Third Terminal: Foreigners eyeing Tk. 3000 crore business



Ishtiaq Hussein, Special Correspondent, Barta24.com
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The newly constructed third terminal is more than twice the size of Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 of Shahjalal International Airport. The area of the old two terminals is 1 lakh square meters, and the third terminal is 2 lakh 30 thousand square meters. Although it was partially inaugurated in December last year, passengers will be able to use all its facilities in December next year. Bangladesh Civil Aviation Authority (CAAB) is moving towards that goal.

The former two terminals can serve 80 lakh passengers annually. And with the new terminal, 1 crore 60 lakh passengers can be served.

Ever since the inauguration of the third terminal, there has been a discussion as to who will get the ground handling work of the third terminal. Because the government has built the infrastructure for the passengers, but if the passenger service cannot be ensured, then the passengers will have to suffer with this terminal like the old terminal.

Statistics show that Biman earns an annual revenue of Tk. 1500 crore from the ground handling of the two old terminals. And since the third terminal is more than twice as big as this, at least Tk. 3000 crores of revenue is possible from here. So various foreign companies are racing to get the ground handling work of the third terminal.

Those concerned say that everyone will want to take such a big business opportunity. And that's why foreign companies are dying.

The Ministry of Civil Aviation and Tourism has already informed about who will be responsible for the ground handling of the third terminal - Japan will decide in this regard. Now everyone is watching whom Japan will eventually take with them in this service sector.

The name of Biman Bangladesh Airlines is the first to be discussed in this work because Biman has a long experience in this sector. Moreover, Bangladesh's state-owned company Biman is the sole service provider of Shahjalal International Airport in the ground handling sector.

However, apart from Biman, many other foreign companies are trying to get this job. There are many speculations about which company gets the job based on the partnership with Japan.

However, the Aviation Minister said that Japan will do the ground handling work. In this case, if the plane is taken, domestic interests will be protected. We have prepared the aircraft to provide ground handling services to the third terminal.

On the other hand, CAAB Chairman M Mofidur Rahman says that Japan will provide ground handling services. The name of the aircraft is also under discussion. We have also spoken for Biman.

However, Japan is verifying the capacity of the number of passengers and aircraft that will move through the third terminal. Aircraft capacity has also increased. In the meantime, Japan will select those it deems worthy.

But some say, in this case, it would be better if two to three organizations are appointed in the ground handling department. This will improve the quality of service as well as make it competitive. By doing this, the passengers will also get better service.

Those concerned say that handling such a large terminal may not be possible for Japan alone. In that case they will look for partners. In the meantime, Turkey's Celebi, UK's Menzis, Switzerland's Swissport and other companies are working to get this job. The British High Commissioner posted in Bangladesh expressed his country's interest in doing Menzies work in a meeting with the Minister of Aviation and Chairman of CAAB. Celebs in Turkey are eager to get work. Swissport is also in the running. They will also meet the Chairman of CAAB and give a detailed presentation about them.

Japan is interested in operating the third terminal on a PPP basis. For this reason, an organization called IFC has also conducted a survey. Further decision will be taken based on their report.

Complaints about airline services

Shahjalal International Airport, the country's main gateway, has no end of complaints about aircraft ground handling services. Ground handling service is one of the most important departments for passenger complaints. But Biman could never create service mentality in this sector. Even though there have been unarmed complaints about the services of this sector for decades, they have never been able to take proper steps to resolve them.

There are many cases of foreign airlines delaying the departure of flights due to lack of timely service. At various times, foreigners lobbied hard to get this ground handling, but in the end, Biman stayed with the government's blessing. The government has given this support at various times to prioritize the interests of the country, but this time it is no longer in that position. The government wants to have a plane. However, since Japan has built a third terminal with the help of JICA, the government is supporting the operation of the aircraft through the partnership.

Biman says it has bought Tk. 1,000 crore worth of equipment to get the third terminal working. In the last one year, more than 1000 manpower has been appointed in the ground handling department. Those concerned say that it is not enough to buy the equipment, there is a lack of coordination and cooperation in the work of the aircraft. Also training of staff is required. What is needed above all is a service mindset. If there is no change in this mentality, there will be no change in quality of service.

Why do foreigners want ground handling?

Biman Bangladesh Airlines is the only ground handling service provider of Shahjalal International Airport. The state-owned airline earns Tk. 1500 crore annually from this sector. Ground handling is a major source of revenue for national flag airlines. Since independence BIman is a single service provider in this sector. Foreigners have always had an eye on this sector. At various times they have tried hard to get this business through local business partners. Among them are Middle East-based Danata, Switzerland-based Swissport and Turkey's Celebi.

But not only Shahjalal, Chattogram Shah Amanat International Airport and Sylhet Osmani International Airport have been doing ground handling since the beginning of Biman just as ordinary passengers have been angry about Biman's ground handling services over the years, so have the 30 foreign airlines operating from Shahjalal. There are allegations that Biman has failed to provide international standard service. Moreover, the responsibility of failure to deliver luggage on time also fell on these foreign airlines. Foreign airlines have repeatedly pointed the finger at the aircraft regarding these complaints including luggage theft, broken suitcases. They allege that Biman is responsible for all this. But they have to pay compensation for that.

What is Biman saying?

Biman's Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Shafiul Azim expressed a positive attitude towards getting the work of the third terminal and said that Biman has the capacity, expertise and necessary equipment to provide ground handling services of the third terminal. More equipment will be purchased in the future and special emphasis is being placed on staff training.

"The aircraft's ground handling staff is highly skilled. They have the necessary skills and certifications. Airline workers are also in high demand abroad.

He said that due to the limited amount of baggage belt in the old terminal, the limitation to provide the service has to be faced. However, the new terminal will have more baggage belts, so passengers no longer have to waste time standing in line to get their luggage. Besides, the number of check-in counters in the old terminal is also less. It creates pressure on passengers. New terminals will not have this problem. Aircraft capacity has been increased by purchasing new parts and hiring new staff. So it is not right to question the capability of the aircraft.

What do the experts say?

Aviation expert ATM Nazrul Islam said, new airlines are not increasing suddenly. Shahjalal will handle two crore 35 lakh passengers in 2035. Biman will lose big business if the third terminal works.

He said, it will not be good for the country or for the interests of the country. But Biman has to improve the quality of service. Otherwise the state-owned airlines will lose their single business in this sector.

He also thinks that preparations should be made now by starting this in December. And since there are good business opportunities here, foreigners can be attracted.

Efficient management should be provided to provide passenger friendly service. About 6,000 manpower will be required to operate the third terminal. Those concerned say that it is not just about having sophisticated machines, but the skills of the people behind the machines are important. If not, the suffering of passengers will not be reduced.

Kazi Wahidul Alam, an aviation expert and former member of the board of directors of Biman Bangladesh Airlines, said that the passengers will get ample space and a good environment in the third terminal. However, the organizations that will be engaged in airport services should change their approach and at the same time increase the quality of service.

   

"The country's economy is weaker than ever"



Special Correspondent, Barta24.com
"The country's economy is weaker than ever"

"The country's economy is weaker than ever"

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Barrister Anisul Islam Mahmud, deputy leader of the opposition party in the Jatiya Sangsad, has claimed that the country's economy is currently in the weakest position than at any time in the past.

He said, "As far as I know, having played a role in politics and as a member of parliament for a long time, there has never been a weaker situation in the past than this time."

Barrister Anisul Islam said all these things in an event titled 'Budget Dialogue 2024' organized at a hotel in the capital on Wednesday (June 12).

He said, on the eve of the transition from the list of least developed countries, the weakness was evident at the time when the country's economy needed to have the capacity to ensure a major adjustment.

Because of the crisis, the key question now is not whether macroeconomic stability will return or not. Rather, the question today is whether the economy will sustain under this pressure or not.

CPD's Board of Trustee Treasurer Syed Manzoor Elahi presided over the event, former Planning Minister MA Mannan, research institute Power and Participation Research Center (PPRC) Executive Chairman Economist Dr. Hossain Zillur Rahman, experts from politics, economy and private sector also spoke.

Executive Director of CPD Dr. Fahmida Khatun presented the keynote at the event. Dr. Fahmida Khatun claimed in the program that there is inconsistency in the target of macroeconomic indicators in the proposed budget.

Criticizing the decision to whiten black money with only 15 percent tax, Fahmida said it would encourage corrupt people. Honest taxpayers will be discouraged.

Identifying this opportunity to whiten black money as 'state sponsorship of cheating', Barrister Anisul Islam said that the money earned by theft, robbery and murder is also being given an opportunity to whiten.

Earlier, the ACC was given the opportunity to question the matter, but this power has been taken away. He asked in whose interest it was done.

Will the economy be strong by encouraging theft? Those who steal will bring money for the development of the country? In that case, I will take the opportunity to pay 15 percent tax next year instead of paying tax this time, he said.

Former Planning Minister MA Mannan commented that there is a need for a bold judgment analysis about how much this allocation is needed or how much benefit the people will get before allocating to various sectors in the budget.

He said that under the Annual Development Program (ADP) many projects had to be approved which I personally did not agree with. Again, I don't think these projects will be very useful.

Commenting that inflation in the country is mainly due to GDP growth, the former minister said that if growth is sacrificed, the standard of living of people will decrease. He also commented that many big economies have also followed the same path.

He said that at least 30 percent of the people are being helped through the government's social security program including providing food at an affordable price through cards, food in exchange for work, and if it were not for all these initiatives of the government, inflation could have been reduced by 15 percent.

But at the same time, the inequality in the country is also increasing, he said, historically, some sectors and groups have been fed and nourished since the British period and the Pakistan period. He also commented that there is a need to pay close attention to these aspects.

Dewan Hanif Mahmud, Editor of Banik Barta, believes that if efficiency can be ensured by controlling rent seeking, government expenditure, especially subsidy pressure, will be reduced.

He said that due to the efficiency of power management in India, the price of wholesale electricity per unit is a little more than five rupees. However, due to inefficiency, a large part of the subsidy in Bangladesh is going to this sector.

He also commented that the cost of implementing infrastructure sector projects is higher here than in many neighboring countries due to rent seeking.

Urging to determine the size of the unexibited part of the economy, he said, according to the estimate of the Ministry of Finance, 40 percent of the economy was unexhibited in 2012. He suggested that by redefining this size, it should be brought into the main channel of the economy as well as eliminates the inconsistencies of various agencies of the government.

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Economy stuck in inefficiency trap: Hussain Zillur



Special Correspondent, Barta24.com, Dhaka
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Economist Dr. Hossain Zillur Rahman, the Executive Chairman of the research institute Power and Participation Research Center (PPRC) believes that the potential of Bangladesh's economy and development is caught in the trap of inefficiency.

On Wednesday (June 12) at a hotel in the capital, he said in an event titled 'Budget Dialogue 2024', this trap is made by us. It is not imposed from outside.

While speaking on the key-note paper presented by Executive Director of CPD Dr. Famida Khatun, Hossain Zillur said that investment decisions in education and health in Bangladesh are not coming from integrated thinking, infrastructure and services are not being coordinated.

He said that a large part of the allocation in education is going to the infrastructure sector. Again 500 bed hospital is being built and service is being given to 50 bed hospital.

Claiming that the government's money is being wasted due to inefficiency in project selection, he said that many projects are being abandoned midway. He commented that this inefficiency is equivalent to an epidemic.

This economist also said that many ministries take large allocations at the beginning of the year and return the allocations at the end of the year due to inefficiency in implementation. He urged to address the problems of implementation efficiency, governance and development strategy to ensure freedom from such inefficiency trap.

Commenting that the country has been moving forward based on the garment industry and remittances for the last four to five decades, he said, new growth drivers should be searched for the future.

Dr. Hossain Zillur called the country's entrepreneurial class and workers as ducks that lay golden eggs, and said that they are trying to slaughter those golden ducks every year without nurturing them.

Urging to improve the investment environment to sustain growth, he said, entrepreneurs need business environment more than credit facilities. He said that bureaucratic complexity is still a big obstacle in business.

He said that 100 special economic zones have been formed, but in reality only four or five have been launched.

Claiming that there is no solution to all these problems in the economy, he further said that such problems should be solved through political economy.

Commenting that the entire potential of the country is stuck in the iron triangle of political economy, he said, this triangle of lack of accountability, lack of strategic skills and overall institutionalization of corruption should be broken.

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Chevron Bangladesh hosts Cattle and Product basket handover



Special Correspondent, Barta24.com-Dhaka
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Chevron Bangladesh, in collaboration with iDE as a part of the Uddokta Phase-II intervention, recently hosted a Cattle and Product Basket Handover event near the Bibiyana Gas Plant, Habiganj.

During the event, product baskets were handed over to 60 female sales agents, making relevant health and hygiene products available at their doorsteps.

In addition, 223 cattle were handed over to 22 VDO cooperatives, supporting the sustainability of these cooperatives under a new business model. The introduction of cattle insurance was a new addition to make this business model more effective and captivating for the long run.

Beneficiaries exhibited their stalls with products such as fresh vegetables, livestock, agriculture inputs, machineries and mini garments products. The private sector also showcased their services and products to facilitate market linkage and chain development.

The event was attended by Member of Parliament Amatul Kibria Keya Chowdhury (Habiganj-1), Dr. Md. Abdul Kader, District Livestock Officer and Sheikh Fazlul Haq Moni, Upazila Agriculture Officer.

They appreciated Chevron Bangladesh & iDE for such an impactful social investment project for the community. The event was attended by Director, Corporate Affairs Muhammad Imrul Kabir, Bibiyana Gasplant Superintendent Koyes Chowdhury, Community Engagement and Social Investment Manager Khondoker Tusherujjaman along with other Chevron team members.

In her speech, Amatul Kibria Keya Chowdhury, MP, mentioned how Chevron Bangladesh has contributed to the economy not only through providing affordable, reliable natural gas but also by being there for the community through various social investment initiatives.

Chevron is one of the world’s leading integrated energy companies, involved in virtually every aspect of the energy industry. Chevron Bangladesh Block Twelve, Ltd. and Chevron Bangladesh Blocks Thirteen & Fourteen, Ltd. (Chevron Bangladesh) is the largest producer of natural gas in Bangladesh, accounting for about 60% of total domestic natural gas production and over 80% of the domestic condensate production.

Chevron Bangladesh operates three gas fields in the northeast of the country. Chevron Bangladesh works with communities across its operations, building long-term partnerships that foster economic development and lasting benefits to them.

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New time schedule of bank transactions



Staff Correspondent, Barta24.com, Dhaka
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Bangladesh Bank has announced a new time schedule of bank transactions. Bank transactions and office activities will continue on the new schedule after Eid.

A circular in this regard has been issued from the Department of Offsite Supervision of Bangladesh Bank on Sunday (June 9).

It is said in the circular, from June 19, the transactions of the banks will start at 10 am, which will continue till 4 pm. And the offices of the banks will be open from 10 am to 6 pm. There will be weekend holidays on Friday and Saturday.

Now bank transactions are open from 10 am to 3:30 pm and bank offices are open from 10 am to 5 pm. As such, bank transactions will last for half an hour and offices will last for an hour longer.

According to the instructions, bank activities will be conducted according to the new schedule from June 19 until further instructions in accordance with the office schedule announced by the government. The Central Bank has issued this directive under the authority of Section 45 of the Bank Companies Act, 1991.

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