A new committee of Global Economist Forum-Bangladesh yesterday took charge with a pledge to help the country expedite foreign trade and economic growth through policy advocacy.
Haider Ali Miah, managing director of Exim Bank, was elected president of the Bangladesh chapter of the forum, and Md Mamun-Ur-Rashid, deputy managing director of Standard Bank, became general secretary for two years.
“We want to promote our external trade with policy advocacy and help to create new entrepreneurs,” Ali said at a biannual general meeting at The Daily Star Centre.
The forum also plans to work on poverty reduction, women's empowerment, human rights and migrant workers.
“We aim to make the Global Economist Forum-Bangladesh as a leading research organisation like Centre for Policy Dialogue,” he said.
Bangladesh has immense potential for economic growth due to its young population base, said Shah Md Nurul Alam, the outgoing president of GEF-B.
The country's economy has registered steady growth and its foreign currency reserves have reached the $18 billion mark recently, he said.
A seven-member advisory committee was also formed at the meeting.
The banking sector, which contributes 30-40 percent to GDP, has been passing a tough time as the prolonged political unrest has already damaged businesses, said Ehsan Khasru, managing director of Prime Bank, also an advisory member of the forum.
Banks are now sitting with a lot of idle money as most entrepreneurs have shelved their plans due political volatility in the last six months, he said.
Global Economist Forum, since 1905, has been accredited by the United Nations as special consultative status organisation in 2012, Enayet Karim, the GEF president said.
Currently, 104 countries are members of the GEF, developing more than 2,200 economic researchers, he said.
Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry aims to work with the forum jointly to help the country to expedite global trade, investment and economy, said M Shahajahan Khan, president of DCCI.
Md Habibur Rahman, managing director of Al-Arafah Islami Bank, and Md Anwar Hossain, ex-deputy inspector general of Bangladesh police, also spoke.