PM Hasina seeks larger foreign investment in Bangladesh

Prime minister Sheikh Hasina opens the two-day programme marking the 60th anniversary of the Foreign Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and Investment Expo-2023 at a city hotel in the capital on Sunday.BSS

Prime minister Sheikh Hasina today sought robust foreign investment in Bangladesh saying her government has been taking every possible measure to attract overseas investment.

"We're taking various measures as foreign investment in larger volume can come to Bangladesh," she said.

The premier said these while opening the two-day programme marking the 60th anniversary of the Foreign Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and Investment Expo-2023 at a city hotel in the capital.

She said her government is setting up 100 economic zones and have already built 39 high-tech parks across Bangladesh.

"We have kept open the economic zones and high-tech parks for foreign investments. If a country wants land (in the economic zones or high-tech parks) it can get it, or it can also invest in joint collaboration if it wish or can go for investment under the private public partnership (PPP)," she said.

She continued that they are creating scopes for attracting foreign investments in many ways.

The premier also said her government has established Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA), Bangladesh Economic Zone Authority (BEZA), Bangladesh Economic Processing Zone Authority (BEPZA), Bangladesh Hi-Tech Park Authority (HTPA) and Public Private Partnership Authority (PPPA).

"One stop service has been introduced in investment development agencies to facilitate investment," she said.

The prime minister said they have undertaken plans to make all offices with providing investment services fully online and digitized.

At the same time, she said they are continuously working to simplify the investment policy, including tax waivers, remittance royalties, exit policies, dividends and full repatriation of capital, foreign investment protection by law.

Sheikh Hasina said her government has recognized logistics sector, fourth industrial revolution related sectors and tourism sector as industries in the National Industrial Policy 2022 to attract local and foreign investments.

She continued that her government has formulated new schemes to attract investments in larger volume in the blue-economy sector.

The prime minister said Bangladesh is going to be the world's 9th largest consumer market by 2030.

She said: “We’ve been working with a target so that Bangladesh could surpass the established markets such as the UK and Germany, and the current high-growth countries Vietnam and Thailand during the period," she said.

Coming to power for the first time in 1996 after 21 years, she said the Awami League government had made open the private sector and taken various measures to attract foreign investments following the footsteps of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

"Bangladesh has marched well ahead towards economic prosperity due to taking the measures," she said.

After assuming power for the second time in 2009, she said they have been able to make huge change of Bangladesh in terms of development and prosperity in the last 15 years.

"We have been able to transform Bangladesh into one of the fastest growing economy in the world," she added.

She went on saying they could have been able to take the country's economy much ahead if the world economy did not face the Covid-19 pandemic, Russia-Ukraine war, sanctions and counter-sanctions.
The premier also unveiled a research book titled ‘Catalyzing Greater FDI for Vision 2041’, which was published by FICCI.

Sheikh Hasina was presented a memorial memento, the symbol of Bangladesh that is marching towards advancement, made by eminent Bangladeshi artist and sculptor Hamiduzzaman Khan.

Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi, Prime Minister's Private Industry and Investment Adviser Salman Fazlur Rahman, Senior Secretary of Commerce Ministry Tapan Kanti Ghosh, Executive Chairman (Senior Secretary) of the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) Lokman Hossain Miah, FICCI President Naser Azaz Bijoy and its Senior Vice President Deepal Abewickrema, spoke on the occasion.

A number of internationally successful investors, who invested in Bangladesh, also addressed the function.

A video documentary titled "Forever Futures Forward" was screened on the occasion.

Sheikh Hasina said her government has made Bangladesh the 35th largest economy in the world.

"Our GDP growth rate has risen to 7.25 percent while our per capita income has tripled in just a decade rising to $2,793 from only $543. The GDP size has increased from Tk 4 lakh crore in 2006 to Tk 50.31 lakh crore. The poverty reduction rate has almost tripled to 18.7 percent during this period," she said.

The prime minister attributed overall economic growth of Bangladesh on her government timely and prudent initiatives.

She also gave credit to the private sectors for the incredible growth of Bangladesh, saying," We have been taking all possible measures for flourishing private sector since assuming power in 1996."

Pointing out the regimes of the military dictators and Khaleda Zia, she said: "Bangladesh was in dark during a period as there was no democratic government in Bangladesh."

The prime minister said Bangladesh is currently the second largest garment exporter in the world.

"Today's sustainable economy and high growth have been achieved based on our prudent macroeconomic management, economic liberalization and trade integration," she said.

Bangladesh qualified to become a developing nation in 2021 when the country was observing the Birth Centenary of the Father of the Nation and the Golden Jubilee of Bangladesh independence.

"Bangladesh will start its journey as a developing nation from 2026. We are taking preparation for the journey from now on," she said.

The prime minister extended her warmest greetings to FICCI leaders as it has been playing a great role in attracting foreign investments in Bangladesh since its inception in 1973.

"This year the chamber celebrated 60 years. As a leading chamber, FICCI, representing investors from 35 countries of the world, contributes to more than 21 sectors of Bangladesh," she said.

She also said more than 200 member-institutions of the Chamber have contributed about 30 percent to the domestic revenue in its journey of six decades.

Even FICCI accounts for 90 percent of the country's inward foreign direct investment which plays great role in the overall development of Bangladesh.

"We want more investment in Bangladesh. FICCI will take required initiatives to this end," she said.

The prime minister called upon all to work in unison for overall economic prosperity confronting all the hurdles.

"We intensified our efforts. We have no chance of failure and no reason to fail because we are a winning nation. Let's all make Bangladesh the Golden Bangla as envisioned by the Father of the Nation through building Smart Bangladesh with smart citizens, smart economy, smart government and smart society by 2041.