Explore new markets, improve quality of products: Hasina
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday urged the businessmen to explore new markets and improve quality of products to boost export earnings.
"You (businessmen) should look for new countries, new markets and assess the demands in those markets. If we can do that we'll be able to boost our business."
"We also need to maintain the quality of our products, make those attractive and brand those. All these things are very important," she said.
The premier spoke after opening the month-long Dhaka International Trade Fair at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in Dhaka.
The commerce ministry and the Export Promotion Bureau jointly organised the fair.
Hasina assured the businessmen of providing her government's all-out support to expand the country's export basket.
She mentioned that Bangladesh is currently exporting 750 items to 199 countries across the globe. "But, I think, we've to march forward and expand and improve our export basket." Hasina said the businessmen should also look at the domestic market to expand their business.
"You've to work to increase the purchasing capacity of our local people...this is essential to increase the purchasing capacity if you want to market your products."
She said her government has given importance to the economic development of the country's rural areas.
"We've taken steps to develop the livelihood of the rural people so that they could purchase your products."
Describing Bangladesh as an agriculture dependent country, she said it is natural for a country to go for industrialisation if it wants to achieve economic growth.
"It's not possible to expedite the economic development without industrialisation. But, the agriculture sector must not be neglected because agriculture is very much important...our food security is ensured with the agriculture sector."
She said: "We have to boost our export and take a planned policy, keeping all these things in mind."
Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed and President of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin also spoke.
The government has taken steps to set up 100 special economic zones in the country, as part of efforts to promote export and industrialisation and encourage foreign investment, Hasina said.
She said some 17 missions, including 12 new embassies in 12 countries, have been opened during her government's current tenure with an aim to expand trade and commerce.
She said directives have been given to the ambassadors and high commissioners of Bangladesh serving in different countries to be more active in attracting foreign investors and businessmen.
Describing pharmaceutical industry as a high technology industry, the prime minister said Bangladesh is currently exporting pharmaceutical products to over 100 countries, including the USA, the UK, the European Union and Australia, after meeting the country's 98 percent demand.
She said the work has started to establish a park for production of pharmaceutical raw materials at Munshiganj.
Hasina also announced pharmaceuticals and their raw materials as the 'Products of the Year for 2018' to take the industry to a dignified position.
She also urged all officials concerned to focus more on the ICT and leather sectors, as the two have huge growth potential at home and abroad.