 

Green Banking Policy Guideline

Bangladesh formulated a Green Banking Policy Guideline in 2012. It was formulated by the country’s central bank. The guideline is applicable to all banks and financial institutions in the country. It set a target of direct green finance, 5% of total investment, for all banks and financial institutions. It has also set a structured reporting system for them.

Sustainable Finance Department

Bangladesh established a Sustainable Finance Department in 2015. This is housed at the country’s central bank. It oversees green financing strategy for the country’s finance sector. It had a predecessor, the Green Banking and Corporate Social Responsibility Department, with a narrower mandate. It identifies products for green finance targeting. Some of the products are solar home systems, biogas and wind power plants, biological effluent treatment plants, wastewater treatment plants, PET bottle recycling plants, compressed block-bricks, palm oil production and organic farming.

Sustainable Finance Policy

Bangladesh formulated its prime green finance policy, the Sustainable Finance Policy, in 2020. Its formulation and implementation are carried out by the country’s central bank. It is aligned with Bangladesh’s development targets and its climate-related treaty commitments. It is a guideline for banks and financial institutions to engage in green finance, along with a focus on small businesses.

Green Transformation Fund 

Bangladesh launched a long-term refinancing window, the Green Transformation Fund, in 2016. Then the fund had USD 200 million. Its target was to ensure sustainable growth in the main export-oriented sectors of the economy (textiles and leather). The strategy is to transform the economy by greening these core sectors.

Bangladesh Climate Change Trust Fund 

Bangladesh established an earmark fund called the Bangladesh Climate Change Trust Fund in 2010. This entails publicly financed revenue to ensure investment in disaster preparedness and to smooth implementation of the country’s climate policies. The fund can be accessed by both government agencies and civil society groups.

Infrastructure Development Company

The Infrastructure Development Company (IDCOL) is a publicly owned non-bank financial institution targeted towards the green economy in Bangladesh. It finances private infrastructure and has introduced many refinancing schemes in the renewable energy sector.

Green bonds

Bangladesh launched its green bond market in 2021. This is designed to support climate-related or environmental projects. It is governed by the country’s main capital market regulatory agency, the Securities and Exchange Commission. The green bond is issued to insurance companies, corporate entities and high-net worth individuals. There is also a green bond usage guideline for commercial banks.

 

On renewables

 

Renewable Energy Policy

Bangladesh formulated its Renewable Energy Policy in 2008. This aims to harness the potential of renewable energy resources and the dissemination of renewable technologies in both rural and urban areas. It incentivises investment in the renewable energy sector. It is designed to scale up the contribution of renewable energy in electricity production.

Sustainable and Renewable Energy Development Authority

Bangladesh established its renewable energy agency, the Sustainable and Renewable Energy Development Authority, in 2012. This is a nodal agency for sustainable energy uptake, covering renewable energy and energy efficiency elements. It brought together all renewable projects that were previously being implemented by different government agencies without any overarching strategy. Its long-term goal is to ensure the energy security of the country.

Energy Efficiency and Conservation Rules

Bangladesh formulated its go-to regulation for energy savings, the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Rules, in 2016. This has multidimensional energy efficiency strategies. It also details essentials such as minimum energy efficiency performance standards.

Energy Efficiency and Conservation Master Plan

Bangladesh formulated its long-term energy conservation plan, the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Master Plan, in 2016. This stipulates that the country will increase its energy intensity by 20% by 2030 compared with in 2013. It is complemented by an action plan containing programme frameworks and the organisation structure.

Solar Energy Roadmap

Bangladesh formulated a two-decadal solar integration policy, the Solar Energy Roadmap, in 2021. It has decade-wise solar PV capacity targets up to 2041. It stipulates three scenarios for solar to be implemented in the country: the business-as-usual case (the least ambitious one), the medium case (a practically achievable one) and the high-deployment scenario (the ambitious one).

Net Metering Guideline

Bangladesh formulated its first smart energy guideline, the Net Metering Guideline, in 2018. This encourages the use of open spaces and rooftops for solar power. It primarily promotes renewable energy through rooftop solar whereby a consumer can generate electricity for self-consumption. In this net-metering, consumers have their electricity bills adjusted by feeding solar energy to the national grid.

Mujib Climate Prosperity Plan 2030

Bangladesh unveiled its Mujib Climate Prosperity Plan – Decade 2030 in 2021. This is an instrument to convert climate vulnerability into an opportunity. It also set an example for the Climate Vulnerability Forum – an international platform of the countries most impacted by climate change. It is named after Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the founding father of Bangladesh. It is designed to protect Bangladesh’s economy from climate hazards in times ahead.

 

On tourism

 

Tourism Policy

Bangladesh formulated its main tourism sector overhaul policy, the Tourism Policy, in 2010. Its target is to boost the tourism industry and generate good jobs. It also aims for the needed balance between tourism and environmental conservation. It stipulates the diversification of tourist destinations and the development of rural community-based tourism.

Parjatan Corporation

Bangladesh established its publicly owned tourism facilitation company in 1972. It carries tourism promotion activities across the country. It owns and operates many tourism-related facilities, such as hotels, tourist info centres, picnic spots and duty-free shops.

Tourism Board

Bangladesh established its key tourism regulatory agency, the Tourism Board, in 2011. It is tasked to brand Bangladesh Tourism, both locally and globally. It also formulates tourism policies, with an eye on channelling foreign direct investment into the sector.

 

Photo ©️ Mahmud Hossain Opu