Islamic bank expands role with new Dhaka hub

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Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurates the new regional hub of IsDB in Dhaka, in the presence of Dr. Bandar M.H. Hajjar, the president of IsDB Group. (AN Photo)
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Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurates the new regional hub of IsDB in Dhaka, in the presence of Dr. Bandar M.H. Hajjar, the president of IsDB Group. (AN Photo)
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Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurates the new regional hub of IsDB in Dhaka, in the presence of Dr. Bandar M.H. Hajjar, the president of IsDB Group. (AN Photo)
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Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurates the new regional hub of IsDB in Dhaka, in the presence of Dr. Bandar M.H. Hajjar, the president of IsDB Group. (AN Photo)
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Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurates the new regional hub of IsDB in Dhaka, in the presence of Dr. Bandar M.H. Hajjar, the president of IsDB Group. (AN Photo)
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Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurates the new regional hub of IsDB in Dhaka, in the presence of Dr. Bandar M.H. Hajjar, the president of IsDB Group. (AN Photo)
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Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurates the new regional hub of IsDB in Dhaka, in the presence of Dr. Bandar M.H. Hajjar, the president of IsDB Group. (AN Photo)
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Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurates the new regional hub of IsDB in Dhaka, in the presence of Dr. Bandar M.H. Hajjar, the president of IsDB Group. (AN Photo)
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Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurates the new regional hub of IsDB in Dhaka, in the presence of Dr. Bandar M.H. Hajjar, the president of IsDB Group. (AN Photo)
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Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurates the new regional hub of IsDB in Dhaka, in the presence of Dr. Bandar M.H. Hajjar, the president of IsDB Group. (AN Photo)
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Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurates the new regional hub of IsDB in Dhaka, in the presence of Dr. Bandar M.H. Hajjar, the president of IsDB Group. (AN Photo)
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Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurates the new regional hub of IsDB in Dhaka, in the presence of Dr. Bandar M.H. Hajjar, the president of IsDB Group. (AN Photo)
Updated 09 September 2018

Islamic bank expands role with new Dhaka hub

A new Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) regional hub opened in Dhaka on Sunday will support the bank’s expanding range of projects in Bangladesh.
The regional office will also oversee IsDB’s operations in 19 countries, including India, Singapore, Thailand and Australia.
Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the office alongside Dr. Bandar M.H. Hajjar, president of the IsDB Group.
The hub will support projects in Bangladesh in agriculture, education, energy, industry and mining, transport, water, sanitation and urban services.
The IsDB operates in 57 countries, with Bangladesh the largest beneficiary — the group’s financing to the country has totaled more than $21.7 billion.
Speaking at the opening, Al-Hajjar said: “The IsDB has long had a close relationship with Bangladesh. Our Dhaka regional office will focus on partnering with local stakeholders to drive socioeconomic development in the country and provide a platform for Bangladeshi people to build a prosperous future.”
Describing Bangladesh as a “shining beacon” among member states, Al-Hajjar said that “women have played a vital role in the country’s socioeconomic development.
“Bangladesh ranked first among South Asian countries in the gender gap index in 2017 and has consistently done well over the years in this metric,” he said.
To implement the “President Five-Year Program” (P5P), IsDB has adopted new initiatives focusing on “delivery and adoption of a more dynamic, proactive and result-oriented approach.”
Al-Hajjar said: “Decentralization is one if the key elements of P5P with the aim of increasing bank’s footprints across member countries. These decentralized offices will work together with the host governments to develop and implement important and high impact projects that have the highest socioeconomic impact in the country.”
Speaking at the inaugural ceremony, Prime Minister Hasina urged the international community to put pressure on Myanmar to repatriate more than 1 million Rohingya refugees who fled the persecution in Rakhine state.
“Bangladesh and Myanmar have signed agreements for the safe and permanent repatriation of the displaced Myanmar nationals. I urge the international community to continue to pressure Myanmar to implement the agreements,” she said.
“We’re giving shelter and food to the Rohingyas on humanitarian ground. Now we want them to go back to their own land.”
Praising IsDB’s role as a development partner, Hasina said: “The establishment of the new office in Dhaka is a joint step forward in strengthening the partnership between Bangladesh and IsDB.”
Bangladesh’s Finance Minister, A.M.A Muhith, and Economic Relations Division Secretary Kazi Shofiqul Azam also spoke at the ceremony.


Philippines begins termination of US deal

Earlier, Duterte said he would give the US a month to restore Dela Rosa’s visa. (AP)
Updated 25 January 2020

Philippines begins termination of US deal

  • The move comes after Washington’s refusal to issue a visa to ally of President Duterte

MANILA: The Philippines has started the process of terminating the 1998 Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), which allows the deployment of US forces to the country to conduct military exercises, presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo announced on Friday.
The move comes one day after President Rodrigo Duterte threatened to do away with the agreement if the US did not reinstate the visa of his political ally and former police chief, Sen. Ronald dela Rosa.
Although in a speech on Thursday night the president said he would give the US one month to restore Dela Rosa’s visa before terminating the VFA, Panelo told reporters the process had already begun.
“The President feels that we cannot sit down and watch idly,” he said, adding he had relayed the matter to Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin.
Locsin, in a Twitter post on Friday, confirmed he had called Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana “to start the process of terminating the VFA.”
Lorenzana, in a statement on Friday evening, said that he would discuss with the president “the various scenarios concerning the possible termination of the VFA, and what future actions may be undertaken by the Department of National Defense (DND) and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) regarding this matter.”
The defense chief said he could understand why the president was angered by the cancellation of Dela Rosa’s visa, over alleged extrajudicial killings in connection with the government’s anti-drug war.
“It is a direct affront to (the president) being the architect of the drug war upon his assumption of office,” the defense chief said.
He noted that Duterte ordered Dela Rosa when he was installed as police chief in 2016 to launch the drug war, and promised to back him. “He is just being true to his promise,” Lorenzana stressed.
Dela Rosa himself said details surrounding the revocation of his US visa remain unclear to him. He added that it “might be related” to the anti-drug war.
The Philippines Department of Justice said it was studying the “proper procedure to terminate the VFA.”
Responses from Philippine lawmakers have been mixed.
“In the absence of a Philippines Supreme Court ruling on the president’s power to unilaterally break a treaty or bilateral agreement like the VFA, without the consent of a 2/3 supermajority vote of the members of the senate, the president can do that without the senate’s approval or consent,” Sen. Panfilo Lacson said.
Sen. Francis Pangilinan said the VFA termination would work in favor of China, and so did not come as a surprise.
According to Lorenzana: “The termination of the VFA may be unilaterally initiated by the Philippines, and it is well within the right of the government to do so if it determines that the agreement no longer redounds to our national interest.
“Such a termination does not need the approval of the Philippine Congress. All that is required is that a notice of termination be served to the US government. The termination shall take effect 180 days after the date of the notice,” the defense chief stressed.