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Key Economic Data 
  2004 2003 2002 Ranking(2004)
Millions of US $ 56,844 51,900 45,500 54
GNI per capita
 US $ 440 400 390 175
Ranking is given out of 208 nations - (data from the World Bank)

Books on Bangladesh

Update No: 017 - (29/05/07)

There is a high likelihood that emergency-ruled Bangladesh will witness the rise of a new political party as efforts are ongoing by the military-backed interim government to encourage competent and sincere leaders to form a new political order. According to a report in the Manovjamin newspaper, the search for talented and competent leaders entrusted with organizing politics at the local levels almost resembles a talent hunt. For instance, a number of former youth and student leaders belonging to former prime minister Khaleda Zia's Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and her archrival ex-premier Sheikh Hasina's Awami League were approached to break with their present parties to join the new political process. 

Separately, Bangladesh's Awami League party has said that its leader Sheikh Hasina will return to the country now that the government has decided to lift a ban on her entry into the country. Bangladesh's main political parties, the Awami League and the Bangladesh Nationalist Party say the government's decision to lift all restrictions on two former prime ministers, Sheikh Hasina and Khaleda Zia, represents a people's victory and the protection of constitutional rights. But there is speculation in political circles that even while the ban may have been lifted off the leaders, their political future is bleak as they might face a number of corruption charges. Ms. Zia's two sons have already been charged with corruption, and one is in jail. Ms. Hasina faces charges of extortion and involvement in the murder of four political activists. 

Bangladesh's economy might face some upheaval in the coming months according to a new report published in the Financial Express. Officially, the inflation rate is around 7.0 per cent. But many economists suspect that it is already as high as 10 per cent. The prices of basic commodities such as rice, edible oils, various categories of pulses and potatoes have skyrocketed. Moreover, the government is in heavy debt with external borrowing. There are unsettled state liabilities and mismanagement and state-run entities. Examples of such problems are listed below. For instance, interest payment against internal borrowing by government might be 20 per cent higher this fiscal, than what was originally estimated in the budget. A subsidiary of the state-owned Rural Electrification Board was in dire financial crisis. The Rural Power Company Ltd, the subsidiary of the board, is reported to have a bank loan burden of 6.0 billion Taka while an arbitration verdict against it requiring payment of 2.0 billion Taka awaits settlement. Also, the government is likely to take over the entire liability of the Bangladesh Petroleum Co-operation through issuing bonds worth 100 billion Taka at 10% interest rate. This means that the state will need to borrow from the public to bail out the sick organization. 

The Brahmaputra River will soon witness a number of vessels carrying fuel to Bangladesh in the light of India's decision to export 120,000 tonnes of diesel to Bangladesh annually. This venture marks the start of a new trade route and better economic ties between the two neighbours. It also promises to generate more employment. The Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPC) and the Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd, the marketing arm of the Numaligarh Refinery Ltd (NRL) of Assam in northeast India, have signed this export-import agreement to meet Bangladesh's vehicular fuel demand. 

'The business deal is definitely a win-win situation for both the countries. Apart from earning revenue, the most important aspect of this agreement is that the waterways could be a new trade route for the two countries,' Bhupati Das, chairman-cum-managing director of NRL, told IANS on telephone from Dhaka. Bangladesh's total demand for petroleum products is 2.2 million tonnes per annum. The 2,906-km Brahmaputra River, one of the longest in Asia, traverses Tibet, India and Bangladesh before emptying into the Bay of Bengal. The 1,530 km long Brahmaputra waterways connecting Assam to Kolkata via Bangladesh - about 600 km passes through Bangladesh - has remained literally idle despite the two countries having a protocol agreement to allow using the river system for cargo movement.

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