Mahbubur Rahman | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 05, 2016 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, February 05, 2016

Business Institutional Development

Mahbubur Rahman

Mahbubur Rahman is a renowned business personality and current President of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), Bangladesh. Born on July 10, 1942, Rahman is a pioneer in ensuring that both businesses and consumers are treated in a fair and just manner. 

Today Bangladesh is on the path of economic growth with more and more national and international businesses showing interest in investing in our market. However, there was a time when the country's economy was struggling, so much so that it was declared a 'basket case' by the World Bank. The business leaders of that time, however, persevered to establish Bangladesh on a global map. Of these leaders, Mahbubur Rahman is notable for his insistence on credible, ethical business practices that cannot be compromised for profits. 

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As a young university graduate of Political Science, Mahbubur Rahman joined the National Bank of Pakistan in 1962. However, this was a short-lived employment as he left this job to set up Eastern Trading Company, an importer of consumer goods in 1962, which has been known as Eastern Trading Bangladesh Ltd, or ETBL Holdings, since Bangladesh's independence. The 53-year-old company now has nine associated units operating in banking, insurance, housing, international trade and cold storage. 

Under his leadership, ICC Bangladesh played a proactive role in safeguarding the interests of domestic producers and businesses. Rahman has, however, always remained firm in his commitment to ensure that consumers have to bear no costs to achieve this goal. 

With Mahbubur Rahman at the helm, ICC Bangladesh has played a privotal role in the development and growth of external trade and investment of Bangladesh, as they worked closely with the government and major trade bodies of the country in reforming regulation to modernise Bangladesh's business sector. In fact, the ICC also assisted the government to develop the Information Act, as well as modernise the Arbitration and Alternative Dispute Resolution Act – a milestone achievement, as the updated Act helps to curtail disputes among businesses through the Bangladesh International Arbitration Centre, which is also led by Rahman. Moreover, under his charge, ICC Bangladesh published a business directory for the first time in Bangladesh, which was distributed amongst important organisations of 130 countries.  

Keeping his and the organisation's goal of placing Bangladesh on the world business map, the organisation continues to arrange international conferences, seminars, workshops, dialogue for professionals of banks, non-banking financial institutions, insurance companies, multinational and national companies, trade bodies, and business houses to further enhance their expertise. 

He was the president of Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry for 1992-94. Before that, he led the Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry as its president for two terms. He is also a member of the Business Advisory Council (BAC), the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for  Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP). Moreover, he represented the Government of Sri Lanka in Bangladesh from 1972-79, prior to the establishment of their Resident Diplomatic Mission in Dhaka.

Mahbubur Rahman is widely recognised as a voice of reason and moral conscience in the business world, as he spent most of his professional life in making trade bodies just and effective. Now in his 70s, the respected entrepreneur continues to promote fair entrepreneurship, paving the way for a ethical, transparent business community in Bangladesh. 

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