By Swadesh Roy


Effect of Climate Change


In the last two months, Dhaka and even the countryside of Bangladesh have been experiencing unprecedented scorching heat, and one of these months included the holy month of Ramadan, making the unbearable heat even more challenging for those fasting.


Although the temperature fell slightly last week, it has risen again. Many residents of Dhaka attribute this extreme heat to massive concrete structures and a lack of trees in the city. However, the mangrove forest area by the Bay of Bengal has been more severely affected, with temperatures higher than in Dhaka. This indicates that the heatwave is widespread across Bangladesh and magnified by climate change. The situation serves as a wake-up call for Bangladesh and South Asia to take immediate precautions against the effects of climate change.


Donald Lu’s Visit


American Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia and Central Asian Affairs, Donald Lu, arrived in Dhaka on May 14 for a two-day visit. He was the highest-ranking US official to visit Dhaka since the new government assumed power for the fourth time. There was much speculation in the media before his visit, but those concerned with diplomacy remained indifferent.


Lu visited Bangladesh after completing trips to Sri Lanka and India, which are part of his routine duties as he nears the end of his tenure. While the visit was typical, it had positive implications for US-Bangladesh relations. Both countries have shown a practical approach to moving forward, with the US maintaining business and other relations competitively without offering any extra or considerable advantages.


During a meeting with civil society representatives, Lu expressed US concerns about human rights and liberalism. However, he did not criticize Bangladesh, focusing instead on US policy. Unlike previous visits, Lu did not meet with political leaders outside the government, which some media and analysts viewed negatively. However, given the non-political nature of his trip, such interpretations are unreasonable.


Upcoming Budget of Bangladesh


Bangladesh will receive a new budget in three weeks, which will be presented in Parliament by Finance Minister Mahamoud Ali. A former student of Economics and seasoned diplomat, Ali will deliver his first budget. There is considerable curiosity about how a diplomat will handle this task.


In meetings with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the longest-serving leader in South Asia, Ali, and his team were directed to maintain austerity due to the current economic situation and two major global conflicts. However, this does not mean the upcoming budget will be smaller than last year’s. Despite some tightropes due to economic challenges, the budget will be larger, reflecting Bangladesh’s growing economy.


Bangladesh faces economic issues currently, but rural areas enjoy positive economic outcomes due to infrastructure development and remittances from migrant workers. The challenge lies in properly integrating micro and macroeconomic policies and addressing irregularities in the finance sector, which is a matter of administration rather than policy.


Moreover, as Bangladesh’s economy is advancing, it has no way of becoming an amoeba cyst in the name of austerity. It must move forward to its goal of reaching a stable middle-income economy, and this budget will give an indication of this.






The writer is a national award-winning journalist and the editor of The Present World and Sarakhon.



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