"Need budget allocation for ocean resource exploration, research"
Economic Reporter :
Speakers at a discussion on Tuesday said that there should be budget allocation of the coming FY-20 for achieving Sustainable Development Goal (SDG)-14 and integrated efforts for utilising potentials of the country's blue economy.
"We've a huge blue economy potential but no budget head is in place to utilise it," eminent environmentalist Dr Atiq Rahman told 'Pre-budget Discussion on Blue Economy'.
Greentech Foundation, a local NGO, organised the discussion at Blue Economy Cell of the Energy Division at Petro Centre in Dhaka's Kawran Bazar.
With Greentech Vice-President Dr Shafiqul Mazid in the chair, the function was addressed among others by Blue Economy Cell chief and Additional Secretary Dr Golam Shafiuddin, Planning Ministry Deputy Secretary Khorshed Alam, Western Marine Shipyard Ltd Managing Director Shakhawat Hossain, Md Jobair Alam, Chairman of Department of Oceanography of Dhaka University, Dr Dilruba Chawdhury, Assistant Professor of Business Administration of Uttara University and Shah Mamunur Rahman Tuhin, convener of Global Khulna.
Dr Atiq, also executive director of Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies, said that four ministries are directly involved in the blue economy. "But there's no visible project to harness the potentials. The government should allocate fund in the upcoming budget in this regard," he said.
Blue Economy Cell chief Shafiuddin said that the parliamentary standing committee on energy and mineral resources has recommended a permanent setup to the cell. That recommendation is being processed, he added.
Deputy Secretary Khorshed said the policymakers are always interested in promoting blue economy.
"But it's unfortunate that the planning ministry doesn't find any suitable project from any ministry to allocate fund for blue economy," he said. He suggested NGO officials to submit blue economy related projects through concerned ministries to get funding.
Md Jobair Alam said, "Only Tk 15to16 lakh is allocated yearly for our research works. We need minimum a vessel and sufficient budget to create real oceanographer among our students who will explore our ocean resources."
"If we will not get sufficient financial support for research, it is possible to reach the target of SDG within time frame", he added.