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Contents TIMES

06 From the Editor

WORD OF MOUTH 08 State of Affairs 10 Banking Corner 12 Snippets 34 Happening COVER STORY 56 Creating Alternative Resources: The Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) and LNG Industry 48 Liquefied Petroleum Gas: The New Energy Solution SPECIAL REPORT 113 Solving ‘Inequality’: The Economic and Social Purview INTERVIEWS 44 Nasrul Hamid

State Minister, Power, Energy and Mineral Resources, Government of Bangladesh

54 Toshiyuki Shimbori

CEO, Omera Petroleum Ltd.

60 Dr. Imtiaz Ahmed

Professor of International Relations and Director of Centre for Genocide Studies, University of Dhaka

68 Tasnim Borsha Islam CEO, 96.4 Spice FM

70 Asif Moyeen

CEO and Managing Director, Far East Knitting and Dyeing Industries

98 Hasin Jahan

Country Director, Practical Action

106 Poppy Rahman

Head of Human Resources (HR), Schools, Students, and Teachers (SSAT) network

110 Mahesh Sharma

General Manager and Head OD, Laurus Labs Limited

118 Khan Muhammad Saqiful Alam Lecturer, North South University in the Department of Management

Energy & power are two vital issues to fulfill the dreams of a progressive nation. Photo: Unsplash


Contents TIMES

a global business magazine from bangladesh

TIMES

Vol. 8 No. 06 | February 2018

Publisher & Editor Director, International Publications Executive Director Managing Editor Assistant Editor Sub Editor Business Development Manager Designer Business Development

Finance & Accounts Sales & Distribution

: : : : : : : : : : : : :

Abul Khair Zeenat Chowdhury Nawshin Khair Tawhidur Rashid Shaikh Ashfaque Zaman Ishrat Jahan Asaduzzaman Sk. Yeahhia Md. Nizam Uddin Forhad Mohammad Imran Rezaul Haque Heron Md. Abdul Alim Md. Rubel Khan

2018 is poised to see many breakthroughs in the apparel industry

FEATURES 18 Making the Best Use of Knowledge Remittance 22 A Prescription for Success 26 The Standout Stories 30 Creating a World of Difference 36 Vision 2030 for Overseas Labor: The Unseen Sides that Require Linkage 40 NRB Day:Recognizing the Hard work of the NRBs 64 This is What Happens When Technology and Apparel Shake Hands 74 Supporting Sustainable Development Goals 78 Has Fashion Become the Next Big Pollutant? 82 The Right In-Vestment: Sustaining a Unique Brand in Bangladesh 90 Keeping Up With Couture: The Shape of the Fashion Industry in 2018 102 A Tech-led Future : Changing Faces of Human Resource Management 108 Fifty Shades of Creativity 121 Capital Market 122 A Glimpse of the Future: The Tech that will Takeover 124 Beyond the Business 130 Developing Challenges In A Growing Nation 131 Partnerships for Progressive HealthCare

This issue’s Photographs by Din M Shibly Kazi Mukul Eivan Sardar Md. Rashed

Editorial & Marketing Queries tawhidur.rashid@ibtbd.net or send us a note at www.facebook.com/icebusinesstimes www.twitter.com/BusinessTimesBD

Be sure to visit our website www.ibtbd.net

Published by Abul Khair on behalf of ICE Media Limited Kushal Centre, Plot 29, Sector 3, Uttara C/A, Dhaka- 1230 and printed at M.K. Printers,189/1, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208 Editorial and Commercial office: 3rd Floor, House: 4, Block: B, Road: 23 A, Banani, Dhaka 1213 Advertising, Sales, Subscription and Distribution: 01812656961, 01615732425, 01759391168, 01850824294, 01711311256, 01726738970 Tel: 02 55035336-8, 09666773313

* Not all the views expressed in the columns and interviews are the views of the magazine.


FROM THE EDITOR The 5th Asia LPG Summit was an incredible experience for our business sector as the energy and power shortage has grappled the nation for long. Our February issue sheds light on that much-talked issue. To know about the vision of the government, we approached Nasrul Hamid, State Minister of Power, Energy & Mineral Resources, who shared his plans on how to make LPG more available for the everyday people to put an end to the energy crisis. With the demand for gas increasing by a rate of 7% per year, our natural reserve will deplete by 2023. The scarcity has already led us to depend on fuel oil, consumption of which has increased by 20% from 2010 to 2015. If Bangladesh does not develop infrastructure in the energy and power sector, the nation will not become a high-income country by 2041. This is why the message that honorable minister wanted to disseminate resonates throughout the nation. LPG has been identified as an extremely potent and cleaner alternative to the conventional sources of energy. The industry has experienced impressive growth in recent times with the global market expected to reach $147.76 billion by 2024. In this issue of ICE Business Times, we highlight the increasing significance of LPG in human lives worldwide and its growth prospects in ours. Keeping up with the global trend, Bangladesh too has slowly begun to make its transition to become a more LPG oriented economy. A significant portion of our demand for LPG is fulfilled through imports rather than local providers due to infrastructural incapability. The summit was organized to address these issues and articulate suitable solutions to harness the best possible use of the energy solution. On the note of harnessing our resources, let us share one more alarming stat. Bangladesh’s remittance has hit a six-year low to $13.53 billion in 2017. There must be something that is not going right. We should not forget that of the 10 million Bangladeshis abroad; a vast majority are blue collar workers. These individuals’ collective contributions are a major proponent of our rising GDP. In return for their sweat and blood, little did we manage to do for them. The sector is marred with problems like the abundance of fraudulent agencies; many of our missions in abroad don’t have exact information about the correct numbers of Bangladeshis working there, let alone provide them assistance in time of their dire need. Adding more salt to the wound, these hardworking people have little or no idea about legal, effective channels to send their money back to their families. We need to develop a holistic matrix of services to end these problems. Besides, those who are engaged in white collar jobs or has successfully set up their enterprises in abroad should also be connected with the local development process. That’s only possible when we engage them in our ongoing dialogues and provide policy support so that they can contribute in their ways to achieve the goals of becoming a developed nation. In last two months, some events were organized to recognize those brand ambassadors of Bangladesh. Both the public and private sector firmly believe that with better policy and coordination we can reap much more benefits from these migrant Bangladeshis. Bangladesh experiences a brain drain as many of our intellectual minds migrate to other nations. Events such as the NRB Day was held to ensure that Bangladeshis around the world have a renewed interest to invest in our country. It sought to find solutions to make investment more comfortable and safer, and encourage them to participate in the development of the country.


S TAT E O F A F FA I R S

Word of mouth Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina attending the Bangladesh Police Week 2018

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Indonesia President Joko Widodo in a bilateral meeting at the Prime Minister's Office (PMO)

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina laid the foundation stone of the 1200MW Matarbari coal-fired power plant through a video conference

Former Indian President Pranab Mukherjee during a courtesy call with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina

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BANKING CORNER

Word of mouth The Institute of Cost & Management Accountants of Bangladesh (ICMAB) has awarded BRAC Bank Limited the First Position in the Private Commercial Bank Category at the “ICMAB Best Corporate Awards 2016�

Dhaka Bank Limited has launched 1st ever Mobile App based Reverse Factoring transaction in Bangladesh with technical assistance by Infini Systems Pvt. Ltd. on 18th of January, 2018 at Dhaka Bank Corporate Office.

Jamuna Bank open 1st Digital Banking Center "Jamuna Bank Speed" at Mirkadim Bazar, Munshigonj Shadar, Munshiganj. Al-Haj Nur Mohammed, Chairman, Jamuna Bank Foundation inaugurated the Speed Center as the chief guest. Besides, Jamuna Bank Deputy Managing Director A.K.M Saifuddin Ahmed, Narayanganj and Munshiganj local area managers, local elites were present at the inaugural ceremony. National Bank Limited holds Annual Managers Conference-2018 at Sikder Resort and Villas, Kuakata on the 25th of January, 2018, Thursday. The Conference was presided over by the Managing Director (CC) of the bank, Choudhury Russel Ahmed. 200 Branch Managers, Regional Managers and Divisional Heads of the Head Office attended the conference.

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The US economy will sustain above-trend growth

The US economy started 2017 on a rather bleak note, with a mere 1.2% growth rate in the first quarter. Since then however, growth has averaged nearly 3%. With the strong momentum at the end of the year, Information Handling Services (IHS) Markit expects growth in calendar year 2018 to be 2.6%, above the 2.3% in 2017 and well above the 1.5% in 2016. With trend growth estimated to be around 2.0%, this means that the unemployment rate will be pushed down below 4%. Strong economic fundamentals will sustain this above-trend growth in 2018. Financial conditions remain supportive, household balance sheets are improving (thanks to rising equity and home prices), the US dollar is off its peak (helping US competitiveness), and capacity utilizations rates are high. These are solid tailwinds for consumer spending, capital expenditures, and housing. Moreover, there are no obvious imbalances that could threaten the expansion. Last, but by no means least, if the Republican Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is passed by the full Congress, it would further raise growth by about 0.3% point a year from 2018 to 2020, push the unemployment rate even lower, and push up interest rates and the dollar even more.

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Europe’s expansion will slow a little, but remain solid.

The Eurozone economy has continued to surprise on the upside throughout 2017, and real GDP growth is expected to be 2.4%—the strongest since 2007. Factors that helped growth in over the past year will continue to support growth in 2018. The relatively tame outlook for oil prices will limit the upside for inflation, which bodes well for real income growth. Meanwhile labor markets will continue to improve. The unemployment rate fell below 9% at the end of 2017, and is expected to keep going down. A still competitive euro and strong global growth should also help Eurozone exports. Perhaps most important of all the policy backdrop continues to be growth supportive. In particular, the Europe Central Bank (ECB) is expected to proceed gradually with its tapering of bond purchases through the end of 2018. Nevertheless, in the context of the still large volume of nonperforming loans in Italy and Spain, tapering could become a mild headwind over the next year. On top of these, political uncertainty in both the Eurozone (elections in Italy, coalition challenges in Germany, and separatist pressures in Spain) and the United Kingdom (the risk of a “hard” Brexit) could further undermine growth. As a result, IHS Markit expects Eurozone growth to ease to 2.2% in 2018, while the UK growth will drop from 1.5% in 2017 to 1.2% in 2018.

FIFA World Cup 2018

Even though it is a non-economic factor, this particular event (biggest footballing event in the world) certainly has spillover effects on the economy. This year the world cup will be held in Russia and in the past the host nation of this tournament has experienced positive economic impact worth $3 billion to $14 billion. In fact, 3.5 million tickets have already been requested and football fans will flock to Russia during the tournament. This influx of tourists will definitely leave a positive mark on the economy of Russia. Even the oil market may be affected due to this. Why? Because, the opening match of the tournament will be between Russia and Saudi Arabia. Coincidentally, these two countries will meet at the OPEC table 8 days later to discuss if supply cuts should be extended or not. Perhaps a draw in the opening match of the world cup will be the best possible result!


JAPAN’S GROWTH SPURT WILL FADE

Since the beginning of 2016 Japan has enjoyed, for the first time since the 1999-2001 period, seven quarters of uninterrupted growth. Moreover, after three weak years, in 2017 Japanese growth quickened to an above-trend rate of 1.8%. While the economy will continue to grow in 2018, the momentum will ease relative to 2017. The weak yen (pushed down by wider US-Japan interest rate differentials) is likely to support exports and tourism, but this could be offset by slower growth in Japan’s major trade partners, especially China. On the other hand, domestic demand will remain resilient. Consumer spending growth is likely to remain moderate but steady thanks to tight labor demand and increasing wage growth. Rising capacity utilization and the need to offset labor shortages will boost capital expenditures. Additionally, infrastructure projects ahead of the 2020 Olympic Games will support capex. Modest stimulus added about 0.3% point to growth in 2017. But continued growth in exports and resilient private demand means that the government is unlikely to renew stimulus in fiscal year 2018. Consequently, it is believed that Japan’s growth will slow down to 1.2% in 2018.

UPWARD PRESSURES ON INFLATION WILL REMAIN MUTED

Over the past 2 years, the pattern of inflation in the world has been affected by puzzlingly low rates of price increases in the developed world and, at the same time, a surge in inflation in the emerging world. The latter has been the result of hyperinflation in a few countries (e.g., Venezuela and Zimbabwe) and a broader response to the lagged effects of higher commodity prices and depreciating currencies. Recent evidence points to a (very) gradual increase in developed-economy inflation rates as output gaps continue to close, and as the disinflationary impacts of falling commodity prices dissipate. Nevertheless, structural factors such as technology and globalization will probably prevent any sharp rise in inflation. Moreover, it will be a few years before inflation reaches or exceeds the 2% target of central banks. In the US economy, there are growing indications that a very tight labor market is translating into a modest uptrend in wage inflation. In the emerging world, inflation rates have fallen and will continue to decline, thanks to more stable commodity prices and currencies. After all that is said and done, inflation will probably slowly drift up in the next couple of years in the developed world and keep falling in the emerging world.

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CHINA’S MOMENTUM WILL WEAKEN

China’s economic stabilization in 2017 was mostly driven by government stimulus. Nevertheless, the fundamental problems of excess industrial capacity, debt overhang, and a housing glut have remained unresolved. The Chinese government will continue to address these problems through the ongoing “Supply Side Structural Reform” program, which is Xi Jinping’s centerpiece economic reform policy in the near-to-medium term. The regulatory crackdown on shadow banking, sanctioned by Xi, will also continue in 2018. These structural problems and the government’s policy response will be a drag on the economy, in general, and investment demand, in particular. Due to the structural factors that encourage a high saving rate, consumer spending growth will be insufficient to offset investment demand weakness. A wildcard in the 2018 outlook is whether the Chinese government will go to the stimulus well once again when growth slows. Owing to stable labor market conditions, it appears that financial crisis prevention outweighs a moderate growth slowdown, in the Xi government’s current calculus. A moderate weakening in China’s growth momentum in 2018 thus appears to be in the cards. IHS Markit predicts that China’s growth rate will decrease ever so slightly from 6.8% in 2017 to 6.5% in 2018.


WITH GLOBAL GROWTH MOMENTUM STRENGTHENING, AND ASSUMING NO POLICY MISTAKES OR “BLACK SWANS,” THE RISKS OF A RECESSION REMAIN LOW The Fed will keep raising interest rates—some other central banks may follow

After the mid-December rate increase, the Federal Reserve is on track to hike interest rates another three times in 2018 (expected in March, September, and December). However, there is a chance that the Fed may raise interest rates more. To begin with, concerns about overheating may intensify, given strong growth and an unemployment rate that is expected to keep falling. In addition, the enactment of a large tax cut will probably further boost growth and put more upward pressure on inflation in 2018 and 2019. Thus, additional rate hikes in the next couple of years cannot be ruled out. Meanwhile, the European Central Bank and the Bank of England are unlikely to raise interest rates until 2019, and the Bank of Japan will wait even longer. The only other major central bank expected to tighten in 2018 is the Bank of Canada. Outside the G7, countries with currencies pegged to the US dollar (Hong Kong, Singapore, and the Gulf States) will have little choice but to follow the Fed. Also, given strong growth rates, a number of Asian economies can be expected to tighten further in 2018, including India, Indonesia, Philippines, and South Korea.

Since the global expansion is now stronger and more synchronized, and with muted inflationary pressures, derailing it would require a large shock. The list of such shocks is long, but the probability of any of them doing serious damage in 2018 is low. The Fed—or for that matter any other major central bank—is unlikely to raise interest rates high enough in the next year to kill growth. It is possible the major tax cut being contemplated by the US Congress could push up growth and inflation enough to make the Fed nervous, but any policy “clash” in the United States is probably a couple of years away. Deleveraging in China is fraught with risk, but the prospect that the Chinese government would do anything to seriously harm growth is remote. An oil shock is always possible, but with US and other non OPEC oil production rising, it would take major geopolitical event in the Middle East to disrupt oil markets in a big way. And while the risk of a trade friction is uncomfortably high, the chances of an out and out trade war are low. Bottom line: the odds of a recession in 2018 are still low.

THE IMPROVED PERFORMANCE OF THE EMERGING WORLD WILL BE SUSTAINED

At 3.9%, emerging-market growth in 2016 was the weakest since the Great Recession. Since then, the external environment for these economies has improved. In particular, growth in the developed world has picked up considerably and commodity prices have risen by more than 60% since the beginning of 2016. As a result, emerging-market growth rebounded to 4.8% in 2017. IHS Markit predicts this growth rate will be sustained in 2018. While the global environment will continue to be growth-supportive, and while some countries will see stronger growth in 2018, other countries and regions will face challenges, and growing debt burdens could become a risk for many of these economies. In Asia, India will recover from its twin policy shocks of demonetization and the imposition of the goods and services tax. At the same time Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Vietnam will sustain 5% to 6.5% growth. Most of the economies in Latin America will also see also better growth in 2018. On the other hand, Emerging Europe will see slower growth, due to overheating and labor shortages. In the Middle East, the recovery from the oil slump will be slow and in Sub-Saharan Africa the big economies (Angola, Nigeria, and South Africa) will struggle to expand more than 1%.

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NRB CONCLAVE

MAKING THE BEST USE OF KNOWLEDGE REMITTANCE By Ishrat Jahan

Bangladesh Brand Forum organized its first ever NRB Conclave on 30 December 2017. The event was held in the country’s capital with the theme, ‘Transforming Bangladesh through Knowledge Remittance.’ The initiative served as a knowledge podium to pursue the goals of the NRBs and help associate with Bangladesh in a better way. A greater part of the discussion comprised of several ways to engage the Non-Resident Bangladeshis (NRBs) to contribute to the national economy of Bangladesh. Ever since Bangladesh’s inception, NRBs have taken significant steps and performed extraordinarily in their residential countries. Many of them are evenly

passionate to support the development of Bangladesh through transformation and continuously engage themselves into avenues that allow them to do so. Amongst many eminent personalities, the Non-Resident Bangladeshis, corporate professionals, policy makers, academicians, and artists were the highlights of the event. The opening ceremony at the event commenced with a speech by Shariful Islam, Founder and Managing Director, Bangladesh Brand Forum where he mentioned, “Bangladesh is at its major state of development and the next 10 years will be very crucial as a nation. Our people must make use of the latest technology, think

in the most cutting-edge manner and get familiar with new ways to make an outstanding leap into development. NRBs can contribute vastly in this progression through disseminating their knowledge remittance.” The later part of the event consisted of three keynote sessions which focused on topics such as ‘The Global Perspective,’ ‘The Bangladesh Economic Story,’ and ‘Story of an NRB Who Made it in Bangladesh.’ The sessions were held by respected NRBs like Lutfey Siddiqi CFA, Visiting Professor-in-Practice, London School of Economics; Faisal Ahmed, Chief Economist, Bangladesh Bank; and

Humayun Rashid, Managing Director, Energypac Power Generation Limited. The event consisted of three insight sessions titled, ‘Bangladesh Potential-Role of Diaspora,’ ‘The Story of Praava Health,’ and ‘Message from BCCB.’ Lastly, four-panel discussions were continued by the insight sessions where 21 experts from various industries shared their knowledge as panelists. The panel discussions revolved around the topics, ‘Investment & NRB Challenges,’ ‘The Culture Story of Bangladesh,’ ‘NRB and Future Skill Development,’ and ‘NRB and Transforming the 8 Divisions through Innovation.’

Amongst other NRBs, ICE Business Times gained insights from Lutfey Siddiqi and Milton Hasnat on how they wish to boost the country’s development.

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the logical next step for digital Bangladesh should be E-governance.

What sort of cross-border collaborations can we look forward to that would accelerate the growth of the economy?

Lutfey Siddiqi CFA

Visiting Professor-in-Practice London School of Economics

Despite having sufficient amount of investment, Bangladesh is still lagging behind regarding the execution of policy. What can be done to build a robust system that would ease out the investment versus political climate situation? For me, this is a natural extension of the digital Bangladesh, which is a process that’s already in place right now. Indeed, the core infrastructure of digital, whether it is the broadband connectivity or the breathing space for entrepreneurs to start urbanization comes into place here, and a lead can be drawn to E-governance. It’s not about maintaining democracy but how governance is executed in the digital space. This refers to how you can outline specific laws, activities, and processes that can be drawn by the government to third parties. There has to be some feedback or indentification mechanisms to track the execution of policies, and the processes must be transferred from a manual to a digital platform. Therefore, I think

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The global economic contest comprises of a platform of stock companies coming from global territories, so there is another tight frontier at every length even for a small investment. Here we can try to build a community to track investors who have been trying to invest in projects outside their local boundaries. Moreover, there can be a mentor-sponsor relationship that can act as an interaction funnel like the way I have. There can also be a domain-specific interaction, where we can engage students studying in universities abroad to ensure a better flow of communication.

What type of education system should the educators in Bangladesh adapt to become more progressive as a nation?

Education is now less about the substance that you teach and more about how you teach it. As information is now quite accessible on YouTube, TedTalks and other platforms, the material can be learnt quite easily. The teachers must execute a method using which the students can acquire knowledge and be able to make others understand it. Students should be taught to build a thought process to help them during research. They must learn to do things in the right manner and with perseverance. For instance, a debate held at a class is sometimes taken personally. Teachers must address issues as such and teach the students the right manner in which this needs to be done.

What measures are you taking to develop the sector you are engaged in, particularly in the context of Bangladesh?

How important is it for a country like Bangladesh to integrate into the Environmental Social and Governance (ESG) factor when it comes to investment and risk operational management?

It is imperative for a government to do so. This is because investors who are not even looking for the ESG factors will ask you about your impact on the environment, governance structure, and how your boardroom governance looks like. They would like to know how decision making takes place in the social surroundings. So, it is in the self-interest of a country to invest in the ESG factors for attracting better investment.

observed that the number of infectious disease like pneumonia, diarrhea, and tuberculosis have significantly decreased. However, a significant incline has been seen in the number of people affected by non-communicable diseases like diabetes, hypertension and heart disease. One of the major causes behind it is the lifestyle of people, especially in the urban areas. Although the consumption of food is increasing people are not engaging much in physical activities. Some of the problems also arise from having people from different backgrounds living in other parts of the world. For instance, obesity is counted as a noncommunicable disease in the western world whereas it is referred to nothing as such in this part of the world. Lastly, stress is a significant concern for many people here and adds up to such diseases.

Milton Hasnat Senior Lecturer and Epidemiologist Australia

Could you elaborate on the common causes for the dramatic increase of the number of patients affected by epidemic diseases.

In the recent years, it can be

At this point, we are trying to negotiate with the policymakers to execute our idea of coming up with a platform where various doctors can be trained about the use of the recent advancements in medical technology. The platform will also help them unlearn the traditional ways of approaching patients and adapt to newer ways in which they can provide patients with a comfortable ground to open up about their diseases in a better way. Models can be built based on research for young doctors to learn and apply in their work.


Pharmaceutical Sector

A PRESCRIPTION FOR SUCCESS By Syed Apanuba Puhama business seminar titled “Pharma Sector of Bangladesh: The Next Big Thing!” was hosted and organized by Bangladesh-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BGCCI), the country’s largest bilateral business chamber. Speakers at the seminar discussed the growth potentials of the pharmaceutical sector and how it will be one of the most prolific driving forces of Bangladesh’s economy in the upcoming days. The event was attended by numerous pharmacists as well as Thomas Prinz, the German Ambassador, among many other dignitaries and diplomats.

A

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ABDUL MUKTADIR

Chairman and Managing Director Incepta Pharmaceuticals Ltd.

TURNING INNOVATIVE CONCEPT INTO PRACTICE Incepta Pharmaceuticals Ltd was established in 1999. We have 2 different manufacturing facilities. One is in Zirabo, and the other one is in Dhamrai. At this very moment, we have a group of around 7,600

strong and professional people driven by knowledge and sheer power of labor. During the last 17 years of operation, Incepta launched as many as 172 generics for the first time in Bangladesh, which gives you an idea of how strong we are when it comes to innovation. Our vision is to become a trusted healthcare company and to ensure better health for everyone, everywhere; this is not limited to Bangladesh. We would like to provide quality healthcare products and services for


NASSER SHAHREAR ZAHEDEE Chairman Radiant Pharmaceuticals

THE HISTORY OF A GROWING INDUSTRY

the benefit of humanity in the best possible way through innovation and diversification. We started exporting in 2006 and by now we are exporting to 64 different countries in 5 continents and registration is going on in 20 more countries.

THE ANSWER LIES IN BANGLADESH

Photos from BGCCI

The total pharmaceutical revenues worldwide have exceeded $1 trillion. Most of the brand products generate over $600 billion while the generic market is estimated to generate around $400 billion. Bangladesh is a small country, and its total market is only $2.5 billion. Then why are we becoming one of the biggest buyers of pharmaceutical machinery? That’s because Bangladesh

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is no longer just supplying pharmaceutical products locally. It is now preparing itself to become a supply house for the whole world. It will not be long before Incepta, and many other pharmaceutical companies of the country will supply a majority of the global generic products.

MUIN UDDIN MAZUMDER

Managing Director Sanofi Bangladesh Limited

READY, SET, GROW Bangladesh has been classified as one of the ‘Frontier Five’ alongside Kenya, Nigeria, Kazakhstan, and Vietnam. Goldman Sachs considered Bangladesh to be one of ‘The Next Eleven’ countries.

If you look at the growth of Asia and Indochina, Pricewaterhousecoopers sees Bangladesh as one of the top 30 economies by 2050. This year, our honorable Prime Minister named pharmaceuticals to be the Product of the Year. Our local companies are building their capabilities for high-tech products. They are now producing vaccines, oncology products, insulin and so on. We must consider the contributions of the multinational companies. Our domestic companies are getting approvals and global affiliations like the US FDA, the UK MHRA, TGA, and many more. We must prepare ourselves because the pharmaceutical industry is growing.

As we all know, the pharmaceutical industry has been growing rapidly. The average growth has hovered between 15% for the last 30 years. Overall, we have witnessed a 19% growth in 2017, and the market size elevated to approximately $2.5 billion. In 1981, the total size of the pharmaceutical market in Bangladesh was 65 million. The pharma sector has grown 40 times in the last 35 years which is quite an exponential growth for any sector. Once upon a time, we were largely dependent on the import of medicines. However, currently the imported pharmaceutical products can be estimated to be 2%, and usually consist of some vaccines, insulins and some high-tech biotechnological products.

BUILDING A GLOBAL COMMUNITY Today, when we are partnering with multinational pharmaceutical companies, there is a substantial opportunity for technology transfer and cultural transformation; this contributes in a significantly positive way and in taking this industry forward. I would actively promote that our local manufacturers will continue taking more initiatives to partner with multinational players, and they can look to Bangladesh as a place for tremendous potential.


Motivation

THE STANDOUT STORIES By Ishrat Jahan

T

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he second edition of Unisel presents ‘Rise Above All’ hosted by Don Sumdany Facilitation & Consultancy was held on 12 January 2018. The largest motivational speaking event took place in the country’s capital, and 5,000 participants from all around the country attended. Alongside many other renowned personalities, Zunaid Ahmed Palak, State Minister, Information, and

Communication Technology (ICT) enlightened the crowd with his presence and shared snippets from his journey so far. Other insightful sessions were held by notable personalities like Sabbir Hasan Nasir, Executive Director, ACI Logistics Ltd (Shwapno) and Shehzad Munim, Managing Director of British American Tobacco. The digital panel consisting of motivational speakers and YouTubers like Solaiman Shukhon, Ayman Sadiq, Prito Reza and Salman Muqtadir successfully engaged the crowd

in various activities during the session and delivered important youth-centric messages through their speeches. Participants were offered with the opportunity of direct part-time, or full-time placements as well as an internship by many industry stalwarts present at the event. ICE Business Times gained further industry-specific insights from Sabbir Hasan Nasir, Executive Director, Shwapno and Hasan Benaul Islam, Industry Promotion Specialist, LICT Bangladesh.


challenges along the way. One of the most significant problems has been to attract the customers from the regular roadside market to our retail shops. Consumers have previously preferred those markets for cheaper costs and higher accessibility. Diverting them from that market was a daunting task.

Sabbir Hasan Nasir Executive Director Shwapno

Shwapno is a renowned name among the consumers. How do you feel about its popularity?

Whenever Shwapno is referred as the leading retail brand, it always feels good. It gives the idea that at least there has been some achievement in life as of yet, maybe there is room to do a lot more development, but this effort is recognized as well. However, with recognition comes further responsibility, so we always have to live up to those expectations.

Tell us about the most significant challenge you faced while bringing Shwapno to a position it holds in the consumers’ mindset now.

The customer-centric approach has helped Shwapno reach a larger mass and attract them over and over again. We might have made many mistakes along the way, but we have always given our best to satisfy our customers, remain humble and mend our mistakes. There have apparently been

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If you could start all over again, would you do things differently or have you found the recipe for success?

If I had the chance to start over again, I would never deviate from the path I follow now. I feel satisfied knowing the recipe for my success and believe that if the passion is strong, we can always control our imagination and give it a form. However, it is not possible to go very far with a formless passion. You must always learn to love yourself first to know who the most vital stakeholder in your life is. Then keep their interest aligned with yours and work accordingly.

You have been a part of the corporate world for quite a while now. What advice would you like to give to the new generation?

We are going through the fourth industrial revolution, and the fifth revolution is not very far away. For the youth to become a significant part of this revolution, they need to get out of their comfort zone and experience real-life situations. A good hold of the technological aspects of the world will help the youth to engage with new opportunities as they come by.

The world has moved to the era of e-commerce. How far do you think Bangladesh is lagging behind?

E-commerce is a growing platform currently, but to make it successful, there is an ABCD model that we must follow. A goes for awareness of the consumers, convincing them that they can receive the best products without any hassle of going out of their homes. Companies must Hasan know their consumers and their behavioral patterns. Benaul Islam Industry Promotion Specialist Culturally Bangladeshi LICT Bangladesh women have been brought up with a mindset that products are not reliable unless inspected physically. In that scenario, convincing them to purchase a product based on its picture is a complicated job. B stands for the business model of the firms that are pursuing e-commerce. It is still a fresh concept and has been painful to triumph for many. Therefore, a viable business model is essential to have. C goes for the confidence of the consumers. Businesses need to become trustworthy. Lastly, D stands for the delivery channel. A fixed, permanent and reliable channel for delivering the products must be ensured to retain the consumers. Once we establish the ABCD model, I believe Bangladesh can have a flourishing e-commerce market.

What do you think is the most prominent challenge consumers and producers face when it comes to e-commerce?

The biggest challenge for the e-commerce field is its small canvas where currently Dhaka is the only part of it. We need to expand the horizon to make it significantly important. Secondly, Bangladesh has abundant resources in different parts of the country. Each city has its distinct specialty. Rural e-commerce needs to be developed for our country where even the farmers get to benefit from a platform like this; this will enable us to get the best out of e-commerce platforms.

How to create more awareness about the sector?

The most significant customer base of the e-commerce sector is women. With the responsibility of handling families, jobs and the hectic life in Dhaka, they barely get the time to go and shop. Presence of e-commerce makes it easier for them to order day-to-day things. Once we succeed in creating an example of the e-commerce industry through our products and earn their trust, the e-commerce sector will become widely accepted. Simultaneously we have to work on improving our services. Bangladesh lacks the ethics of providing service, which needs to be improved.


Recognition

CREATING A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE By Sohelee Tahmina he word legend personifies an individual when they have created or worked to master something bigger than themselves. These people have brought about ripples of change in the community for its betterment. Dr. Ahmed Mushtaque Raza Chowdhury is one such human whose work has brought him international recognition. He recently received the Ronald McDonald House Charities RMHC Medical Award of Excellence in the year of 2017. Ronald McDonald House Charities is famous for its motto of “keeping families together and near the medical care they need through a network of local chapters.” RMHC provides vital resources and compassionate care to children and their families, serving leading hospitals worldwide since 1974. At present, RMHC services and care are available in 64 countries and regions worldwide. The core RMHC programs include- Ronald McDonald Houses, Ronald McDonald Family Rooms, and Ronald McDonald Care Mobiles; they provide access to health care and enabling family-centered care. Every year RMHC hosts the annual Awards of Excellence and honors individuals around the world who have made outstanding contributions to improve health and well being of children. A grant of $100,000 is awarded in honor of the recipients to other nonprofit organizations selected by the awardees. Former recipients of the award include Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter (1991), former First Lady Barbara Bush (1994), Ret. U.S. Army General Colin Powell (1997), former First Lady Betty Ford (1998), Her Majesty Queen Noor of Jordan (2002). Dr. Chowdhury was awarded this honor on 11 November 2017 at a Gala held in Chicago. He is the only Asian to receive such an honor. The BRAC vice-chairperson is a

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professor of Columbia University and a board member of South Asia Centre of London School of Economics. He is also the President of Asia Pacific Action Alliance on Human Resources for Health (AAAH) and leads group member of UN’s Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement. Remaining true to RMHC’s motto, PKSF honored Dr. Chowdhury through gratitude and celebration on 30 December 2017. Dr. Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, Chairman of PKSF along with his wife, honored Dr. Chowdhury and his wife with a crest. The Chairman took the opportunity to remind the present guests about the motto of PKSF which was inspiring for the existing workers to perform better in future.PKSF’s Managing Director Md. Abdul Karim said, “It’s been an honor for him to know Dr. Chowdhury for so many years now and the best part about him is that he is always silent when it comes to promoting his own achievements. I wonder how someone with so much to talk about, can stay so calm!” Eminent Banker and Member of the Governing Body of PKSF, Khondkar Ibrahim Khaled stated, “The sad part about such an achievement is that most of the people of our country don’t understand the significance and so, fails to recognize such honors”. Dr. Chowdhury has been working with BRAC for decades and has always maintained a low profile. Beyond his philanthropic work, Dr. Chowdhury has been equally active in research-based practices to make sure continuous improvement of life and health of the children and people of Bangladesh. He is a noteworthy example of how individuals can instill lasting change in any nation if they have the drive, determination, and vision.

Dr. Ahmed Mushtaque Raza Chowdhury was honored by PKSF for being the first Asian to receive the RMHC Award for Excellence 2017

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HAPPENING

Word of mouth Square Pharmaceuticals Ltd (SPL), the largest pharmaceuticals company of Bangladesh, has made its first international investment through its 100% owned subsidiary Square Pharmaceuticals Kenya EPZ Ltd. Standard Chartered Bangladesh facilitated Square Group in this international endeavour. The program was attended, among others, by H.E. (Maj. Gen.) Abul Kalam Mohammad Humayun Kabir, High Commissioner of Bangladesh to Kenya; Naser Ezaz Bijoy, CEO, Standard Chartered Bangladesh; Lamin Manjang, CEO, Standard Chartered Bank, Kenya & East Africa and Mahtab Osmani, Executive Director, International Corporates, Standard Chartered Bangladesh Fazle Kabir, Governor of Bangladesh Bank recently unveiled the Monetary policy statement for the second half of the financial year 2017-2018 and the period of – January – June 2018 on 29 January 2018 at a press conference in Bangladesh. Among others, Shitangshu Kumar Sur Chowdhury, Deputy Governor, Bangladesh Bank; Abu Hena Mohd. Razee Hassan, Deputy Governor, Bangladesh Bank, Faisal Ahmed, Chief Economist, Bangladesh Bank; and Allah Malik Kazemi, Change Management Advisor, Bangladesh Bank, spoke during the occasion State Minister for Health and Family Welfare Jahid Malek and other guests took part in a freshers’ reception ceremony of MBBS 4th batch of Universal Medical College at Raowa Convention Center in the capital’s Mohakhali

Shahagir Bakth Faruq posing with dignitaries from British Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce & Industry with the last issue of ICE Business Times

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Migration Matters

VISION

20 30 for

By Asaduzzaman

efugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit (RMMRU), a center for evidence-based research and grassroots action think tank, has been working diligently for more than two decades to illuminate the potential of migration to initiate pro-poor growth and poverty reduction in South Asia. Recently, they organized a congregation titled, “Obhibhashon O Shonar Manush Shommilon 2018,”(Migration and the Congregation of Golden human being) at the Bangabandhu International Convention Center (BICC) in Agargaon, Dhaka on 25 January 2018. A proposal for, ‘Migration Vision 2030’ was presented in this congregation to streamline the unseen or a grey area in this field. According to Bangladesh Bank statistics, total remittances received in December 2017 is $1,167.18 million where International Labour

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OVERSEAS LABOR

The Unseen Sides that Require Linkage Organization (ILO) estimated that each year more than 400,000 workers leave Bangladesh for overseas employment. The official and unofficial sources said that out of 10 million PBO (People of Bangladeshi Origin) who are spreading across the globe, 90% are non-permanent. With an aim to bring the issues in the ground zero and jotting a strategy for short, mid and long plan for its rapid implementation to redress the predicament of migrants, a panel discussion was held. The discussion was chaired by Dr. Shamsul Alam, Senior Secretary and Member, Bangladesh Planning Commission. The Chief Guest was Dr. Hossain Zillur

Rahman, Former Adviser Caretaker Government and Executive Chairman of Power and Participation Research Centre (PPRC). Among the guests, Joel Harding, Senior Governance Adviser, Department for International Development (DFID) and Dr. Shahnaz Karim, Director Society and Team Leader, PROKAS, discussed the pertinent issues. In addition, Marina Sultana Director, Programme RMMRU, offered the welcome speech. Earlier, Dr. Tasneem Siddiqui, Professor of Political Science, University of Dhaka and founding chair of RMMRU, shared the migration vision 2030 with the audience with a call to make the decade 2019 to 2029 the migrant


decade. Fakir Alamgir, a Gono Sangeet singer and the brand ambassador of RMMRU rethemed his legendary song, `"O Sokhina." In the sideline, there was a fair featuring the Institute of Informatics and Development (IID), Bangladesh Ovhibashi Mohila Sramik Association (BOMSA), International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD), WARBE, YPSA. This year RMMRU introduces Sonar Manush Shommanona 2018, and the categories are Shonar Manush Shommanona, Shera Remittance Baboharkari Poribar, District Employment, and Manpower Offices (DEMO), Technical Training Center (TTC) Middleman/Subagent, Recruiting agencies, Bureau of Manpower Employment and Training (BMET). The award winners in the golden son category were Md. Emdadul Haque and Alhaj Md. Shahjahan. The award winner for the best remittance category are Feroza Khanam. The awardees in the Sonar Manush Sheba Award were Amena Parveen, Assistant Director, DEMO, Rangpur; Rahinure Islam, Assistant Director, DEMO, Jessore; Md. Nurul Islam, Principal, BKTTC, Chittagong, and Md. Neaus Sharif, Senior Instructor, TTC, Jessore. In subagent category, the award winners were Nikhil Chandra Paul, Sanowar Hossain, and Rajeda Akhter. In recruiting agencies category, the award winners were Ali Haider Chowdhury, Managing Partner NAC International, and Sahmeem Ahmed Chowdhury Noman, Proprietor Sadia International. A special award was given to Bureau of Manpower Employment and Training. Below are a few excerpts of some of the keynote speeches.

PROPOSAL OF MIGRATION VISION 2030 · Migration Vision 2030 requires implementation in 2030 and in this context suggests that regularization of middleman system and bringing them under the purview of the Migration and Overseas Employment Act, 2013.

DR. SHAMSUL ALAM Senior Secretary and Member Bangladesh Planning Commission

The starting of Bangladesh was a difficult one; our export was very low at the beginning of this nation estate. We had a minimum number of exportables like grey leather and some agro products. Bangladesh started entering the workforce services export market at the end of the 80’s and earned continuous progress. Our exports are still constrained to a few products though there are some diversifications that started very recently. It is an issue for the export market. Our manpower sector expanded widely, and now there are 10 million workers working across the globe including professionals. We earned $4.8 billion from the remittances in 2005 which stood at $15.3 billion in 2015; this is due to the contribution of many. It was $12.8 billion in 2016-2017. Research from BIDS found that 50% of remittance is coming from a non-banking channel. We have projected in seventh Five Year Plan that in 2019-2020 our income from remittances will be $25 billion. There is a lack of stimulus in that area to reach that target. We will consider the substantial issues raised here and take action to transfer it into policy and implementation from the government sides.

· In 2016, 12% of the total migrants were women. In most cases, they are the main bread earners of their families. In this era of feminization, the right of women to participate in the global labor force has to be respected. · Aces to entry into the global labor market there is no alternative to instilling skill in Bangladesh’s labor force. · Migration is a multi-causal, and climate change is one of the many influencing factors in migration decision making. · The policymakers and city planners need to reorient their mindset and think of decentralization of growth centers, development of secondary cities and establishment of low-cost, quick connectivity. · Policymakers need to include measures that target migrants and members of their families to benefit from mainstream development program. · Policy consideration needs long-term planning, time-bound execution, resource mobilization, a partnership with civil society and dialogue with the receiving countries.

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RMMRU ANNUAL MIGRATION TRENDS REPORT-2016

(PATTERNS AND TRENDS OF LABOUR MIGRATION-2017: ACHIEVEMENTS AND CHALLENGES) · From Jan 2017 to November 931,832 people have migrated to the Middle East and Arab countries.

DR. HOSSAIN ZILLUR RAHMAN

Former Adviser Caretaker Government & Executive Chairman of Power and Participation Research Centre (PPRC) Every year, 2 million new entrants are added to the labor market. It is not possible to employ them within the country. Empirical experience has found that 30% of our employment demand meet up with it. Resultantly, it is contributing to our insistent way forward in a myriad of ways and mainly contributing to economic growth. It requires going forward with a short-term, mid-term and long-term strategy. The process of going abroad should be made easier, lenient and risk-free. In competing countries such as Indonesia or Philippines, the state plays a significant role. Two key factors that play a significant role for the migrant worker in their workplace: the strength of their network and the strength between the migrant’s host states and their respective nations. Finally, their return to the host country has to be made accessible. There are noticable changes, but we have to speed it up to ensure progress. As seen in the changing global scenario, some opportunities of migration are being taken away from us at the same time some opportunities are opening to us. The necessary point is to start internal training and learning process to grasp the new opportunities.

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JOEL HARDING Senior Governance Adviser Department For International Development (DFID)

Any policy changes or policy implementation in this field require to include the voices of the migrants. It looks like a celebration when civil society, government, private sectors and migrant community are assembled under one roof. The real challenges are to make the immigration seekers free from the clutches of middlemen and giving women freedom of choice. There is a need for a new policy framework as people will seek more migration due to the adverse impacts of climate changes. It implicates a durable solution for the migrants. Developing a real vision for the migrant is a long-term process which is a collective effort of all stakeholders and partnering communities involved such as the government, academics, think tanks, civil society representatives and the private sector. A consensus is required; parliamentarians have to know it as they can make laws or regulations for policy and its implementation. Bangladesh’s leadership in regards to sending a huge number of migrants is appreciable as well as the work of Bangladeshi migrants that contribute to the notable betterment of their host countries. The money they are sending back to Bangladesh is also incredibly important. I would like to commend the actors for this success.

· The number of Bangladeshi nationals migrating to different countries around the world has seen a 34.15% increase this year. · Remittance inflow stood at $12.37 billion between January and November, and the amount was lower than last year’s receipts, which was $13.61 billion, by 0.89%. · Bangladesh has witnessed a declining trend in remittance inflow despite a rise in labor migration for the second consecutive year. · Low oil price and tightening of fiscal policies in the Gulf and other Arab countries, Brexit, fraudulence in current migration system, fall in prices, growing number of returnees of migrants, and significant changes in the Islami Bank’s board of directors had contributed to the fall. · This year, 513,862 Bangladeshis migrated to Saudi Arabia, while 83,169 and 83,016 went to Malaysia and Oman.


· A total of 103,034 people from Comilla went abroad in the past 11 months, which was the higher than the other areas of the country and nearly 10.62% of the total migrated people. · A total of 113,009 women had migrated to different countries in 2017, which was about 12.1% of the total migration and 4.6% higher than last year’s and this is a very positive development. · A total of 11 million Bangladeshis went abroad with jobs since 1976; there was hardly any information on the number of workers who had returned since then. · Around 44% workers returned home for various reasons, including lack of jobs. · Around 19.31% remittance came through Islami Bank this year which was over 30% in the previous years. The change in its board of directors has badly affected the remittance collection. · Of the total amount of remittance, 17.15% came from Saudi, 15.97% from the UAE, 13.77% from the US, 7.53% from Malaysia and 7.38% from the UK. · The fraudulent practices in the process of migration were also adversely affecting the migrant worker’s income. · Though people were being subjected to deception by giving money for migration most of them were unwilling to go to court to avoid the long legal procedure.

DR. SHAHNAZ KARIM

Director Society and Team Leader PROKAS The British Council aims to support Bangladesh as a prosperous, secure and a democratic country by building greater public confidence in demographic institutions, empowering and educating civil society, and assisting Bangladesh in meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). Our societal portfolio’s competence is strengthening the citizen's engagement. We need to produce stable, secure and open societies through four key intervention areas: the first area is civil society and governance, the second is empowering women and girls, the third is the rule of law and access to justices, and the fourth is a social enterprise. The government is working very hard to ensure fair migration by formulating new laws and policies and also decentralizing a few functions of migration up to district level. The government has also made space for the involvement of CSO to ensure migrant rights. Bangladesh is both an inspiration and a challenge for policymakers and practitioners of development. Despite many developments in the migration sector, it is still evident that widespread challenges remain in this sector. Bangladesh with the correct policies and timely actions can move up within the middle-income brackets.

DR. TASNEEM SIDDIQUI Professor Political Science University of Dhaka Founding Chair, RMMRU

This congregation demands that we go forward with migration vision 2030 which will ensure to bring the migration sector under good governance. We gained a lot of knowledge from the research of RMMRU, and through that, we want to influence the policy. We organized the Sonar Manush award this time and would also like to have a policy framework for the preview of SDG. There have been a new minister since 2001, and many changes have happened but the targeted program have not yet been achieved. We aim to create a file system so the migrants can get the benefits of the development works of the country and are not only used as currency earners. They have every right to get the benefits of the development work. The degradation of climate coupled with the fact that the international compact on migration is yet to be prepared means that we have to take measures internally. We must prepare policies that are in sync with the SDG.

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Special Event

NRB Day: Recognizing the Hard work of the NRBs by Sohelee Tahmina

Scholars Bangladesh Foundation and Center for NRB Foundation recently celebrated their 12th Anniversary. In line with that, they also celebrated 30 December 2017 as the NRB Day. Many distinguished guests at the event have assured that from next year this day will be declared to be an official day to recognize the immense contribution of millions of our NRBs in various countries. This announcement included the promises of many other beneficial developments for the NRBs by the government to make sure their contribution is bigger, better and smoother was emphasized at the program at Bangabandhu International Conference Center (BICC) on 30 December 2017. The foundation awarded 17 individuals as “Scholar of the Year” in 9 categories for excellent contribution in the sectors of Mainstream Politics, Civil Service, Education & Research, Health & Medicine, Art Culture & Sports, Science Technology & Innovations, Outstanding Contribution in Business and Social Contribution in Bangladesh.

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ABUL MAAL ABDUL MUHITH Finance Minister, Government of Bangladesh

Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith enlightened the guests about the history of Bangladeshi people traveling abroad. According to him, Bangladeshis started to travel independently around the globe in 1802, 20 years before Raja

Ram Mohan Rai made his voyage. This information, however, concerns only the most mentionable travelers in the history. He also expressed his disappointment in the fact that received remittance is much less than what it should be according to the number of NRBs worldwide. He blames various socio-economic factors for the situation. He stated that Bangladesh being on a top spot on the list of corrupt countries makes a very negative impact on the country’s profile which discourages investment. The minister also said that the term “Global Citizen” being too popular these days may be another reason behind the low remittance income of the country. However, he believes that making more online transactions and online dealings will make it much safer and less corrupted.


DR. A. K. ABDUL MOMEN

Chairman, Celebration Committee for first NRB day Chairman of the NRB Foundation Dr. A. K. Abdul Momen highlighted the four significant ways through which NRBs can make the most contribution to the development of our countryremittance, philanthropy, investment and sharing and transferring of knowledge and skill. However, he made an effort to highlight the various troubles faced by NRBs while investing in our economy. For example, following the registration for investment, the local procedure isn’t smooth or helpful enough which is causing way less number of actual investment than compared to investment registration by the NRBs. That is why he suggested building a particular “cell” in each region where the NRBs of a particular region will be able to discuss strategies and report the problem and seek help regarding any issues for making an investment or other contribution to the country’s economic and social development. He also acknowledged the contribution of NRBs during our Freedom Fight in 1971 which played a vital role in developing a worldwide public opinion in favor of Bangladesh and made sure the safe return of Bangabandhu to his homeland. Dr. Momen said that a proposal has been presented to the Prime Minister to celebrate 30-31 December as official “NRB Day” every year and expects to get approval soon.

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ABUL KALAM AZAD

Chief Coordinator of SDG Affairs Prime Minister’s Office Abul Kalam Azad said that the government had set SDG goals for 2100 of which 2021 is marked as the time of reaching the milestone of middle to an upper-middle income economy. 2030 will be recognizing the motto of “no one leaves behind,” and 2041 the country is expected to be recognized as a developed country. On the other hand, 2071 is already a special year as it marks the 100th anniversary of the free country of Bangladesh. Azad added, “None of these goals will be achieved without 100% contribution of the 10 million NRBs living and performing around the globe.” He also stated the unfortunate fact that the government does not receive remittance as it is supposed to be because a major portion of the remittance is entering the country through illegal ways. Therefore, he believes it’s an immediate requirement to build a platform which will ensure legal entry of all the remittance to ensure maximum benefit of the country. He also emphasized on the proper execution, operation and maintenance of this platform in the desired manner. Azad also pointed out that the government has already announced that they will create 100 economic zones. Moreover, he mentioned that a new scheme of sending only “skilled manpower” had been planned by the finance ministry to maximize remittance.

M. E. CHOWDHURY SHAMEEM

Convener, Celebration Committee for first NRB day “Scholars Bangladesh was founded with the motto of uniting NRBs and the People of Bangladesh in social, political, economic and educational ways to make constant prosperity of the country,” said M. E. Chowdhury Shameem, Founder President of the foundation. He added that it came about with many years of hard work, “Based on research of about a decade we have tried to observe how the non-resident citizens of countries like India, Malaysia, Singapore have contributed to the development of the concerned country. What role the concerned government played to make their efforts successful.” With those insights in mind, Scholars Bangladesh and the Center for NRB Foundation are working to make similar development to Bangladesh’s economy.


Interview

Nasrul Hamid

State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resource of Bangladesh Government & Member of the Parliament

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Vision of A Changemaker In the age of diminishing fossil fuels, how a young minister is aiming to ensure more power and energy to the consumers By Asaduzzaman

Nasrul Hamid, the State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resource of Bangladesh Government and a Member of the Parliament has recently been nominated for the prestigious World HRD Congress (WHC) award for his visionary leadership. WHC, a Mumbai-based organization, has been providing awards to the persons and organizations, which make contributions in creating a platform for qualitative development. Hamid has been selected for the award for organizing the youths of Bangladesh and making a significant contribution to increasing their financial opportunities and will be conferred on 15 February 2018 at its 26th congregation. Nasrul Hamid was born on 13 November 1964 in a respectable political family. His father Late Prof. Hamidur Rahman was a prominent figure in the liberation war and was a close associate of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Hamid’s entry politics is, thus, a continuation of the family legacy.

Hamid completed his secondary and higher secondary education Dhaka Residential Model School and College respectively and was admitted to Dhaka University for studying Economics in 1983. After his graduation, he pursued the certificate course from John F. Kennedy School of Harvard University, USA, and entitled "Leaders in Development Managing Change in Dynamic World." After assuming the office of State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources of the Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, he introduced some changes, which revolutionized the way the ministry was performing. At present, the investment flow of the entire department is about $30 billion, and another $50 billion is in the pipeline in power and energy sectors. Under his dynamic leadership, system losses have dropped significantly; currently, almost there is no load shedding. 90% of the populations are having access to electricity. Not only in the urban area, but extensive coverage is also in the rural areas. The Rural Electrification Board (REB) is providing connections to more than 400,000 households every month. Megaprojects have been undertaken

to achieve the target of generating 24,000 MW by 2024 and 60,000 MW by 2041. Transmission and distribution projects are also being implemented to ensure reliable electricity and customer satisfaction. The source of alternative energy for the country's energy security, LNG for the industry, LPG for household, the second unit for ERL, oil import through single point mooring, Dhaka-Chittagong pipeline and the multi-client survey, offshore exploration, etc. are moving forward in full swing. Hamid took an unprecedented step to increase regional cooperation. During his tenure, electricity import accelerated from India; import of diesel from Numaligarh through a pipeline is almost in the final stage. Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN) hydroelectric sharing network has been initiated. It is expected that the country will be connected with International Gas Grid Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan -India (TAPI). His contribution to finalizing the SAARC Framework was also outstanding. He keeps a commendable contribution in the field of Renewable Energy, Solar Home System, Solar Roof Top, etc. An iconic young politician, Nasrul Hamid believes that using the demographic dividend; we can achieve our vision 2041 to become a developed country. That is why he engaged himself to create suitable www.ibtbd.net

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platforms for developing youngsters by exploring their talents. He deems that creating opportunity, giving training and encouragement can lead to a revolution in the self-development of the youth. Bangladesh is developing very fast. So the requirement of energy security is a prime need for the country. This is why Nasrul Hamid brought changes in the management in his office and formed a team that is capable of understanding his vision and delivers accordingly. He captured the attention of people across the globe and indeed envisages the intended meaning of the adage human being is as large as his or her dream. Regarding the prospects of our energy sector, Hamid says that the significant possibility and line of opportunities in the industry of power and energy should not be doubted. Bangladesh has a market of four crore people who directly can use the LPG, not only in the city but also in the remote villages. "We are not looking for individual households. Instead, we are looking for a community system supply. The community will be formed through 100 villages or at the micro level, with 100 houses. The idea is to provide community wise central supply for better coverage. It is not just selling one cylinder. I want to look at a massive supply of autogas and others."

According to him, the use of LPG is increasing very fast, but one must not forget that an excellent marketing capacity is also needed to make it more popular. "More advertisement in the media will inform people about the offerings from various LPG companies." Pointing at the notion that using LPG will take a toll on the expenditure for the user, he suggests the service providers offer competitive pricing that can ensure a better customer base. Hamid reminds us of the fact that the storage of our natural gas is depleting. “This is why the government is working with a goal to make LPG available to 70% people of the country within three years,” he states. He informs that there are fifty companies, which have been issued licenses as the ministry wanted to ensure seamless supply across the country. "I want to see more communication with the consumers from the operators' side. Under both public and private sector initiatives, new apartments are being built, and occupants in these houses are demanding for gas connection.” This shows the prospects of LPG in urban areas. In this regard, he mentioned about the importance of having an LPG terminal. "We need the uninterrupted supply of gas and reasonable price for gas. The operators have the responsibility to fix a reasonable price, and that shall be followed,” he added.

I want to see more communication with the consumers from the operators' side. Under both public and private sector initiatives, new apartments are being built, and occupants in these houses are demanding for gas connection.”

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Remarkable steps

The State Minister has taken several exciting initiatives, which are noteworthy. POWER & ENERGY HACKATHON:

To ensure the Energy safety by utilizing new innovative ideas and techniques of the youth, "Power and Energy Hackathon 2017" has been organized. From this competition, Bangladesh gets a green innovating solution on energy safety on the issue of ensuring energy efficient household, harnessing marine energy, and power and energy crisis in the industry sector, replacing biomass cookstoves, implementing smart grid technology, solution for green and renewable energy, affordable access to electricity, etc.

IDEA COMPETITION:

A general idea can bring a tremendous change that can contribute in a massive way develop a country. Keeping that in mind, the Ministry had organized a competition named "Ek Idea tey Bazimat" to engage young, meritorious students. The participants in this contest were very excited and thankful to Hamid for taking such an innovative step for them.

INTERNSHIP:

Initiatives have been taken to award internship for 500 students in different government and non-government entities of the Ministry to introduce them in real life work. 100 students have already been benefited under that initiative, while 200 other such internships are in the pipeline.

MoU BETWEEN ESAB AND EPRC:

Bangladesh Energy & Power Research Council (EPRC) and Engineering Students' Association of Bangladesh (ESAB) have signed a MoU for collaborating with each other’s network and resources to promote research on energy and power as well as implement the outcomes with the help of the young, energetic engineers and researchers. EPRC will provide necessary funds, assistance for research and training for respective engineers.

SCHOLARSHIP

Nasrul Hamid Foundation provides scholarship for 273 students from 14 schools in Keraniganj on January 29, 2018

ASSISTANCE FOR HELPLESS AND NEEDY STUDENTS Hamid is giving moral and financial support to dependent and needy students.

ENTREPRENEURSHIP DEVELOPMENT

He is encouraging young people to become an entrepreneur or to be self-employed in fisheries farming, poultry farming, dairy farming, computer training or similar kind of programs that ensure a steady income. He has also played a substantial role in developing entrepreneurship in his locality.


In-Depth

Liquefied Petroleum Gas:

The New Energy Solution The stage was all set for the 5th Annual Asia LPG Summit in the International Convention City Bashundhara on 16 January 2018. With the aim of conveying the importance of building a safe and sustainable future of the energy sector with particular emphasis on the role of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), the two-day long program educated stakeholders on international LPG policies, regulations, and practices. The summit was graced by Amir Hossain Amu, MP, Minister of Industries, GoB; Md. Tajul Islam, MP, Chairman, Parliamentary Standing Committee, Ministry of Power, Energy & Mineral Resources; Salman F. Rahman, President of LPG Operators Association of Bangladesh (LOAB), and Michael Kelly, Deputy Managing Director of World LPG Association (WLPGA) among others as the guests of honor. The event comprised of several workshops that addressed the various challenges that the LPG market will need to overcome and how the development of this sector can potentially take Bangladesh to newer heights. Some of the key messages delivered during the seminar have been highlighted below.

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circumstances, the government decided that for domestic use and transport, we should shift from natural gas to LPG. Even in small industries, due to not receiving the required gas pressure, there has been a tendency to shift to LPG.

PARTNERSHIP THAT CREATES PROGRESS

Salman F. Rahman President LPG Operators Association of Bangladesh (LOAB)

POWER AND GROWTH: A SYMBIOTIC DYNAMIC

As you have heard today, the Bangladesh government has been actively supporting as well as promoting the use of LPG in Bangladesh. The reason for this is that we have depended on natural gas for far too long for all our energy requirements. Bangladesh has been witnessing tremendous growth, especially in the last 9 years. If we take a look at our macroeconomic figures, we have been growing at a rate of 6.5% every year. This trend has caused an increase in exports and foreign exchange reserves. However, the most significant increase has been regarding our power generation. The bulk of our power generation is based on natural gas, and because of this growth, our utilization of natural gas has grown tremendously. We are now in a situation where to cater for future growth; the government has decided to import liquefied natural gas. Due to these

We formed the LPG association last year, and since then we have been working closely with the government, particularly the Energy Ministry, Metro Bangla and Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation, to formulate proper rules, regulations, and policies so that the industry could be regulated properly. We had two issues that we put a lot of emphasis on. One was safety, and the other was quality. With the full cooperation of the government, Metro Bangla and BPC, the association formulated the rules that are now in place. From the association, we still have a lot to do, especially when monitoring is concerned. We find that there are still practices taking place which are not safe in the industry, and now the association’s first task is to monitor and control the people who are not following the rules to ensure safety and quality.

IMPORT STRATEGIES: MAKING LPG AFFORDABLE Until now, all the LPG which we are importing is in small pressurized cargo vessels. This mechanism is increasing the cost by nearly a $100 per ton. If the operators can import the cargo in refrigerated vessels, this money can be saved. This import process is a significant detriment for the increase of the market capacity in Bangladesh because if we

saved this money, the cost of LPG would come down significantly. The government is also looking into this. There are initiatives from both the government and private sectors in place, and hopefully, within the next couple of years, we will have the infrastructure in Bangladesh to bring in LPG in refrigerated cargos. I am very confident that the LPG business in Bangladesh will be a potentially growing business, and in the years to come we will see this develop into a substantial contributor to the national economy.

Md. Tajul Islam MP,

Chairman, Parliamentary Standing Committee Ministry of Power, Energy & Mineral Resources

INNOVATORS BY NATURE: FOLLOWING OUR FOREFATHERS

Our honorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina realized that for Bangladesh to be a developed country, we need to meet certain logistic criteria with energy being one of the fundamental ones. Our country was dependent on agriculture, and for modernization of the sector,

we needed energy and power. Generation of this power requires a vast natural gas input and to meet this demand through our sources; the question arises: “Should we continue using natural gas for cooking?” This was when LPG came to prominence. Due to a cross-sectional approach by the government for economic growth, the demand for LPG is going up. Because of this development, rural people can afford LPG.

NATIONAL ADVANCEMENT IS AN INTERSECTORAL UNDERTAKING

The growth of the LPG sector is enhancing the growth of other sectors such as the agricultural sector and service sector. LPG has also enabled us to meet the huge electricity demand of the industrial sector. We have to emphasize and give importance to LPG for which the government needs to ensure the development of the private sector as it contributes a lot to the energy sector. I hope that more people both local and foreign get involved and invest in the energy sector, especially the LPG business. LPG opportunities in Bangladesh will be going up day by day, and we must continuously work to ensure that it is more affordable for the people through policy support and regulations. I believe that if the government and private sector work together, we will be able to reach our goals.

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in rural areas. The government has generated a substantial amount of LPG cylinders to reduce the dependency on natural gas. Moreover, more than 900 licenses have been issued in favor of different companies producing strong LPG cylinders.

Md. Shafiul Islam President The Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI)

FOLLOWING THE PROACTIVE ACTIONS OF LEADERSHIP

Under the dynamic leadership of Honorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Bangladesh is emerging as an essential economic player internationally. The country has achieved the capacity to generate 16,350 megawatts of electricity, and 83% of the total population now has access to electricity. However, with rapid industrialization and need for affordable energy, the LPG industry had made a definite presence in Bangladesh since 1998 when private sector companies started distributing LPG. At present, both national and international businesses are involved in the industry, some even under a joint venture. We have an estimated market of 1 million tons out of which 60% is accounted for by local productions and imports. LPG is gaining a lot of popularity, especially

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THE ROLE AND PRODUCTION OF CLEANER ENERGY: LOCALIZING LPG PRODUCTION

LPG has been defined as a clean source of energy, and its use is aligned with our commitment to achieving the SDG set for 2030 which includes industrialization, quality growth and access to affordable, clean energy. However, for the sustainable growth of the sector, it is vital that we carefully plan and create ideal policies. The industry might be growing, but there are issues which are concerned with storage and bottling capacity especially in gas deficient areas. Currently, the ratio stands at 80% import and 20% local production; we must promote local production through incentives and tax rates. Another crucial factor is ensuring safety and affordability. LPG operators near rivers are also restricted to receiving to only 2,500 metric tons due to drafts and this in return results in higher cargo charges. I firmly believe that summits like these will educate stakeholders on international LPG practices, standards, and benchmarks. This will help us reshape the future of energy and LPG in Asia.

Sheikh Fazle Fahim

First Vice President FBCCI

RECOGNIZING THE POTENTIALS OF NATION

The World LPG association has a lot of resources that the Bangladesh LPG industry can tap into. We have requested to join from FBCCI so we can bring in the different products that are available to the world to Bangladesh market. It is not only the gas cylinders but also the synthetic gas that can be made from LPG, area-based solutions, and more efficient procedures to deliver these products to the end users.

Azam J Chowdhury Vice President LPG Operators Association of Bangladesh (LOAB)

IT TAKES A UNITED NATION

We should be following and practicing our business in strong conformity to these policies. Anyone who does not share our vision for energy solutions can deter the growth of LPG in Bangladesh.They may spread misconceptions about our practices and because this a new product; this miscommunication will hamper the industry. It can elude the confidence of consumers in Bangladesh. A summit of this kind can increase awareness among our operators to all activities around this area to ensure that we are not doing these types of practices. As LPG operators, we are committed to maintaining a global standard in Bangladesh and shouldn’t compromise on those issues.


We have been telling the government that automatic pricing is a great advantage. Automatic pricing is the system where you pass the best prices on the market to the consumers. We have actively considered this to be the best policy. However, I would like to request our operators to ensure that we maintain reasonable pricing. We must make sure that there is healthy growth for everyone. A reasonable margin is a key to the industrial growth of LPG.

Mohammad Nurul Alam CEO BM Energy

MOVING AWAY FROM TRADITIONAL ENERGY SOURCES It is no mystery that that energy is a key indicator of a nation’s overall economic and social development. Looking at the present energy scenario in Bangladesh, electricity demand has significantly increased over the last 2 years. Most of the Bangladeshi power plants are heavily dependent on fossil fuels, and since maximum fossil fuel is imported from overseas, a power failure has been an acute problem and is vastly affecting the socio-economic

development of the country. Bangladesh is heavily relied on natural gas, especially when it comes to electricity. A possible alternative for the country could be liquefied petroleum gas, and it’ll be beneficial to our economy in three ways. Firstly, It will help the nation to get over the dependency on domestic natural gas. Bangladesh is a fascinating and appealing market for LPG because of the use of natural gas. The LPG conservation is very low compared to other Asian countries. So the market potential is very high here as the government has decided not to give any natural gas connections in the new households. Moreover, the average family incomes have been growing consistently over the last decade. There are 34 million households in Bangladesh, but only 4 million have easy access to natural gas and LPG.

THE PETROLEUM PROSPECT

There are considerable prospects in LPG in automobile sectors. It has a significant advantage on octane and CNG. There are about 3.5 million vehicles in our country among which about 165,000 are private cars that are currently running on octane and CNG. I hope the LPG conversion will start its operation soon to convert the CNG vehicles into LPG vehicles. If everyone works together, LPG will play a significant role in Bangladesh in the future. Due to the high calorific value of profane, we can go for profane based electricity production; this is something the government can look into. The government has introduced rules and regulations for

the storage, import, and distribution of LPG. We are confident that the new regulations will ensure the safety and protection of the LPG industry. On the other hand, monitoring is also needed so that the rules are correctly implemented.

THE CHALLENGES AND PROSPECT IN THE ENERGY MARKET

There are some challenges for the development of sustainable LPG market, of which, affordability is the most prominent challenge. If international LPG price goes up significantly, it can affect the growth of the LPG market. Infrastructure is another challenge for the growth of the LPG industry. The industry will need to facilitate storage and bottling capacity at different places. Aligning with the Bangladesh government’s mission regarding LPG prospect and development, BM Energy, under the brand name BM LP GAS, has emerged as one of the leading LPG operators in Bangladesh, making a substantial impact in overall industrial growth. BM Energy possesses the largest reserve of LPG with 9700 MT storage capacity, and we are continuing to expand the capacity to meet the growing demand. We have an import terminal in Sitakunda with a storage capacity of 6500 MT. Automated and state of the art bottling system are installed in the plant which enables 1200 cylinders per hour production capacity. A satellite LPG filling plant, which is the country’s first semi-buried mounded tank with a storage capacity of 200 MT is located in Gazipur. The second largest LPG import terminal with 3000 MT storage capacity in Khulna is now under

LPG has already become a popular alternative fuel in Bangladesh. All the LPG operators are investing a huge number of funds for the installation of plants, importing LPG, importing and manufacturing LPG cylinders. construction, which will enable us to extend production capacity up to 3600 cylinders per hour. Moreover, a cylinder manufacturing plant with a production capacity of 220 cylinders per hour is ready to operate in Chittagong. We also created a robust distribution network with 300 distributors and 10,000 retailers across the country to make LPG available in every corner. Energy Ministry has awarded LPG Operator License to BM Energy before anyone else to establish 400 Autogas filling stations across the country. There are already more than 60 autogas agreements, and much more are in the pipeline. The bulk sales of BM Energy are the highest in the industry enabling continuous support to other players who require fuel for operation. Overall BM Energy is investing heavily in LPG establishments for keeping a firm grip over the market so that we can always remain aligned with our vision as well as serve our domestic, commercial and industrial customer with our wide range of services. www.ibtbd.net

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around 600,000 cylinders per year. Aside from that, we are also importing cylinders on a regular basis to meet the demand.

JAMUNA GAS: A MAJOR PLAYER IN THE LPG FRONTIER

Mohammad Yasin Arafat Director Jamuna Gas

TAKING ON SMARTER TRENDS: COMPANIES IN THE LPG MARKET The growth of LPG industry within Bangladesh has been changing by the increasing demand of LPG in household, commercial and industrial sector as a replacement of traditional fuel like coal, kerosene, and others. As per the announcement of the Energy Ministry mineral resource division, LPG will ultimately replace the natural gas shortly. LPG has already become a popular alternative fuel in Bangladesh. All the LPG operators are investing a huge number of funds for the installation of plants, importing LPG, importing and manufacturing LPG cylinders. Presently, the total LPG imported by the private operators in Bangladesh is around 700,000 MT per year. Out of this volume, Jamuna Gas itself imports around 120,000 MT through its terminal at Mongla port. The volume of LPG imported by the operators has increased quite significantly. Our sister concern, JB Cylinder Ltd., produces over 2,000 cylinders per day and

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Jamuna Gas has already started its LPG operations vigorously throughout the country so that it can remain as one of the top two operators of LPG in Bangladesh. Expansion of storage and filling capacity of Jamuna Gas is a continuous process. By 2021, the import volume is expected to exceed 300,000 MT per year. Once the cylinders reach the new villages and ensure good supply door to door with affordable prices, we believe the demand for LPG will increase fast. The government of Bangladesh has been encouraging the setting up of LPG Autogas stations, not only in the main highways but also in the cities and towns, including automobile workshops. Jamuna Gas will be setting up LPG Autogas stations as well as conversion stations in various locations in Bangladesh. I’d like to point out that if the tax imposed on LPG related businesses are a bit more lenient, the entire industry will find importers galloping ahead, and along with that, the development of Bangladesh will also find a renewed pace.

Mohammed Riyadh Ali

Former Vice President Bangladesh CNG FIlling Station and Conversion Workshop Owners Association

APPLYING INNOVATIVE ENERGY TO THE EVERYDAY Bangladesh is experiencing the growth of LPG equipment and volume of LPG are increasing day by day. We can see that this is garnering international attention; compared to the 150 during the previous year, there are 250 foreign delegates registered for today’s event. Furthermore, there are 90 companies in attendance. For many years, we have seen an abundance of CNG stations throughout Bangladesh; there is approximately 600 station. Many of them are not converting to LPG stations, and they have obtained the necessary permission and permits for them to operate as such. This is a growing trend because of the ease of transition and massive market. Many cities have yet to adopt the LPG trend equating to a higher price. I’m looking forward to sharing a platform of knowledge about the benefits of LPG in the next two days.

For many years, we have seen an abundance of CNG stations throughout Bangladesh; there is approximately 600 station. Many of them are not converting to LPG stations, and they have obtained the necessary permission and permits for them to operate as such.


Interview

Toshiyuki Shimbori

CEO Omera Petroleum Ltd.

SUSTAINABLE FUEL SOLUTIONS:

Why LPG is the Answer to Bangladesh’s Fuel Scarcity Toshiyuki Shimbori has thirty years of career in the energy sector. He had his Bachelor of law from Waseda University, Tokyo Japan in 1987. He is the Chief Executive Officer with all responsibilities of a CEO of Omera Gas Limited, a joint venture between Omera Petroleum Limited and Saisan Co. Ltd. since December 2016. Earlier during February 20-15 to November 2016, he was a Deputy Manager of Saisan Co. Ltd, a leading Gas distributor from Japan. He was the Manager of Sojitz Petroleum Co (Singapore) Pte Ltd; Assistant General Manager Sojitz Corporation, Japan (former Nissho Iwai Corporation); Managing Director, Nissho Iwai Petroleum Co( Singapore) Pte Ltd.; Deputy General Manager, Nissho Iwai Saudi Ariba Al- Khobar Office.

Omera Petroleum Ltd. (OPL), a subsidiary of MJL Bangladesh Ltd, is the largest operator in the Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) sector of Bangladesh with a combined capacity of 100,000 MT p.a. In partnership with European energy giant BB Energy, the company has installed state of the art LPG import and storage terminal with a capacity of 3,600 MT at Mongla, Bagerhat. Apart from the main installation in Mongla, OPL has established 3 other satellite filling and bottling stations located at Ghorashal (Central), Bogra (Northern Belt), and Chittagong (Southern Belt) respectively to ensure convenience and availability of LPG to its distributors and customers. Besides using a massive fleet of LPG bowsers to move the LPG from Mongla to its satellite plants, OPL has successfully commissioned an LPG Barge ‘MV Omera Princess’ with a capacity of


The environmental benefits are use of clean energy compared with other petroleum products and coal. Second, there is no need to make major civil work. One cylinder will do. You can immediately cook or boil water with one cylinder even there are big natural disasters such as fire or earthquake. LPG can reach to anyone at anywhere at once. First, for safety, there are many safety devices such as shut off the system in case of earthquake or emergency and gas leak alarm in the case of a leak.

300 MT to transport LPG through waterways for the first time in Bangladesh. Omera Petroleum Ltd. is dedicated to running a safe and environmentally responsible operation and making a significant contribution to Bangladesh’s sustainable economic prosperity as well as energy equilibrium. Toshiyuki Shimbori of shared his insight into the growing industry.

With only 6% of the population in Bangladesh pipelined to natural gas, the gap between its demand and supply is increasing continuously. What possible reasons can be accounted for the existence of such a gap?

There are a number of reasons for this increasing gap. The primary reasons include: the decline of a natural gas supply in Bangladesh, the growing demand due to economic growth and the lack of alternative energy sources in the past.

How can the use of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) benefit people against the backdrop of energy scarcity?

There are many advantages of LPG already recognized internationally including my country Japan. LPG cylinder can reach anywhere, and anyone without installing gas pipeline under the ground. You can obtain the gas by buying one cylinder right now. In Japan, we have many earthquakes. Even during such disasters, people can use LPG cylinder while natural gas pipeline or electricity are stopped. LPG is imported and ample supply is available in the world. There is already existing distribution set up in Bangladesh; many more operators are coming in the market. It is readily available fuel. LPG is still new fuel for Bangladesh. So, we still need to do promotion, and educate people to understand the benefits of LPG.

What environmental benefits and hazards are associated with the use of LPG?

Could you explain the recent initiative of gas price hike for domestic pipe gas to equalize the LPG usage in the market?

In Bangladesh, natural gas has been produced and sold at a very low price. The industrial price sold is $1/mmbtu, however, the international price is $5-6/mmbtu level. As far as I know, there is only one country who sells natural gas cheaper than Bangladesh, that is Saudi Arabia where it is sold at $0.75/mmbtu. Therefore, I think it is very natural that government tried to increase the price of natural gas. Bangladesh has only one domestic source, i.e., Eastern Refinery which only produces 15,000mt per year. So, the rest of LPG will be imported.

What role can the Government of Bangladesh play in promoting the use of LPG? What are possible challenges faced by the LPG industry?

The government has decided on the energy policy and it is expected to be implemented without fail. It means that the government will have to stop new gas connection to

houses, factory (except the economic zone) and CNGs for autogas. The regulations about stable supply, safety measures have to be discussed and implemented. The assurance of a steady supply include compulsory stock, price issues, safety controls, etc. Those have to be addressed and implemented from now.

Apart from its usage in households, what other sectors can LPG contribute to?

LPG can be used for autogas, chemical feed, fuel for the ship, power generation, and boiler fuel. You must realize that LPG is strong fuel under the natural disaster. In my country we had a big earthquake and Tsunami in 2011, LPG was the fastest available fuel. This demonstrates a versatile source of energy that is adaptable and safe.

Recently the conglomerate Beximco announced the plan of setting up its first Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG)-based power plant in the country. To what extent can a measure as such help to drag the country out of energy crisis in the future? Bangladesh is facing a paradigm shift in the energy sector. Bangladesh will have to depend on imported fuel unless the nation finds a big new reservoir or starts using domestic coal. There are the options of crude oil, LPG, LNG or coal. LPG is the best choice for Bangladesh as the country have existing import facilities and distribution network, it is environmentally friendly, it is proven as safe fuel in the world, and Bangladeshi are habituated and familiar with gas. LPG will play a huge role in Bangladesh from now. www.ibtbd.net

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Resource Solutions

Creating Alternative Resources: THE LIQUEFIED PETROLEUM GAS (LPG) AND LNG INDUSTRY By Mehrin Karim

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As Bangladesh is slowly depleting its resources, the government has been taking measures to conserve gas lately. One of the initiatives includes encouraging the use of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) and LNG as an alternative to natural gas for household and commercial use. It is done by discontinuing the provision of new gas connections to households and other commercial enterprises and reducing the number of hours of supply to connected consumers. The government's natural gas conservation policy is therefore based on rationing gas supply rather than by proper pricing to encourage its efficient use. Owing to the absence of new significant discoveries and a very liberal use, the growing shortage of natural gas is a burning issue for Bangladesh now. If Bangladesh’s gas demand continues to grow at the current pace of 7% per annum, the current reserve will completely deplete by FY2023 (Table 1), unless gas supply capacity substantially increases through new gas field exploration/development and gas imports.

Table 1: Reserve to Production (Supply) Projection from 2014 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 Production (TCF)

1.1 1.2 1.3 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.7 1.8 1.9 2.0

Growth Rate

7% 7% 7% 7% 7% 7% 7% 7% 7% 7%

Cumulative Production (TCF)

2.3 3.5 4.9 6.3 7.9 9.5 11. 13. 15. 3 2 2

Source: Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources and PetroBangla.

BANGLADESH ASPIRES TO BECOME A HIGH-INCOME COUNTRY BY 2041. THE DEVELOPMENT OF ENERGY AND POWER INFRASTRUCTURE, THEREFORE, PURSUES NOT ONLY THE QUANTITY BUT ALSO THE QUALITY TO REALIZE THE LONG-TERM ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT.

PHOTOGRAPH FROM LAUGFSGAS.COM.BD

On the demand side, the rapid use of gas in power production has been the main source of the growth in gas consumption. Due to the most recent gas supply constraint, the power sector is increasingly relying on fuel oil. Thus, the rapid increase in the share of oil-based power supply– from only 8% in FY2010 to 28% in FY2015– is a reflection of a major primary fuel constraint in Bangladesh. Along with reliance on rental power, substitution of high-cost fuel oil with low-cost domestic gas has contributed to the rapid increase in the average cost of electricity generation. A severe rationing of gas now exists in the economy. Even though priority has been given to power sector, which has come at the expense of fertilizer production, the rising demand for gas in power production far outstripped gas supply. With competing demands for natural gas and its constrained supply, the share of gas-based electricity supply dropped down to 66%. The Power System Master Plan (PSMP) 2016 aims to assist Bangladesh in www.ibtbd.net

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Creating Cost Efficient Options

formulating an extensive energy and power development plan up to the year 2041, covering energy balance, power balance, and tariff strategies. Bangladesh aspires to become a high-income country by 2041. The development of energy and power infrastructure, therefore, pursues not only the quantity but also the quality to realize the long-term economic development. The shortage of gas increases the cost of power by In addition to the demand from the power sector, the demand raising the dependence on imported liquid fuel and from industries (mainly cement), commercial sector and lowering the efficiency and capacity of power plants household sector have also contributed much to the rapid designed to run on gas. There is no doubt that expansion of gas consumption. One major policy that has Demand Side Management (DSM) is by far the contributed to this expansion is that the domestic gas has been cheapest option that increases virtual generation by underpriced and rather inefficiently allocated across competing reducing demand. The DSM measures are therefore uses. Proper pricing of gas and allocation based on economic more cost-effective than creating new capacity, and efficiency will be a major policy challenge while moving hence opportunities need to be fully exploited. For forward. the liquid fuel based plants, fuel cost far exceeds the In the area of household consumption, the policy of capacity cost. The efficiency of these plants is, encouraging the use of LPG is a sound one. However, to therefore, an important parameter. Moreover, the implement it properly the government first needs to price capacity cost of existing plants is a sunk cost, and domestic use of gas accurately by setting proper gas prices and their incremental cost is fuel and variable operation linking total gas bill for household-based to actual consumption and management (O&M). On the other hand, new rather than charging a flat rate irrespective of usage. Secondly, plants involve capacity cost as well as fuel and the government needs to facilitate a competitive LPG market. variable actual cash operation, maintenance, and Presently, there are seven LPG administrative expenses operators in the private sector of (O&M) costs. In the above Bangladesh. Their operations can ON THE DEMAND SIDE, THE RAPID USE OF context, the Internet presence providers (IPPs) are operating be broken down as buying bulks GAS IN POWER PRODUCTION HAS BEEN for about a decade with fixed of LPG from foreign refineries or THE MAIN SOURCE OF THE GROWTH IN capital cost, which has traders, shipping the bulk to their GAS CONSUMPTION. DUE TO THE MOST already sunk. Since the IPPs terminals in Bangladesh via RECENT GAS SUPPLY CONSTRAINT, THE are available for the seagoing gas carriers, storing the POWER SECTOR IS INCREASINGLY generation at marginal cost bulk LPG into spheres or bullets RELYING ON FUEL OIL. (fuel and variable O&M costs), via jetty pipeline, and filling the their capacity needs to be gases into pressurized cylinders utilized. for onward distribution to the final consumers. Bangladesh has In conclusion, Bangladesh is quickly running out of much potential regarding LPG consumption as only 6% of the natural gas, and the status quo promotes a faster entire population has access to natural gas, that too mostly in depletion of the resource. The market is still urban areas. The government has granted more than thirty new working on encouraging people to switch and licenses to private operators who are willing to set up strengthen the energy security of the nation. As a downstream LPG operations. As Bangladesh’s market for LPG is share of the overall expenditures, spending on about to expand, competition will concurrently increase with natural gas remains small and relative compared to new license holders entering the market. Going forward 5 to 10 other energy items. Therefore, even with a jump in years, when customers will find a variety of LPG brands to consumption, the rise in natural gas prices is less choose from, competitors will have to resort to their operational likely to take a crippling bite out of the more efficiencies to offer the best value for money. discretionary household spending. While many Bangladesh consumes more than 100,000 tons of LPG a year, consumers will not even realize the bump in prices, 80% of which is imported from Saudi Aramco, the state-owned the numbers will come through in personal oil company of Saudi Arabia. State-run Bangladesh Petroleum consumption data via an increase in utility Corporation (BPC) produces the rest using oil-refining process. spending. Consumers will also use gas more wisely Internationally, the price of LPG is benchmarked to the Saudi instead of wasting it. Nevertheless, if the Aramco Contract Price and is stable for that month. Freight government designs and implements its policies to charges are reduced with the increasing size of the Bulk LPG promote the use of LPG properly and if the LPG and Cargo. For example, the freight per ton charge of a 5,000 MT LNG operators can grasp the right opportunities to Capacity LPG carrier is much lower than the freight per ton combine their operations, the country will have a charge of a 1,500 MT Capacity LPG gas carrier (based on similar bright future which may proliferate the length of travel). It is very important that LPG operators opportunities to grow. understand this scale economy of trading and finds a way to THE WRITER is an analyst working in the Energy sector take advantage of this and pass on the benefits to the can be reached at mehrin.karim07@gmail.com. households.

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Interview

Amidst Political and Humanitarian Predicaments, Bangladesh’s Turning Point in 2018 By Ashfaque Zaman

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Dr. Imtiaz Ahmed

Professor of International Relations & Director of Centre for Genocide Studies, University of Dhaka


Could you elaborate upon the diplomacy situation of the Rohingya crisis? Do you believe it is a diplomatic success or failure?

It is too early to decide as to whether this is a failure or a success. Until we see the repatriation of these people, we cannot make such prediction. In such cases repatriation also entails that these people are entirely securely situated back to the Rakhine. These people will go back indeed, but the question is when and how long will this take. This exodus is also different from the ones that took place in the 70’s and 90’s, which, save a few thousand, ended with the repatriation of the bulk of them. But this time there is a global recognition that some form of ethnic cleansing, crime against humanityor genocide took place. The repatriation of the Rohingya community must include the right to citizenship with security guaranteed by the state. This time the Rohingya issue is no longer a bilateral issue between Bangladesh and Myanmar, it is an international issue, mainly because of the atrocities committed by the Myanmar military. Pressure is already building on Myanmar to assure that these refugees are not returning to the same situation they were in earlier. Bangladesh certainly cannot forcibly send these people to Myanmar. Myanmar must ensure that the Rohingyas have rights when they return, and this could be done by enacting new laws or ordinance guaranteeing such rights for the Rohingyas, including making explicit the process by which the Rohingyas would be granted citizenship in Myanmar. Also, there is a need for the presence of the UNHCR and other international agencies in places where the Rohingyas would be temporarily ‘camped’ following their repatriation. Only then they would feel secure and would be willing to join in the repatriation.

Bangladesh has developed new relations with a few countries, Turkey being amongst one of them and will this be beneficiary for Bangladesh? What is Turkey’s interest in this case among a few other nations that have expressed? We have to first look at the current situation from a broader perspective; we are a developing country housing

1.1 million refugees. Furthermore, Bangladesh is now housing the 5th largest refugee population in the world. This crisis has earned the Bangladesh government global recognition and appreciation for handling the situation professionally and efficiently. We had the backings of the European Union and a large number of countries of Asia and Africa after a long time. India abstained though from the vote, and only nine nations voted against our position. In addition to this global support, we also had the help of some of the countries, including that of Turkey, for socio-historical reasons. The first one being that the Rohingyas are Muslims. One must not forget that the Turks ruled Bengal for 500 years, so they have a historical attachment to the population of this region. Turkey has now emerged as a major Muslim country inclined to increase its influence within the Muslim Ummah. Earlier the Turkish Ottoman Empire was part of a more prominent civilization, which contributed to the building of the Islamic world. The Turkish Ottomans and the Mughals, who were Chagatai Turks, were both Hanafis, and this led to the proliferation and dominance of the Hanafi mazhab (school of thought) in South Asia. Unlike the Hanbalis/Wahhabi/Salafis/Saudis, the Turks have always seen themselves as global players and thus, historically supportive of the Rohingya cause.

How will Bangladesh be a beneficiary of this attention?

The Father of the Nation had it outlined in seven words: “Friendship towards all and malice towards none.” I think both the society and the state are quite knowledgeable enough to know the consequences or what could result from the Rohingya exodus. Bangladesh has opened itself to all nations, except Israel, for helping the Rohingya refugees. The Prime Minister of Turkey, Binali Yıldırım, has already visited Bangladesh and this visit has succeeded in overcoming the misunderstandings or misgivings between the two countries regarding the war crime trial. By welcoming Turkey’s participation in the Rohingya refugee crisis, Bangladesh has helped bridge the communication deficit between the two countries. Furthermore, Emine Erdoğan, Turkey’s www.ibtbd.net

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First Lady, visited both Myanmar and Bangladesh several times. I recall her speech at a conference in Istanbul where she was moved to tears when speaking about the plight of the Rohingyas in the Arakan province of Myanmar. If nothing else, this awareness created space for better communication between the two countries.

With the citizen registration or the Assam population, it is estimated that 1.34 million people could be stateless and moved into Bangladesh. Should this be a growing concern for our nation? I do not think that this a matter that concerns us gravely. This decision is part of BJP’s politics for years and India’s domestic politics. The bulk of the Bengalis residing in India’s north-east are from West Bengal, a fact that is known to both India and Bangladesh. Our per capita income is much bigger than those of the north-eastern states of India, in specific categories of the Human Development Index Bangladesh is in a much better position than India’s. So, whatever economic gains one would attain in earlier times by crossing the border to India is no longer there. Mamata Banerjee has

also made it clear that she will side with the Bengalis in the north-east region. It is a domestic issue of India, and not something between India and Bangladesh. At the same time, however, we should remain alert to the situation, but it is evident that India has the matter under control.

The US has expressed this keen interest in helping Bangladesh with regional safety issues. For example, the rise is extremism which is recently happening. What measures do you expect from the country in 2018?

This issue is primarily a matter of having a negative image. If you look at the 2017 World Terrorism Index, we are not even in the first 20; whereas three South Asian countries are in the first 10. Afghanistan is third, Pakistan is fifth, India is eighth, and Bangladesh is 21st; we are even behind Thailand and the Philippines. However, you never see anyone saying that they are not going to visit Bangkok. The subtext behind Dhaka is very different. We have neighboring countries that are competing for investments, and the negative image could redirect such investments to newer locations. We have to overcome this dystopian image. Even if you look at

The repatriation of the Rohingya community must include the right to citizenship with security guaranteed by the state. This time the Rohingya issue is no longer a bilateral issue between Bangladesh and Myanmar, it is an international issue, mainly because of the atrocities committed by the Myanmar military. Pressure is already building on Myanmar to assure that these refugees are not returning to the same situation they were in earlier.”

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the US, it is far more violent and the number of civilians being killed by firearms is much higher. This was evident at a recent concert in Las Vegas, but you do not see the city stopping its every function or the public insisting that they will not visit. What has happened in Gulshan’s Holey Artisan is incredibly tragic, but one or two such incidents are making Bangladesh ‘unsafe’ is not fair. We also do not know how to handle terror attacks. For example, the police checkpoints at the entrance of Gulshan are not the answer. We are in the age of globalization and technology. In fact, we are in the age of iWar where ‘checkpoints’ have to be built not on the roads and highways but in the cyberspace. I recall going to Ankara 48 hours after a massive terrorist attack in their downtown region, killing nearly 300 people. I was expecting the conference to be canceled however my hosts, primarily officials working in security think-tanks, informed me that they were ready and the city was functioning. Their logic was that counterterrorism is about “not letting the enemy know where you are.” The police checkpoints and other physical security measures make the ‘terrorists’ know exactly what to do! We should focus on the safety of the population without intimidating them. Our government has a deficit in this regard, and it must take better measures to safeguard the population at the local or street level. The most definitive example of this is London. The city has experienced many attacks but remains the most-visited in the world. If you are going to project a negative image of yourself, you are further inflating the idea of

insecurity. It is the time that we start welcoming people from other countries and provide them some of the lessons that we have learned over the years in dealing with some of the problems facing the world. The work of our NGOs, particularly in empowering women, for instance, is commendable and a model that can be replicated elsewhere. Unfortunately, such good practices never get highlighted or made into a foreign policy tool by the government.

You said countering terrorism is not acknowledging it and image. Are there any other solutions that you would propose for this image?

I have stated this for years; you need to make the country festival-friendly. We should not limit the festivities to the winter months. Bangladesh is the seventh largest nation in the world, literally a cultural powerhouse of 160 million people. Once you expand the cultural practices within and beyond the cities and make them regular your streets, and eventually the country become safer and more open. You have a better nation when you give people a creative outlet catered to their own culture; it provides them recreation, purpose, and identity. An example of this is the month of Ramadan. You will see the roads of old Dhaka teeming with people who are there to eat sehri at dawn. Hundreds and thousands of people are out in an unusual time and safety, or ‘insecurity’ is not an issue. I am sure you will also see that the level of crime during the month of Ramadan, particularly in Dhaka, decreases. The way is to have faith in the


people, bring them to the streets, colorfully, in a festival mood every month. Then I believe we will be able to counter intolerance and terrorism more efficiently.

The previous election years were ones that changed the course of the nation. What are your predictions for the upcoming election?

Two can easily be flagged. One, all parties will participate in the coming national election. And, I guess, because of this, the world, including some of our neighboring countries, will be looking at the election very closely. Unlike the last election, this time all the major powers will keep a distance from the election. Participation by all the parties will also result in a substantial turnout of voters on the election day. Two, there will be more intra-party than inter-party contestation and violence. There may be several candidates from the same party. And each of these parties must decide who they will choose to represent them. It is too early to say how this will play in politics. But I think within the next four or five months we will know. The nomination will start getting fixed by that time. Indeed, we will know what kind of conflicts there will be and how each party will handle them. So a big task for the political parties this time will be how to have a single candidate who can lead the party to victory and get the maximum support from the constituency. But it looks like all the political parties are aware and have started working on that.

Previous elections have led to inconsistencies in the GDP and the DEP. We have graduated with a 7%

increase for the first time. How do you think this will change during the election year?

There will not be much of a change. There is an intriguing contradiction that our politics and economics are heading in the opposite direction. Politically, we may have a deficit, but when it comes to economics, we have a surplus. By ‘surplus,’ I mean, 7% growth, which is quite a lot and it is one of the countries now globally recognized as a fast-growing economy, and there is a lot of attention that we see from different countries of the world. It can have a higher growth provided we have a peaceful election, which would certainly attract more significant investments. But then you must be very careful because if that comes about the question would be whether our governance is ready to absorb more significant investments. Our governance is still weak in many respect; we need to work on that. Secondly, there is also an issue with external actors because there is a competition and some of the external actors may think differently and may try to take advantage of it. We need to be watchful about this competition.

Will there be a remarkable shift in the bilateral relations between Bangladesh and its development partners?

I do not believe that it will. For example, our relationship with China should continue and not because this party or that party wants it. This relation has more to do with the size of China’s economy, and it is only 90 kilometers from Bangladesh. We forget that it takes only 2 hours to go to Kunming and this is evident with the number of people traveling between the two

countries. The re-rise of China is now apparent, of course, one must keep in mind that in the eighteenth century China was the largest economy in the world. Undivided India, on the other hand, was the second largest. At the same time, suspicions and misgivings between India and China that are portrayed in the media can be nullified when you see the number of Indian students traveling to China. For the first time, more Indian students are going to China for higher studies, particularly in pure sciences, than the UK. Many will tell you that it is because education in China is cost-effective, but given the demand for pure sciences, globally as well as nationally, the quality of science education in China must be commendable. Otherwise, why would so many Indians decide to go to China; this will undoubtedly have a positive impact on the relationship between the two countries in the coming decades. Finally, the very issue of One Belt One Road (OBOR). Since Bangladesh is a member of OBOR and the latter is nothing less than a Marshall Plan, there is no reason why we should not participate and make best of it. Critics would say that what is the guarantee that we would not end up in a debt trap. But the point is since it is mainly investment in infrastructure, which is so visible, any shortcomings would result from our intellectual limitations and misgovernance. A greater focus ought to be given to rectify the latter. We want bridges, roads, and airports, but other nations will not do these calculations for us. We must see what kind of infrastructure would bring an economic upliftment for the people. It is not only Bangladesh

which is a member and which wants to engage with China. About 60 countries have already joined the OBOR initiative. I am quite sure that India too would devise a plan of its own and take benefits from the OBOR initiative, maybe without officially calling it so! This is because it makes so much economic or business sense, not joining would be to deny the forces of capitalism and globalization. It's only a matter of time. In fact, such a plan is already there. India and China have a $100 billion trading regime, with China now building a fast-track or bullet train in India. So my argument is that there is no reason why Bangladesh should not go ahead with the kind of relationship that this government already has with China. Infrastructure development will only help the entire region. If we have Padma Bridge or a seaport, for example, neighboring countries will also benefit.

What is your remark regarding political unrest due to the election year?

There will be some public or noisy pronouncements of agitation. Do not take things seriously when you read matters in the newspaper; there's much more going on behind the scene. I cite Bill Clinton's famous statement when it comes to political hype, “It’s the economy, stupid!” At the end of the day if you can make a better living standard, if you can bring more significant investment, if you can create opportunities for more profits, people will line up. And that is what I think Bangladesh needs very quickly. Politicians understand this very well because ultimately that is what guarantees them votes when credible and participatory elections are held. www.ibtbd.net

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Tech Watch

DIY MODE

BUSINESS MODE

OFFICE MODE

MEETING MODE NFC

CONNECTED MOBILE APP

DRIVE MODE FAVORITE MODE

The Intelligent Apparel:

WHEN TECHNOLOGY AND FASHION SHAKE HANDS By Meshquat UL Anowar & Irfan Khan It started with phones and today’s market demands all things smart. So why not apply this very logic to what you’re wearing. Smart apparel or wearable technology is taking the everyday garment and giving it a higher purpose; it’s no longer about the fit. We’ve advanced to letting our clothing tell us how to stay fit. Research analyst predict that the $150 million industry with rake in revenues of $4 billion by 2024. ICE Business Times gets into gear with the best of tech-savvy wear.

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Pants with a Purpose

The Gen X Jacket

When megacorporations Google and Levi’s collaborate to create a piece of smart clothing, nothing short of the very best is to be expected. The complex combination of these companies’ expertise and resources have given birth to the “ Levi’s Commuter Trucker Jacket with Jacquard by Google,” an ordinary denim jacket with a few tricks up its sleeves. One of the cuffs has conductive threads woven in and act as the sensor area for multiple gestures or finger swipes. These gestures can be mapped to do various functions the user desires, from dismissing phone calls to using music or map apps; this is all made possible by pairing the jacket with the Jacquard app on the user’s phone. The unconventional duo of jacket and phone will work synonymously for the intended customer group of tech enthusiasts at a price tag of $350.

The key for Britain’s Sir Chris Hoy winning the Olympic gold medal for track cycling in 2012: Adidas’ brilliantly engineered “hot pants.” This innovation was brought to life by the joint venture of Adidas, the British cycling team, Loughborough University and Fibertonic. Essentially track pants, this piece of technological apparel utilizes filaments powered by batteries to heat up the muscles to a constant 38 Celsius, keeping the wearer at optimum temperature until the start of the race. Due to this ingenious invention, the cyclists can conserve their energy as they do not have to keep warming up continuously. Hot Pants are unlikely to be a new addition to commercial markets anytime soon, but something of similar features may appear.

Fit for Fitness

Insightfully purposed for the masses of online shoppers in the world, “Like A Glove” has manifested a product to ease the lives of this particular set of people substantially. This one of a kind smart leggings are equipped with sensors that are designed to measure the waist, hips, and thighs. These measurements are in turn sent to the “Like A Glove” app on the user’s phone. The app then sets its gears in motion and begins sifting through its oceanic database for jeans with the ideal fitting. This smart clothing’s primary function is to make it more convenient for shoppers to find the right size of pants for themselves, and they can do so by purchasing these leggings for $80. www.ibtbd.net

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The Skin You’re In Color my Workout

MyZone has devised such a pioneering item, which it is making heart rate monitors and wristband activity trackers obsolete. The MyZone Sports Bra looks like any typical bra but does not be fooled, it has its built-in fitness tracker, making it capable of tracking any activity. Even without being paired with a smartphone, the MyZone Sports Bra has the capacity of withholding 16 hours worth of activity data. When synced with the MyZone app on the user’s phone, the collected data is presented in 5 different colors: grey, blue, green, yellow and red. The amount of workout done is proportional to the intensity of the color. Alongside that, the app also contains features that give users the option to train with friends and family. This bra binds technology, comfort, and style effortlessly; and does so at price of $80.

This piece of smart clothing, recently introduced by a Montreal based startup, has made into this list for its sheer functionality. Tailored with the same Italian ingenuity we have come to admire, Hexoskin is laced with sensors which monitor the user's activity and renders the processed data in sporty metrics. It can measure the user’s heart rate, breathing rate and volume, steps with cadence, peak acceleration, and sleeping cycles. The Hexoskin shirt also features a Bluetooth smart sensor so it can seamlessly pair with third-party apps (like MapMyRun, Runkeeper, and Strava)on the user’s phone. Moreover, the sensors are ably capable of almost 600 hours of standalone recording, without the need for any third party accessories. This technology, along with an extended battery life of 30 hours, makes Hexoskin versatile. The Hexoskin comes in both long and short sleeved versions for him and her and is available for all customers at a price range of $169-$399.

The Sharp Shirt

A titan in the arena of e-textile, Athos is at the frontier of smart wearable clothing. These tight-fitting shirts and shorts are woven with micro-EMG (electromyography) sensors capable of monitoring heart rate, breathing rate, and muscle activity. Athos features a small, lightweight core which transmits a lossless stream of data from the state of the art EMG sensors to the user’s phone via Bluetooth. The core along with data transmission also functions as an inbuilt accelerometer. Athos features cutting-edge medical tech along with 10 hours worth of battery life. All these equipment integrated together monitors the data to provide insights on how to exercise efficiently while also alerting you to potential chances of injury. Catering to both men and women, Athos is no less than a personal trainer in your pocket. It’s no wonder the athletes of the Golden State Warriors (NBA Basketball team) use Athos to gauge their daily performance and everyone else can too for $398.

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The Most out of Meditation

Nadi X is a product of Wearable X, a Sydney based startup, is solely targeted towards a specific group of people. Nadi X was designed exclusively for yoga. For a beginner, yoga may seem very hard. Without the correct guidance, one could find themselves in over their heads, quite literally; this is where Nadi X yoga pants come in. Nadi X is equipped with built-in haptic vibrations to pulse at the hips, knees, and ankles that gently coax the user to change or hold the posture. The yoga pants also pair with the user’s phone via Bluetooth to display additional information, through the companion app. The Nadi X comes in four sizes and styles to meet their customer's unique taste and needs, all at $299.


Bring on the Chills

Running Smart

Lumos Run comes from a long line of workout accessories, closely following its predecessor Lumos Lift. It is essentially a small sensor that can clip onto any pair of shorts or leggings. It can efficiently track a vast array of metrics including cadence, braking, bounce, stride length, pelvic rotation and pelvic drop with or without being connected to a phone. Based on biomechanics research conducted at Loughborough University, this innovative piece of tech will scan the user’s running patterns and processes all the variables. The data logged into the companion app on the user’s phone. The app then can provide real-time audio coaching through headphones for the user on how to improve form, avoid injuries and offer personalized training. Lumos Run also boasts an impressive one-month battery life. It is also water and sweat resistant making it a perfect piece of smart clothing which can be acquired at the meager price of $100.

Created by former NCAA athlete and personal trainer Adam Paulin, Thin Ice is a vest fundamentally engineered to induce weight loss by cooling the body. The vest utilizes cooling thermoreceptors which stimulate the brown fat inside the body. The brown fat cells are triggered by cold temperatures. It then burns white fat( bad fat) to produce heat and maintain body temperature. The cooling effect is achieved by a set of battery powered Peltier cooling chips and a proprietary heat dissipation system built inside the Thin Ice Vest. The temperature is controlled by the companion app in the user’s phone. In addition to monitoring the temperature, the app also displays metrics like amount of burned calories. Thin Ice may as well be the coolest way to lose weight.

Light the Way

The innovators at Lumos are revolutionizing the cycle around the block or the more intensive work out ride. The Next Generation Lumos Bicycle Helmet has 60 LED lights throughout the helmet that automatically indicate the cyclers next move based on their body language. It registers these signals to indicate direction or brakes for vehicles so the peddlers does not have to worry. The 1,000 mAh battery last for more than 120 minutes making it ideal for short trips or a trek around the town. At 440 grams, the helmet will light the way without weighing riders down. Wireless connection to any smart smart phone makes it that much easier to track battery life and setting.

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Next Gen CEO

RIDING ON THE

RADIO REVOLUTION Tasnim Borsha Islam, CEO, 96.4 Spice FM, unearths how young minds like hers are contributing towards expanding the media industry.

INTERCHANGING PERSONAS EDUCATION

BECOMING THE CEO

“Three years back when my father was about to sell off a radio license he owned, I got an opportunity to introduce new additions to the radio industry. Back then, Bangladesh was lagging behind in numerous ways; typically regarding the type of songs, the RJ talks, and shows hosted on the radio. It was the perfect medium for me to get closer to the people of my country so, I invested my resources in revamping the traditional outlook of the radio industry entirely.”

Honours (2010-2014) Majors in Psychology and Environmental Science from York University Masters (2015-2016) Supply Chain Management via online education CAREER IN BRIEF August 2010-Present Director at Fuwang Bowling Services Limited July 2013-Present Director at FWC Duty free Bangladesh

FUTURE PERFECT

“The digital platform has been the major source of popularity for 96.4 Spice FM. Our next steps will involve developing the digital dais to reach out to the masses in a better way. I visit different countries regularly to attend various training sessions based on the new advancements concerning radio. Next, in line, we plan to introduce a High Definition (HD) radio station in the future that will serve the needs of the upcoming generation and completely change the face of radio.”

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“Sometimes it is not just about securing profit for the company but also setting an example for your subordinates to follow. As the leader at the helm, I am particular about how things must run in the organization, and the highest amount of priority is given to the timely delivery of work. However, the personality I have as an RJ is created explicitly for the listeners to relate to.”

March 2015-Present Chief Executive Director at 96.4 Spice FM

GIVING BACK

“I was taken aback by the recent Rohingya crisis that hit the country last year. We distributed blankets, and food supplies amongst two thousand families who were affected by the genocide and needed immediate attention. My next visits will be to the nursing homes for the old in future.”

DEVELOPMENT GOALS “Issues like power difference, inequality and unemployment co-exist in the Bangladeshi surrounding. I want to address these in the future with my plans of building a solar power industry next. The industry will generate employment for the undeserved diaspora and help develop the country as a whole.”


Interview

Redefining the Roots of the RMG Sector By Ishrat Jahan

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Asif Moyeen

CEO and Managing Director Far East Knitting & Dyeing Industries


Asif Moyeen is the CEO and Managing Director of Far East Knitting & Dyeing Industries. He finished his graduation with a major in Accounting and Business Management from the De Anza College in California in the year 1975. The notable personality then came back to the country to join Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI). After his 7 years of tenure in BCCI, Asif went to Hong Kong to join as the head of the bank in Macau from where he was sent to look after the South China Operation. After years of successful banking, the diligent personality took his leap into being an entrepreneur and returned to Bangladesh in the year 1994 to take the lead as the CEO of his company in the textile industry.

You have previously worked as a banker in the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI). However, now you are the CEO and Managing Director of Far East Knitting & Dyeing Industries. How did you make this shift?

I started my banking career in Bangladesh with BCCI in the year 1976 and then went off to Hong Kong to take the lead as the Head of the bank in Macau. I was assigned to look after the South China operations from there in 1982 and then transferred back to Hong Kong again 7 years later. For people who know Hong Kong, they will understand how dynamic that place is. Back then, it was probably the most progressive city in Asia, and China, which is now a very modern country, had just started to open up. That was precisely when I decided that I would take the plunge of leaving my high-paid job in

a foreign country and go for something of my own. I resigned from the bank and started my own business in Hong Kong, which defines the first step to this transition. The business comprised of trading steel from India into China. The country experiences a big construction boom during that time, and I had a good liaison with the Tata Steel. I started importing steel to China. Alongside, I went into property buying and selling. I entered the market at a thousand dollars per square feet and exited in 1994 when the price soared up to $5,000. In between, I traded about 20 properties at 10% equity margin and made a tremendous amount of capital during that time. I decided to take another significant risk, by leaving the luxurious lifestyle there, and moving to Bangladesh. So, in that short span of 6 years, I changed my life twice. Once from a banker to a businessman in Hong Kong and then again from a businessman in Hong Kong to a manufacturer in Bangladesh into a sector where I have never worked before. Initially, I did not know anything about textile and I had never worked as a businessperson in Bangladesh before. However, coming from a banking background, it was all about numbers for me, and I did a lot of research into the business before I decided to invest. Moreover, as a

banker and as a businessperson in Hong Kong I observed many different surroundings in the most successful cities around the world. I looked up to the top manufacturers and factory owners and desired to become one. The best possible way I could do that was by returning to my own country. I wanted to come back home, set up an enterprise, employ people, and create something. It was never the money that drove me back to Bangladesh.

If you look back at your years as a banker and then as an entrepreneur, tell us about the fundamental learnings that have helped you come this far? If you look back at the situation in 1994, the textile industry in Bangladesh was still in its early days. Before Bangladesh, the industries were mostly located in China, Malaysia and Vietnam, and a portion of it in Korea. I did my research on the existing markets. These markets were familiar territories for me as I had previously worked there before returning to Bangladesh. Therefore, I went to visit the companies and learned what the businesses in Hong Kong were doing. Such businesses had not come to Bangladesh then, and I thought of replicating something similar to that here; this is how the factory was set up. At that time, people who were in the business were not seasoned businessmen, and this gave me an edge in the market. The industry was just growing, and most of the existing players in the country were people who rather had some association with manufacturing and

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textile production and got into the business without prior research. However, when I came in, I had a strong team of colleagues who were all bankers and relied upon figures for everything. As per our learnings, we knew every paper had to be prepared so that we had an idea of what we were doing rather than just jumping into the field. Secondly, as bankers, we were well aware and very respectful of compliance. My team knew how tasks have to be done, how things worked in an organization and how the financial structure had to be. This knowledge was mostly unknown in the garment industry previously, as professionals did not run the businesses then. In 1994, compliance was not as big of an issue as it is today so, we had a significant edge from the very beginning. Whenever somebody walked in, they could feel that there was a sense of financial discipline, commercial, and manufacturing structure, which was just beyond making a t-shirt.

Your company is the first to introduce 100% compact spinning in Bangladesh. Tell us about the investment benefits of introducing something as such.

My decision to go for spinning was a reasonably calculated one. Every piece of garment that is produced here, roughly 35% of that comprises of yarn. We had to give away all of that to import the yarn and start the production. Although the main reason behind the spinning mills was to capture that percentage, our goals weren’t just limited to this. With a considerable investment of $20 million plus in a plant, I wanted to bring something which would be different to what already exists and add some value that would help positively differentiate us in the long run. That is how

I had a strong team of colleagues who were all bankers and relied upon figures for everything. As per our learnings, we knew every paper had to be prepared so that we had an idea what we were doing rather than just jumping into the field.�

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the compact spinning came into being. In Bangladesh, nobody pays much to buy premium yarn. The market is insufficient and small. However, as I have my consumption, I decided to use a premium product to enhance my final export product. This is now a much safer zone for us as we are using the base material better than any other spinning mill in Bangladesh. As part of the other benefits, some saving also takes place in the process loss. When you dye fabric, a lot of process loss takes place. Although, in the case of compact yarn process loss is less. Maybe one can save about 1% to 1.5% per kg. However, when you save 1% on 18,000 kilograms every day over the years, it adds up to a lot of money. In the short term this a significant investment but in the long term, the benefits are much greater.

What opportunities are you drawing in for the country by producing something that was previously imported?

Around 400,000 kilograms of yarn which was previously imported, either from India or Indonesia every month, is now being produced in Habiganj. An area, which was previously affected by poverty and surrounded only by tea plantations, now has a state of the art spinning mill, creating employment for the locals. Many shops have opened in the surroundings, and the transport sector has improved followed by this. I feel very proud of the fact that I took it to a zone where there was nothing. This initiative has contributed vastly to the country’s development as we have

added value, created employment, and made the industry stronger by producing the base raw material at home.

What measures are you taking to improve the manufacturing process and the efficiency of labor in your companies?

As the world is changing, technology, machinery, and equipment are also developing. The green requirements have increased compelling more companies to produce environmentally friendly products and continuously update their processes. When we set up this team, it required us to use 100 liters of water to produce 1 kilograms of fabric. Nevertheless, today we only use 46 liters in the Far East. This tremendous drop took place because we were the first in the market to buy the latest and most environmentally friendly equipment and machinery. Technically, this reduces your cost, as using less amount of water also means less wastage. Similarly, on the production side, efficiency comes from understanding the value you are adding. All our workers, production managers, supervisors and line managers do not measure efficiency by the number of pieces they make rather calculate the standard minute value they are adding. They know how much standard time each garment requires to be produced and thus work accordingly. Lean production methods are applied to the production lines. During small orders, we produce those orders in cluster lines which helps us in saving idle minutes on unutilized machines. This is why we promote the idea of cluster


lines in the factory for producing small size orders using 5 people cluster circles instead of having the usual 30 people. Regarding efficiency, we make our management team go through courses to find out new ways of fine-tuning assemblies so that they become more efficient. Once the concept is understood, the execution becomes much easier. We arrange regular training sessions for our employees which take place a few times in a month. It is never for the whole factory together, rather conducted in sections. Alongside this, skill development programs for the machine suppliers and standard minute value program for all the line managers are also arranged within and beyond the premises. The machine suppliers are often sent to conduct training programs for our operators in Italy or Germany and visit Switzerland to learn what new products are coming in and how can they be used efficiently.

You have been involved in many CSR activities in the past few years of operation. Could you detail your ‘Jaipur Foot’ and ‘Cleft Surgery’ initiatives?

This is a very passionate part of my life. My wife, Sadia Moyeen, initiated Jaipur Foot. We set up Moyeen Foundation together to support this cause. Bangladesh has a huge number of disabled people. According to the statistics, 5,000 people every year are coming in as accident victims, so the number of handicapped people is increasing day by day. We decided not to limit this to be a one-time attempt rather find a way in which we can do this consistently over the years and help change many lives. An entire team of technicians fly in from Jaipur to Bangladesh to make these limbs and support our initiative. We decided to make only 600 artificial limbs every year because that amount was possible to be made in a month’s time. The technicians would come here for a month, make the limbs, distribute and leave. This is how it has been running for the past 3 years. The entire procedure that would have

ASIF MOYEEN ELABORATES ON HIS SECRETS TO SUCCESS: LEARN TO MARKET

The first lesson you must learn whenever you get into any business is selling your business’s products and services. One must have powerful marketing skills which means you must know your product, and it’s pricing and understand how that product and pricing is placed internationally to a buyer or a consumer. The gap that will exist between your product and what the market is offering will be your potential profit. Thus, it is very important to brush up your marketing skills initially.

MANAGEMENT MEASURES

In case of a manufacturing business like mine, it is essential to create a management capability, which is larger than the business opportunity. For instance, if you have a machine, which can produce 100 pieces and the amount you want to sell is 105, the chances are that you will fail. However, if you have a management capability that is greater than your selling power, then that will allow you to move forward. In this way, you can have the control over your business, satisfy your customers, not have the delays, and will be able to package and finish everything in higher quality.

INTANGIBLE INVESTMENT

All our workers, production managers, supervisors and line managers do not measure efficiency by the number of pieces they make rather calculate the standard minute value they are adding.”

In most cases, you will find that most people take up several businesses and try to execute them without investing much in forming a robust team. However, they often forget the fact that a team is a long-term investment and helps you keep your business in control. It is significant to have a team of people with loyalty, skill sets, and efficiency who can take the organization ahead. Far East today has 7,000 family members, and they are the people who have built the company not me.

required lacs if done abroad can be done at Tk. 11,500 per limb, which is not much but it changes lives. We have delivered up to 1,900 limbs now so they can walk back home. This foundation is mainly supported by raising funds from family friends and corporates, and I am glad the Almighty has blessed us to be able to do so. Apart from Jaipur Foot, we have also been involved in an activity called Operation Cleft. This I did jointly with the rotary club of Melbourne. We collaborated with them as they provide 1,000 limbs a year in Bangladesh. Thus, we jointly completed around 1,350 cleft surgeries a year. This is mostly for young kids, especially people who are born into families who cannot afford it. You can imagine a child born with a distorted face, and we bring those children into the camps with their parents, do the surgery, fix them and send them back. Another initiative that we have opened is an online school in Habiganj inside a tea plantation. This is our family tea plantation, and such plantations are still abided by the traditional ways of working. The schools around the area are quite regressive, so I wanted to do something which would make a worthwhile change to the future of young children residing there. Far East does it jointly with JAAGO foundation and is supported by GrameenPhone alongside. We managed to enroll 120 children there who are all taking English medium classes via an online class hosted in Gulshan. I plan to build a new school by 2019 and hopefully enroll about 400 kids there. www.ibtbd.net

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CSR

Supporting Sustainable Development Goals By SM Nazmul Ahsan

"Epyllion Group is known as an entity whose main driving force is its human spirit." Epyllion Group started its journey as a house of Readymade Garments (RMG), engaged in manufacturing and exporting of knit Apparels since 1994. It has stateof-the-art vertically integrated garments manufacturing facility which ensures one-stop service to the buyers from Europe, USA, Asia and Africa. Our vision is to become a window through which all of our interacting parties can see and feel their prospect and dream for success. Our aim at Epyllion is

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to be known as an entity whose main driving force is its human resources. With such a motivated, highly skilled and professional workforce, Epyllion has started marching towards successful tomorrow. Epyllion believes that Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a sustainable way of business management to execute company’s commitment and responsibility towards the People (Employee and community), Planet (Natural environment) and the Profit (Economic development). Epyllion Group has been implementing different actions through the fund of Epyllion Foundation keeping in mind to attain

the SDGs adopted by United Nations. The Epyllion Foundation is the Trust under Epyllion Group incepted on April 2011. This trust was formed to look after the welfare of society and its people. The foundation firmly believes that setting-up new industries and creating employment opportunities are the best forms of serving the society. Our special focus is on the SDG no. 3. Good Health and Well-being, 4. Quality Education, 5. Gender Equality, 8. Decent Work and Economic Growth, 9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure, 10. Reduced Inequality, 13. Climate Action, 17. Partnerships to achieve the Goal.

Core Philosophy & Ethical Views

• Human Spirit • Ethical Business Practice • Protecting Environment

We focus on CSR:

We are in that state to accomplish CSR with the following principles. • Seven Core Principles of ISO 27000 • 10 Principles of UN Global Compacts • 17 SDGs by UN • 33 Objectives set by Epyllion foundation.

We are aware of ISO 26000, which is the international standard to assist organizations effectively to address social responsibilities. By incorporating the 10 Principles of the UN Global, we are upholding the basic responsibilities of people and planet. Epyllion Foundation implementing SDGs that are relevant and significant to their mission and vision; operations processes; and stakeholders; and environmental impact. Our focused issues on CSR which directly supports the following Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). www.ibtbd.net

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Good Health and Well-being

We have full-time doctor and medical facilities along with monthly health check-up camps with free medication for all workers. Moreover, their children also receive consultation of specialists which ensures the wellbeing. The employees’ preventive health check-up camp has been in place for consecutive two years. Health shield agreement with health service providers also assists in ensuring quality treatment to all levels of the staff at this group. In 2016 and 2017, 1,500 community people were served with health services including eye surgery of 220 people. As a part of the service, we engage with peer organization and associates to aid vulnerable groups.

Quality Education

Education is the key to a developed nation. KHEA

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(Keen Hand for Educational Assistance) Scholarship program is there for our employee’s children. Scholarship and stipend are available for all employees with giving special consideration for underprivileged workers. Our “keen” hands are for those who are eagerly want to continue their study under any institution, but unable to do so due to financial shortage. Epyllion foundation already covered 678 students of PSC, JSC, SSC, and HSC with Tk. 3.7 million yearly.

Gender Equality

The garment industry in Bangladesh has played a significant role in uplifting a large group of poor and vulnerable women. Today, approximately 80% of garment workers are women from different parts of the country. Epyllion Group is always concerned about the equal opportunity for both male and female in this sector. Of the total workforce, 68% is male, and 32% is female. Having a control over their own income also provides the

women with more decision making power at home, a voice in the social sphere along with enhanced self-esteem. We observe international days such as International Women’s Day, World Diabetes Day, Father’s Day, Mother’s Day and through these events, we try to increase awareness about gender equality among our staff. To establish efficient and safe working environment, we emphasize on health care and subsidy in health check-up, free transport, lunch, snacks, fair price shop, child care, dormitory service, nutrition allowance for expecting female employees, gifts for newborns, celebrating birthday or farewell program for our employees, etc.

Decent Work and Economic Growth We always take the initiative to establish employees’ rights as we believe employees come first. In-house and external operative training and awareness program continuously develop efficiency level of the working people. Best performers are rewarded with incentives for attendance, efficiency, and productivity. The arrangement of Annual cultural and sports program (volleyball, football, and cricket), foreign tour always keep the work environment competitive and qualitative. Innovative technological progress is also key to finding lasting solutions to both economic and environmental challenges, One of the RMG units of Epyllion Group is LEED (Gold) certified, and another


environment-friendly workplace with proper waste management from reusable and recyclable solid waste to treatable liquid effluent, 30% reduction in energy consumption, renewable energy, zero waste to landfill, reduction in water consumption, environment conservation programs with buyers G-STAR, Zero Discharge Harmful Chemical Program with C&A, and another program with H&M, S. Oliver with the aim to reducing carbon footprint.

Partnerships to achieve the Goal RMG unit is going to be launched soon with projected LEED (Gold) certification. Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is a rating system devised by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) to evaluate the environmental performance of a building and encourage market transformation towards sustainable design. The system is credit-based, allowing projects to earn points for environment friendly actions during construction. Epyllion is investing in infrastructure and innovation to ensure economic growth and development.

Reduced Inequality

With an aim to reducing inequality, community involvement and development through contributing to the victims of natural disaster is a common practice of CSR activities. From 2012 to 2016, more than 11,500 pcs Photographs from Epyllion

of winter wear and blankets had been distributed among unprivileged persons in northern districts. Apart from winter, Epyllion Group extends its supportive affiliation during the natural disasters like the flood in North Bengal and a landslide in Rangamati. More than 1,950 families received financial assistance from Epyllion Group for rehabilitation. To ensure community involvement and increase awareness among them, we observe international days such as World Environment Day, International Mother Language Day, etc. Epyllion Group provided title sponsorship to the Narayanganj District Football Association for consecutive three years worth Tk. 7.5 million for the development of football environment of the District and BFF under 15 teams including renovation of the playground. Yearly Junior Epyllion, Rise above all, Sailor Social Camps are the remarkable initiatives of this foundation to

encourage youth development where the youngest minds get the opportunity to build themselves for the future world.

Climate Action

Epyllion Group is always concerned about the recycling process of unused materials and continues environmental sustainability activities to conserve the environment and prevent pollution. With the association of Green Savers Epyllion Foundation, we have already arranged 22 events of ‘Sailor Green Savers Plant for Planet’ at different schools. Since 2015, 600 waste drums are reused in this initiative, which involves more than 2,200 stakeholders. Approximately 9,000 trees are planted at own factory premises through a project at various educational institutions in Dhaka, and Gazipur. To ensure a clean, sustainable

We believe achieving the SDGs requires partnerships among the government, private sector, civil society and citizens alike to make sure we leave a better planet for the future generations. Promoting sustainable industries, and investing in innovation are all important ways to facilitate SDGs. Whatever we achieved so far has been possible for the efficient workforce we have, who render their best possible services, according to their caliber and inspiration.

THE WRITER is the Manager of CSR at Epyllion Group.

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The Big Question

An Untapped $4 Billion Industry

Has Fashion Become the Next Big Pollutant ? By Taposh Ghosh For some years now, Bangladesh has been the second largest apparel producer in the world after China. Despite a slow growth rate in the latest fiscal year, the RMG sector exported apparels worth $28.15 billion in the just-concluded fiscal year. Despite international backlashes following safety and work hazards, the industry has continued to churn out clothes in massive amounts, being exported to and worn by people all across the western world, which begs us to think, where do these clothes ultimately end up at the demise of their life cycle?

The Wasteful West: A Culture of Squandering Clothes

The western world's ever-growing desire for fast and disposable fashion which is fuelled by the

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ready supply of affordable manufactured products from countries such as China, Bangladesh, and India, means the global population is consuming and disposing of an ever more significant quantity of garments annually. This growth surprisingly is also being fueled by charities and recycling

companies, who channel these old clothes to new owners for reuse. The Waste & Resources Action Programme (Wrap), a UK government and EU-backed agency tasked with reducing waste, estimates that almost half of the garments people in the west now throw out end up going to a new home


rather than ending up in a landfill or at an incineration plant. Most would believe that diverting old clothes away from landfills and giving it a new purpose is a responsible practice. However, Dr. Andrew Brooks, a lecturer in development geography at King's College London, argues that most donors do not realize that the majority of the clothing they are giving away to charity will be traded abroad for profit. Wrap estimates that more than 70% of all the UK's reused clothing heads overseas - joining a global second-hand trade in which billions of old garments are bought and sold around the world every year. According to the latest available UN figures, the UK is the second largest exporter of used clothing after the US. It exported more than $600 million, or 351,000 tons, worth of discarded fashion overseas in 2013. Top destinations were Poland, Ghana, Pakistan, and Ukraine, whereas the US's key trade partners were Canada, Chile, Guatemala, and India. According to another recent report from Wrap, the average piece of clothing in the UK lasts for 3.3 years before being discarded. Other research puts the lifespan of UK garments at 2.2 years, which can probably be halved for younger demographics. But as fashion companies tell their buyers to remember that a dress will stay in their wardrobe for only five weeks, it can be expected that this discarding phenomenon will only grow further, with ever-changing consumer behaviors. The way people get dressed now has virtually nothing in common with the behavior of previous

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For those in and around the fashion and apparel industry, the control of garment waste has long been considered to be the next big scandal. Globally, levels of production and consumption are forecasted to increase as fashion waste becomes the next environmental crisis, rivaling plastic pollution in oceans. generations, for whom 1 garment could be worn for decades. Wrap estimates that people in the UK purchased 1.13 million tons of new clothing last year. Another survey commissioned by Sainsbury’s found that 235 million clothing items ended up in landfill sites as people readied their wardrobes for summer.

Ever-changing Apparel: In One Season, Dismissed the Next

The global fashion industry has developed a pretty controversial reputation for its exploitation of human capital and outsourcing production to the world’s lowest-wage economies, i.e., the South-Asian nations. The 1,133 garment

workers who were killed in Dhaka, half a decade back, worried global manufacturers about what was next. For those in and around the fashion and apparel industry, the control of garment waste has long been considered to be the next big scandal. Globally, levels of production and consumption are forecasted to increase as fashion waste becomes the next environmental crisis, rivaling plastic pollution in oceans. This trend is the consequence of over-production and supply, powered by the relentless “fast fashion” system of production that over the past three decades has revolutionized both the way we dress and the way clothing is produced. Much of the waste surrounding the fashion industry is hidden along a chaotic supply chain and

does not consider the negative externalities being generated and make it into the environmental accounting that underpins a Wrap report. Perhaps the worst of it comes in the form of readymade garments, assembled and sewn but discarded because of an order mistake or an issue with the color. According to industry insiders, this waste represents 3-5% of every factory’s inventory, and a large factory in Dhaka can produce around 240 million pieces a year. There is no verified figure for the amount of clothing produced each year globally, predominantly in low-wage textile hotspots like Dhaka, which has little to no waste management systems. Mostly, the waste is nowhere to be seen, where it becomes highly visible is on the outskirts of large production areas,


enormous problems for the environment, with more than 500,000 tons of textiles and leather sent to landfill in Australia alone. But there are ways to fix the problem as well. Retailers could do better, such as offering more take-back schemes. The Swedish fashion brand H&M encourages customers to return all unwanted garments, which can be sold on as secondhand items, converted into other products or turned into textile fibers. Similarly, the outdoor wear company Patagonia offers free repairs and recycling to all customers. Hence, there is a role for brands to recognize that their responsibility does not stop at the till.

such as the garment districts of Dhaka. This is where the production waste leaves the factories and is absorbed by the air and earth in the local community. Waste from the cutting rooms, called jhut, often ends up in so-called go-downs. These makeshift sorting operations are the stuff of legend in Dhaka, with fires often being a regular occurrence.

Is Fast Fashion the Problem?

As the global fast-fashion booms, a YouGov report found that 75% of adults in Australia alone have thrown clothes away in the past year, with 30% having tossed more than 10 garments. This throwaway culture is creating a severe environmental problem, with 24% saying they threw

out a garment after one wear. 1 in 6 people binned at least 3 garments they had worn only once. The report also showed a generational divide in attitudes towards clothing. Millennials enjoy buying new clothes, with almost 1 in 4 saying they had purchased at least half the clothes they own in the past year. They are also more likely to throw out their clothes within 2 years. Online fashion shopping is also part of the problem. An Australia Post report showed 22% of online purchases were fashion items, with significant growth for 3 years running. Australian households received an average of 3.2 parcels of fashion items in 2016. So, this greater convenience in purchasing is also speeding up the binning process. The increasingly disposable nature of fashion is causing

One Man’s Waste Another Man’s Treasure: The Potential $4 Billion Industry

Despite growing consumptions leading to greater castoffs, garment waste management exemplifies the idea of one man’s trash being another man’s treasure. The local garments industry itself produces recyclable scraps, which if tapped correctly, can generate a further $4 billion annually. The idea is to turn the accumulated scraps into materials which are greatly demanded in the fashion world. By doing this, both business growth and addressing of climate change – can be harmoniously intersected in each other’s paths. In a recent study, Reverse Resources, an Estonia-based software

company trying to develop an online marketplace for garment waste for ensuring its maximum utilization and better value, showed that the total volume of annual leftovers from the county’s garment units is around 400,000 tons. Whereas, if these leftovers are recycled for making new yarns and used in re-manufacturing garments, it has the potential to generate business of more than $4 billion. As per the findings of the study, more than 25% of resources are discarded in fabric and garment factories, which can go up to 47% in some cases. Even if the country’s 4,500 active garment units gain efficiency and ensure optimum use of fabrics, there will be an unavoidable amount of waste at different stages of production. Using waste from one cycle of production in the next through remanufacturing involves practical challenges but recycling it surely has a business potential within the country’s garment sector. While dreams of $4 billion industry can be taken with a grain of salt, the environmental concerns surrounding apparel waste is not something to be overlooked. Fast-fashion, being fuelled by changing consumer behaviors, is undoubtedly here to stay. Nevertheless, both producers and consumers need to find sustainable ways to reduce the environmental impacts. Finally, shoppers must also consider whether to snap up the next best deal or wait it out, so that the hardly worn piece of clothing lying in their wardrobe, doesn’t meet an early demise at a local landfill.

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Business of fashion

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The Right In-Vestment:

SUSTAINING A UNIQUE BRAND IN BANGLADESH Shah Rayeed Chowdhury, Director of Noir, speaks to Munira Fidai about maintaining a quality brand and team. FROM THE GROUND UP: A Foundation of System and Process

Any brand that is successful or strives for success in a country like Bangladesh needs some strong policies and some clear-cut processes backing it up; be it regarding human resource or customized inventory software; these factors must not only www.ibtbd.net

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be present but dynamic enough to change according to the demands of time. Rayeed details that in the 3 years they have been in the market. There were severe challenges in finding professionals, at least in the retail sector to which they belong. There were no designers, no HR trainers or sales executives who honestly knew the trade. It was important, therefore, to first and foremost set up a structure that would act as a blueprint of the entire business, and guide people concerning their work. “Micromanaging is not the answer anymore. The key to running a successful brand nowadays is to delegate and then trust. If we were to hire professionals, such as inventory managers or marketing managers, or even designers, we’d like to hire them with the conviction that these people will one day head their teams,” explains Rayeed. Furthermore, Building that confidence in them and instilling that feeling of entrepreneurship is vital. Every good manager will delegate work smartly to keep up with his/her responsibilities. Doing everything on your own is not smart work. Recruiting confident people who take

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ownership of their job, frees up a lot of time for you to move on to the next phase of work.

SOFTWARE: The Newest Tool Under the Fashion Belt

Very much in line with what has been said about processes, it is imperative to have professional software that helps with a specific routine and calculative versus predictive work. In a market that is brimming with potential, harnessing the power of an efficient software helps in matters like inventory management, predicting demand patterns, and calculating costs and profits. For a brand that decides that it wants to expand, doing these activities manually is not just time-consuming, it is also risky. Proper Point-of-Sales software is accurate and fast. “Figures have to be as per real-time efforts. An efficient software should allow its users to receive real-time data because the world of retail relies heavily on “TIME.” Reaching customers on time, launching products ahead of others are all part of what gives your brand that edge. For example, we know that our customers purchase

winter products before the cold weather sets. Therefore, it is crucial for us to launch our winter collection ahead of time so that people can prepare themselves for the cold and so that when they travel, they already have their favorite items with them to combat the weather in style, so to say!,” elaborates Rayeed. To make the maximum use of time, Noir needs information effectively via software to help facilitate faster decision making. “No assumptions can be made!” Noir found that the management of this brand knew precisely what they wanted out of their chosen software and pointed out variations in what they wanted versus what was available. To customize this software according to their needs, they realized that rather than making do with one generic package they were getting, they would have to develop their software from scratch, which would be tightly fitted to the needs of Noir. “We are completely reliant on our software for inventory, for profits, for orders and preorders, for customer analysis and buyer patterns, so on and so forth. We base all our decisions on our software. This is why at Noir, we


felt the need to invest enough resources, irrespective of costs, on our systems and software, to make the brand as smoothly functional and self-sustaining, as possible.”

NO PENETRATION WITHOUT PERSONALIZATION: The New Wave of Marketing

Marketing is not about Facebook posts or a photo shoot with good-looking models anymore. It is not just about how a customer responds to your product, but how they perceive your entire brand. Compared to previous marketing strategies, like placing billboards, there is tremendous scope now. The fall of billboards has forced marketing professionals to create more creative avenues to position their brands. Noir feels that their marketing motto is to “humanize” the brand, give it a feel for everyday lifestyle. Tapping into the world of social media is one very effective tool to showcase this. Social media marketing holds a lot of potentials as there is so much to choose from- there is Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat. “In fact, while Facebook may be the most effective for mass coverage and promotions, Instagram and Snapchat are more personal and interactive- they get you on a one-on-one basis with your customer,” postulates Rayeed. In many ways, Noir walks the talk, when they say they are a faceless brand. Noir has thus far, not endorsed any celebrity, nor does it intend to. As they say, it portrays not a person, but a lifestyle. For instance, Rayeed illustrates how he may upload a story of himself wearing Noir and posting a Snapchat story. Very casual, very subliminal. There might be no overt advertising of the brand or even a face on the video. Someone is looking effortlessly dapper, posting a 10-second story of wearing Noir during his everyday life. With this in mind, Noir recently conducted a video shoot with a bunch of young people on a completely unrelated topic. The very subtle promotion behind the video was- all

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“Figures have to be as per real-time efforts. An efficient software should allow its users to receive real-time data because the world of retail relies heavily on “TIME.” Reaching customers on time, launching products ahead of others are all part of what gives your brand that edge.” these young, trendy individuals were wearing Noir and looking chic. The video- like the Snapchat stories- did not have a single celebrity face in it. It had everyday people, making it relatable to the market while sending out the message that Noir can cater to daily fashion appeal. Rayeed expounds that Noir’s marketing team comprises of a very young and vibrant group of professionals who have an edge with social media tactics, as they are

frequent users, “Noir also prides itself on giving its people a lot of freedom to do their work. We emphasized the importance of empowering employees to hone in on their creative potential, rather than killing it with too much direction.”

STICKING TO YOUR IMAGE

Rayeed holds brand image a pinnacle of a lasting brand, “Sticking to what was the initial product offering is very important when you want to sustain a


successful brand. Maintaining one, and only one image of your product offering is essential, for your customers to start associating a particular vibe with a specific brand.” Rayeed shared that when Noir started, for example, and even now, a lot of people would come up and ask- why not expand the product line? Why not add household products or wedding specific clothes? “The motive behind this was easy to spotheavily embroidered and embellished clothes have a higher profit margin anywhere. The temptation, therefore, is real. What is imperative, in such a situation, is to be loyal to your initial idea.” Keeping a clear head, in the face of higher profit margins is essential- if only for the sake of the image that one would want their brand to project. Rayeed ascertains that their brand is set to maintain the image that they

have started with, “Noir was never about loud and gaudy. It has always projected a casual-chic image, one of effortless style and keeping up with what’s in. You can wear it to a holud, and you can just as easily wear it to the Friday prayers. In keeping with the buying patterns of the young and trendy, it is seen that people buy simple and elegant things, and keep buying more, to keep up with the style scene. With such a clear-cut clientele, adding wedding specific products or household products would simply murk up the water and confuse customers.” Another way Noir feels they are holding on to the quality perception of their brand is by turning their heads away from discounts, “Noir has never given discounts, it never will. The only

“Micromanaging is not the answer anymore. The key to running a successful brand nowadays is to delegate and then trust.”

discount we ever give is for year-end clearance.” Noir feels that giving discounts has become a trend. It’s what everyone does, either through membership cards, or certain relevant dates where everyone gets a percentage off. Rayeed wants customers to focus on the individuality of Noir, “Customers love discounts; there are no two ways about that. But we are not a discount brand. We bring minimal quantities of fairly exclusive designs and the making charges for smaller quantities is much higher than that of higher or bulk quantities.” For instance, for Zinari, Noir’s exclusive collection, they order a maximum of 10 pieces in assorted sizes and never repeat any designs. “What’s sold out, is gone for good. When you buy Noir, you pay for uniqueness, exclusivity, and quality. And that doesn’t come discounted.”

SKETCHING SUCCESS: How Design Creates Dynamic

Creativity is rare. Fashion nowadays is all about anticipating what might hit off in the market and embrace what’s www.ibtbd.net

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new. It’s about guts and expressing creativity in a way that makes sense for a whole lot of people out there. “There is no sure shot way of saying that everything a designer makes will sell out. Some will bomb. Some will fizzle out and be forgotten before its time. But that’s a risk you need to be willing to take. Your designs have to be a 100% trend right. But if one is always conscious of how a customer will perceive it, creativity may not flow,” articulates Rayeed. Noir clothing line is designed in house. Rayeed looks after the menswear while Shabnam Shehnaz Chowdhury, the Managing irector of Noir, looks after the female clothing line, “When they design, they are not merely people who cut clothes well. They are fashion visionaries who will design whole lines of clothing; designers will visualize a concept and design a whole season, like the winter or spring collection, around it!” The entire team sits together before the design phase of any line. Everyone has something to contribute to a decided concept. Rayeed points out that social media users already know what is trending and what is not, “We introduced embroidered denim jackets, white sneakers, velvet slacks, and so on in our winter collection this time. All trending articles.” Travelling is instrumental in a globalizing world. There is no way around it. Remaining in one place will make your style ideas repetitive according to Rayeed, “What is selling in Singapore will soon be seen on the streets of Dhaka, flaunted by some frequent traveler. We want to be those travelers.” The trend-savvy and very responsive fashion market of Bangladesh are like a sponge waiting to absorb the new and the stylish. They travel extensively, for work or pleasure and they know what is being worn by whom and where. Noir wants to get there first.” Noir is a forward linkage company. They have a spinning mill. They have textiles, and a denim textile mill, and garments. Noir is at the end of that linkage. This attribute is an advantage for Rayeed because this way they get to work with big brands like Zara, Diesel, and H&M, “I attend meetings with them, as I look at the marketing and product development of the garments portion too. And I get

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an idea as to what they are designing, and therefore bringing to the market. Noir feels that this is a significant factor is what sets them apart. Not everyone has the advantage of anticipating so accurately, what other, more prominent brands are thinking of bringing to the table.” Rayeed and his team take the latest design and work to make them marketable in the local context, “It is easy to introduce products which are trending, into your product offerings. However, what is difficult, is to customize it according to your culture. You have to keep tradition untouched. For instance, think of ripped jeans; it is a classic trend. But not many women in Bangladesh will be comfortable showing skin. So we add smaller rips, sew them up, and make it into patchwork which makes it more appealing in the context of Bangladesh.”

WHEN IT COMES TO THE CONSUMER

Customer service has emerged as a vital spoke in the brand management wheel. Many brands nowadays base all of their sales on their outstanding customer and after-sales service. What was previously only one aspect of sales, is now an intricate part of the brand management world. Rayeed recognizes the priority of this changing dynamic, “You cannot separate a brand from its salespeople. It is sometimes excusable for products to have some quality defects. But what is inexcusable is a gap with customer service. This

factor is something we consider to be a zero-tolerance factor.” Noir regularly trains their people, and the management itself is involved in this training. This regularity is in practice because the management here knows that despite taking the significant decisions and working behind the scenes, it is the salesmen and women who are, in so many words, the face of their brand. Rayeed understands that behavior and selling skills can impact sale, “They are the powerhouse of information that helps the management take important decisions on what problems customers face, what works or garners a better response and what doesn’t. We have to take care of our employees and the employees will take care of our customers.” It is important to not only impart the value of our brand to our salespeople but also the value of the customer and the workplace. Each employee spends a majority of their time at work. The customers who come in and buy the products they sell is what pays their salaries and keeps the brand running for us. Rayeed emphasizes a direct relationship with the customer, “The workplace is sacred, and the customer cannot be displeased at any point. In fact, we have avenues on Instagram or Snapchat where customers can complain which comes directly to me. I deal with this, and I don’t delay solving these problems by so much as a minute. When you give a customer immediate attention, they know you value them.”


Industry Insight

Keeping Up With Couture:

The Shape of the Fashion Industry in 20 By Fahriba Tasnuva Mahtab

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18


No other industry changes as rapidly as fashion. What’s hot today is blasé tomorrow. Innovation becomes retro. Seasons change. Hemlines rise and fall ..., and so do your sales figures. A celebrity makes a fashion statement on the red carpet, and suddenly your financial statements are covered in red. This fickleness of the global field of fashion and couture has spurred enquiring analysts to bring out their guns and recognize the trends the fashion industry has in store for this year. Considering how unpredictable fashion trends in the past years have been, the fashion industry is progressing towards plausible enhancements. 2018 is the year expected to render a gleam of optimism to many in the industry which had been plagued by uncertainty and precariousness in the past years. The new year is in full swing, and the fashion industry should be poised to pick up on what’s been a renewed optimism in retail. The challenges of operating in a fundamentally challenging industry in an unpredictable macroeconomic environment have led fashion players to ‘toughen up.’ Industry players are coming to accept unpredictability as the new normal, and fashion executives will respond by focusing their energy on improving what is within their control, rather than getting overwrought about the unforeseeable risks. Those energies will likely be focused on 10 key trends that will define the fashion agenda in 2018.

by

JC

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id o

no nU n sp

lash

01 UNPREDICTABILITY, THE NEW NORM

Ph

o ot

Economic uncertainty, geopolitical turmoil, and unpredictability are the current realities of the global fashion industry. Store closures, mall vacancies as represented in the graph attached with the write up and the growing dominance of online shopping will continue to encourage fashion companies to stay nimble and adapt to the evolving landscape by focusing on their resources and consumer services. What’s more, fashion companies are expected to pursue more technology, including AI, to stay agile amid political tensions and economic disturbances, including Brexit, and other international trade challenges that may escalate this year. www.ibtbd.net

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02 GOING BACK TO GLOBAL Though nationalism reared its head in 2017 with the US mainly focusing on turning inward to protect itself rather than looking to grow and expand free trade, globalization won’t be going anywhere anytime soon. Shifts in global trade alliances, like the US withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), may have altered trade dynamics, but it hasn’t hindered globalization on the whole. Conversely, the world is entering a new and strengthened chapter of globalization, driven by digital connectivity and the flow of data, and this will lead to a much greater global congruence, not less. Cross-border bandwidth has risen approximately 80 times since 2005, and over the course of a decade, data flows have raised world GDP by more than 10%. Data flows now account for a more significant share of the impact on GDP than the global trade in goods.

03 The Asian Domain: Setting The Retail Benchmark Western companies may be facing more competition from Asia this year, as the continent already accounts for a staggering amount of 60% of the world’s e-commerce powerhouses,

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more than half of global online retail sales and a myriad of technology innovations. According to the McKinsey Fashion Scope, Asia is expected to account for nearly 40% of international apparel and footwear sales by 2018, with the Asian online apparel market expected to reach $1.4 trillion in 2 years. While the continent continues to deliver on the needs of its digitally-savvy consumer base, Asian companies may reverse the old global expansion movement of Western companies moving East, and instead, move outbound to other global regions, including the Americas, Africa, and Europe.

Interferences of the Global Economy

- It is uncertain and dubious in nature and is also profoundly globally correlated and intensely competitive - Retail giants transition to the South and East from the West - Technological advances are being ardently adopted by majority of the consumer base - Urbanization progressing at full throttle

Facts Abot Personalization 48%

90%

74%

of consumers spend more when their experience is personalized

of marketers believe personalization is the future

of consumers get frustrated when content has nothing to do with them

04 Every Customer Counts: The Age of Personalizati on Global fashion companies are shifting their focus to the consumer—and prioritizing personalization in their strategic efforts to ramp up loyalty and sales. According to the report, 41% of consumers demand personalization for their shopping experiences, as they continue to value authenticity and sustainability in their continuously revamped wardrobes. Fashion companies are expected to harness the power of data to tailor personal recommendations, engage with social media influencers and tap into the needs of each consumer by facilitating more digital experiences online and in stores. 2018 is expected to be the year when leading fashion companies will begin delivering on personalization in earnest, and when the ability to create individualized products will become a source of differentiation.

05 All Eyes Online: The Leading Platform Convenience, breadth of offering and relevance are the drivers for consumers beginning their purchasing journeys with online platforms. Brands across segments – from mass to luxury – will likely be compelled to think strategically and engage more with these channels. While consumers frequent websites to compare prices and products, global online platforms have expanded their fashion brand partnerships and developed additional engagement methods to stay competitive in the digital shopping space, and the growth of these platforms has been illustrated in the chart below. This year, the challenge will no longer be about collaborating with online platforms, but about how fashion brands can use these partnerships to boost their online presences and attract more consumers outside of the conventional brick-and-mortar store environment.


ASCENSION OF THE NEW ECOMMERCE GIANT

1

US $ Revenue (US $ Trillion)

EUROPE

BEAUTY & PERSONAL CARE

ASIA PACIFIC

3.07

14%

1.02 LATIN AMERICA

2

15.2%

Retail ecommerce in Asia Pacific is expected to grow 1.5x faster than North America for the next five years

6.5 trillion

ASIA PACIFIC

TOTAL RETAIL IN 2017

$

1,081 billion

E-RETAIL FOR 2017 $

420 billion

E-RETAIL FOR 2012

15%

OTHERS

CONSUMER

MIDDLE EAST & AFRICA

10.4%

$

APPAREL

4.44

0.72

$

20%

7.9%

3.91

PERSONAL ACCESSORIES

21%

4.0%

3.8%

The eCommerce apparel market in Asia is the fastest growing segment

37%

2012-2017 Growth Rates

NORTH AMERICA

The Asia Pacific is the current biggest regional apparel market globally, however international retailers require a local method to utilize the e-commerce prospects

3

Asia Pacific is the largest retail market and is forecasted to grow twice as fast as North America

3.7 trillion

NORTH AMERICA $

TOTAL RETAIL IN 2017

661 billion

E-RETAIL FOR 2017 $

343 billion

E-RETAIL FOR 2012

4 TOP US MONOBRAND RETAILERS ARE LEAPFROGGING INTO ASIA PACIFIC WITH ECOMMERCE

84%

60%

64%

18%

48%

US monobrands do not Top US internet Monobrands have a US monobrand have an US monobrands are have brick and mortar apparel retailers are custom built online & retail store selling to Asia remotely store in Asia monobrands ecommerce platform presence in Asia from the US

54% US monobrands use an in-house order management system

Source: SP eCommerce Research, Euromonitor, Mckinsey Global Research Institute, BCG Research, Bain Research, Industry Sources

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06 Mobile Gains Momentum Digitally-savvy consumers expect to shop on multiple devices—and increasingly on smartphones—and this year, even more, purchasing journeys will be completed on mobile phones, as can be substantiated from the graphical representation below. According to McKinsey & Company data, there will be 8-20 times more mobile payment transaction value this year compared to 2015. With more mobile payment solutions becoming available worldwide, consumers will keep

Change in Consumer Characteristics - The consumer base is now up to date with the help of free flow of information - Buyers now have high expectations for frictionless experiences, convenience, quality, newness and price along with consideration of orientation

300 250

demanding fashion companies deliver opportune smartphone transactions, where they can shop and pay for products with ease. More fashion companies are expected to create mobile transaction options, including frictionless checkouts online and self-checkout in physical stores, to comply with the growing needs and demands of the retail consumer base. The retail e-commerce sales worldwide are expected to grow substantially this year, as shown in the graph.

07 Artificial Intelligence Making Very Real Impact Automated Intelligence is set to disrupt the fashion value chain by streamlining product sourcing, manufacturing, and distribution. This year, AI will go beyond machine operations and shape creative processes and consumer interactions. Reports revealed that 75% of fashion companies plan to ramp up their AI investments in 2018 and

2019, as the technology continues to be an attractive aid in tackling business amid retail’s arbitrary uncertainties. Even though concerns remain over AI’s influence on human jobs, experts say AI will instead benefit global fashion jobs—enabling associates to focus on consumers and create more opportunities for employment at high-tech distribution centers worldwide.

PROJECTED ONLINE TURNOVER FROM FASHION (in billion U.S. dollars)

200 150 100 50 0 2016

2017

2018 US

Europe

2019 China

2020

2021

08 The Fidelity Of Sustainability An increasing number of fashion companies are taking sustainability beyond their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) agendas and making circularity part of every point in their supply chains. From sourcing to product distribution, fashion companies will creatively explore recycling concepts, including fibers made from recycled plastic bottles and clothing take-back programs, to make the global fashion value chain more eco-friendly. Last year, 42% of fashion brands shared their supplier information to be more transparent with consumers—and the report anticipates that this trend will continue, allowing 2018 to triumphantly reinforce www.ibtbd.net

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GLOBAL APPAREL AND FOOTWEAR SALES FORECAST 2011-2025

2011 Top Challenges Identified for 2018

2018

(Global Fashion Survey)

Dealing with volatility, uncertainty and shifts in the global economy- 12%

2025

Competition from online and omnichannel – 10% Value chain improvement and digitization- 9% Decreasing foot traffic and offline retailing pressure- 9%

Western market's Rest of World

the “next level” of sustainability and offer the potential of competitive advantage for fashion companies who endorse it solely.

09 Off-Price Pretence Consumers love bargain hunts and off-price retailers, like TJ Maxx and Saks Off Fifth, will remain popular this year. While challenges, including excess product stock and slow growth, remain persistent in retail’s uncertainty, the global fashion industry is turning to off-price to boost sales and gain consumers. According to the report, off-price growth has increased 18% in the US, 32% in the EU and 74% in China. Despite the benefits of off-price, the sector possesses several drawbacks—like saturation and sales

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cannibalization—as more retailers dabble in the category. While the off-price sector gains momentum this year, fashion companies will have to be cautious of their off-price channel categories to avoid the risk of margin erosion.

10 Startup State Of Mind The global fashion industry is coming up with new ways to stay agile in the face of retail’s uncertainty - and to boost innovation; fashion companies are pursuing more of a startup mentality. Agility, collaboration, and versatility are expected to become the new cultural norm among fashion companies in 2018. Fashion companies will experiment with new types of talent, new ways of working, new partnerships and new investment models to stay

innovative and competitive. As the urgency to innovate grows, many prevailing fashion brands will begin embracing elements of typical startup mindset and culture – including rapid develop-test-learn cycles. The agile working model has recently emerged as a highly-effective and eloquent way to prompt innovation, and stay caught up with the new emerging criterions of retail.

Unanticipated Adaptations of the Fashion System

- Increasing role of digitization has caused the cost structure to change - Design to shelf durations have been cramped down by leading companies - Business models now include innovative reforms - Brick and mortar customer frequency is on the road of decline

Fashion industry sales growth 2016-2018 Total Fashion Industry 2017: 2.5-3.5% 2018: 3.5-4.5% Regions: North America 2017: 1-2% 2018: 1-2% Europe Mature 2017: 2-3% 2018: 2-3% Europe Emerging 2017: 4-5% 2018: 5.5-6.5% MEA 2017: 6-7% 2018: 5-6% APAC Mature 2017: 3-4% 2018: 2-3% APAC Emerging 2017: 4-5% 2018: 6.5-7.5% Latin America 2017: 4.5-5.5% 2018: 5-6%

Source: SP eCommerce Research, Euromonitor, Mckinsey Global Research Institute, BCG Research, Bain Research, Industry Sources


Special Interview

Hasin Jahan

Country Director Practical Action

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ADAPTING PRACTICES IN AN EMERGENCY CRISIS Technology That Can Create A Lasting Impact By Ashfaque Zaman

Amongst the rows of makeshift plastic tents on hills, Hasin Jahan witnessed actions that have helped reduce acute humanitarian crisis. “Around 1 million people are living in this densely packed dismal condition. I realized that since there was no significant chaos or health-related incidences like cholera outbreak, the role of the organizations working there in uplifting the conditions of the people was immediate and effective.” The reality of the situation dictated that provisions for basic needs such as water, hygiene, and sanitation (WASH), health interventions be available though not adequate. Hasin understands that these provisions are necessary, but during an emergency response, the long-term effect is not apparent until later. “Many organizations have constructed water points and toilets and provided necessary nutrition for the displaced Rohingya community. However, with time these interventions also create their own set of problems.” Hasin and her team at Practical Action decided to focus on the problems that come with sanitation, especially Faecal Sludge Management (FSM) in Ukhiya. Hasin explains that sludge management is integral to protect the environment

and ensure better water quality. “The major problem with these toilets is that they fill up quickly. When they do, they overflow and contaminate the already dwindling water sources and spread communicable diseases. A recent survey from the Inter-Sector Coordination Group (ISGC) found that almost 80% of the water is contaminated with E. Coli. This condition not only reduces the availability of safe water, but it also exacerbates the prevalence of water-borne diseases. Sludge is the major contaminant. Therefore, managing it leads to better water quality and a safer environment.” The most significant challenge was to tailor technology for the fecal sludge management in the hilly terrain of Ukhiya. Hasin elaborates, “The primary challenge was to design an appropriate context-specific treatment plant. Given the space constraint and other factors like consideration of heavy rainfall, flooding, and landslides, we have devised an over ground elevated treatment facility in this context.” Moreover, Practical Action is training the sanitation workers who clean the latrine. Hasin and her team ensure that these workers follow a strict health and safety protocol, “Our sanitation workers wear gloves and use safety equipment during cleaning task to ensure safety.” Practical Action

works synergistically with other I/NGOs and organizations to create a healthier environment. Hasin understands that additional support is integral in the bigger scheme of the matter, “When you provide a displaced population with any support that is a tangible element, you have to understand that the matter is sensitive. They may not feel a sense of ownership over what they are given. In their minds, they are convinced that these are temporary measures and they will be released from such a situation at any time.” The universal desire for a better life struck Hasin during her recent trip. She experienced the resilience of humanity during her visit, “I met a woman whose husband and son was killed in front of her. When I entered her room at the shelter, I noticed that she had made a mud stove, a mortar and pestle out of rocks, and a small washing area in the corner from mud and bricks within her room. Hasin reveals that is was a very private moment that remarkably moved her, “She also made an overhead shelf that had 2 cooking pots, and they were her only possession. The gravity of the situation impacted me when I understood that she still had that desire to build a home and a family.” She cites that everything starts with educating any population about the facilities and what little they can do to maintain them, “You have to instill the population with a sense of self-management even in such conditions. If you think about this in www.ibtbd.net

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the context of toilets in the area, the larger problem is that they do not clean the toilets or wash their hands properly after they have used these facilities. This practice leads to undesirable conditions, and the next person does not want to use the toilets. As a result of this practice, we find that open defecation is becoming an increasing problem and further contaminating the environment.” This practice and training apply to another context as well. Hasin points out that the same type of education is necessary for used plastic, “There is an increasing amount of plastic waste that is accumulating in the area because they are given food in packets. Because they do not know how to handle the plastic, it accumulates, and it is not biodegradable. This deposit of plastic eventually becomes a vessel that retains water and creates a

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breeding ground for mosquitoes.” Practical Action strives to create improved conditions through simple technologies. Hasin expounds that simple technology can create a difference, “I was particularly concerned with how some of the camp-dwellers were cooking in their tents. If one of those tents were to ignite, it would start a fire that would rapidly spread to a vast area in a matter of moments. Attention should be given by the concerned organizations.” They are now planning to demonstrate a temporary safe cooking facility to support community attached to a bio-gas plant. The plant would use anaerobic digestion to increase the efficiency by creating gas out of fecal waste management. Hasin is positive about this pilot initiative in Ukhia and Teknaf, “We have received a

space to start our project. The idea is that the plant will generate gas for a community kitchen. This facility will give the people of that particular area a safe space to cook.” Hasin is planning to create plastic recycling units in the area, “I watched children in the area playing with plastic bottles as toys. It inspired me to think outside the box like these children. I want to make alphabet blocks and other toys out of the plastic. If there is a mini recycling plant that could make something out of this plastic, it would not only reduce the pollution but also provide toys the children in these communities can play with.” Intervention is not the only focus according to Hasin. She points out that many social issues need to be addressed, “A host community may feel deprived when they see the extent of relief coming from

the refugee community. Even the existing camps are suffering from influx within their locality. I visited the Leda camp and noted that the living condition is deteriorating due to overuse of the existing infrastructure because the population almost doubled with an inflow of people.” In a crisis, organizations must act fast, and that does not always ensure quality. Hasin understands that comprehensive understanding and proposition is not always possible, “We were not prepared for the sudden influx, and functioning parties have worked their best in emergency relief. During our recent meeting with the actors working there, it has been suggested to assess the gaps that exist and then plan accordingly to extend support to the Rohingya population. It is expected that a more comprehensive plan will only come forth after.”


A conventional fecal sludge management unit (FSM) is not sufficient during an emergency crisis where such a dense population is isolated in such a small space. Typical septic tanks in the camps in Ukhiya are not suitable to handle the waste of the growing population. Furthermore, the hilly terrain, lack of skilled labor, and weather condition create further challenges. Hasin Jahan illustrates the dynamics of the fecal sludge unit that has been designed to ensure the safe management of the waste in the emergency situation in Ukhiya, “Practical Action has built fecal sludge management units that use upflow filtration technology. A series of filtration unit separate solids and liquid. The solid portion is raw fecal sludge which is denser; it is collected at intervals and buried in burial pits where it is covered with sand envelopes that contain lime to ensure safe management. Over the period, the buried sludge convert into compost, and if needed, the compost can be excavated and the same pits can be reused. The liquid portion undergoes a series of filtration units and pollutants are absorbed by constructed wetlands with Canna Indica plants.”

THE COMPONENTS OF AN FSM UNIT Dumping Chamber: The sludge from toilets are mostly emptied using motorized collection equipment like a super sucker or any other centrifugal pump and then

Filtration chamber of the Faecal Sludge Management Unit

INNOVATING TECHNOLOGY FOR A CRISIS

dumped into the dumping chamber (300 liters). The unwanted materials are screened from the disposed of sludge in dumping chamber. The sludge enters into the first filtration chamber of the fecal sludge management plant through gravitational flow. The valve at the bottom of the dumping chamber regulates the flow of sludge into the filtration unit.

SOLID-LIQUID SEPARATION CHAMBER: Each filtration chamber is made of a steel structure with waterproof tarpaulin fitted inside the structure with a capacity of 5 cubic meter per day. Graded filter materials are placed inside the chambers. Each filtration chamber contains valves at its exit to control the outflow of sludge and effluent at different elevations. An intricate system creates interconnected chambers in the filtration unit. The sludge flows through the filtration units following ‘upflow system.’ The solid portion of the sludge gets trapped at the bottom of the chamber

while the liquid portion rises through the filter media and flows to the next chamber.

CONSTRUCTED WETLAND: ‘Constructed wetland’ is a kind of shallow trench with Canna Indica plants over a stone bed to absorb pollutants naturally. The bottom and sidewalls of the trench are lined with waterproof tarpaulin to avoid contamination by any seepage. The capacity of this chamber is at least 6 cubic meter. While the effluent passes through the constructed wetland, the microbial contents inside the effluent form gelatine and the roots of the plants reduce the pathogenic organisms. Finally, the effluent is collected and tested in the laboratory to confirm parameters for discharge in surface water bodies.

BURIAL PIT: The burial pit has been constructed using locally available RCC rings of having a maximum depth of 7 feet depending on the groundwater level of the site. Each pit contains sand envelop of 4 inches which

acts as filter media at the outer periphery and the bottom of the pit. The thickened sludge in the first chamber gets emptied every week and buried in the adjacent pit having sand envelop with lime. The same process takes place in the remaining filtration units but the rate of deposition is very slow, and therefore burial of thickening sludge will be infrequent. Overall, the efforts of the development community and I/NGOs like Practical Action has created a fundamental level of controlled fecal sludge management system. Given the intensity and pressure of people living in the Rohingya community, the efforts are minimal. A more inclusive and forward-thinking approach can enable the community to overcome the challenges that they are facing. The efforts of the international donor community have been phenomenal as has been the support of the government. Hasin believes that with time the challenges will be overcome and a more supportable environment would help these distressed people. www.ibtbd.net

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Inside Out

A Tech-led Future

By Farhat Chowdhury (Zishan)

uman Resource Management (HRM) has been around us long before we can imagine. The strategic and coherent approach to the management of an organization’s most valued asset – the people – have been existing ever since the early days of trade and commerce. Tracing back the roots, HRM begins with the presence of consistent

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methods for selecting tribal leaders in the ancient era. The practice of safety and wealth was then carried forward from one generation to the other and sustained until human civilizations scattered all across the globe and achieved growth in their distinct forms. From 2,000 B.C. to 1,500 B.C., the Chinese used employee screening techniques, and the Greeks had a system of

appointing apprentices, both of which continued until we arrived into the age of industrial revolution and beyond. Now whenever we think about Human Resource Management, we have this specific general picture in the back of our minds that HRM is probably all about white-collar managers running around with papers, interacting with employees,

giving out instructions and much more. However, with the advent of technology, the entire HRM industry all around the globe has been set towards a revolution. Everyday actions related to HRM have been optimized for the presence of new gadgets and apps. The holistic process of managing the effectivity of employees in the workplace has begun to change.


Virtual and Augmented Reality and Real-life Training

On-the-job training is already prevalent in the current HRM practices and has now been further optimized for the integration of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) to it. With the industry about to be worth $150 billion by 2020 (as per The Bank of America Merrill Lynch), VR and AR have already started to redefine essential HRM functions like onboarding, recruitment, and effective learning. A tour around the company, in multiple locations across the world, with a speech of CEO can now be easily made via VR technology. The merits are that it saves both time and transportation cost. The British Army has even started implemented Virtual Reality to train their recruits recently. Companies like Boeing and NASA have been using VR to train their pilots for quite a while now. Even BMW has now joined the fleet by developing an AR training for their service engineers.

Embracing All-Things Digital

With the millennials coming into the workforce, companies have already started to witness a colossal change in the workplace environment. Unlike their previous generations, this generation has embraced technology to their very core and have integrated electronic gadgets with almost every aspect of their lives. Hence companies in many cases had to adapt to this demographic feat and design their training programs accordingly. As a result, digital learning methods have now

replaced traditional methods of employee training. Video, audio and digital simulations have replaced long lectures in the after-hours. Moreover, personalized training contents have also started to emerge. According to a survey conducted by Deloitte, a leading professional services firm, 40% of the companies around the world are all set to ‘transform’ all their employee training platforms into digitized versions. Moreover, with 50% of the workforce being taken up by millennials within 2020, these companies and others better be ready to do so.

Prepare to Wear: Technology in your Attire

With the enterprise wearables market set to be worth $18 billion by 2019, its implication on the HRM industry is visible. Till now all we have mostly seen about wearable technology is its ability to monitor health responses – but other matrices are also being developed these days. It has been forecasted that stress levels and productivity can also be computed in the not-so-distant future; thus, ensuring employee retention and workplace wellness. Companies like Bittium have introduced smartwatches in the retail sector, where employees can be notified of required actions based on real-time needs: alert cashiers when to switch turns, customer-facing personnel on where help is required, etc.

Taking Organization to New Height: The Cloud-based Systems

HR personnel in the past had to rely on legacy HR software to store information. Nevertheless, these are now rapidly being replaced by cloud systems. With the arrival of cloud technologies, the revolution of making workplaces go ‘paperless’ is

Re De s hi t, f tis la in es s o sts n ie rico crib zard ge g c s g in s a an Ag de l h su ov . rm rgia ica, ona and mpr alth e G eo tall ati es r i he G e up ye s fo al M cc plo d ion o m tho at e e up m cc o

A law introduced in Mesopotamia during the Babylonian times which emphasizes on: - Sets minimum wages - Obligations of expert craftsmen to transfer their skills to apprentices - Healthcare obligations for owners of slaves

1750 BC

“Code of Hammurabi” 1st Century AD Roman philosopher Pliny the Elder warned about the health hazards of employees handling zinc and Sulphur. He prescribed the use of protective masks made from animal bladders.

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1556 AD

1700 AD

ini, f azz am ther o e,” R fa icin e do d nar the h Ber n as “ ial me Italy t ive r w t n ns ial i s o e u n d h k ind lishe pre dustr bis m pub rst co on in e Mor riba k t fi D o o b icine, m Dia ses of ) u isea d c en e fi i m Atr e D Workm (th

also being heavily fueled. Collection and storage of data being a crucial aspect of HRM, information storage until the last few years was limited to hard drive spaces, piles of paper filing cabinets and desk drawers. This methodology quite naturally led to inefficiencies, security issues, data loss and chaotic office spaces. Now with cloud-based systems on board, data collection has been automated, and the storage process is entirely electronic; allowing the company to be much more efficient and steer clear of the previous data-storage methods.

Piloting through the Cloud

What can cloud-based systems possibly be if there were no Big Data? In fact, according to a 2013 SAS study, 6,400 organizations all around the world will implement Big Data analytics in their workplaces by the end of 2018. Company employees, just like customers, generate data. From the number of leaves taken all throughout the year to the change in output levels, such employee-generated data can be stored, interpreted and used for better decision making. This function defines the critical function of Big Data in HRM. Big Data with the combination of other

The National Cash Register Co. faced a disruptive strike yet won the battle with the unions. Learning from this, the President of the company, John H. Patterson, organized a personnel department dedicated to improving worker relations by adequately handling employee grievances, discharges, and safety issues.

1901 AD

1920 AD The introduction of “Labour Manager” and “Employer Manager”- job titles in the larger engineering industries.


technologies provides a tremendous amount of insight and allows the HR professionals to make decisions backed by concrete information and processes that are more efficient. Analyzing these data allows for better risk-management decisions, such as identifying the employees who could benefit from additional training by looking at their past output records as well as finding out the ones who are lagging behind. Moreover, recruitment has also become more factual and rational rather than intuition-driven. By analyzing all the information provided by a potential recruit, companies can highlight his/her principal strengths and decide whether to hire that individual or not; rather than just hiring based on hunches. Besides, tracking down a potential employee’s digital footprint and skimming through a pool of 20 candidates to find that one ‘perfect’ fit is now possible – thanks to Big Data. And what’s more interesting is that Big Data has even managed to earn itself a nickname among today’s leading HR professionals, as they now prefer to call it “People Analytics.”

1930 AD

After the Great Depression, massive corporations began realizing the increased need and value in having specialized staff for recruiting, retaining and motivating employees to perform better.

piece of cake. Providers like Ari, GoBe, and Xor are already offering chatbots specifically for recruitment purposes. And Sergeant Star, the chatbot that the US Army uses for recruitment, has already earned some reputation on its own.

Making Sense of All the Information

As Big Data assembles all the information in perfect order, Advanced Machine Learning extracts the patterns or necessary information from them by using various sets of algorithms, machine learning programs and abundant sources of data-building patterns. It also identifies vital insights alongside. This technology can improve the efficiency of the initial analysis that humans can do, allowing employees to look at higher level results and focus on more complex analysis as a result.

Let the Bots Do The Talking

The New Kind of Paycheck

Chatbots have recently been integrated into the social media strategy of many reputed companies. A computer program designed to simulate the conversation with human users over the internet, chatbots have been taking several industries lately. Chatbots, now from HRM viewpoint, makes recruitment seem like a

The HR department oversees the remuneration or salaries paid to all the employees in an organization. Although much change has not been introduced in this sector globally, some countries seem to be quite ahead of the curve. GMO Internet Group, a Tokyo-based leading internet company in Japan, has recently adopted a policy of paying their employees using virtual currency or as they are more famously known nowadays – bitcoins. The company has initiated this plan last October via launching an Initial Coin Offering (ICO), where their employees can choose if they want to be paid in bitcoin. Although this concept is quite new but with the price of a single bitcoin being worth $13,000, many cryptocurrency experts have stated that this trend of paying newer forms of remuneration is very likely to catch on.

- The term HRM evolved in the USA out of the earlier Personnel Management in the early 1960s.

1960 AD

- The rise of Japan as a commercial power also required efficient HR systems being adopted by the Japanese corporations.

1980 AD

The term HRM or Human Resource Management started replacing Personnel Management or Personnel Administration.

With all these advancements taking place, one might think that all these complex robots and technologies might replace the ‘Human’ aspect of ‘Human Resource Management’ pretty soon. But experts are thinking quite the opposite. Ian O’ Keefe, Google People Analytics Lead, highlighted a similar issue at the People Analytics & Future of Work conference in January 2016. He talked about his team’s efforts to quantify elements such as efficiency, effectiveness and employee experience by looking at hiring decisions, team climate, and personal development. At the end of the research, he along with his team concluded that people equipped with better data make better decisions than algorithms alone can do. This conclusion surely goes on to prove the fact that even after all the massive technological improvements that the Human Resources Management sector is witnessing, the ‘human touch’ is still not replaceable. Managers will still have to work hard to bring out the best performance from all the employees, but will have better tools in the sleeves this time around!

1990 AD

Universities and Business Schools started teaching different aspects of HRM. Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations was the first business school in the world for college-level study in HRM.

www.ibtbd.net

HRM The Ancient Art of Efficient Management

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Interview

Poppy Rahman

Head of Human Resources (HR) Schools, Students, and Teachers (SSAT) network

CREATING A GLOBAL IMAGE

How Bangladeshis are Making a Mark Residing in London from an early age Poppy Rahman grew up to be law professional on completion of her LLB Law Degree. She then moved onto becoming an internationally famous Human Resources professional after completing her Masters of Business Administration (MBA) in this field. She previously served as an HR Business Partner at Lambeth Living and a Contracts Manager at the Commonwealth Foundation.

s Bangladesh stands at the balance of progressing towards a middle-income nation, NRBs such as Poppy Rahman further accelerate its growth with their efforts. Individuals such as her are creating an impact for the Bangladeshi image on a global platform. ICE Business Times converses with Poppy Rahman on her views on making the society better and the nation’s global image. Poppy bears strong cultural bonding especially with the country and its people and particularly with Sylhet. She understands that her occupation creates opportunities to start change, “I feel very passionate about helping out the youth in shaping a better quality of life and as the Head of Human Resources of an international firm that

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emphasizes on education, my work typically allows me to do so. It has always been my urge of contributing to the societal learnings through work that has driven the factor of success.” Poppy shares how belonging to a different diaspora, her parents initially had to go an extra mile to break the language barrier and adjust to new way of living on their arrival at the UK. She then sheds some light upon how her career path was followed by gender discrimination, “Being a woman, one has to work twice as much to get half the recognition even in this progressive part of the world. The fact that I fall amongst the very few young women who represent the senior management in various firms itself depicts that a lot still needs to be done to bridge the gap when it comes to age and gender.” The NRB further elaborates, how coming from a different origin makes it even more difficult for them while

competing for a job in the wider market, “A whole lot gets added to your plate when you belong to the minority. Despite having the necessary qualifications required for a job it often gets challenging for an individual coming from a different background, culture and religion to prove his or her worth. So in my case, I had to be extremely dedicated and worked even harder than the other competitive individuals to secure the position I have now.” Bangladeshis have taken a step further into proving their worth in countries like UK and are doing great outside regional boundaries describes Poppy, “The Bangladeshi community-based in the UK is doing extremely well now compared to how they were performing 20 years ago. If you look at areas such as East London, many Bangladeshi had previously come here and lived in the poorest of conditions in a 3 bedroom flat as a family of 5.” She is hopeful as she had seen the progress of the Bangladeshi community in

Being a woman, one has to work twice as much to get half the recognition even in this progressive part of the world. The fact that I fall amongst the very few young women who represent the senior management in various firms, itself depicts that a lot still needs to be done to bridge the gap when it comes to age and gender.”

the UK, “If we look at it now, from where they were and to where they have reached at present is something applaudable. However, I think there’s still a lack of understanding of what they need to do to progress further. This is something I believe comes from families in apparent.” Poppy carefully stresses on factors that are still refraining the country from utilizing its full potential alongside newer developments that define its progress, “Bangladesh has still a lot left to catch up concerning the change in mindset and geographical divide.” Poppy states there is a stark contrast between the 2 environments she has been a part of, “If we take the example of Sylhet where I come from, there is still a major divide that exists between different communities. The fact that the cultural and societal norms often dissect the communities, sometimes cautiously and many of the times unknowingly through racial discrimination, itself holds the country back regarding unity and a broader mindset.” Poppy credits her upbringing in a progressive nation that allowed both cultures to thrive in her mindset. She believes Bangladeshi can do much more to eliminate these barriers. Concept of culture is man-made and adapting to a new environment isn’t a catch-22 for people settling from one part of the country to the other according to Poppy. She asserts, “Culture is something that can be confined to self-learning. Culture and religion can both be defined separately as religion teaches us to integrate people whereas culture promotes the idea of sticking to yourself. It is highly important for us to integrate the good facets of

other different cultures into our mindset by excluding its negative aspects. We must not reside to the idea of ours being the best out there.” Poppy articulates how limiting oneself to the norms of one particular culture refrains a person from a wider spectrum of learning, “As a Bangladeshi, you would often find it easier to communicate with people of your origin, but the problem is, in this way you limit yourself from learning a lot more that the people from other cultures have to offer.” She wants individuals in the job market to understand and accept diversity in many companies, “You have to understand that once you get a job in the foreign land, a majority of people you have to work with, will be people from a different origin than yours. This is amongst the few substantial reasons why it is necessary to think beyond racial features and adjust accordingly.” The HR Head further proclaims how leadership needs to be redefined in Bangladesh’s context to boost growth, “In Bangladesh, we must allow subordinates the space to innovate and give them a platform to discuss ideas as they flow rather than just confining to authority.” Poppy emphasizes that age old practices are not very efficient. She wants to see a Bangladesh that embraces the new and what it has to offer, “We should now move ahead from the traditional ‘command and rule’ approach to a more ‘influential style’ of leadership that will harness the potential of the human resources at their best. This will allow the people to learn more and be better at what they are doing.”

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Business Wisdom

FIFTY SHADES OF CREATIVITY By Yousha Mohan

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eing creative is one of those traits that everyone talks about, but most people lack. It’s one of those rare qualities which make a person stand out among the masses. It is a feature which can and has in the past, propelled a person to greater heights. Similarly, a creative attribute can be the critical factor in driving business, a company or even a nation with unbelievable

success. Creativity comes in different forms and ways. It may be an array of matters such as an one’s actions, way of thinking, and the approach to something and so on. While there is no limit to creativity, there are common traits among the most creative people in the world. While creativity is far from formulaic, inventive individuals have certain traits:


THINKING ON THE EDGE

There is a hidden connection between creativity and risky. Quite often being creative requires a person or an organization to take risks that others have not taken. It’s this risk-taking nature of a person which makes them try the new. And the belief that they have in themselves eventually is rewarded. Todd Yellin, Vice President of Product, Netflix took the risk of introducing voice dubbing in foreign shows on Netflix. While voice dubbing had a bad rep before, it worked well for Netflix, and Mr. Yelling’s risk was rewarded.

EXPANDING THE FRAME OF MIND

Quite often people look at short-term objectives and goals and assess their success based on achieving those. While there is nothing wrong with doing that, most creative people will look at the bigger picture. Sometimes collaborating with your competitors can end up giving you more benefits than just outperforming them. Creative people will see the long-term benefits and make alliances that can prove beneficial for themselves and their business.

EYES OF A HAWK: NOTICING EVERY DETAIL

Sometimes the most creative thing to do is not do anything. A lot of successful people have proved to be creative just by observing others. They sit for long hours to watch what others do, see how they react and then put together something that has proven to be a brilliant idea. Executive Vice President of CVS Health, Helena Foulkes did something similar. She observed how people’s behavior towards medical care changed from being “sick care to self-care.” She noticed how people were more proactive when it comes to their health. And thus she managed to put together services out of the CVS app which made health care more convenient.

THE PRACTICE OF DARWINISM

Arguably one of the most common traits among creative people is a competitive nature that they possess. They are always looking to stay one step ahead of their nearest competitors and do not want to be overtaken by their rivals. Hence, they are always thinking and coming up with new ways to make themselves and their business better. It is their competitive nature which acts as a driving force for making them creative.

IDEALISTIC IS NEVER IMPRACTICAL

Simply put, one cannot be creative without having the vision for something new, something greater and something better. The creative juices don’t flow in one’s brain unless there is an external force acting upon it. This force is greatly aided if one has a vision of doing something unique. Think of it as magic; one cannot just conjure up something if they do not have an idea of what they are making.

MODIFY: THE SUCCESS FACTOR IN A CHANGING WORLD

Being creative does not always have to mean coming up with something new. It can be found in people who are willing to adapt. Adaptability is one trait that all creative people have. Take Shailesh Prakash for example. As the Chief Information Officer of The Washington Post, he figured that he had to adapt the business to ensure the newspaper content was still relevant in the world of digital content. By adapting to new trends, he has made sure that the Post is delivered to everyone and it is still one of the largest newspapers in the country.

AVOID BEING A ONE TRICK PONY

Diversification can be the mirror image of creativity. By diversifying one’s investments and interests, a person is ensuring that he or she may never be stuck to one project. Diversifying also requires learning different things for

different purposes, and this is where the creative sparks fly in. One can simply use the knowledge learned from one project and apply it to another one; outside-of-the-box thinking is what drives a person a step closer to success.

THE HEART OF A LION

It’s no secret that to try something new one has to take risks, [as mentioned earlier]. But to take risks, one needs to have a great amount of courage as well. Imagine a scenario where one person is willing to put all at stake just to prove something right. If the plan fails, then everything that person has done will crumble down. That is what it means to be unique and take risks. And that is the kind of courage one needs to have to be creative.

GETTING LOST IN THE TANGENT

Sometimes all it needs to be creative is to take a step back and think simplistically. Quite often we end up creating things that are too complex for the regular people. Simplifying everything, so that usage rates increase is the smartest and one of the most creative things anyone can come up with. That is something Jacqueline Reses, Capital Lead, Square, believes too. Square will only allow loans to people in the amount that these people can repay back. They take in all variables into consideration and come up with a digit that is suited to meet certain scenarios. It helps simplify the process for Square’s consumers and allows them to focus more on their business.

PUTTING OTHERS FIRST

All businesses around the world have the same end goal, serve the people. So the best way to serve them would be to think about them, listen to them and cater to their needs. While coming up with new brilliant flashy ideas do showcase one’s creativity, one can also come up with solutions just by listening to what the people want. It is in fact a very common trait among the smart and creative people.

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Interview

Mahesh Sharma

General Manager and Head OD Laurus Labs Limited

Sustaining a Fortune 500 Company The journey of mahesh Sharma and laurus labs

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How is Laurus Lab improving access to quality and affordable healthcare worldwide?

You have integrated your science and management backgrounds into your work. How difficult was it for you to come up with a platform that will enable you to utilize all your learnings?

I have realized that consummate learning is a lot about integration. I think we should decide our purpose and then carve pathways to take us there. The reason many people lose steam mid-stream is that they hastily choose one path that seems to be the most traversed and then realizes half way down their journey that it is not taking them to their desired destination. Now, there is nothing wrong with that because very often many of us are not clear about our purpose, to begin with, and it is only after having explored different vistas that we develop a taste of what we want. So, that is where integrating what we learn and experience over the years comes handy. We should be able to exploit our competencies to change tracks quickly and take the most inspiring one. In doing so, learning agility plays a vital role so that knowledge and skills can be rapidly consolidated. The tricky part of any transition is not as much about finding a suitable platform as it is about acclimatizing to the new culture. Self-awareness and neuro-plasticity or rewiring our thinking are essential to get well ensconced in any culture. I think I have been able to leverage my learnings reasonably well because of these elements and have been able to contribute successfully, even in diverse environments.

Laurus Labs aspires to be a leading player in providing integrated solutions to global pharmaceutical needs in creating a healthier world. To achieve this, it strives to innovate to enhance quality and provide affordable pharmaceutical solutions to facilitate wellness worldwide. It has adopted a research and development-centric route to serve as a partner of choice for leading pharmaceutical companies. We have robust research talent pool, infrastructure, and facilities to manufacture top quality medicines. The core-strength of Laurus is its innovative, robust, and scalable chemistry which deals with all stages of drug lifecycle right from route identification to commercialization. We follow a philosophy of one quality for all markets in manufacturing. We are approved by WHO, USFDA, PMDA, NIP Hungary, KFDA, and BfArM. Today, Laurus Labs caters to around 40% demand for APIs worldwide for ARVs, besides providing APIs to leading pharmaceutical companies worldwide for their oncology, hepatitis C, diabetes and other needs. Laurus Labs is poised to make significant strides in the finished dosage formulations and the next couple of years will see it contributing more in that domain.

What makes Laurus Labs a preferred partner for manufacture and development of New Chemical Entity (NCE)?

A robust talent pool of innovation-driven scientists with rich experience in chemistry, state of the art research and manufacturing facilities, swift and scalable manufacturing capacity, a widely acknowledged reputation for high-quality products, a one-stop destination for integrated solutions, and an excellent track record of trustful customer-focused relationships

make Laurus Labs a preferred partner. Laurus Labs went public in 2016 by launching its IPO which drew an overwhelming response from Institutional buyers, public, and its employees. It is now a Fortune 500 company in India and has a healthy growth, driven by very capable leadership and a Board that provides effective corporate governance and direction. Recently, Laurus Labs has also been certified as a Good Place To Work. We have other achievements and laurels to our credit in areas of exports, safety and manufacturing excellence. All this has helped us in building trust with all our partners, and that makes us a preferred choice.

Laurus Lab is one of the leading manufacturers of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs) for antiretroviral (ARV), and hepatitis C. What makes your company stand ahead of the growing competition in the pharmaceutical sector?

As I have mentioned earlier, Laurus Labs’ focus on innovative quality, affordable products, and customer centricity make it stand ahead. We look at competition differently. Competition for Laurus Labs means a race to make affordable medicines reach faster to the patients. Laurus Labs strives for excellence, and that keeps it at the forefront. We believe in providing innovative end-to-end solutions for diverse needs. The drug product development team at Laurus Labs is fully capable and equipped to develop all type of formulations, both for New Chemical Entities (NCEs), generics and other specialty products. While handling processes of marketed APIs or KSMs for an eventual contract manufacturer, our development and manufacturing teams have a sharp focus on aspects such as performance at scale, continuous process improvement, securing and de-risking supply chain, etc., thereby providing an efficient, compliant, cost-effective and long-term commercial drug substance solution. We always www.ibtbd.net

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keep our patients and partners in mind, and that’s another reason why we are in good stead to face the competition. Laurus Labs believes in living the core values of Knowledge, Innovation, Excellence, Care and Integrity and the same is reflected in our employees’ behavior and in the products we manufacture.

Nowadays consumers worldwide are adapting to a lifestyle of holistic wellness, how are you contributing in this regard?

Our focus is towards providing integrated pharmaceutical solutions for wellness and healthier lives. Holistic wellness includes physical and mental well-being. Providing affordable and quality pharmaceutical solutions are our primary contribution towards this. By keeping people in good health, we promote a happy and stress-free lifestyle and are therefore able to help them in complementing their mental and spiritual wellness as well. A healthy mind in a healthy body, you see.

What are some of the CSR

activities done by Laurus Lab alongside working for the development of the healthcare sector?

Laurus Labs actively contributes towards CSR. Our activities are primarily focused on initiatives relating to education, healthcare, and the environment, particularly in the geographical areas near our manufacturing facilities in Visakhapatnam. For the financial year 2016, we have spent an amount of INR 27.02 million towards CSR activities. We feel inclusive development is a key to overall sustainability.

Tell us about a few milestones you have reached in your extensive career. What have you learned from them?

I take every day as a milestone but will talk about a couple of, what I call, turning points in my life. The first one was in mid-eighties when I joined the Indian Military Academy as a Cadet while I was waiting to receive a scholarship to pursue my studies in microbiology in the US. I finally secured the assistance, left military training and went there, but it was a short-lived tenure as I had to return home

Holistic wellness includes physical and mental well-being. Providing affordable and quality pharmaceutical solutions are our primary contribution towards this. By keeping people in good health, we promote a happy and stress-free lifestyle and are therefore able to help them in complementing their mental and spiritual wellness as well.”

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mid-stream due to sudden policy changes for the scholarship funding and unforeseen developments back home. It was a very demoralizing setback and challenging period for me. But I held on to my motivation and joined Air Force Academy soon after that. I not only topped the course and received the Best Trainee Officer Plaque from the President of India, but also went on to have a very satisfying career innings in the Indian Air Force. It taught me that one should always prepare for contingencies, should not be afraid of failures and build strong relationships with family and friends. If we continuously learn new skills and keep sharpening our saw, setbacks are only temporary. Mental robustness and persistence take us farther than anything else. The second turning point came when I voluntarily left Indian Air Force as a Group Captain after 25 years of service to step into the corporate sector for my second innings. It was a hard choice because while on the one hand I had a job that I was immensely proud of, had everything going well for me regarding career, and had a large extended family who was supportive. On the other hand, I didn’t have a confirmed job offer, there was an uncertainty of stepping into totally unexplored terrain, and I was diving into a world of complete strangers and unknown complexities. Most people around me, except my family, thought that it was a foolish step at such a juncture in life when people look forward to reaping the fruits of their

toils. I had also been warned that it is an open war every single day due to cut-throat competition. But, my experiences had taught me that risk-taking is an essential part of life if one has a challenging vision to chase. I had chosen to work in a corporate environment, and I prepared for it by undergoing a management program from XLRI, a leading Business school. I took the plunge and soon enough landed my first job with Dr. Reddy’s. It wasn’t a smooth transition because it was a significant culture change for me, but it taught me a great deal, and I learned how to swim on the deep side of the pool. I feel much stronger having gone through that, and it was a great learning experience for me. It reinforced my belief that fortune favors the bold, provided they are ready to face the adversities head-on, and their moral compass is aligned correctly. I think learning agility, adaptability, self-awareness, and emotional intelligence are critical for survival today. At the same time, networking and relationships are the catalysts which help us build a secure future. We all have to make choices and decisions in life, otherwise, leave alone leading people, we cannot even lead ourselves to anywhere. It is imperative to learn continuously for tomorrow, gain personal mastery and be relevant, failing which people can compose and sing their requiem. The purpose in life to me is how to be more useful to the world and enable others to do the same. The more I learn, the more relevant I become.


Special Report

The Economic and Social Purview Solving ‘Inequality’

By Tahera Ahsan

‘All men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.’- This concept of equality mentioned in the United States Declaration of Independence is a doctrine for all humanity and drives their quest for achieving the same. Ironically, the concept of ‘inequality’ an omnipresent reality, is as widely accepted and internalized by us as an inevitable phenomenon.


Inequality, particularly when measured in economic terms, is presented in the form of income differentials, which creates the rich-poor divide, the resultant standard of living and social norms/practices which dictate the progress or lack there of of individuals and by extension, countries. While globally, all countries are trying to reduce economic inequality, the variance has continued to increase at an accelerated rate. What if instead of accepting being unequal as a constant phenomenon, nations start viewing it as a policy choice? What if, changes in economic policies and social policies and priorities could evidently reduce the income variance and usher the hopes of equity? Oxfam’s Commitment to Reduce Inequality Index (CRI) has been developed with this very concept and could potentially revolutionize the approach towards addressing inequality. In 2015, global nations united to develop and commit to achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

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higher risks of malnutrition and death in childhood and lower odds of receiving key healthcare interventions. Such inequalities are associated with high financial cost, affect economic growth, and generate social and political burdens and barriers. But leveling the playing field is also an issue of fairness and justice that resonates across

the table has increased albeit marginally over the period 2010-2016 and constitutes about 64% of the total income. Alarmingly, the lowest 5% of the households have seen their income more than halved. From 0.78% to 0.23% in duration, while the top 5% have experienced an increase of about 3%. Poverty pockets have increased throughout the country with Rangpur Division being hit the hardest with nearly 50% of their households below the upper poverty line and 30.5% of households below the lower poverty line (Chart 1). The CRI Index has been developed by Development Finance Institutions (DFI) and Oxfam with the concept that inequality is not inevitable and countries have shown by example that directed steps for reducing inequality do work substantially. The CRI Index has been developed with data from 152 countries worldwide with indicators used to denote policies which directly addresses inequality in countries. The rationale behind this approach explained in the World Bank Poverty and Shared Prosperity Report 2016 is as follows:

Chart-1 : Poverty Profile (Lower) by Division

Lower Poverty Rate ln %

‘Reduce Inequality between and within nations’ is Goal 10, but this is a cross-cutting goal and is relevant for the achievement of other major goals. The World Bank Poverty and Shared Prosperity Report 2016 provides some causal insights on the poverty and inequality linkage- ‘Despite decades of substantial progress in boosting prosperity and reducing poverty, the world continues to suffer from substantial inequalities. For example, the poorest children compared to the richest are four times less likely to be enrolled in primary education across developing countries. Among the estimated 780 million illiterate adults worldwide, nearly two-thirds are women. Poor people face

societies on its own merits. Oxfam’s research has shown that, since the turn of the century, the poorest half of the world’s population has received just 1% of the total increase in global wealth, while the top 1% received 50% of the increase. Furthermore, it has been made evidently clear that poverty shall remain and spread unless governments address inequality actively. Failing to do so may lead to half a billion people still living in poverty by 2030 according to the predictions stated in the World Bank Poverty and Shared Prosperity Report 2016. The Household Income and Expenditure Survey 2016 (HIES) report conducted by Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics reflects the trend and shows the rise in income inequality in the country. Countries Ranked in the Top 10 according to the Commitment to Reduce Inequality Index demonstrates the Percentage Distribution of Income to HHS in Deciles, notably the deciles 1-5 constitutes only about 20% of income whereas it comprises of nearly 50% of the population. Income for the top three deciles, 8-10 from

THE AUTHOR IS A ‘Policy Specialist’ in the Advocacy for Social Change Program at BRAC, and can be reached at tahera_ahsan@hotmail.com. The views and opinions expressed here within are of the author’s alone.

Source: Household Income and Expenditure Survey Preliminary Report 2016, BBS


“….. the past 30 years have seen a rapid increase in economic inequality – in the gap between the richest people and everyone else. In turn, this has exacerbated existing inequalities, for example, those based on gender and race. It has led to greater political inequality, as the wealthy increase their influence; and it has led to the declining influence of everyone else, particularly the most marginalized people, which undermines democracies and stifles citizens’ voices. It translates into greater social inequality and inequality of opportunity and outcomes, with ever-widening gaps between the health and education of the richest people and the rest, which in turn stifles social mobility. Finally, greater inequality has been linked with greater levels of crime and violence in society.”

THE CRI INDEX

The CRI index is developed using government data from three major policy areasSocial Spending, Taxation, and Labor. Government spending in these areas have shown substantial evidence of reducing inequality, a brief rationale for each spending area.

THE CRI INDEX AND PERFORMANCE OF COUNTRIES AND COUNTRY GROUPS

According to the CRI Index report, out of the 152 countries represented in the index, 112 are doing half of what they could be doing to address inequality. Countries at the top of the index along with the scores they received according to their spending on the major policy areas are shown below:

COUNTRIES RANKED IN THE TOP 10 ACCORDING TO THE COMMITMENT TO REDUCE INEQUALITY INDEX Country

Sweden Belgium Denmark Norway Germany Finland Austria France Netherlands Luxembourg

Spending on health, Education & Social Protection

Progressive structure and incidence of tax

9 4 8 20 2 3 6 5 19 12

Labor Market policies to address inequality

8 3 9 6 17 23 40 19 13 21

Total CRI Rank

8 24 12 3 6 10 1 21 9 11

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Source: The Commitment to Reduce Inequality Index Report 2015

CRI INDEX- RATIONALE FOR SPENDING AREAS CONSIDERED

Social Spending: Social spending comprises of government expenditure on health, education and social protection of the population. The virtues of equitable, timely and affordable access to health care directly address the physical limitations that income restrictions may have imposed and ensure a healthy labor force. Universal access to quality education ensures the development of skilled and economically strong population which in itself fosters innovation and creates a strong, knowledgeable working population. Social security for lower-income and vulnerable groups tend to create an additional source of income which can act as a measure taken towards a better quality of life through improved access to essential services and goods. Taxation: A tax structure which is progressive with the rich segment of the population taxed at a higher rate, helps redistribute income more equitably in the economy. This dynamic provides sufficient tax relief for the lower income segments to utilize the additional disposable income better while also providing substantial resources for the government to finance the services required to lift up the marginalized and vulnerable population without having to depend heavily on foreign sources of funding and loans. Labor: The United States Declaration of Independence policy states, “There is strong evidence that higher wages for ordinary workers and stronger labor rights, especially for women, are key to reducing inequality.” If governments can ensure a sufficiently high minimum wage for workers, they can thereby raise the wage floor which will have a chain effect on income distribution throughout the economy. Additionally, while there is an evident decline in trade unionization globally, allowing workers to form unions ensures that their rights are appropriately represented, and they have a voice in the way organizations are run. This structure also confirms that women are represented and get access to equal income and are hired almost at an equal rate. Source: CRI Index Report and Author’s narrative

Sustainable Development Goals targeting Inequality and Poverty GO AL 1

End Poverty in all forms everywhere

GO A L 5

Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.

GOAL 8 :

Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.

Source: UN Sustainable Development Goals Knowledge Platform

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THE 10 WORST PERFORMERS ACCORDING TO THE COMMITMENT TO REDUCE INEQUALITY INDEX Country

Spending on health, Education & Social Protection

Bhutan Tonga Belarus Afghanistan Timor-Leste Panama Albania Myanmar Bahrain Nigeria

112 98 48 141 135 145 87 151 133 152

Progressive structure and incidence of tax

124 108 148 131 147 114 152 38 151 117

Labor Market policies to address inequality

Total CRI Rank

141 144 137 133 121 140 59 126 102 139

143 144 145 146 147 148 149 150 151 152

Source: The Commitment to Reduce Inequality Index Report 2015

Nigeria is at the bottom of the list since it has shockingly low social spending figure on health care and social safety net programs. According to the CRI Index Report, “More than 10 million children in Nigeria do not go to school, and 1 in 10 children do not reach their fifth birthday. The Africa Progress Panel (2013) has demonstrated that despite Nigeria’s positive economic growth for many years, poverty has increased, and the proceeds of growth have gone up to almost top 10% of the population.”

taxation ranks Bangladesh 2nd among the 8 nations with Sri Lanka topping the list. However, while this may be the case in regional comparison, this is hardly a reason for rejoicing, as the country has a long way to go in contrast to the other countries in the full index. Unsurprisingly, the country ranks 5th among 7 nations regarding labor market policies. This is a clear reflection of the labor rights and safety concerns which has marred the readymade garments sector since the Rana Plaza incident. While progress is being enforced, the rate is very slow and explicitly calls for greater national level policy changes regarding labor acts and policies. A concerted and

BANGLADESH’S PERFORMANCE IN THE CRI INDEX

Bangladesh is ranked 141 out of 152 countries, just barely missing the bottom 10 cut-off, in the CRI Index. A regional comparison of other South Asian nations ranks Bangladesh as 6th out of 8 nations considered. A closer look at the disaggregated spending patterns by countries shows that the nation performed very poorly in social spending, ranking 7th out of 8, just barely above India which is at the lowest. Surprisingly, the performance regarding

CHART-2 : TOTAL ADP, EDUCATION AND HEALTH ALLOCATION AS % OF GDP

ln %

It must be noted here, that the ranks of the countries are calculated after taking the weighted average of their scores under the three major policy areas. Most of the top 10 nations are Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) nations, and they may vary according to their contribution under each pillar, but Sweden tops the list with a well-balanced spending structure which has fostered much greater equality in their society. When looking at each policy areas or ‘pillars,’ for social spending Norway tops the chart, for progressive tax structure Austria has performed significantly well, and for Labor Market policies Belgium is at the highest. Varying scores for each pillar essentially means a lot more remains on the countries’ part to improve on and they should, therefore, strive to do better. According to the Commitment to Reduce Inequality Index Report 2015, major countries like the US have performed very poorly and are therefore ranked low in the index, “The USA is the wealthiest country in the history of the world, but its level of inequality is also the highest among major industrial countries, leaving tens of millions of working people impoverished – especially women and people of color.” Countries which are the worst performers are lagging behind in all of the policy areas massively. Hence, inequality in these countries is extremely large and a major hindrance to their development. The worst performing countries stated in the index are as follows:

Source: Budget Documents, Ministry of Finance and Author’s calculations


BANGLADESH'S PERFORMANCE IN THE OVERALL CRI INDEX AND REGIONALLY

Bangladesh

Spending on health, Education & Social Protection 148

Nepal Maldives India Sri Lanka Pakistan Bangladesh Bhutan Afghanistan

0.2 0.29 0.07 0.09 0.08 0.07 0.2 0.09

Country

Labor Market Spending Tax policies to Rank Rank address inequality 65 127 South Asia- Regional Performance and Ranking 2 0.53 3 0.45 1 0.25 8 0.5 8 0.46 4 0.4 5 0.55 1 0.23 6 0.43 5 0.29 7 0.53 2 0.26 3 0.32 6 4 0.27 7 0.2 Progressive structure and incidence of tax

Labor Rank

Total CRI Rank

Regional CRI rank

-

141

-

2 1 3 6 4 5 7

0.36 0.35 0.25 0.22 0.22 0.21 0.21 0.17

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

Source: The Commitment to Reduce Inequality Index Report 2015

Chart-3 : SSNP Budget (w/wo Govt Pension) as % of GDP 2.5 2 ln percentage of GDP

decisive initiative from the government can bring forth the changes necessary for a more equitable labor market and for reaping the ‘demographic dividend.’ The deficiency in social spending- particularly in health and education- is evident in Chart 2. This spending shows the Annual Development budget in total and allocations for education and health development as a percentage of GDP. It is apparent that while the ADP has consistently grown, the allocations for these two sectors have been stagnant, with the health sector being worse off. There is an urgent need to address this at the national level since the burgeoning working population requires skills and good health to perform optimally to boost up their own and the country’s development. The social protection expenditure as shown by the social safety net programs (SSNP) budget has been hovering around the 2% of GDP mark for the last couple of years. However, not all of the allocation is directed at the

1.5 1 0.5 !

SSNP/GDP

welfare of the vulnerable and marginalized section of the population. Owing to the lack of a contributory public pension system, the budget for government employee pension is lumped together with the social safety net budget. When the social safety budget is considered independently, it amounts to around 1.3-1.5% of the GDP and has been on the decline in the past couple of years as shown in Chart 3.

SSNP-Pension/GDP

A FUTURE THAT WORKS FOR EVERYONE

We have committed as part of the global nations to address the issue of inequality by 2030, which leaves us with just over a decade to make broad changes. Poverty and inequality are strongly linked, and we cannot commit to moving forward as a nation by leaving behind the vulnerable population. Thus, it is high

time that education, health and ‘graduation’ models of social protection programs must be prioritized as much as infrastructure and energy sectors now. Physical infrastructure only, cannot take us further if we do not provide sufficient intellectual and personal capital for our population to utilize and benefit from it. Lastly, we must remember, inequality is not necessarily a constant but a policy choice and hence can be addressed and rectified.

Source: United States Declaration of Independence;World Bank Poverty and Shared Prosperity Report 2016;Household Income and Expenditure Survey Preliminary Report 2016, Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics;World Bank Poverty and Shared Prosperity Report 2016;The Commitment to Reduce Inequality Index Report 2015; Africa Progress Panel (2013). Equity in Extractives: Stewarding Africa’s natural resources for all.

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Interview

Khan Muhammad Saqiful Alam

UNFOLDING THE MAP TO BIG DATA ANALYSIS By Ishrat Jahan

Khan Muhammad Saqiful Alam is a Lecturer at North South University in the Department of Management from 2013. He graduated from the Institute of Business Administration in 2011 and obtained a Masters from Alliance Manchester Business School, UK. He is also an advisor for Robi 10 Minute School, an online education platform. He has also been a Corporate Trainer for BD Jobs since April 2015 and takes great interest in educating people about Big Data Analytics. In an in-depth interview with IBT, this educator unfolds many aspects of Big Data and its analytical implications.

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Lecturer, North South University Department of Management


In recent times, Big Data has been a much talked about issue globally, what are the reasons behind such popularity?

During the 1990s and 2000s most of the organizations became automated and adapted Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), centralized automation and centralized management systems. It was soon observed by them that automation was impossible without databases so they started collecting data. Approximately in the first half of 2010, people started realizing their data files are massive and weigh not just in gigabytes but terabytes and exabytes. They started looking at the large data sets that they have collected and examining the best possible ways to use them. One of the major areas where this Big Data became popular was specifically in search engines. Although Google entered the market after Yahoo became popular, it soon topped all the other search engines due to its spot on recommendations. They figured out that the data they collect from people’s searches or clicks can be used to predict patterns that would help them direct their content accordingly. Nowadays FIFA does not promote drug tests rather they take measures of the players height, weight, past performances, blood pressure and temperature. They then make use of the previous patterns of fluctuations in the pressure and temperature to figure out whether a player is on drugs or not. This is how big data slowly gained popularity.

Elaborate on the importance of Big Data Analytics in today’s world and its relevance in Bangladesh.

We are in the middle of a region which is thriving in big data. For instance in Malaysia, there is Petronas and a few more companies who are doing very well with big data. Singapore has almost connected the entire city using a single network. Then comes China, a country which produces massive amount of data and brilliant analysts. There is some myth that exists in Bangladesh, which states that we do not have big data in Bangladesh. However, in reality, we have exabytes of data available in the country. Hospitals collect from the patients, which can act as a gold mine for future predictive health care. Similarly, common industries can use data analysis to maintain compliance and keep track of their production and human resources. It can also help us find out what kind of project development can result in better outcomes for effective analysis. Furthermore, it can be used to look into rural behavior and predict patterns that can be addressed for better rural development. On the other hand, the city has become heavily congested these days

with the increasing population. Data is widely available on vehicles and traffic movement across the city, which can be accumulated together to find interesting patterns to solve congestion. Thus, Big Data has huge relevance when it comes to Bangladesh.

How can companies effectively use Data Analytics to drive significant values by harnessing the data that streams into their businesses?

Business experience and intuitions of a good manager cannot be replaced by anything. However, for many companies in Bangladesh when we do analysis and find a pattern, we do not give much importance to it. Therefore, right now, we are overdue on the revolution of big data in Bangladesh. As the next step, we need to figure out how big data can be used in our daily lives. In today’s world, big data has a major significance in marketing. Telecommunication and service companies like GrameenPhone and Pathao are all utilizing stacks of big data to attract new customers and investing in new markets. This data can come handy while differentiating between profitable and unprofitable ventures and tell us which patterns can be taken into account. Once a pattern is predicted properly, companies can make profitable use of the piles of data that flows into their streams. Similarly, much data also exists on defective products, raw materials, timeline, salary and bonuses of the human resources that can help organizations to ease out their processes and better manage their resources. This will help organizations to be more productive and efficient and serve the customers in a better way than before.

Considering the Data Analytics field is relatively new in Bangladesh, how can an individual build a career path in this field? What sort of resources and courses are useful in this regard? There are 2 career paths in Data Analytics, 1 is a data scientist, and

the other is a data analyst. The task of a data scientist is a quite complex one, which requires you to have both mathematical knowledge and a computer science background and if not that then a thorough understanding of how the programming function works. The job is often pretty time consuming and requires a person to undergo expensive training sessions to build a sound profile in this field. Therefore, if a person wants to build a career as a data scientist, the individual must start early and most importantly build upon the skills as mentioned earlier. As for subjects, one can start with introductory courses on programming and mathematics, then go on learning linear programming in calculus, AP calculus. One can even go for advanced courses like real analysis, nonlinear programming, calculative analysis and learn some programming languages like R and Python. As a Data Analyst, one has to read the data, get inputs from it, understand the inputs, compute his or her analysis and present it to the user. Here one does not need to instruct the program about the type of analysis required; it knows what data an organization runs on thanks to automation on a different level. However, such automation comes with high level of skills, and I believe the recent graduates should go for smaller steps like being a data analyst first. This path requires certain basics of statistics. These are things that they can learn from courses available on websites like Coursera, edX, Udemy and using videos by Khan Academy. A certain level of programming skills is also required in this case. This skill I believe is a must-have for all sorts of graduates as it increases our cognitive skills by teaching us a logical way to instruct the computer. One can also learn from tutorials available on Codecademy and DataCamp.

How can the large organizations benefit from the transition of the traditional databases into big data lakes? As the first step any organization www.ibtbd.net

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can initially start with assigning small data roles to their employees and can then train their data analysts, give them the strategic importance and listen to their outcomes regarding strategy on a regular basis. When this is done, they can slowly move towards collecting data, developing big data departments in the company and assigning strategic roles to each of the department managers. Once the time and resources are being used into building a department with strong data analysts, companies can get better insights and utilize existing data in a better way. Organizations then must allow the analysts to make the best use of resources and experiment with the data and the organization itself. This might all go in vain at first but more than 75% of the time, you can gain the desired result through the valuable insights obtained in the process. The analysts can further use the data to predict significant patterns in the consumer behavior and directly related content related to their responses to benefit from better consumer satisfaction. Many big data companies like Google, Facebook, and LinkedIn, are taking up this approach now, by incorporating the data insights into their main strategy.

As an educator, what are your take on the university education in Bangladesh and its scopes of improvement?

What can be done on both the parts- students and institutions to make education a more effective phenomenon than just limiting it to basic learning?

I have been an educator since 2013, and in my 5 years of tenure, I have observed that Bangladesh is very regressive concerning business studies. We have a lack of advance courses in our curriculum, which are being taught to the students in the first world countries. This is something we really need to work on. Thankfully, North South University has already revised many of its course curriculums and is constantly stressing on improving the curriculum regularly. We are also offering new courses that are based on the demand of the new era, like project management, digital marketing, and covering courses like digital analytics. A large gap also exists between the business environment and the university. There is very less interaction between the corporate world and the university, which needs to be improved drastically. One good way of doing so is to offer projects or establish offices in collaboration through which the companies in the market can place their problems into the universities. The companies may do so regarding day-to-day problems, which can then be addressed in the university offices through teacher-student consultation. Students can also reach out to companies and build a network that will help them in the future.

In this scenario, companies use geolocation and geocoding to a set up digital parameter around the store. Whenever the cellphones of customers enter that zone, they get a pop-up that reminds them to do their monthly purchases.�

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ONGOING TRENDS IN BIG DATA ANALYTICS PREDICTIVE ANALYSIS

This is one of the key areas where people have been working for the past few years and is one of the most interesting outgoing trends right now. In this trend, we make use of machine learning, and deep learning to identify measures, videos, patterns and to automatically suggest scenarios, outcomes, and results. Predictive analytics have now gone over from just two-dimensional data like numeric data to three-dimensional data like videos, sounds, pictures and has started to identify recurring patterns.

SENTIMENT, PICTURES AND EMOTION ANALYSIS.

Humans beings are very rational and often swayed by different sentiments and emotions. Analysts are trying to understand user command and figure out what sort of sentiments have an effect on them. Once this is done, they can use data on emotional responses to predict the decision of a customer and how it influences a customer to buy something. The next step after the decision bias is identified, is to introduce the idea of a social organization that can make better use of sentimental idea to predict the collective decision making of a community. For example, Barack Obama’s government heavily relied on sentiment analysis for the second election and tried to find out what kind of sentiments were working for the President.

PRODUCTIVITY ENHANCEMENT IN HR

The trend focuses on finding out different patterns of behavior; for instance, there is a study going on in China where they are trying to figure out whether traffic congestion affects the hourly productivity of workers or not. It is a fact that sitting in congestion surely hampers one's punctuality. However, the theory suggests it has an impact on productivity too, as people often become cranky in the congestion which hampers their efficiency in the workplace.

HOMELY CHANNEL EXPERIENCE

This refers to the ongoing use of data to integrate websites, physical visits, and mobile sites to get insights in a way that can be used to draw consumer attention. This allows customers to look at things based on their previous purchases when they walk into a store. In this scenario, companies use geolocation and geocoding to set up digital parameters around the store. Whenever the cellphones of customers enter that zone, they get a pop-up that reminds them to do their monthly purchases. It also informs them about the discounts available on the products they generally buy, which helps companies retain customers in a better way.

OFFENSIVE LANGUAGE ADDICTION

This trend by Gmail is actually in its pirate phrase where they are trying to predict through emotions and sentiments whether an email is offensive or not. If an email has an offensive content, then Google can choose not to prompt it or just not allow the person to send that email. It can also set a countdown or a one day block off time where that user will not be allowed to use Gmail for a day or at least send that email to anyone.


Capital Market

BOURSE UPDATE

Fortnightly Report of DSE, 1st January To 15th February 2018 Top 10 securities by turnover value in Tk. Sl. Name of securities No. 1 United Power Generation & Distribution Company Limited 2 IFAD Autos Limited 3 Square Pharmaceuticals Ltd. 4 Dragon Sweater and Spinning Limited 5 Lafarge Surma Cement Ltd. 6 Paramount Textile Limited 7 Grameenphone Ltd. 8 National tubes Ltd. 9 City Bank Ltd. 10 Islami Bank Bd Ltd

A

Total Turnover in shares 11,330,253

Total Turnover Tk. in mn 2,100.15

% of Total Turnover Tk. 4.17

A A A A A A A A A

11,918,553 4,451,695 64,905,036 18,825,999 27,633,170 2,621,695 8,581,822 19,548,122 23,933,808

1,572.79 1,361.88 1,340.01 1,273.66 1,272.24 1,251.86 1,198.55 975.67 859.50

3.12 2.70 2.66 2.53 2.52 2.48 2.38 1.93 1.70

Category

Top 10 securities by turnover in shares

1 2 3

Dragon Sweater and Spinning Limited National Bank Ltd. Alif Manufacturing Company Ltd.

A A A

1,340.01 533.16 837.51

64,905,036 41,157,153 37,781,638

% of Total Turnover shares 4.79 3.04 2.79

4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Export Import (Exim) Bank of Bangladesh Ltd. Paramount Textile Limited Bd.Thai Aluminium Ltd. Keya Cosmetics Ltd. Bangladesh Export Import Company Ltd. Generation Next Fashions Limited Islami Bank Bd Ltd

A A B A A A A

479.53 1,272.24 804.35 317.12 701.55 238.97 859.50

27,813,761 27,633,170 26,350,065 25,938,868 25,033,296 24,463,100 23,933,808

2.05 2.04 1.94 1.91 1.85 1.81 1.77

Sl. No.

Name of securities

Category

Total Turnover Tk. in mn

Total Turnover in shares

Top 10 gainer securities (based on closing price)

A B

Current Fortnight Closing Price 20.30 124.90

last Fortnight Closing Price 17.10 107.50

B A A A A A B A

165.90 191.70 27.40 2,198.50 23.80 8.60 30.30 22.10

149.00 173.60 25.70 2,063.00 22.40 8.10 28.60 21.00

Sl. No.

Name of securities

Category

1 2

Dragon Sweater and Spinning Limited BD.Autocars Ltd.

3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Aziz Pipes Ltd. ACI Formulations Ltd. Hamid Fabrics Limited Berger Paints Bangladesh Ltd. Central Insurance Company Limited CAPM BDBL Mutual Fund 01 Bd.Thai Aluminium Ltd. Yeakin Polymer Limited

Top 10 loser securities (based on closing price) Sl. No.

Name of securities

Category

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Alif Manufacturing Company Ltd. Alif Industries Limited Shahjalal Islami Bank Ltd. Prime Bank Ltd. Mercantile Bank Ltd. City Bank Ltd. Northern Jute Manufacturing Co. Ltd. United Commercial Bank Ltd. Shyampur Sugar Mills Limited AB Bank Limited

A Z A A A A A A Z A

Source: Dhaka Stock Exchange

Current Fortnight Closing Price 15.80 98.40 27.50 23.60 23.00 46.60 485.20 20.80 56.10 19.50

last Fortnight Closing Price 25.10 143.00 33.00 27.40 26.40 53.20 553.60 23.60 63.60 22.10

change %

Turnover Tk. in mn

18.71 16.19

1,340.01 109.61

Daily Avg. Turnover Tk.in mn 121.82 9.96

11.34 10.43 6.61 6.57 6.25 6.17 5.94 5.24

111.08 115.91 199.34 37.45 1.71 4.61 804.35 53.81

10.10 10.54 18.12 3.40 0.16 0.42 73.12 4.89

change %

Turnover Tk. in mn

Daily Avg. Turnover Tk.in mn

(37.05) (31.19) (16.67) (13.87) (12.88) (12.41) (12.36) (11.86) (11.79) (11.76)

837.51 304.45 369.74 282.15 573.32 975.67 32.97 324.03 18.03 461.77

76.14 27.68 33.61 25.65 52.12 88.70 3.00 29.46 1.64 41.98

Disclaimer: Dhaka Stock Exchange does not hold any responsibility for these date.

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Tech

A GLIMPSE OF THE FUTURE

The Tech that will Takeover

A closer look at CES 2018, the world’s most famous technovaganza. By Abhijit Asad

T

he International Consumer Electronics Show, or CES, as it is now known, is one of the most eagerly anticipated technology-centric trade shows in the world. Virtually every big name in the technology business, be it hardware or software, makes it a point to make an appearance at CES to give the world an idea as to what

is about to come, and the media goes to great lengths to ensure maximum coverage of this event. Traditionally held every January for over 50 years at the reputed Las Vegas Convention Center, CES has played a seminal role in the history of modern technology by being the perfect platform for heralding the future of consumer electronics.

As consumer electronics events go, CES 2018 has also been nothing short of amazing, and the showcase speaks for itself. Here is a closer look at some of its most interesting exhibits.

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AMD: Ryzen, Ryzen Everywhere Straight out of the gate, AMD manages to impress onlookers with a slew of announcements, starting with the Ryzen 2 – the sequel to its Ryzen series microprocessors, which pretty much single-handedly not only saved the company from bankruptcy but went on to give Intel a run for the money. Ryzen 2 promises a 12 nm ‘Zen+’ microarchitecture, which means it would pack more processing power within a smaller space, not to mention higher efficiency and superior performance compared to its predecessors and rivals. It is also interesting to note that the Ryzen 2 CPUs would make use of the same AM4 socket used by the first Ryzen CPUs, which means a motherboard upgrade is not necessary to enjoy their benefits. AMD has also announced a new range of Ryzen APUs (Accelerated Processing Units, i.e., CPUs with built-in graphics processors) for laptop computers, and are replacing their old Athlon line of CPUs with their new Ryzen APUs, which are more powerful versions of the laptop ones. Some of these APUs will go on to supplant the low-end units from the original Ryzen lineup, such as the Ryzen 3 1200 and the Ryzen 5 1400. AMD promises to deliver greater processing power and efficiency with the new CPUs. These processors have been shown to flatten Intel’s competing offerings in gaming and synthetic benchmarks, and they all sports Radeon RX Vega graphics, albeit in downscaled form. Intel-AMD: Core CPUs with Vega Graphics This CPU is probably the unique item to make an appearance at this year’s CES, and it features a most unusual partnership between lifelong rivals Intel and AMD. For the first time, Intel’s powerful new Core series of CPUs are coming

Traditionally held every January for over 50 years at the reputed Las Vegas Convention Center, CES has played a seminal role in the history of modern technology by being the perfect platform for heralding the future of consumer electronics.

with integrated Vega M graphics solutions from AMD, instead of using Intel’s laughable HD, UHD or Iris graphics. With the main processor, the graphics chip and the high-bandwidth memory modules of the graphics chip mounted on a single die; the new Intel Core CPUs offer extraordinary ‘desktop-level’ performance in an incredibly small and light form factor. It is safe to assume that these units will be making appearances in laptops and portable PCs later this year. How these beauties hold up against AMD’s line of Ryzen APUs remains to be seen, but given that AMD is targeting the APUs at budget buyers and not enthusiasts, chances are these would fare better in benchmarks. Intel has even released a new ‘Hades Canyon’ iteration of its NUC (Next Unit of Computing) mini-PC featuring these distinct CPUs, managing to pack a ridiculous amount of processing power in a shockingly small form factor. While these are enthusiast-grade platforms that most people would not have much use for, they look delectably geeky and ostentatiously powerful. HTC: Vive Pro Pitted against the mighty Oculus Rift, HTC’s original Vive virtual reality headset was already a worthy contender. But the new Vive Pro unveiled at CES 2018 ups the ante tremendously by raising the display resolution by over 75%, which translates into crisper image quality and superior immersion in virtual environments. The new Vive Pro unit also sports a pair of outward-facing cameras, which brings along interesting possibilities for a truly stereoscopic augmented reality experience. The unit also comes with integrated headphones that boast surprisingly high-quality sound. While the headset is still tethered to the

computer by connector cables during use, HTC is in the process of developing a wireless module that can hopefully do away with them. It is safe to say that the Oculus Rift needs to step up its game to top the Vive Pro. HP: Z 3D Camera Scanning clay or plastic figures or items using sophisticated sensor arrays and turning the scanned data into virtual models that can be manipulated using 3D modeling and animation software is nothing new. Movie and video game development studios often make use of this technology. However, HP has gone the extra mile to bring this nifty technology to every artist in the form of an affordable spatial scanner called the Z 3D Camera. It comes with a unique mat on which objects can be placed for scanning for 3D conversion. The Z 3D Camera is expected to begin as a massive boon to designers and animators everywhere, saving a great deal of time with its quick and easy operation, not to mention the prohibitive costs typically associated with such scanners. Nvidia: Big Format Gaming Displays After years of revolutionizing PC gaming, Nvidia has its sights set on revolutionizing living room entertainment with its upcoming range of Big Format Gaming Display (BFGD) screens – 65-inch 4K behemoths with ridiculously high refresh rates that promise flicker-free and tear-free output. Thanks to its integrated G-Sync technology, which optimizes the display’s refresh rate to be in sync with the frame rate of the media being played. It is a bold move that can cause massive paradigm shifts in home entertainment if received well by audiences, and it may even be the step that ends up helping PCs to oust gaming consoles from living rooms.

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Beyond the Business

Mango Mania

Red Dragon

WHAT’S IN IT? Mango, apple, orange, and mango ice-cream.

WHAT’S IN IT? Beetroot, apple, strawberry, and ginger.

WHY YOU WANT IT? Your favorite fruit is packed that is packed with all of the good stuff for your body. Mangoes prevent cancer, and improves eye health, skin and digestion.

WHY YOU WANT IT? The ruby red of this beverage offers the best of both fruits and vegetables. Beetroot is considered a superfood- they are packed with fibers, proteins, vitamin K, and calcium. They are also known to lower blood pressure, and boost energy.

Sipping Healthier, Fresher & Smarter Detox WHAT’S IN IT? Carrot, apple, orange, and ginger. WHY YOU WANT IT? Let’s face it; your body takes a toll from all the unhealthy treats you give yourself every day. Carrots are one of the richest sources of vitamin A, which is essential for excellent eyesight. Throw in a touch of ginger for a full body cleanse.

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Lychee Punch WHAT’S IN IT? Lychee, and vanilla ice-cream.

Rainbow Smoothie

WHY YOU WANT IT? When you want that sweet fix, the lychee punch is your calling. Lychees are packed with vitamins C and B, antioxidants and dietary fibers that promote cardiovascular health.

WHAT’S IN IT? Pineapple, mango, strawberry, and banana.

Midday into work can be the most difficult. Between the lunch rush and the anticipation of ending another long work day, the temptation to grab an unhealthy snack or sugary tea increases tenfolds. Fear not, the beverage baristas at Just Juice have an assortment of healthy options, so you have a guilt-free snack. ADDRESS: Gulshan North Ave, Dhaka 1212

WHY YOU WANT IT? This tropical delight is packed with the freshest fruits that make it naturally delicious without the calories. Pineapples are high in manganese that boosts antioxidants and the body’s defense.

PRICE: Small: Tk. 200 Large: Tk. 250

Veggie Delight WHAT’S IN IT? Cucumber, tomato, carrot, beetroot, ginger, and Tabasco. WHY YOU WANT IT? Getting your everyday vegetable is seldom the ideal meal, so why not sip to a healthy you. You can get your daily dose of doctor prescribed nutrients and fatty acids that are known for reducing stress. www.ibtbd.net

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S E RI E S

A New 4 Season of Twisted Realities A SPOILER-FREE REVIEW OF CHARLIE BROOKER’S LATEST ATTEMPT AT SCARING THE WITS OUT OF VIEWERS By Sheahan Bhuiyan

EPISODE 01

USS Callister

The first episode is an indication of what a bigger budget can enable the show to do. Beautifully cinematic, the episode pays homage to Star Trek and starts off with an Enterprise-like ship, the USS Callister, with actor Jesse Plemon playing the role of Captain Kirk. It is an episode which focuses on the increasingly fading line between the virtual world and the real world. Plemon’s character is a software engineer who’s designed a game which allows players to exist in a virtual world through a device stuck to their head. He does not have many connections in the real world and chooses instead to spend all his available time in this virtual world he has created for himself. It is a scenario which is already taking place in Japan, where men have been dating virtual girlfriends for a while now. This was a very well made episode, continually making the viewers question where to draw the line when immersing oneself in a virtual world, where essentially, all the rules are made by you.

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Black Mirror has successfully made viewers squirm uncomfortably in their seats for the past few years, and this series was no different. Technological advances and the consequences of it were a central theme throughout the series. The scary bit was that many of the issues portrayed in this series could very well happen in the very near future. The show has moved networks to Netflix, and catered to a broader audience, moving away from its British roots. The bigger budget has given us some fantastic cinematography. The series was visually stunning. Overall, it was a good series, and fans will not be disappointed.

EPISODE 02

Arkangel If you have an invasive parent, you can probably relate a lot to Arkangel. Although the plot is very straightforward and predictable, it still makes you uncomfortable knowing that the technology to track a child’s every move is around the corner, and how overprotective parents will utilize that. A mother, fearing for her daughter’s safety, fits her with an implant which not only tracks her movements, but also gives the parent to monitor what the child is viewing, her stress levels, and even her health status. The episode explores how this kind of technology will impact a child’s life, and how it will shape her/him as an adult. While it doesn’t offer any twists, the episode asks the age-old question of how snoopy you can be in the name of protecting your loved ones.


EPISODE 4

Hang the DJ EPISODE 3

Crocodile Sticking to the theme of privacy, this episode explores a scenario where corporations can access memories, with consent, and what the potential consequences could be. Multiple storylines come together and clash, leading to an uncovering of events which would not have been possible without accessing memories. Despite the fact that it could potentially solve crimes, the ethical question remains whether people should be forced to divulge their memories, especially to a for-profit corporation. The episode is a bit grisly, and it’s set in gorgeous Iceland, so visually, it is one of the best shot episodes.

Have you ever wondered what would happen if all the apps that you use currently are seamlessly integrated into Siri or Alexa to create an online database to help you make the best decisions in the future? “Hang the DJ” explores a situation where your digital assistant has enough information on you to suggest potential mates for you. While you’re with the said person, the app collects data to improve the database to help you find your ultimate match. This is a delightful episode, very reminiscent of the “San Junipero” episode from season three. This episode felt the most real and is something that we could witness very soon. With apps like Tinder and dating websites playing an ever-increasing role in determining our partners, it's not very far-fetched to think that pretty soon there will be an algorithm developed which will help us find our best match.

EPISODE 6 EPISODE 5

Metalhead Set in a what seems to be a post-apocalyptic dystopian future, “Metalhead,” from a cinematic point of view, is stunning. Director David Slade shoots the entire episode in black and white which adds to the feeling of gloom and doom present throughout the episode. There is not much regarding a plot, but it will keep viewers on the edge of their seat as they witness a classic stalk and slash scenario where the killer is a robotic dog. Fans looking for thought-provoking elements are likely to be disappointed.

Black Museum “Black Museum” is a fitting end to the series. It is the longest episode, and it is an hour and a half of sheer entertainment. The episode brings back the ethical implications of technology, this time in medicine. It draws on classic American horror genre of a small town museum featuring experimental medicine gone wrong. The episode shows stories of items in the museum and how it got banned. This is a dark episode which highlights how people desperate enough will try anything to save their loved ones and how corporations experimenting with technology will take advantage of these unfortunate people. It also highlights how unproven technology can have side effects one wouldn’t even think of.

The scary aspect of this series was how each of the episodes was featured in a not too distant future. Everything that took place seemed like it could take place maybe five to ten years from now. As technology becomes more immersive than ever before, the series could serve as a warning to what might befall us if we let it go too far. It is very relatable and will have you pondering your usage of your devices.

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Social Inclusion

DEVELOPMENT CHALLENGES IN A GROWING NATION By Asaduzzaman Ushering an employment-intensive growth, moving up the value chain in the export market, improved infrastructure particularly energy, enabling environment and continued integration with the global economy are a few of the much-discussed challenges that Bangladesh has to overcome to become a developed nation. This strategy requires social inclusion to deliver essential social services and building institutions, optimizing the distribution of the dividend of economic growth and strengthening special protection. This way forward emphasizes partnerships and avoiding aid dependency. This was the gist of an international seminar held in Bangladesh Institute on Development Studies (BIDS)

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on 10 January 2018 titled Development Partnerships in Middle-income Countries. Dr. Syed Sajjadur Rahman, Senior Fellow, School of International Development and Global Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Ottawa, Canada presented the keynote paper and Dr. K. A. S. Murshid, Director General of BIDS, chaired the session. Pointing out to the resilient nature of our countrymen, Dr. Rahman said, “We have the adaptive capacity and country is overpopulated. Due to poverty, we are very cautious and that is why our development took place. Our people are very open-minded, and that is why they can learn things very quickly.” The emphasis of the event was on the necessity for development partnerships at this stage of economic

growth. Dr. Rahman detailed the income classification and informed the audience that low-income countries have $1,045 or less as per capita income, while the figure is around $12,747 and more for high-income countries. Nevertheless, it is the only measure of economic ability and not development. “At this stage, the most important challenge before us is to achieve Sustainable development goals (SDGs). Moreover, we must avoid the middle-income trap and continue economic development,” he added. He stressed that social inclusion and shifting nature of poverty is important to understand as poverty is expressed more in urban areas than rural areas, “We are in a paradox; Bangladesh is a MIC in transition where 28.1

million people are still living in extreme poverty. The paradox is that we achieved LMIC but remain an LDC.” Using his global expertise, Sajjadur suggested that to face the challenges we need a stable government. “Our government needs to be accountable and pro-people. It must prioritize the continuation of democratic and fiscal policy reforms.” BIDS’ K.A.S. Murshid wrapped the session with his observation from other countries, “I am not worried about the development finances where there are numerous sources. We have to decide where we have to take the finances. If we are obtaining finances from suppliers credit, there will be many kinds of inefficiencies. It increases the likelihood of corruption. From my experience in Cambodia, I found that they stopped taking loans from World Bank, but it did not hamper them because they were taking aid from China. This is also happening in Myanmar.” To move forward, Bangladesh in all counts will be a middle income country according to Murshid: “We have so far done well due to many reasons. There is an enterprising capitalist class. However, we cannot leave anyone behind, and our development process must include the marginalized class too.” Murshid proposed that the governance is one of the keys to financial inclusion, “Governance is important and how we are managing our internal and external financing is imperative. Aid projects remain a priority for bureaucrats. So there are many complexes remain, although our development is remarkable and there is much more to achieve.”


Healthcare Market

PARTNERSHIPS FOR PROGRESSIVE HEALTHCARE By Asaduzzaman

vailing a sound and services oriented health care services is still a far cry for us. A considerable number of patients are traveling frequently to our next door neighbor and facing many issues in banking, boarding, and patient lifting services. To reduce the travail, Apollo Hospitals Dhaka, BRAC Bank Ltd., and Mastercard Bangladesh jointly launched a co-branded service. It is marked for horizontal alliances in this multi-stake services market and is a new beginning in this area. The Co-branded Health Card comes with a lot of features, all of which are catered to bringing ease to patients. These features include In-Patient Room Charges (10% discount), all Preventive Health Check Packages (5% discount), Outpatient Investigations (5% discount), and Attendant’s Health Check (5% discount). Their services extend to travel and accommodation services that include: the discounted rate at hotels such as INR 500 off upon spending INR 1,999 at TREEBO Hotels and INR 750 off upon of INR 1,999 at FAB Hotels as well as free airport pick up (for IP Care). Earlier the services were scattered, and now it will be readily available under one umbrella. Detailing the services, Dr K Hariprasad, Group President - Hospital Division, Apollo Hospitals Enterprise Ltd. stated, “We at Apollo Hospitals India treasure our relations with the people of Bangladesh. We have preserved their trust for over 30 years in our healthcare journey. The Apollo-BRAC Bank-Mastercard will be a blessing for our patient community, and the host of features provided on this card is unmatched in the industry. We are grateful to BRAC Bank, Mastercard and Health Connect International for this

A

Mastercard Bangladesh, BRAC Bank, and Apollo Hospitals Dhaka join hands for Bangladesh’s first-ever Co-Branded Health Card great initiative.” Selim R. F. Hussain, Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer, BRAC Bank Ltd. added, “We are looking forward to this new tripartite partnership with Apollo Hospitals and strengthening our ongoing partnership with Mastercard. As one of the fastest growing banks in Bangladesh, we are delighted to offer products and services that are designed to fulfill the needs of our valued customers. We believe that this new card will be an important value

addition to our customers’ lives. It will make life easier for cardholders who visit Apollo Hospitals.” Syed Mohammad Kamal, Country Manager, Mastercard Bangladesh commented that this initiative was taken with consideration to cardholders: “We always look for ways to provide services that tailor to the needs of our valued cardholder. In this case, we are trying to facilitate our cardholders who require frequent medical services in India. Keeping our valued cardholder’s in mind, those who frequently have to visit India for medical checkups or medical treatments, we have formed this tripartite partnership with Apollo Hospitals and Brac Bank to smoothen their medical visits.” The Apollo delegation included Jithu Jose, Group General Manager- South Asia; Shafeeq Azam, Chairman, Health Connect International; Dr. Mokter Hussain, Director, Health Connect; Md. Abdur Rob, Chairman, Global TeleMedicine, and Mohammed Ullah, Chairman, Crystal Health Chittagong. Gitanka D. Datta, Director, Mastercard Bangladesh also attended the ceremony.

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Muhammad Yunus visited and spoke in three major cities of India – Kolkata, Delhi and Jaipur and urged to make society equitable by creating more entrepreneurs.

US Ambassador to Bangladesh Marcia Bernicat recently met the members of Chittagong Chamber of Commerce during her two-day visit to Chittagong to inaugurate the new coast guard boat maintenance facility in the port city

19th Annual General Meeting of Basis took place in Dhaka recently. Representatives from the member organizations of BASIS participated in the meeting while the meeting was presided over by BASIS President Syed Almas Kabir.

For the first time in Bangladesh, Amari is organizing one fabulous date starting with a limousine pickup, helicopter ride over Dhaka, followed by an 11 course degustation dinner cooked by a Swedish Masterchef set on the very top level of the hotel. The ‘Cloud Number 9’ package also includes a one-night stay in the bridal suite, premium couple spa treatments, 24-hour His and Her butlers and designer gifts.

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“Annual Business Conference -2018” of NRBC Bank Limited was held at the Westin Hotel, Dhaka. Honourable Chairman of the Bank Tamal S M Parvez, Vice Chairman Mohammad Shahid Islam, Chairman of the Audit Committee Rafiqul Islam Mia Arzoo, Chairman of the Risk Management Committee Mohammed Adnan Imam, Director Dr. Toufique Rahman Chowdhury and Director Dr. Nuran Nabi were present at the program.

TAKING AN INDEPENDENT INITIATIVE

BD Venture Limited, a Bangladeshi Venture Capital Company, announces its first investment exit from EON Foods Limited. BD Venture Limited invested Tk. 20 million in the company back in January 2014. The promoters of the company expressed their interest in buying back the company’s share in December 2017. BD Venture accepted their offer and the completion of the transaction occurred recently. “This exit is a great milestone for the nascent startup ecosystem of Bangladesh, it will help to

flourish the Venture Capital industry very fast,” postulates M Ehsanul Haque, Chairman of BD Venture Limited. “This will give momentum to our Venture Capital Industry,” he added. Shawkat Hossain, Managing Director of BD Venture Limited, stated, “Startup Financing is not just about investing money, it is a holistic process that involves proper business planning with thoughtful growth targets, ensuring corporate governance in the company. We have worked together to build the company”. “We partnered with BD Venture without knowing much about Venture Capital. They have devoted their time to build the business from scratch; they have constantly scanned all the needs of the business and guided us to take the right decision at the right time. I must say BD Venture was a right partner for us,” detailed Momin Ud Dowlah, Managing Director of EON Group.

BANGLADESH BANK DECIDED TO APPOINT SK SUR CHOWDHURY AS BANKING REFORM ADVISOR Bangladesh Bank has decided to appoint S. K. Sur Chowdhury as its Banking Reform Advisor after completion of his tenure as Deputy Governor of the bank. A Bangladesh Bank press release said S. K. Sur Chowdhury would advise in the formulation of reforms policies for banks and financial Institutions. He will also advise Bangladesh Bank and other concerned authorities in implementing the banking sector reform programs and in formulating future banking sector reform strategies. According to a local news agency, the decision to appoint Sur Chowdhury in the new post was made at the governing body meeting of the central bank on Tuesday.

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However, the decision will come into effect soon after the approval of the government`s top policy level. Sur Chowdhury joined Bangladesh Bank in May 1981 as Assistant Director and serving the bank with the zeal of his expertise since then. He had represented BB in many international conferences, workshops, and seminars. Among other responsibilities, he was the Chairman of Asia Pacific Rural and Agricultural Credit Association (APRACA), Chairman of South East Asia, New Zealand & Australia (SEANZA) Supervisory Forum, Alternate Director of Asian Clearing Union (ACU), Member of Board of Director of Child Youth Finance International, etc.


Advertorial

Peugeot: evolution through Design, Innovation, and Quality

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eugeot has been producing a range of fantastic driver-friendly vehicles since the inception of its automotive division. The history

of Peugeot started when the company itself was founded 200 years back in 1810 as a coffee mill company named ‘Peugeot Frères’ by Jean-Pierre II and Jean-Frederic. After two decades in 1830, the company decided to shift its attention to producing bicycles. Decades later, Armand Peugeot introduced the famous ‘Le Grand BI’ penny-farthing. It soon gained a lot of popularity, and the bicycle business was blooming. However, in the 1880s, Armand seemed to develop an interest in producing steam-powered carriages. Therefore, in 1882, Peugeot shifted to automobile manufacturing, and in 1890 Armand introduced Peugeot’s first petrol-driven 4-wheeler. The vehicle was given the name ‘Type 2’ and was equipped with a Daimler Engine. Soon enough, Peugeot introduced the Type 12 which was the first vehicle to use rubber tires rather than pneumatic

ones. Over the years, numerous innovations have been made to Peugeot vehicles. As a car manufacturer, Peugeot has always had a soft spot for mass-market coupés and cabriolets. Despite creating them in earlier years, it wasn't until the swinging 60's that Peugeot found its coupé groove with the launch of the 404. Something of an icon in the collectors’ world, the 404 remains a firm favorite and is coveted by many. The supremely popular Peugeot 205 was released in 1983 and saw the company’s fortune increase dramatically. A more luxurious direction was taken in the 90s, while an increased focus on motorsport paid off with victory in the racing industry, most notably at Formula 1. Now the brand is being produced under the umbrella of Groupe PSA which is the second biggest automobile manufacturer after Volkswagen Group.


ICE Business Times, February 2018  
ICE Business Times, February 2018  
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