August 2019

The government of Bangladesh today signed a $185 million financing agreement with the World Bank to add about 310 MW renewable energy generation capacity, which will contribute to reliable, affordable electricity and cleaner air.

The Scaling-up Renewable Energy Project will focus on utility-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) and rooftop PV to expand new markets in renewable energy generation it the country. The project will establish the country’s first large-scale 50MW grid-tied solar PV generation plant in Feni district, implemented by the Electricity Generation Company of Bangladesh (EGCB). To fill the gap in the long-term domestic financing market for renewable energy, the project will also support the Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (IDCOL) to manage a Renewable Energy Financing Facility for both rooftop and utility-scale solar PV. It will also help Sustainable and Renewable Energy Development Authority (SREDA) identify sites for large-scale projects and promote new net metering policy for rooftop PV.

Since the last decade, the World Bank has helped Bangladesh increase access to electricity in rural areas through renewable energy. Today, Bangladesh has one of the world’s largest domestic solar power program that serves about one-tenth of the country’s population,” said Dandan Chen, Acting Country Director for Bangladesh and Bhutan. “Now, we are going one step further to help Bangladesh expand renewable energy generation on a larger scale. With strong collaboration between the public and private sector, we hope the project will help meet the growing energy demands of the population.”

The project will help unlock private investment and will aim to raise up to $212 million in financing from the private sector, commercial banks, and other sources.

“The project will be important for Bangladesh to tap into its potential for renewable energy generation. Further, it will help reduce a substantive amount of CO2 emissions per year, which is in line with the country’s nationally determined contribution to the Paris climate agreement,” said Monowar Ahmed, Secretary, Economic Relations Division, Government of Bangladesh.

The $185 million credit also includes a $26.38 million loan and a $2.87 million grant from the Strategic Climate Fund (SCF) of the World Bank’s Climate Investment Funds (CIF). The credit from the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), has a 30-year term, including a five-year grace period, and an interest rate of 1.25 percent with a service charge of 0.75 percent. The SCF loan has a maturity of 40 years, including a grace period of 10 years with a service charge of 0.1%.

The World Bank was among the first development partners to support Bangladesh following its independence. Since then the World Bank has committed more than $30 billion in grants, interest-free and concessional credits to Bangladesh. With this project, the Bank’s ongoing support in the energy sector totals close to $2.4 billion, covering generation, transmission, and distribution, including renewable energy.

Downsizing is often seen as the big, bad wolf of all staffing practices. Labor costs account for a
major chunk of an organization’s expenses and companies stand to gain a lot if they keep a
tighter, more streamlined and multitasking workforce, often known as “trimming the fat”. But
truth be told, not many organizations can go through this process without breaking a lot of hearts
and ruining a lot of career paths. And as they say, an empire built on broken dreams does not last
long.

It is imperative, therefore, to explore all other options by which downsizing may be avoided. In
fact, downsizing carried out gradually may not be as jolting at all. Done progressively by
imposing an external hiring freeze and investing in training and development for existing
employees to make them more flexible with their job roles can make cutting future labor costs
that much smoother.

If this measure cannot be prevented, know this- done properly and empathetically, downsizing
need not be the ugly monster of staffing problems. In fact, it can help the organization move in
the direction of their strategy.

If an organization must layoff workers promptly, they may decide to go for a softer approach by
offering golden handshakes, outplacement opportunities, a hefty severance package, etc. to
sweeten the deal instead of simply handing out termination letters to employees. Of course, nothing
replaces a job but most of these measures provide a welcome buffer. As a result, healthy
relationships with employees may bud, businesses may come back on track and even outgoing
employees may benefit from outplacement opportunities or hefty severance pay packages.
It is important to calculate how many people an organization needs to get rid of to reach its cost
goals. Many companies, in their greed, to make cost reductions and subsequent gains due it, end
up facing a severe shortage of workers. Side by side, it is important to know who is to be let off
and based on what criteria, e.g. performance, seniority, etc. This ensures fairness and reduces the
risk of lawsuits.

So, is termination the end of downsizing?
A harsh measure such as downsizing should not be taken without proper planning and
forethought and often, the mere act of termination is not the end of it. The process needs to
continue far beyond it if a company is to survive the repercussions of the measure.
These repercussions sometimes come in the form of a demotivated and scared workforce,
suffering simultaneously from survivor’s guilt and a lingering fear of losing their own job.
Workers may also find themselves doing the work of laid-off employees for which they may not
be adequately trained. They may suffer from team productivity imbalances when their coworkers
leave. The most dangerous of all impacts of downsizing is the loss of trust employees have in the
organization – a situation where a voluntary outflux of employees becomes imminent as they
look for job security elsewhere.

Of course, even the organization takes a hit in these situations. The loss of credibility to
competitors and other stakeholders, often fueled by the badmouthing of angry terminated
employees can add up to dire circumstances for a company.

Communications- the Unsung Hero
Implementing the decision takes an extraordinary level of communication skills. It is necessary,
at this time to assure both the outgoing and the surviving employees that all possible steps were
taken to avoid this decision and to convey to outgoing employees, all the steps taken to ensure
their smooth exit and the sort of benefits they can expect to receive in compensation.

It is equally important to let survivors know that they need not worry about their future. In fact,
being open about why downsizing had to occur, why they survived and articulating its direct
benefits to surviving workers may motivate them. It may also help to give them a vision for the
future- the training and development opportunities they are likely to receive, the gains that may
be shared among them that happened as a result of the cost-cutting, and even, a say in how their
future job roles should be designed. A good communicator tries to assuage fear and confusion in
employees and replace these negative feelings with those of sympathy and loyalty towards the
organization.

Is it all uphill from there?
Even when companies survey employees to know their feelings and fears, give them growth
opportunities, enrich or enlarge their jobs, or offer better benefits, some employees cannot or will
not get over their apprehensions and for them, this decision, even after surviving the cut, will
mean the end of a working relationship. Companies that anticipate this will end up having the last
word.

 

Some would say that the World Investment Report 2019, is the harbinger of bad news. It is easy to see why; according to the report global foreign direct investment (FDI) fell from $1.5 trillion to $1.3 trillion between the years of 2017 to 2018. That’s a fall of 13 percent which signals that the accelerated investment needed to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is just not apparent. This further translates into reduced investment in combating climate change, rising tensions over trade wars and debt vulnerabilities of nations.

The World Investment Report is a thorough analysis conducted by United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) focusing on the trends in foreign direct investment (FDI) worldwide, at the regional and country levels and emerging measures to improve its contribution to development. The conference released its 2019 World Investment Report this week, showing that global FDI not only hit its lowest since the global financial crisis, but has also been on the decline for three consecutive years. The report has an analysis of the trends in FDI during the previous year, with special emphasis on the development implications, ranking of the largest transnational corporations in the world, policy analysis and recommendations and an in-depth analysis of a selected topic related to FDI.

The Secretary-General of UNCTAD, Dr. Mukhisa Kituyi, seemed to have given the plot away at the very beginning of the report. Dr. Kituyi says, “The new industrial policies that have been adopted in recent years, almost all rely to a significant degree on attracting investment. At the same time, we are observing a declining trend in cross-border productive investment. The market for internationally mobile investment in industrial capacity is thus becoming increasingly difficult and competitive. The demand for investment is as strong as ever, the supply is dwindling and the marketplace is less friendly than before.” But he isn’t all gloom and doom, the report recognizes the importance of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) as key policy instruments for the attraction of investment for industrial development.

The article summarizes the World Investment Report 2019 and gives an insight on how Bangladesh is faring in the global arena.

GLOBAL TRENDS AND PROSPECTS
Global trend in FDI has continued their downward movement to rest at $1.3 trillion in 2018. If you are looking to blame someone, then look no further than the tax reforms in USA introduced at the end of 2017. To be clearer, the decline was mainly due to large-scale repatriations of foreign earnings by United States multinational corporations (MNCs). President Trump signed the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” into law on Dec. 22., 2017, bringing sweeping changes to the tax code. For the wealthy, banks and other corporations, the tax reform package can be considered a lopsided victory given its significant and permanent tax cuts to corporate profits, investment income, estate tax, and more.

Furthermore, the law enacts repatriation of overseas profits at a rate of 15.5% for cash and equivalents and 8% for reinvested earnings. Goldman Sachs estimates that U.S. companies hold $3.1 trillion of overseas profits. The law introduces a territorial tax system, under which only domestic earnings are subject to tax. Foreign-derived intangible income (FDII) refers to income from the export of intangibles which are held domestically, which will be taxed at a 13.125% effective rate, rising to 16.406% after 2025. The European Union has accused the U.S. of subsidizing exports through this preferential rate, a violation of World Trade Organization rules.

Perhaps the most surprising of all this is the drop in FDI to developed countries. FDI flows to developed economies reached their lowest point since 2004, declining by 27 per cent. FDI Inflows to Europe was less than $200 billion, half of 2017 figure; FDI flows to Ireland and Switzerland fell to -$66 billion and -$87 billion, respectively. FDI flows to the United Kingdom also declined, by 36 per cent to $64 billion, as new equity investments halved. FDI into the United States declined as well, by 9 per cent to $252 billion – the average of the last 10 years. Australia’s FDI inflows reached $60 billion – a record level – as foreign affiliates reinvested a record $25 billion of their profits in the country.

FDI flows to developing economies remained stable, rising by 2 per cent to $706 billion. As a result of the increase and the unusual fall in developed countries, the share of developing economies in global FDI increased to 54 per cent, a record. The United States remained the largest recipient of FDI, followed by China, Hong Kong (China) and Singapore.

But what of FDI outflow from developed countries? Overall, outward FDI from developed countries fell by 40 per cent to $558 billion. As a result, their share in global outward FDI dropped to 55 per cent – the lowest ever recorded. Nevertheless, outward investment by European MNCs rose 11 per cent to $418 billion. France became the third largest investor home country, with FDI outflows of more than $100 billion in 2018. Outward investment by MNCs from developing economies dove by 10 per cent to $417 billion.

Rebounds Are Likely
But don’t feel too sorry for the developed nations, since a rebound in FDI inflows is likely in 2019 as the effects of the US tax reform wears down. Greenfield project announcements also point at an increase, as they were up 41 per cent in 2018 from their low 2017 levels. A greenfield investment is a type of FDI where a parent company creates a subsidiary in a different country, building its operations from the ground up. In addition to the construction of new production facilities, these projects can also include the building of new distribution hubs, offices and living quarters.
In developing economies, the value of announced projects in manufacturing rose by 68 per cent to $271 billion. Most of the increase in greenfield investments took place in Asia, but announced projects also increased markedly in Africa (up 60 per cent); while they slumped in Latin America and the Caribbean. The number of projects in developing countries rose by a more modest 12 per cent. The growth in the number of projects in typical early-industrialization industries – the type often attracted by SEZs – remained lackluster.

REGIONAL TRENDS
One country has defied the downward trend of global FDI: Africa. In 2018, roughly $46 billion worth of FDI flowed into Africa, an 11 percent increase compared to 2017. This is significant for the continent because when a company or an individual makes an FDI, they are said to be establishing a long-term business interest in the said foreign country. The expectation is that they will not only invest money but also time and soft assets such as training, expertise and technology.

Why Africa?
The African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) allows 52 African countries to buy and sell goods without tariffs, thus making them less expensive. Commodities are the other big draw for investors and according to UNCTAD investment in African commodities such as gold is expected to rise. Dr. Kituyi has weighed in on this development and said, “The AfCFTA agreement will bolster regional cooperation along with upbeat growth prospects, this bodes well for FDI flows of the continent.”

A few economies, such as Kenya, Morocco and Tunisia, saw an encouraging increase in diversified investment while Egypt remained the largest FDI recipient in Africa in 2018, although inflows decreased by 8 per cent to $6.8 billion. France was the top investor in Africa, followed by the Netherlands, UK and USA.

How about Asia?
FDI inflows to developing Asia rose by 4 per cent to $512 billion in 2018. Growth occurred mainly in China, Hong Kong (China), Singapore, Indonesia and other ASEAN countries, and Turkey. Asia continued to be the world’s largest FDI recipient region, absorbing 39 per cent of global inflows in 2018, up from 33 per cent in 2017. FDI inflows to South Asia increased by 4 per cent to $54 billion, with a 6 per cent rise in investment in India to $42 billion, driven by an increase in mergers and acquisitions in services, including retail, e-commerce and telecommunication.

Around half of Southeast Asian FDI number went to Singapore. In fact, Singapore’s influx in FDI has been greater than the FDI attracted by all of Africa combined and far exceeded that of India ($42 billion) and Indonesia ($22 billion).

Among other South Asian countries, FDI flows to Sri Lanka and Bangladesh rose to record level, $1.6 billion and $3.6 billion respectively. While Pakistan, experienced a 27 percent decline to reach $2.4 billion.

INVESTMENT POLICY TRENDS
Foreign Investment regulations and restrictions are on the rise
Global foreign investment contractions come amid rising global protectionism fueled more so by the US profits being repatriated after the Trump Administrations 2017 tax reform. Dr. Kituyi, secretary-general of the (UNCTAD) said “For some time now, the global policy climate for trade and investment has not been as benign as it was in the heyday of export-led growth and development.”

In 2018, some 55 countries and economies introduced at least 112 policy measures affecting foreign investment. Two thirds of these measures sought to liberalize, promote and facilitate new investment. Thirty-four percent introduced new restrictions or regulations for FDI – the highest share since 2003.

Investment from Chinese multinationals also fell for the second year in a row, dropping 18 per cent to $130 billion, as a result of state policies to curb overseas investment, as well as growing screening of inward investment in the US and Europe. Last year the number of restrictive policy measures affecting foreign investment was close to a record high, according to UNCTAD’s annual global investment report. While only about one in 10 policy measures affecting investment was restrictive 16 years ago, by last year that proportion had risen to one in three.

Most of the trade restrictions introduced last year — 21 of 31 — were in developed countries, while there were substantial increases in 2017 and 2018 in screening processes for FDI. For example, Germany broadened the definition of critical infrastructure in its investment screening process to include news and media, while the UK lowered the thresholds that trigger investment screening from £70m to £1m in high-tech industries. In contrast, emerging economies in Asia overwhelmingly adopted measures aimed at the liberalization, promotion and facilitation of investment.

Unctad’s report also warns that last year an estimated $153bn worth of merger and acquisition deals were blocked or withdrawn for regulatory or political reasons — double the number in 2017. Disregarding the fluctuations caused by US tax reform and other volatile elements, “the underlying FDI trend…was till negative”, stated the report.

Screening of foreign investment
FDI screening has become more prevalent over recent years. At least 24 countries have a specific foreign investment screening mechanism in place. Tighter control over foreign acquisitions due to security and public interest concerns are also being addressed at regional levels.

SPECIAL ECONOMIC ZONES (SEZS)
As countries attract FDI to special economic zones (SEZs), active support to promote clusters and linkages is key to maximizing development impact, according to the UNCTAD report. “But multi-activity zones can extract some of the benefits of colocation. Proactive identification of opportunities, matching efforts and training programs, with firms within and outside the zone, significantly boosts the impact,” the report goes on to explain further.

The zones offer fiscal incentives and have streamlined regulations to attract FDI and can be found in both developed and developing countries. China operated 2543 such zones in 2019, followed closely by Philippines (528), India (373), USA (262). Bangladesh operated 39 SEZs, of which 9 are Export Processing Zones (EPZ) catering to textile and apparels.

“At least 101 countries have industrial policies, of which 80% were formulated over the past five years. We call them the new generation of industrial policies. Special economic zones are one of the major means of achieving industrial policy goals,” Dr James Zhan, lead author of the report, was quoted saying.

Special economic zones (SEZs) have ballooned across the globe in recent years, growing in number to nearly 5400, up from 4000 over the last 5 years. In line with new industrial policies, some SEZs have shifted their focus away from manufacturing, remodeling themselves to attract investments from new industries, such as hi-tech, financial services and tourism.

SEZs Struggle
Despite the proliferation of SEZs, many have failed to meet the expectations of policy-makers, because they have not attracted the anticipated level of investment. “There are many examples of SEZs that have played a key role in transforming economies, promoting greater participation in global value chains and catalyzing industrial upgrading. But for every success story there are multiple zones  policies, some SEZs have shifted their focus away from manufacturing, remodeling themselves to attract investments from new industries, such as hi-tech, financial services and tourism.

SEZs Struggle
Despite the proliferation of SEZs, many have failed to meet the expectations of policy-makers, because they have not attracted the anticipated level of investment. “There are many examples of SEZs that have played a key role in transforming economies, promoting greater participation in global value chains and catalyzing industrial upgrading. But for every success story there are multiple zones that did not attract the anticipated influx of investors, with some becoming costly failures,” said Dr. Kituyi. This failure can be attributed to a number of factors including the use of SEZs as piloting zones for the rest of the economy, the erosion of SEZ privileges relative to the rest of the country and the operational design of the zones themselves.

Given the underperformance of the majority of SEZs, the report outlines a framework to tackle the main challenges, so “that international organizations can advise countries and provide technical assistance to help evaluate the results, and build a new generation of special economic zones for sustainable development,” added Mr. Zhan.

WHERE DOES BANGLADESH STAND?
FDI in Bangladesh went up by 67.94% in 2018, report says. Bangladesh reached the highest ever level of FDI in the country’s history at $3.61 billion. While China became the leading investor in the country with $1.03 billion, the United States, traditionally the top investor, dropped to fourth with only $0.17 billion in FDI for 2018 in Bangladesh, as per the report. The Netherlands stood as the second largest investor with of $0.69 billion, and the United Kingdom was the third highest investor with $0.37 billion.

Bangladesh received its highest net FDI, yet thanks to the one-off payment of $1.47 billion by Japan Tobacco Inc. to purchase Akij Group’s tobacco business. The power sector attracted the highest amount of FDI of $1.01 billion, followed by food at $729.69 million, textile and weaving at $408.08 million, banking at $282.54 million, telecommunication at $219.87 million, leather and leather products at $110.55 million and trading at $101.91 million.

“FDI flows have declined all over the world, but in Asia they increased, particularly in Bangladesh,” said Ahsan H Mansur, executive director of the Policy Research Institute of Bangladesh. Yet Bangladesh’s inflows pale in comparison with neighboring India, up 6 percent to $42.29 billion from the previous year.

Still this inflow of funds is an indication that the country’s economy which was previously confined to exports and imports, is now expanding to investment, said Abul Kalam Azad, principal coordinator for the SDG affairs at the Prime Minister’s Office. Moreover, this is an indication of a growing foreign companies interest in local affairs. The latest mergers and acquisitions are testimonies of that rising interest.

Making Every Drop Count

ROserve-Innovative Solutions for Industrial Wastewater Treatment & Recycling

How much can waste water treatment help to combat fresh water shortage around the world?
We are looking at an acute water scarcity across the world today & the United Nations have developed a list of Sustainable Development Goals which help in managing our natural resources. In this context, the 3Rs of Sustainability i.e. Reduce, Reuse and Recycle have become extremely critical which all the world is looking at. In a place like Bangladesh, year on year there is a depletion of groundwater levels, because all the industries are withdrawing water from the ground, and every year ground water depletes by 2-3 meters. In case an industry goes for recycling, it means that whatever groundwater withdrawal they are making, major portion of it is recycled and used back in the process so the overall water consumption comes down to a large extent. That’s why we are saying if you are doing waste water management you are cutting down on your water consumption which is ultimately going to help the world meet its water needs. Since water table is depleting day by day, going forward we can mitigate water consumption if we follow the 3R process & also help in recharging the groundwater level by discharging industrial wastewater which conforms to the regulatory parameters.

Conservation is most effective if it is done at the right moment. Unfortunately, in South Asia we are running late. People have drawn water to a large extent and in some places in India there is water shortage going on which is leading to disputes among people for water. What we suggest is if we start recycling today, then maybe 7-8 years down the line we can expect the water table to reach back to current levels. There is no time to waste. We should start from today. It is a critical situation across South Asia, and all stakeholders should understand this and accordingly plan their business activities, and we are also ensuring that by providing the best possible solutions for Recycle & Reuse.

ROSERVE is a joint venture between Danish Climate Investment Fund (DCIF) and Concord Enviro Systems Pvt. Ltd is there a specific reason behind the merger? What role does Danish Climate Investment Fund (DCIF) play in this venture?
The Danish government has invested in ROSERVE Enviro, through the Danish Climate Investment Fund (DCIF) – which is a fund owned by the government of Denmark. The investment has come through International Fund for Developing Countries (IFU) which is basically a fund for developing countries. The Danish government as well the Danish people are very conscious and particular about environmental needs. They are leaders in the green-tech and clean-tech space, and they have seen that through this solution based tech that ROSERVE is providing, they find that they are able to meet the sustainability norms, as well as at the same time ensure that the carbon footprints of all industries across the globe are cut down. ROSERVE is basically Reverse Osmosis + Service, so we are saying that we’re providing reserve-osmosis tech for wastewater management on service model. Service model means we are going to set up the equipment of wastewater recycling or a wastewater treatment plant in the industrial houses. We are going to recycle the water for them as per their customization while at the same time ensuring they meet the pollution norms as well as that carbon footprints are lessened to a large extent. In totality, what we are saying is that we are going to provide the equipment, we are going to run it, operate and maintain it, and at the end of the day we are going to provide the client with the desired output he is looking for in terms of both quantity and quality. This is an innovation, and that’s why DCIF has invested in ROSERVE, and we are getting a lot of good engagement across India and Bangladesh also by showcasing this model. We are seeing that this kind of model is a boon for all industries especially Medium & Small-Scale Enterprises who have difficulty in generating enough capex for such kind of equipment.

DCIF along with Concord Enviro PVT LTD., a leader in the Wastewater management sector for the last 25 years are each holding 49% equity stake in this company. The Danish JV feels that the solution we have proposed in ROSERVE will be able to ensure that the 3Rs are met as well as at the same time ensuring that the carbon footprints are lessened to a large extent. Most importantly the norms – like pollution norms, environmental norms across whichever country we are operating in are all achieved at the same time.

Tell us more about the ‘Pay as You Treat’ model.
It is a very unique kind of model whereby we are saying that we are giving equipment to the client based on their requirement. We are going to set up the requisite equipment for them and based on their requirement, we are going to run it, manage its entire lifecycle, its depreciation, operation and maintenance, and at the end of the day what we are going to provide the client is X quantity of water at a Y price. If a client does recycle for 100 cubic meter of wastewater, we are going to charge him based on that, so that is how it is “Pay as you use”. Ultimately at the end of the day the kind of flexibility the scheme offers the client is unmatched and the client doesn’t need to worry about anything else. Clients can focus on their production and processes leaving the waste water management to specialists like us. Most importantly our equipment are also Energy Efficient ensuring minimal energy footprint for client’s.

In Bangladesh, the industrial sector is primarily made up of textile factories, what are the scopes of wastewater treatment here?
In Bangladesh the RMG industry is one of the leading industries, and across the world people are aware that Bangladesh is the leader in the RMG sector. Unfortunately, in the last 4-5 years it has been seen in terms of water usage in the RMG sector has increased to a large extent & we really need to reduce it. But I can say that 3 years back people started realizing the problems of water, and they are trying to cut down the usage of water while at the same time looking at recycling options. One thing which is very important here is that the government has come out with a plan for all textile industries which are operating in Bangladesh to have a Zero-Liquid Discharge (ZLD)system in place before they go for renewals because operating license must be renewed every year. For new industries it is mandatory to have a ZLD system plan in place, then only they can get a permit. Looking at the way progress is happening; people have become aware of the importance of cutting down on water consumption and recycling the water back. We can say, even though the textile industry is using a lot of water, however, with the sort of recycling activities that are happening we will be able to save a lot of water in the long run, and put it back in the groundwater table through controlled discharge and recharge the aquifer levels.

How about the costs? Is it financially feasible for our country?
Our pay per use model is very cost friendly for all the industries, as we are not putting any initial investment cost for the client. That is important for any kind of business because they don’t have to do any kind of investment. This kind of technology needs to be upgraded every 3-4 years, especially ZLD technologies. Here through our model we are saying we are going to take care of everything, be it a technology upgrade we will handle it with a very nominal additional cost. What I plan to say initially is you don’t have to worry about the cost portion, we will give you the best possible solution, and at the same time if there is an upgrade we will take you to the next level of tech. In terms of cost, no initial investment, only the running cost as well as the cost for the recovery of the capital investment is to be paid and this is going to be as per the norms of the industry. We cannot go beyond a certain norm and be out of the market in terms of cost economics. I can say it with confidence that cost will not be a factor for industries that want to go for Zero-Liquid Discharge. ZLD is very expensive, but at the same time we can say since they need not worry about the tech, they can go for it leaving aside the operational worries to experienced people like us to take care and manage it for them. The cost factor can always be discussed, and the best possible solution can be worked out accordingly. We can also devise recycling solutions utilizing minimum space incl. Containerized systems with nominal additional cost to ensure minimum area footprint because space is a constraint for RMG factories in Bangladesh.

How many countries does ROSERVE operate in? How successful have the previous portfolios been?
ROSERVE is a startup, operating since the last 3 years. We started operations in October 2016, and as of now we are operating in India, but if you look at our parents – DCIF which is part of the Government of Denmark and the other partner being Concord Enviro PVT LTD you can safely say that we’re leaders in the field of Wastewater recycling & treatment. Concord Enviro PVT LTD is a company which is in the field of wastewater management since the last 25 years and was founded in 1992, and it operates across the globe. We have got around 1200 installations in India operating under the brand name of Rochem, and more than 600 installations across other countries outside India. We have been very successful with our Plate & Tube RO membrane model of recycling, and that is how I think DCIF got confidence to form a joint venture with Concord Enviro PVT LTD. Our current scope of operations encompasses places in Africa, South East Asia, Middle East and some places in Europe.

Previous portfolios have been successful, in fact our biggest client now is an Indian MNC in the Textile space having their set up across the globe. Till now whatever equipment we have set up are running smoothly. Since again at the end of the day we are doing the operation and maintenance of those equipment, as of now no failures have been reported and we are very confident about our tech so we say we are doing the operational maintenances you don’t need to worry about anything.

In Bangladesh, the RMG industry is growing by leaps and bounds, but at the same time we need to look into water conservation as a very important aspect for them. I will definitely say industries need to look into this as one of their business goals. A lot of things are happening under sustainability through the UN promoted SDG’s. All I am saying is do business the right way by protecting the environment, not taking from the environment, and for that we are here to support you. In terms of tech, we will be providing you all the latest and updated tech and using such kind of technology will be beneficial for the industries in the long run.

 

By Maimun Ur Rashid Mustafa 

15 million people globally are living with disabilities as reported by the World Health Organization. 10% of the 161 million people in Bangladesh face some form of physical or mental disability while more than 1 million people with disabilities are estimated to live in the capital city Dhaka alone. No matter how aesthetic modern architectural structures may become, the lack of accessibility in building design requires urgent rectification.

Access Denied
Accessibility must comply with environments designed to be free of obstacles. Accessibility in terms of physical infrastructure is restricted when disabled people are not able to enter buildings, use public facilities, or venues are not friendly towards the use of wheelchairs or prosthetics. This infers that disabled people are denied access to their freedom of movement.

Digging Deeper
The deeper inference of inaccessible buildings is that a disabled person cannot travel to or enter a health complex and in this way they are also denied healthcare. The same argument applies to educational institutions. Additionally, barriers to access to a workplace deny access to a source of income. A study by the Local Government Engineering Department (LGED) found that disabled persons are less likely to be employed than nondisabled persons. Even if a building is designed to enable a disabled person to enter, their mobility may still be restricted. Out of reach light switches, high sinks and mirrors, unavailable lifts, non-functional ramps or narrow doorways may all still create obstructions. Moreover, specialized toilets may not be available for the disabled. In Dhaka, which is argued to have the best infrastructure, it is seen that many schools, universities, hospitals, and government offices lack the basic facilities to be compliant for accessibility. As such barriers to access to these basic needs of education, health and employment may hinder the empowerment of disabled individuals and result in losses to the economy.

Legal Foundations
The Dhaka City Building Construction Act of 2008 makes it mandatory for all buildings constructed post-2008 to be disability compliant. The Protection of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2013 was drafted with a view to remove all sorts of discrimination and ensure accessibility in buildings, roads, and other public places. The Shaheed Minar, National Memorial, and Sonargaon are mentionable public places which are accessible to people with disabilities. Among the educational institutions, only Dhaka University ensured accessibility but for less than 20% of over 100 buildings. Bata (Tongi), Bengal Foundation, North End Coffee Roasters, and The Daily Star building are the private sector sites that are fully compliant in this regard. Although the steps are commendable, research shows that in two major cities, Dhaka and Chittagong, 90%, public buildings are inadequately accessible.

Innovation for Inclusion
Md. Mohasin, the captain of the Bangladesh Wheelchair Cricket Team is working on developing a mobile application that will work for highlighting the needs of the disabled by ranking disability accessible buildings. The partnership project was done in conjunction with Identity Inclusion. The Wheelchair Cricket Welfare Association Bangladesh hopes to prepare a map-based list of the accessibility status of organizations. “As no updated central database exists we believe this would be a great benefit for those planning their travel to locations and mobility within locations,” Mohasin said.

The mandatory Universal Designs Guidelines of LGED should be effectively implemented. If done, the proper accessibility of over 16 million differently-abled beneficiaries can only have positive effects on the economy. Their numbers highlight a highly significant market demand is present for inclusive building practices. The economy is waiting for concerned institutions to respond.

Earning A Bright Spot

AKM Sarwar shares with IBT the recent achievements of Radisson Blu Chattogram Bay View and how global exposure helped him hone his skills

It all starts with Understanding the property
Earning a bright spot in the hospitality industry requires a lot of hard work. Especially if you are catering to a diverse group of consumers; hailing from domestic as well as international fronts. Even though every hotel or resort has a set of offerings established; often, as hoteliers, we have to walk an extra mile, offer more than one aspires. Sometimes it’s not only about fulfilling a demand; it’s about creating an experience; memories that they find worth cherishing. This is why knowing the property where we work is so very important for us. I have been serving in Radisson Chattogram Bay View in various capacities for the last five years. I strongly feel there is a physical attachment to this hotel. Over the period, I have made friends; learned and taught tricks on doing the business better. My previous stint at various international set up has definitely honed my people’s management skill. It’s not only about how you deal with your colleagues; senior or subordinates; rather it is anyone stepping foot into the property. That’s very important for anyone aspirirng to be in the hospitality industry.

International Exposure Matters
The hospitality industry is a total service-based industry. You must deliver what you are expected to and at times you have to set new benchmarks. After completion of my stint at Parjatan Corporation as a student, I opted for Kuwait to gather some global experience. Working in three hotel groups namely, Hotel Hyatt Regency, Swiss Bell Hotel group and Mirage Suits Hotel for a period of seven years has enriched me with vast experience and enabled me to learn from the best in the business. Every chain hotel has its own set of rules and regulations and they are very strict about implementing strategies; because that allows them to work toward a set goal to be achieved in a given time. As a hospitality professional, I had to be careful about the cultural differences that we have between Bangladesh and Kuwait. It’s no news that as a kingdom, one hotel I worked for was owned by the royal family. This kind of strict work environment has instilled lots of discipline in me. In addition, the hotels I have worked for have seen footfalls of international clientele every day. Knowing about their cultural ethos too was rewarding as a hotelier. For anyone who would want to make big in the sales and marketing field of a hotel chain, confidence is very important and my global exposure has enabled me to earn that in plenty. Of course, the business graduate of today are highly connected with the outside world via social media but when it comes to dealing with complex issues, and making the right decision on right time one requires expertise and that’s why staying put in the one industry and gathering experience is important.

Looking forward to brighter days
In the business of hospitality industry, we have to be forward-thinking. If you consider Radisson Blu, we have 241 rooms. Now we might not have that much demand for our rooms, but in the future, the survey that the management conducted for this hotel after taking input from other teams and chains, the scenario will surely take a positive turn and the demand will swell up for sure. Chattogram is one of the most important cities of the country for its geographical positioning and business importance will surely see a surge of international visitors flocking in. But we must ensure the roads are in better conditions and the drainage system is improved. I must admit the political stability that we have now in the country is essential for any business to thrive. Connectivity is another crucial issue. For example, for Chattogram to become more lucrative to travelers, we must ensure that the journey from the Shah Amanat International Airport to the main city has to be a smooth ride. A bumpy ride will give the visitor a negative impression of the city. Though once they arrive at our premises, we leave no stones unturned to cater to their needs. But the next day when they go out for a meeting to the port or any other companies, the commute within or around the city is often a tough one due to long tailbacks. This is one area where we believe there is a huge room for improvement.

Giving Back is important for branding
As of our own responsibility, we have always been socially active and tried to have a good rapport with the locales and stand beside them in time of their need. Starting from distributing raincoats to providing aid to victims during a fire outbreak we have done some wonderful CSR activities which have certainly added value to our already existing brand portfolio.
We are taking care of a local school, such as painting and other infrastructure needs, that we are monitoring regularly. We also sponsor some children from orphanages to aid their education and fostering a period in their life for a better environment from them. We are also involved in other activities, such as beach cleaning, road painting. So, we are continuously involved in various activities for the community. The philosophy was given to us, for business, we can’t just focus on what we got, but also on what we will give.
Winning the Annual Asia Pacific Awards in the category of “Best Responsible Hotel of the Year” added another feather in the crown of this property. I must thank our General Manager Robin Edwards and my seniors and esteemed colleagues for this achievement.

Respecting the Cultural Nuances
There are no hotels in the country which has Mezban facilities, which is the pride of Chattogram. We have this kind of facilities. We are very aligned with that aspect of their culture. We have these kinds of facilities, our restaurant has fitting promotions for the locals. A while ago, in our Asian fusion, 1000 Tk all-inclusive we were running Mezbani promotions. This kind of promotional activities has taken us closer to the local people. Chattogram has a different kind of psychology among mass consumers. They are very price-sensitive, oftentimes. This is where we are actually trying to tap into the local guests by giving them the local facilities, the local taste through price-effective promotion. Also, we pay special respect to various foreign communities living here in Chattogram for business purposes. We organized Sri Lankan Night for the vast number of Sri Lankan people living here. The same kind of events can be organized for the other nationals; this allows us to make a bridge between cultures and bringing people closer. Recently, we’ll have Norwegian week, only for European people/ guests who are coming. While organizing this kind of events, we always listen to our existing guests. We let them guide us at times. We are a business hotel and corporates or businessmen who frequent here would want to unwind in a calm ambiance at the end of a long workday. That’s why we advertise about this hotel that can offer one the best sleep in town.

Understand the service philosophy
If someone wants to be successful in the service industry, they must be dedicated, honest. They must also understand the service philosophy. They need to keep some time for themselves in their daily lives, just to learn, which requires patience. No matter how you start in this industry, you will reach where you want to be, based on your dedication. In this industry, it is very much possible to progress rapidly. With both passion and patience, one must take the time to learn and truly understand what the service industry needs are and how it works. Once that phase is passed, they can also recognize the change in themselves.

Curing the Pain

What made you specialize as an orthopedic surgeon? Can you give us brief accounts of your work in the other subfields?
Orthopedics excites me mainly because of reconstruction; the ability to build back from the structural damage to the bones and joints. The return of function, return of a sense of normality, of lifestyle, getting back into sports; giving the ability back to the patient and empowering them through their physical ability, is something that makes me very happy. I derive satisfaction from their own satisfaction.

I do a variety of orthopedic procedures, it expands to both the young and the old. The older patients, I do a lot of joint replacements, through robotics, computer navigated or a customized joint replacement. The procedures extends from the knee, hip, shoulder and even elbows. Vast majority of these patients are in their 60s, 70s and even 80s. However for patients who have rheumatoid or inflammatory conditions, if my rheumatologist colleagues tell me that the medicine isn’t working, then, I might even need to perform joint replacement surgery on patients who are in their 30s.
Other subgroup that I deal with a lot is sports surgery because of my close affiliation to cartilage and ligaments. Hence, I treat a lot of sportsman who are soccer players who have knee injuries especially, and muscle tears on their shoulders. Subset to this, I do a lot of redo surgeries. Patients who have suffered from complications from past surgeries that didn’t lead to a proper outcome. They consult me for second and even third opinions.

According to you, what are the prominent healthcare challenges of the 21st century?
Compared to 20-30 years back, the biggest issue now would be patient’s expectations; which, now are a lot more. They want normality and don’t accept anything second place to it. Back in my academic days, we used to hear the statement, ‘you are too old or too young for this surgery’. Now, we have so much more advancement in technology that patients are able to be made optimized medically, irrespective of their age. Thus, ensuring good results by having a solid pre-operative planning so that the post-operative result can be predicted and executed very well.

Give us an account of the emergence of robotics in surgery. What challenges are you experiencing in this venture?
I think the robotics technology is the upcoming next big thing in orthopedics. The objective – achieving a successful replacement whilst fine tuning that precision. So, year’s back we depended on road maps for navigating that led way to the GPS system; if you don’t update the system it becomes outdated because the newer roads might not be there. My point being, if you stick to the earlier method, you will reach your destination but it will be a tough journey, prone to errors on your part. So, when such a technology is there to execute with least amount of error, we should slant towards that way; that’s where robotics comes in. Experience gives you good outcome, with robotics, that experience is made multiple fold, thus the outcome becomes more strengthened and solid. Any slight leeway of error is reduced so dramatically that the outcome can be predicted and you can tell your patients that they will have a successful surgery. Hence, the primary challenge for us is to stay open and constantly re-educate and update ourselves with upcoming advancements; just like a software update.

In your opinion, what is the most orthopedics related problems faced in the South-East Asian region?
Increasingly, people are living longer and want to be just as active as they were in their 30s and 40s. I’ve got patients who are in the late sixties and play rugby, patients who are in their 60s and play cricket, they have grandkids who they want to play games with like tennis. And if you’re telling them your joints are too arthritic please sit down, they respond by saying that if so, they rather not be around anymore. Lifestyle and expectations have changed. Hence, we have to move with the flow with accordance to the patient’s expectations by educating them about the procedure process. After that, if they are prepared to take on the journey, we can then try to improve their overall outcome and give them a good end product at the end of it. Overall, as ageing population increases, the expectation of the outcome from a joint replacement procedure to be near equal as they were ten years back is expected and we should try our very best to achieve it. All in all, being able to achieve their own means of normal functionality. We are more accustomed to a means of movement that requires high flexing in the knee and hip joint, as compared to the European or Caucasian counterparts. So, executing that function by optimizing the anatomy with robotics along with optimizing the longevity of the procedure through improved bio-materials; will ensure a successful outcome for the patients.

Dr. Sathappan, could you briefly explain Osteoarthritis and its ailments? What lifestyle measures can we adopt to better manage the risk of developing it?
In terms of Osteoarthritis, you have your cartilage in the joint which is like a soft lubricating surface and it reduces joint forces. Basically, if you jump, run etc. every time there is a ground reaction force that goes through the joint to the knee to the ankle to the hip. If you have healthy cartilages, muscles and good lubricating fluid; you don’t experience any pain. But, overtime due to the loss of cartilage, the bone experiences excessive loads i.e. pain. The nerve endings are located in the bone and any excessive loads makes it painful. As a result, the patient walks less and the muscles start to weaken. Following that, the already weakening muscle leads to more joint force, as they are not offloading. Hence, a vicious cycle develops. We need to try and break that vicious cycle in the early stages by optimizing the pain management to jumpstart the physio better. In the intermediate phase, sometimes you can give them lubricating injections and reduce the frictional abrasion between the two bony surfaces. However, the advanced stages require careful observation and resulting complicated procedures. The presentation of problem may be similar but we need to fine tune the process with respect to patient’s state and ensuring the longest outcome for them.

Dr. Sathappan, if you had one piece of advice for your patients what would it be?
In order to maintain a healthy lifestyle, you need to understand the importance of maintaining a good muscle mass. Whether you’re young or old, you attain your peak body mass at the age of 30+. The muscle mass, as we get older, for women when they enter their menopause and men when they enter their 50s and 60s; leads to muscle atrophy. So, it’s important to maintain a certain degree of muscle endurance and muscle strengthening because that will keep you going for the long road. A healthy lifestyle incorporates exercises regularly throughout the week and not just being a weekend warrior. All in all, if you start high, you end low at a much lower rate but if you start low you end at an even lower rate.

 

Reaching Out to Heal

Dr. Hing, what drove you to specialize in the field of cardiology? How do you incorporate holistic healthcare in your practice?
I think Cardiology is a very good balance between a physician and a surgeon. Primarily because there is room for me to maintain a stable interaction and communication with my patients. Not that Surgeons avert from this, but, it’s more the case that their time and attention is allocated to the surgery and the patients resulting well-being. We, physicians, talk and deal with the patient holistically, something I’ve always liked. However, I also love to do procedures. There are a handful of internees who do so, and Cardiologists get to form many of them. Hence, it’s a perfect balance between patient care and communication along with the excitement from conducting procedures. I think we have to dig deeper than the patient’s symptoms and look into their social and psychological state; along with social support. As this ensures that he/she complied with the management. In other words, understanding the patient from not just physical, but emotional and even spiritual aspects too. A lot of our patients, especially the young men who suffer from heart attacks, tend to get depressed. Hence, having a holistic approach allows the patient to better cope with their individual needs.

What would you say is the most prominent healthcare risk when it comes to our heart?
The highest risk for getting heart related diseases are family history i.e. genetics; something which you cannot change. Hence, if you are aware of heart diseases in your family, it’s important that you get yourself screened. As there lies a high chance that you may have it and accordingly, get treated early.
However, there are things that you can change; smoking would be one of them. Most young patients who are in their 30’s, almost all of them are smokers. Diabetes is another big issue, especially in Bangladesh where the incidence of it is high. I think, somehow, South Asians are more prone to this. Generally, 6 out of 10 diabetics will suffer from heart disease, so quite a strong correlation.

What kind of cardio disease is most prevalent in South-Asia? What are the possible reasons?
The commonest would be coronary artery disease, which is blockage of the blood vessels that supply the heart with oxygen. This takes up a large segment. On the other hand, we are seeing more elderly patients, as people are now living longer than their ancestors. The two most common diseases are Irregular Heart Rhythm which leads to disabling strokes. Also, we see more and more patients with degenerative valves; the valves cannot function properly due to old age. The risks overall are genetics, smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and so on.

You have mentioned that prevention is better than cure. In respect to that, what lifestyle choices can the people of Bangladesh adopt to prevent cardiac diseases?
I always tell my patients that you can always decide what you want to put in your mouth. So, there’s no such excuse that I cannot control my diet because you have to consciously put in your mouth and chew it. In my opinion, the people of Bangladesh should eat much less carbohydrates, in other words, much less rice, bread, chapati and so on. More so, actively try to eliminate sugar from their diet as much as possible. There should be more emphasis on physical activities, especially exercising. Limiting smoking and preventing the development of new smokers is key. In my opinion, it’s difficult to work with a patient who already smokes as it’s not that easy to let go of this addiction. Hence, societies must work extra hard in stopping the younger generation from starting.

If you had one piece of advice for your patients, what would it be?
I am trying to decide which is more important – To live a healthy lifestyle or getting screened for heart diseases. However, in all seriousness, living a healthy lifestyle is more significant as it allows you to really make a difference. As I mentioned earlier, genetics is an eventuality which you cannot escape, but we can work to delay that eventuality by cultivating better lifestyle choices.

What is the most rewarding part of being a doctor?
To be able to see patients get well after surviving the trauma of a heart attack. To be able to aide in that patient’s betterment to see them move on with their lives properly, even after undergoing such a traumatic experience. It’s a quite fulfilling feeling.

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Social media has never been stronger from a marketing standpoint than it is now. Its maddening ubiquity, combined with its ability to transcend and break down unscaled walls of silence, has made it one of the most formidable weapons in the arsenal of any modern marketer. However, given that social media is virtually a living, shifting medium spread across a variety of platforms, which continue to be born, to evolve and to fade into obsolescence at a breakneck pace, a marketer relying on social media needs to understand the best ways to tame it and put it to use. Therefore, without further ado, we have put together a collection of eight apps which can be used to make the social media marketing experience a rewarding one for businesses, marketers and consumers alike.

FACEBOOK PAGES MANAGER
Facebook is undoubtedly the world’s most expansive social network right now, and the Facebook Page Manager app makes short work of many of the challenges faced by page owners when attempting to reach out to their target audiences. Putting all the essential settings in an easy-to-navigate interface, the Pages Manager allows page owners to monitor the growth and response analytics of their pages without needing to be tethered to a computer.

BUFFER
Buffer is one of the first multiplatform social media management apps, allowing users to post simultaneously across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn from one window. Its intuitive design is built with the aim to save time, and it even supports direct sharing of links to external web pages from within other apps. But what makes Buffer especially invaluable for marketers is the collection of statistical data regarding the performance of each post in terms of audience response. While platforms like Facebook do offer analytical data within its own interface, Buffer provides it for all the platforms it covers, which allow for precise readjustments of marketing strategies as required.

EVERNOTE
While this app is not directly connected to social media marketing, it is nevertheless an incredibly powerful program for planning, allowing its users to take notes and create elaborate multi level checklists. It is remarkably accessible, with its mobile apps being augmented by their desktop counterparts, along with a platform-agnostic web version that runs without issues on any browser. While Google’s Keep offers a similar feature set, Evernote is far more robust and customizable, and it even allows multiple users to collaborate on a single note. The app even allows users to extract text content from photos of hand-written notes!

TRELLO
Trello is a purebred project management solution that relies on the ‘kanban’ schedule management system, allowing each task of a project to be assigned to an individual card, which can be filed under different lists, with assignable levels of priority and completion. The app (and its browser version)’s minimalistic nature belies its feature set, which includes deadlines, descriptions and checklists to be attached to each task card, alongside file attachments and the like. Trello also offers an excellent multi user experience, with each task card being assignable to specific users, thus vastly simplifying division and allocation of roles. While competing services such as Asana and Todoist do exist, Trello has managed to hit a very delicate sweet spot that makes it as satisfying to use as it is useful.

Google Drive
Social media marketing often involves images and videos of high quality, along with the project files, which can often be huge in size, and may also require to be shared with certain personnel. For this purpose, Google Drive is ideal. Competitors like OneDrive and Dropbox are also excellent, but their free plans can be rather stingy, a problem which Google Drive doesn’t necessarily suffer from.

SLACK
Rather than clogging up personal messengers like WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger, it often makes sense to dedicate a separate messenger platform to work-related discussions in real time. There are numerous such platforms, but Slack is the most notable among them. However, as with Trello, Slack’s simple, clean interface can also be rather deceiving, given how surprisingly feature-packed and versatile it is, with support for file transfer. Slack allows conversations to be held across many channels, with each channel dedicated to a specific subject or aspect of the business, allowing specific users to discuss certain matters silently, while also remaining conveniently isolated from the sections which do not concern their involvement. The Slack app is also very much cross-platform, being available on desktop operating systems as well as mobile ones, and it can even run inside a browser.

Mention
A rather passive app compared to the other ones mentioned above, Mention is more of a ‘social listener’, which continuously remains on the watch for any mention made of the brand on the web, be it on websites, blogs or social media. It can be set to watch out for specific keywords or hashtags on the web, and report their presence right away. Mention is excellent for tracking the organic reach of any brand.

MailChimp
MailChimp is considered one of the best mailing list managers currently available, and its wide range of available templates and formatting options have made it invaluable for crafting newsletters or ‘mail blasts’. Aside from its desktop version, its mobile app is also quite capable, helping users to work on their mailing lists and mail campaigns while on the go. MailChimp comes in both free and paid flavours, with the paid version having a great deal more to offer. However, for smaller businesses, the free version should be perfectly sufficient.

Pinterest
The internet is a treasure trove of good and bad ideas, especially on the visual front. An image depicting a solidly executed visual concept can be a terrific inspiration to social media marketers, and Pinterest gives users the ability to pin it and tag it right away for future reference. Pinterest’s mobile app supports direct pinning of images from within browsers or other programs using their sharing features.