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IMF Loan: Getting Bangladesh ready for LDC graduation

The prospective loan programme of the International Monetary Fund will prime Bangladesh for graduation from the least-developed country bracket and reach middle-income country status by 2031, said the lender's top official.

In the past decade, Bangladesh achieved impressive economic growth and social development, making steady progress in reducing poverty and across many indicators of the Sustainable Development Goals, Antoinette Monsio Sayeh, the deputy managing director of IMF, told The Daily Star in an interview on Monday.

Sayeh, who is in Bangladesh on a four-day tour as part of her Asia trip, cited two areas that pose substantial risks to the economy and need much attention: revenue mobilisation and the financial sector.

Around 9 percent of GDP, Bangladesh's tax-to-GDP ratio -- around 9 percent of GDP -- is one of the lowest in the world.

Umrah now Tk 4,000 cheaper for Bangladeshis

Bangladeshis will now be able to perform Umrah at a cheaper cost as the Saudi government has announced a 63 percent reduction in the price of comprehensive insurance for international pilgrims.

The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah of KSA has cut the cost from SR 235 to SR 87 with effect from January 10, reports Saudi Gazette.

Hajj Agencies Association of Bangladesh (HAAB), a platform of around 1,500 hajj agencies, welcomed the Saudi government's decision.

Govt appoints 2 new DGs for BGB, Ansar

The government has reshuffled four posts of Bangladesh Armed Forces, by appointing two new director generals (DGs) of Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) and Bangladesh Ansar and VDP.

A press release issued last night, signed by Abdullah Arif Mohammad, deputy secretary of the Public Administration ministry, confirmed the development.

Maj Gen Shakil Ahmed was transferred to Bangladesh Army under the Armed Forces from the post of BGB DG while Maj Gen AKM Nazmul Hasan from the post of Ansar and VDP DG to BGB DG.

Pilot kicks off for digital payment with QR code

Bangladesh Bank will commence a campaign tomorrow to popularise an interoperable QR code across the capital city in a move to bring millions of small businesses such as street vendors and lower-income groups under the digital transaction system.

The uniform digital payment method, Bangla QR, will help clients pay bills for goods and services through mobile banking applications, mobile financial service (MFS), and payment service providers (PSPs).

The central bank's initiative styled "Cashless Bangladesh" is cost-effective, secured, and card-less and will help promote digital transactions to a large extent in an economy that relies almost entirely on paper currencies and notes to function.

International travel surged in 2022: UN

International travel doubled in 2022 compared to levels in 2021, with the Middle East and Europe making a strong comeback, according to a new report released by the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

The UN agency for tourism said more than 900 million tourists made foreign trips in 2022, as several countries with strict coronavirus restrictions eased rules.

The figure represented 63% of pre-pandemic levels, according to the report. In 2019, nearly 1.5 billion people traveled internationally.

In 2021, around 455 million people traveled internationally, according to the report.


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