Be part of next growth of Bangladesh

PM1Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today invited Malaysian investors and entrepreneurs to be part of next growth of Bangladesh.
“I extend a most warm invitation to you all to Bangladesh — for once, to visit and experience for yourself the real Bangladesh. Please be part of the next growth story called Bangladesh,” she said.
The Prime Minister was addressing a “Dialogue on Investment and Trade Opportunities in Bangladesh” at Grand Hyatt Hotel here.
Sheikh Hasina hoped that that the Malaysian businessmen would rethink of Bangladesh as a truly competitive investment destination in the Asia-Pacific.
“Many of you have made contribution to the transformation of modern Malaysia over decades. I would believe that a similar opportunity beckons in
Bangladesh,” she said.
“In spite of our limitations and a low-level of economic development,” she said, “Bangladesh offers advantages and incentives that should merit your due consideration.”
President of Malaysia South South Association (MASSA) Azman Hashim, and Bangladesh High Commissioner to Malaysia AKM Atiqur Rahman also spoke on the occasion.
Special Envoy of Malaysian government on Southeast Asia Affairs S Samy Vellu, chairman of Malaysian Standard and Accreditation Council Datuk, Mustafa Mansur, Executive Director of EMRAIL Sdn Bhd Dr Arvind Hari Narayanan, Managing Director of Axisjaya Group Benny Hoe and representatives of leading business entrepreneurs and investors of Malaysia and South Korea were present.
A business delegation of Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industries of Bangladesh led by its president Qazi Akram Uddin Ahmed joined the dialogue.
The MASSA, formed in 1991 led by former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, is working for establishing extensive business network linkage with South South governments.
Sheikh Hasina said she and her Malaysian counterpart Nazib Razak recognize areas for further growth and investment. “Yes, there are some challenges in terms of our power, energy and
communications infrastructure,” she admitted saying but the government is
fully committed to turning the challenges into opportunities.
The Prime Minister said Bangladesh already has a sizable amount of FDI in these areas and is ready to welcome quality investments from Malaysia to meet the country’s large requirements.
“We are mindful of our shortcomings in terms of creating an enabling environment for investment in Bangladesh. Thus, we are in the process of creating as many as 18 Special Economic Zones (SEZs),” she said.
In this connection, she mentioned that the government is fast easing critical logistics and processing facilities for foreign investors.
“We are looking at our legal frameworks in attracting further foreign investments. We are revisiting our entire investment facilitation regime to simplify processes,” she added.
Sheikh Hasina also said that relaxation of Foreign Exchange Control Act and easing of issuance of work permit to foreign nationals are just instances in that regard.
“I would believe that sectors like road, power, energy, tourism and hospitality, waste management, water supply are some of the infrastructure sectors which should merit your attention,” she said.
“Equally attractive is the entire chain of food and agriculture sector. And, Bangladesh is ready to consider any form of partnership, including Public Private Partnership (PPP),” she continued.
The Prime Minister said that with skillful, fast-trainable and young workforce, liberalized and competitive fiscal regime and incentives package, Bangladesh is ready to take advantage of opening up through the new connections.
In this connection, she said that assessments tell that Bangladesh is expected to emerge as an important manufacturing, distribution and logistics hub within and beyond South Asia.
“In course of deepening connectivity criss-crossing Bangladesh, changed production patterns, industrial concentrations and value chains are certain to project greater advantages for Bangladesh within the Asia-Pacific region,” she said.
Many of the connections will further open up Bangladesh vis-…-vis South Asia and to its East, Sheikh Hasina said, adding Bangladesh’s growing economic integration through SAARC, BIMSTEC and BCIM are cases to the point.
Informing the vision of the present government to graduate Bangladesh as a middle income country by 2021 and to a developed country by 2041, she said all its development enterprises aim at ensuring well-being, justice and a life of dignity for all.
“Ours is an inclusive, pluralistic and homogenous society. We view manufacturing as an engagement which optimizes return of the investors as well as welfare of the workers without affecting lives and livelihoods of others. We believe that social development and economic growth must go hand in hand and complements in the long run,” she added.
Describing Bangladesh’s economic success in the past years, the Prime Minister said that over the past six years the country posted significant economic growth and socioeconomic development.
“Today, with around US Dollar 130 billion GDP, Bangladesh is one of the fastest growing economies in South Asia,” she said.
She also mentioned that in 2013, IMF ranked Bangladesh as the 37th largest economy globally in terms of PPP; and, the 36th largest in terms of nominal GDP.
“Our economy continues to grow at over 6 percent for a decade,” she added.
Sheikh Hasina also said that Bangladesh’s savings-GDP and investment-GDP ratio are higher in South Asia. “Our overall human development profile has moved at greater speed than economic growth.”
“Many of our friends in the West estimate that, in spite of inadequate infrastructure, return on investments in Bangladesh is a few times higher than in their own economies,” she added.
Later, the Prime Minister answered different queries of Malaysian investors including the present situation of gas supply, tax regime, infrastructure development and other facilities provided by the government for foreign investors.
The Malaysian entrepreneurs showed their keen interest in investing in the sectors like housing, construction and other areas of infrastructure development.
The Prime Minister said Bangladesh is trying to increase gas supply in the pipelines through local exploration as well as import. Gas crisis would be over once construction of the proposed LNG terminal is completed and decision for importing gas from neighboring Myanmar is executed.
Ministers, senior officials of the government assisted the Prime Minister.
In reply to a question from chairman of BINTANG JV Consortium Dr Alias M Suib Kasman, the Prime Minister said her government is ready to welcome a proposal given by his company for construction of circular rail line around Dhaka. -BSS

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