Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today urged India-Bangladesh businessmen to work for mutual benefits and make the region more prosperous, saying the two neighbouring countries are enjoying the best ever relations as she addressed the India-Bangladesh Business Forum (IBBF).
“I would urge all of you to make best use of the platform and contribute to the economies of both the countries for the greater mutual benefits of our peoples. And thereby we could make our countries and the region as a whole more prosperous and free from hunger and poverty,” she told the function at Kamal Mahal Hall of Hotel ICT Maurya.
Calling Bangladesh and India’s current relationship as ever best, the prime minister said the two country’s political leaderships are committed to ensuring the right kind of enabling environment for you.
About IBBF, she said “The platform is there and we are ready to provide every assistance to facilitate your endeavours.”
The premier simultaneously urged the Indian businessmen to step up with investment in special economic zones and high-tech parks in Bangladesh.
In this regard, she said “A number of high-tech parks are also ready for technology and innovative enterprises. Bangladesh has offered three Special Economic Zones for Indian investors at Mongla, Bheramara and Mirsarai. Substantial investment from Indian investors in these three Indian Economic Zones in Bangladesh would help broaden our exportable base.”
She said Bangladesh is in the process of establishing 100 Special Economic Zones. About a dozen of them are ready with four allotments to three countries, she added.
Speaking about Bangladesh’s possibility of becoming economic hub of the region, she said “Strategic location of Bangladesh provides tremendous potential for being the economic hub of the region. With India on the west, China on the north and South-East Asia on the east, Bangladesh is in the middle of a combined market of 4 billion people.”
Referring to the global FDI (foreign direct investment) growth, the premier said “Persistent growth of global FDI in Bangladesh since our government took over in 2009 reflects the increasing confidence of the foreign investment in Bangladesh.”
Noting foreign investment is protected by relevant acts of Parliament and bilateral investment treaties, she said “We want to see trade and investment together when Indian big investors can set up industries in Bangladesh.”
She said Bangladesh also want to export the products to the north-eastern states of India and to the South-East Asian countries taking advantage of the improved connectivity between the two countries.
The premier further said “We know that most of the growing economies in the world have undertaken their primary trade and investment projects in their neighboring countries.”
She said in the similar manner, Indian business leaders could play a very big role in furthering the two country’s economic prospects.
In this context, she said “Thus, together we would build “Sonar Bangla” or Golden Bangladesh, as dreamt by the Father of our Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and that would also be the best tribute we can pay to our martyrs and freedom fighters”.
The premier once again reminded the Indian business leaders of having best liberal investment policy in Bangladesh.
She said “Bangladesh has the most liberal investment policy in South Asia that includes protection of foreign investment by law; generous tax holiday; concessionary duty on import of machinery; unrestricted exit policy; full repatriation of dividend and capital on exit, to name a few.”
Referring to Bangladesh’s potential with a large population, she said young people mostly under the age of 25 are ready to be engaged at very competitive wages, adding, “Rapid urbanization fed by increasing consumption of electricity and burgeoning growth of middle class indicates the market potential in Bangladesh for investors.”
About Bangladesh government’s “zero tolerance” policy to contain corruption and terrorism, she said Bangladesh is a progressive, secular democracy with a homogenous population of 162 million.
On the rising trend of trade and investment between the two countries, the premier said the volume of bilateral trade has steadily grown during the past years as the balance of trade, however, is still largely in India’s favor.
She went on saying “The volume of trade between the two countries is nearly 10 billion dollars. In 2018, Bangladesh was India’s eighth largest export destination with 8.8 billion dollars export and our export to India also crossed one-billion-dollar mark for the first time last year. So, the progress is visible, but there is lot of scope for further deepening our relations in the area of trade and investment.”
Indian Industry and Railway Minister Piyush Goyal, Bangladesh Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi, Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FBCCI) President Sheikh Fazle Fahim, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) President Vikram Shreekant Kirloskar, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) President Sandip Somany and Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) President Balkrishan Goenka also spoke on the occasion.
A video presentation titled “Promising Bangladesh” featuring extraordinary growth of Bangladesh in various sectors, particularly in the health, infrastructure development, ICT, leather, and RMG was made.
Speaking on the occasion Indian Industry and Railway Minister Piyush Goyal said Bangladesh and India are now enjoying the stronger ties.
The Indian minister called upon the businessmen of both the countries to take the ties to a newer height in the economy and businesses sector for betterment of the people of two nations.
He also stressed the need for making balance of trade between the countries.
While addressing the function, Bangladesh Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi urged the Indian investors to step up with investment in Bangladesh.