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PM Sheikh Hasina seeks larger UAE investment in Bangladesh

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday urged the United Arab Emirates (UAE) business community to invest largely in Bangladesh Special Economic Zones and high-tech parks particularly in readymade garments (RMG), leather, jute, food, ICT and ITES (IT Enabled Services).

“Our financial markets are now ready to support advanced private equity and fin-tech solutions. The Digital Bangladesh that we had aspired for almost twelve years ago – is now a reality. I, therefore, invite you to come and
partner with us,” she said.

The prime minister was addressing the Joint Business Council (JBC) organised by the business communities of Bangladesh and UAE at the Virtual Meeting Room in the place of her residence in Abu Dhabi, BSS reports.

Spelling out various measures taken by her government to create a conducive environment for foreign investments, she said, “I assure you all that Bangladesh is now a land of lucrative opportunities.”

The premier said Bangladesh is moving fast in urbanization, industrialization, and in increasing tele-density to connect individuals to governance, innovation and markets.

“Our aim is to connect our factors of production seamlessly into the global markets,” she said.

She also said that Bangladesh offers a huge domestic market of more than 168 million people, adding, “Our population is young, energetic, and ambitious.”

She said Bangladesh’s disposable income is rising faster than many comparable countries for her government’s deep and wide innovations in agriculture and extension, productivity and remittance.

The Business Forum was held at the DP World pavillion in the Dubai 2020 expo venue.

Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen, Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi, Prime Minister’s Private Industry and Investment Affairs Adviser Salman F Rahman, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Trade Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, FBCCI President Jasim Uddin,  Chairman of the UAE Federation of  Chambers of Commerce and Industry Abdulla Mohamned Al Mazrouei also spoke on the occasion.

Later, an MoU was signed between the FBCCI and the UAE Chambers to establish a Joint Business Council between the two countries.

FBCCI President Jasim Uddin,  Chairman of Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry Abdulla Mohammed Al Mazrouei signed the MoU on behalf of their respective sides.

Sheikh Hasina continued that Bangladesh has a great geo-strategic location, and direct connectivity to all major international trading and shipment routes.

“We are also at the junction of the populous and growing South Asian, Southeast Asian and East Asian regions. Interestingly, our huge domestic market and the markets adjacent to us are virtually untapped,” she said.

The premier said that all these advantages make Bangladesh an attractive destination for investors, and a future manufacturing, and economic hub of the region.

Noting that our principle policy and position are “Friendship to all, malice towards none,” she said, “This has insulated us from anything which might affect our free-market enterprise and a liberal economic order.”

The premier said today Bangladesh is one of the top-most RMG manufacturers in the world.

“We are good in leather, eco-friendly jute and jute derivatives, food and above all, in ICT and in ITES (IT Enabled Services),” she said.

Bangladesh also enjoys full-spectrum coverage by high-speed internet, she said, adding that Bangladesh has more than six hundred and fifty thousand full-stack freelance developers.

Sheikh Hasina said it is important to mention Bangladesh’s labor force which is hardworking, affordable and quick learners.

“Our Special Economic Zones and our High-Tech parks are ready for new ventures. We are ready with both policy and infrastructure support to assist that investors, choosing to make Bangladesh their home, to find only the best in the world,” she said.

The mega projects like the Padma Multipurpose Bridge, Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant, Karnaphuli Tunnel, Payra Seaport, Matarbari Power Plant and Deep-Sea Port, Dhaka Metro Rail, Elevated Expressway Project and so on, are transforming the infrastructure of Bangladesh, she also said.

The projects significantly connect Bangladesh’s geographic space into the economic space of the South and the Southeast Asian transport and connectivity corridors, she added.

“We are now intensifying our connectivity into multiple layers of food, finance and energy security,” she said.

She continued the political stability in Bangladesh means that investors can plan for long term as there is also no limitation on foreign ownership of business.

“Moreover, Bangladesh possesses a healthy foreign currency reserve. Also, investors are free to repatriate their profits. Indeed, Bangladesh’s sovereign rating is rising fast,” she said.

The premier said she is proud to declare that her government has mobilized the power of women, and they (women) are on equal footing with men in all spheres of life.

The women are equal partners with men in making decisions and executing them, she added.

“Gender mainstreaming has become a force multiplier in all our endeavors. We are firmly committed to the realization of the SDG 2030. We are eager to join hands with you to help our disadvantaged friends across the globe in realizing them,” she said.

Trained human resources, managerial and administrative service providers, and ICT developers give us the strength to join our hands with you wherever in the world, she said.

Bangladesh has been one of the very few economies in the world that grew even during the pandemic, she added.

The premier continued that Bangladesh’s sustained growth has been made possible by clear vision, prudent planning, sound governance, political stability, and tireless efforts of our hard-working people and spirited entrepreneurs.

“Today, Bangladesh has emerged as a ‘Development Miracle'” she said.

The Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) predicts that Bangladesh will become the 24th largest economy of the world by 2036, she added.

Sheikh Hasina pointed out that Bangladesh’s equitable and inclusive “development model” has laid a solid foundation to further develop.

“We are on way to turn our US$ 416 billion economy into one of the largest economies of the world soon. Our target is to become a developed country by 2041 ” she said.