US can be ‘our most robust partner’ in graduation from LDC: PM
UNB . New York 23 Sep 2022 11:04:38 | Update: 23 Sep 2022 21:16:21
US President Joe Biden and his wife Jill Biden with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York on September 22, 2022 — PID Photo
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has invited the US investors to come to Bangladesh to tap into its liberal investment policy for mutual benefits.
“I would like to invite US investors to invest in renewable energy, shipbuilding, automobile, pharmaceuticals, heavy machineries, chemical fertilizers, ICT, marine resources, shipbuilding, medical equipment, and Covid-19 vaccine manufacturing in Bangladesh,” she said.
The premier made the call while delivering her speech at a high-level policy roundtable arranged by the US–Bangladesh Business Council at Lotte New York Palace Hotel on Thursday.
She listed the liberal investment environment as foreign investment protection, tax holiday, remittances of royalty; unrestricted exit policy; full repatriation of dividends, capital on exit and other facilities.
"Let us once again join our hands for a mutually inclusive partnership for a sustainable economic growth,” Sheikh Hasina told the businesspeople.
She said Bangladesh is establishing 100 special economic zones (SEZs) and several Hi-tech parks in different parts of the country. Having more than six hundred thousand (600,000) free-lancing IT professionals, Bangladesh is the right destination for IT investments, she added.
“Moreover, skilled human resources at a competitive wage is an added advantage in Bangladesh. Even if required, we would be happy to offer a dedicated ‘Special Economic Zone’ for the US investors. I believe, the US-Bangladesh Business Council can play a significant role in this direction,” she continued.
Noting that Bangladesh will graduate from the LDC status by 2026, the PM said so, the country needs adequate support to enhance its global competitiveness and export basket. “I am sure that the United States can be our most robust partner in this challenging endeavour,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina said that Bangladesh is pioneer in South Asia for regional connectivity. The strategic location of Bangladesh offers tremendous potentials to be the economic hub of the region.
“Having India, China, and Southeast Asia, Bangladesh is in the middle of a combined market of 4 billion people. Technology and innovation are the keys for fast-track economic growth. Thus, Bangladesh has become the 2nd largest RMG exporter, 3rd largest producer of vegetables; 4th largest producer of rice; and 5th largest producer of inland fisheries in the world,” she cited.
She said Bangladesh would consistently pursue economic diplomacy with its neighbours and global players, including the United States. “We’re continuously improving our physical, legal, and financial infrastructures and enhanced connectivity in the country,” she added.
The premier said completion of the Padma Multipurpose Bridge has enhanced both the domestic and regional connectivity, while Dhaka Metro-rail Project is expected to open in December 2022, which would add faster domestic mobility.
She said Bangladesh achieved an exemplary socio-economic stride in the last 13 years, particularly in the fields of women empowerment, poverty alleviation, nutrition, maternal & child health, primary education, and ICT. Continuity of government, investment in the rural economy, and women empowerment were the keys to success.
“Bangladesh is set to be graduated into a middle-income country by 2026 and on track to become a developed country by 2041,” she added.
She noted that Bangladesh is in the process of transforming “Digital Bangladesh” into a ‘Smart Bangladesh’, where ICT is playing a significant role.
She said the Bangladesh government recognises the necessity of ensuring labour rights in the country. ILO Roadmap provides a clear plan of action and timeline to address the concerns and suggests remedial measures in the labour sector.
“My government is adequately engaged with the United States and other development partners for continuous improvements in this sector,” she said.
The PM informed that 102 per cent of the targeted population (121 million) received at least two doses of Covid-19 vaccines in Bangladesh. “Thus, our economy has shown great resilience in the face of the pandemic,” she added.
She deeply appreciated the US government for donating more than 75 million Covid-19 vaccines to Bangladesh through COVAX.