Seven business groups and one leading non-governmental organisation were crowned at the inaugural HSBC Business Excellence Awards for their role in promoting the country and contributing to the sustainable growth of the economy.
The Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation in Bangladesh, one of the world’s largest banking and financial service organisations, recognised the winners at a programme held at capital’s Radisson Blu Dhaka Water Garden Hotel.
The event was organised in association with the commerce ministry of Bangladesh and the UK’s Department for International Trade.
Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi handed over the crests to the winners.
He went on to credit Bangladesh’s remarkable development to the relentless hard work of the entrepreneurs.
“The government has set a number of major targets and entrepreneurs and businesses will be a major player in achieving the targets.”
According to an HSBC report – titled The World in 2030 -- Bangladesh will be the biggest mover in the global GDP rankings: from 42nd to 26th in 2030, the minister said.
“It is good to see that independent foreign firms are keeping their faith in the path Bangladesh is taking,” he added.
Speaking at the event, Robert Chatterton Dickson, British High commissioner to Bangladesh, said he was keen to lend support to the HSBC Business Excellence Awards as showcasing the best local companies would encourage foreign firms, including those from the UK, to invest in Bangladesh and help the country meet its economic and development goals.
“Bangladesh’s economy is advancing at an extremely high speed and the success of one sector is having multiplier effect on many other sectors.”
But to attract more foreign investors, Bangladesh needs to enhance its international reputation that the country is open and is a place to do business.
“There are some really good stories to tell and success breeds success,” he added.
Bangladesh needs investment, particularly private sector investment, to ensure smooth graduation to a developing country [in 2024], become a higher middle-income country, and become a developed country in 2041, said Fazle Kabir, governor of the central bank.
The investment to GDP ratio should be pushed up to more than 35 percent from 32 percent now, he said, adding that the country also needs to diversify its export sectors, he added.
A shift is already taking place in the global trade and entrepreneurs from Bangladesh can seize the opportunity by adapting themselves to the changes, said HSBC Bangladesh Chief Executive Officer Francois de Maricourt.
“Our aim is to support and enable businesses to connect with global opportunities -- something HSBC has been doing for more than 150 years around the world,” he added.
The awardees’ contributions in growing the country’s trade, developing its infrastructure and fulfilling its domestic demand make Bangladesh’s growth outlook even brighter, said Md Mahbub ur Rahman, deputy CEO and country head of wholesale banking of HSBC Bangladesh.
Bangladesh’s economy would grow by $400 billion to $700 billion over the next one decade, helping the country overtake economies such as the UAE, Malaysia, Norway and Singapore, Rahman said.
In her immediate reaction, Sanchia Chowdhury, director of Square Fashions, credited the workers and employees of the company for the continued success.
“I think we are heading in the right direction. We always try to ensure a safe working environment for our workers and we always treat them as a family member. This has huge impact on the success of the company.”
DBL Group is focusing on Sustainable Development Goals because all goals will be important for businesses, said its managing director MA Jabbar.
Bangladeshi people already know about electronics and many companies alongside Walton have invested in the sector, said SM Mahbubul Alam, director of Walton Group.
“We see good future and we aim to make Bangladesh an electronic goods manufacturing hub,” he added.
“From the macroeconomic indicators, we can say that Bangladesh will grow even bigger in the coming years. This is also inspiring us to expand our footprint in the country,” said Niroshan Silva, head of finance of Amigo Bangladesh.
Ghulam Mohammed Alomgir, chairman of Max Group, said: “With the award comes the responsibility. It tells you: you have been recognised. You can’t go back. You will have to move forward.”
There is no one single factor that can eliminate poverty and it has to be attacked from all fronts, including access to finance, healthcare and education, said Asif Saleh, executive director of BRAC.
“Market-based solutions are needed for sustainable solutions to poverty,” he added.