Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday urged Saudi investors and entrepreneurs to be partners of Bangladesh in investment, trade, profit sharing and prosperity to help the country achieve the goals of its Vision 2021 and Vision 2041.
"As we strive to achieve these goals, I request you to be our partners in investment, trade, profit sharing and prosperity. Together we can bring a change in the lives of millions of people," she said.
Hasina said this at a meeting with leaders of Jeddah Chamber of Commerce & Industry. After the meeting, the prime minister's Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim briefed reporters.
He said Hasina also welcomed the Saudi entrepreneurs to invest in Bangladesh's emerging sectors like shipbuilding, textiles, leather, jute, ceramics, petrochemicals, agro-processing and pharmaceuticals.
She also sought investments in sectors like plastic goods, light engineering and electronics, telecom and IT, power, energy, water and marine and other infrastructure projects as well as in hi-tech manufacturing and microprocessors.
Karim said a memorandum of understanding (MoU) was also signed between Bawani Group of Saudi Arabia and Bangladesh Sena Kalyan Sangstha for supplying skilled manpower, including engineers and architects, in the construction sector of Saudi Arabia.
Referring to her government's initiative of establishing 100 special economic zones in the country, Hasina said the move has been taken as part of the new plan to industrialise Bangladesh. "We're also developing a number of hi-tech parks in the country for IT industries. Bangladesh offers competitive incentive packages for the investors in these zones and parks," she added.
Pointing out that Bangladesh has the most liberal investment policy, the prime minister said the country has been providing protection of foreign investment by law, general tax holiday, concessionary duty on import of machinery, remittances of royalty, and 100 percent foreign equity.
She said, along with the garment sector, other industries like pharmaceuticals, ICT and shipbuilding are making significant progress.
Hasina said Gartner has billed Bangladesh as one of the top global destinations for software and IT services. Thousands of 'Made in Bangladesh' applications are running on iPhones, Samsung Galaxy, and other Android and Blackberry phones, she said.
She said the country's IT companies and freelance IT professionals earn more than $360 million a year, while about 20,000 young IT graduates are joining the sector.
The prime minister said Bangladesh's shipbuilders have drawn global attention by making world-class light to medium-size oceangoing vessels. "The industry now commands 1 percent share of the $200 billion global market," she said.
The prime minister said Bangladesh is now on way to becoming a digitised, knowledge-based middle income country by 2021 and a developed one by 2041, BSS reports.
Mazen M Batterjee, vice chairman of Jeddah Chamber of Commerce & Industry, said trade and commerce between the two countries should be enhanced further.
Mentioning that Saudi Arabia could be the second home of Bangladeshi businesses, Mazen said the chamber would send a business team to Bangladesh to explore business opportunities.
Referring to the Vision 2030 of the kingdom, he said emphasis has been given on enhancing international investment.
Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali, FBCCI President Abdul Matlub Ahmad, and BGMEA President Siddiqur Rahman were also present.