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Invest to help Bangladesh become a developed nation: PM

BSS . Dhaka
11 Mar 2023 13:04:12 | Update: 11 Mar 2023 16:38:00
Invest to help Bangladesh become a developed nation: PM
— Courtesy/BSS

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Saturday called upon global businessmen and investors to invest in Bangladesh to join hands in making a smooth journey of transforming Bangladesh into a developed, prosperous and “Smart Bangladesh” by 2041.

"You people [world business community] come. Bangladesh is always ready to welcome you here…invest in Bangladesh thinking it as your country," she said while inaugurating the three-day "Bangladesh Business Summit 2023."  

The Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) organised the summit at the Bangabandhu International Conference Center (BICC) in Dhaka to commemorate the golden jubilee of the country's apex business body FBCCI.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Commerce and the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) are partnering the summit with the FBCCI.

Welcoming the business people attending the summit, the prime minister said, "I called upon you all to join the journey of us towards making Bangladesh a high income generated, developed, prosperous and innovative Smart Bangladesh by 2041."

Sheikh Hasina asked the local business leaders to take preparation from today to cash in on the advantages and face the challenges to arise after becoming a developing nation in 2026.

"Do not be hopeless. You have to be prepared from now on to face any challenges and Insha Allah we will be able to do it," she said.

She, however, assured the country's business community of having beside them in their every need to face the post-graduation challenges.  

The prime minister reminded the business people from home and abroad that her government has been attaching topmost priority to improving the investment environment in Bangladesh to attract both local and foreign direct investments.

In this context, she said the BIDA is implementing the Bangladesh Investment Climate Improvement Programme mainly to put an end to the bureaucratic red tape. "Decisions will be implemented once they are taken."

The prime minister said 100 economic zones are being set up across the country and the government has offered lucrative advantages for foreign and local investments.

She said people across the world have been suffering due to the essentials' price hike and high inflation rate due to the global economic recession streaming from the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, Russia-Ukraine war, economic sanctions and counter-sanctions.  

"Bangladesh, like many other developing countries, is now facing serious trouble due to the global economic recession. Even the developed countries have been rattled because of it," she said.

Considering the suffering of the people, the prime minister asked the local business leaders to find out ways to bring to a normal level the commodity prices, saying, "Otherwise they would have to lose the local market."

Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh is marching ahead towards prosperity and development confronting all the odds, including the Covid-19 pandemic and the war.  

"We are advancing towards prosperity overcoming all the hurdles and we have to make the current efforts more vibrant to continue the journey of progress," she said.

Briefly describing her government's efforts to transform Bangladesh into a developing nation, she said a massive change has happened in the country in the last 14 years since the Awami League government assumed office in 2009.

"Bangladesh has become one of the quickest economically progressed countries across the globe. Once upon a time, Bangladesh was considered as a country of natural calamity and poverty. But, the situation has changed now. Bangladesh has now become the world's 35th largest economy and ‘role model’ for development," she added.  

Ministers from seven countries, including the United Kingdom, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), China, Bhutan, and the United Arab Emirates, CEOs of 12 multinational companies and more than 200 foreign investors and business leaders from 17 countries of the world are participating in the summit.

Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen, Minister of Commerce of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Majid bin Abdullah Al-kassabi, Minister of Industry, Commerce and Employment of Bhutan Karma Dorji, Deputy Director General of the World Trade Organization Ambassador Xiangchen Zhang, Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi and Prime Minister’s Private Industries and Investment Adviser Salman Fazlur Rahman spoke at the programme.

FBCCI President Md Jashim Uddin gave the address of welcome.  

A video presentation was screened on “what the new Bangladesh is going to be. “

The prime minister also unveiled a book on the FBCCI marking its 50 years of founding anniversary.  

The event is being organised as a part of the FBCCI's 50th founding anniversary celebrations with the aim of creating new opportunities for trade and investment by showcasing the country's economic potential before a global audience.

The summit will highlight the success stories that have set the foundation for Bangladesh's sustainable growth.

This summit will play an important role in tapping Bangladesh's full economic potential, expanding trade and attracting investments.

Business representatives from both home and abroad have paid considerable sums as registration fees to participate in the event.

Companies like Walmart and Zara have made their presence in Kolkata. Now, the time has come to step into Bangladesh.

Apart from creating high export potential, the local consumer market has also been expanded.

The countrywide 100 special economic zones are now more visible than in the past and there is a need to project such capacity as the government has been prioritising the facilitation of business to move the economy forward.

Some 750 people have already registered for the summit. Apart from this, a number of people will attend the summit without registration.

The summit will showcase dynamic business investment opportunities and improvements to the local business climate while also giving insights into the investment priorities of global investors to improve policy-making.

The summit will also facilitate the exchange of success stories and good practices among investors.

There will be three plenary sessions on strategic issues, 13 parallel sessions, business-to-business meets, networking sessions, an open house reception and guided tours for international delegates.

The summit will feature the "CNN Experience," which will consist of a series of thought-leadership sessions focusing on the country's business climate, investment opportunities, and future sustainable impetus.