Prime minister Sheikh Hasina today said Bangladesh is going to be a regional hub for investment, industrialization and export due to the government's pragmatic policies, calling for more Japanese investment in larger volumes.
"With our pragmatic policies and Vision, Bangladesh is guaranteed to emerge as a regional hub for investment, industrialization and exports to diverse destinations in the region and beyond," she said while opening Bangladesh Investment Summit at the Galaxy Ball Room, The Westin, Tokyo.
Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission (BSEC) and Bangladesh Investment Development Authority(BIDA)jointly organized the summit titled "Trade and Investment Opportunities between Bangladesh and Japan.
Eleven Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) between private companies from Bangladesh and Japan that include JCCI and FBCCI were exchanged in presence of Bangladesh prime minister.
Chairman (senior secretary) of BSEC professor Shibli Rubayat-Ul-Islam made a presentation.
Mentioning that returns on investment in Bangladesh have been consistently high, she said that in addition, Bangladesh's business friendly fiscal and non-fiscal policies and incentives, stable democracy, prudent governance and leadership guarantees foreign investment will return good value.
"We can confidently assure you that Bangladesh ensures a solid future for global investors. We thus welcome all investors from world over, and Japanese investors in particular to see the opportunities for investment in Bangladesh," she said.
"However, real investment is still low. We seek more investment from Japan.--- I invite you all to come to Bangladesh and explore the potentials of business and investment opportunities," she said.
The prime minister said that Bangladeshis a country of 170 million people which is itself a growing market while its location in the heart of a bigger market of nearly three billion consumers, provides a huge attraction for business expansion.
She said that the HSBC Global Research Projection report indicates that Bangladesh is expected to become the 9th largest consumer market globally by 2030 overtaking the UK and Germany.
The Prime minister reminded the local and Japanese investors that as they are aware that Covid-19 pandemic have caused havoc worldwide, and severely impacted trade and investment.
"However, we could tackle the crisis through effective measures and interventions. Our economy has shown strong resilience, maintained growth and is still sustaining the pressure from the volatile world financial situation and supply side constraints. Bangladesh has maintained her economic growth and achieved 7.1 per cent GDP growth rate in Fiscal year 2021-2022. Despite the Ukraine War, we are projecting 6.5 per cent growth rate during the current fiscal year," she said.
Referring to Bangladesh's ever-expanding economy, Sheikh Hasina said that opportunities have increased considerably in different sectors such as ICT, electronics, infrastructure, leather, textile, hospitality and tourism, heavy industry, chemical and fertilizer, and in SMEs.
"Our government is doing everything it can to facilitate smooth, easy and efficient ways of doing business," she said.
The Prime Minister said they are building 100 Economic Zones, Hi-tech and Software Parks to offer them for foreign investment.
"I want to assure Japanese investors that Bangladesh is ready for you, and that you will have great experience once there. All required agencies and framework to facilitate your business have been set up for convenience," she said.
Sheikh Hasina said they have a high-level joint platform like Public Private Joint Economic Dialogue (PPED) specially for facilitating Japanese investors in Bangladesh.
Bangladesh welcomes the outcome of the 5th PPED meeting held recently on 11 April 2023, she said.
"Since, Bangladesh is going to graduate from LDC status by 2026, we are working with Japan to make possible an Economic Partnership Agreement to expand bilateral trade and investment," she said.
The Prime minister expressed happiness over seeing collaboration between Bangladeshi and Japanese companies.
"I wish successful partnership to those companies that have made a commitment today for investment in Bangladesh. We expect more investments from Japanese investors especially in the Japanese Economic Zone in Araihazar," she continued.
Noting that the number of Non-resident Bangladeshis (NRBs) and people of Bangladeshi origin living in Japan are gradually increasing, she said they provide significant support to Bangladesh's economic activities through their remittances.
"I also urge them to develop more entrepreneurship, engage in business initiatives and joint ventures with their Japanese friends," she said.
The Prime minister said Bangladesh is moving forward to a prosperous future.
"We want you all to be partners in our development and achievements. Do invest in Bangladesh. We are confident that your investment will bring you huge success", she said.
"We seek more investment from Japan," Sheikh Hasina said.
Sheikh Hasina said during her successive terms in the government they have been uplifting the socio-economic condition of my people as per the Awami League government's Vision 2021 and Vision 2041.
"Bangladesh, as a country, is now cited as a "Role model for development" and sets examples in many fields ranging from poverty reduction, empowerment of women, digitalization, food production, and in addressing climate change challenges," she said.
The prime minister continued that Bangladesh's resilient people are now looking ahead with hope and optimism to emerge from the LDC category to a developing country by 2026.
"We are determined in our journey towards a modern, developed and knowledge-based "Smart Bangladesh" by 2041," she said.
Last year, Bangladesh celebrated the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations with Japan.
She said Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was an ardent admirer of Japan and its amazing development model rising from the ashes of devastation of World War II.
"We have a similar story. Our Father of the Nation started to build the war ravaged country in 1971. Unfortunately, he could not realize his dreams as he along with almost all members of his family were brutally assassinated in August 1975. Me and my sister, Sheikh Rehana, were abroad and thus survived the massacre," she said.
Since coming to power in 1996, the Prime Minister said "I have been relentless in realizing the dream of my Father and our Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, to build a modern and developed country."
At the outset, she said she recalls with deep reverence the Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, who led and gave us in 1971 a homeland of our own, Bangladesh.
"Soon on 10 February 1972, Japan gave recognition to our new country. Thereafter, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman visited Japan in October 1973 and laid the foundation of the two countries' lasting friendship," she said.
Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen, PM's Private Industry and Investment Affairs Adviser Salman Fazlur Rahman, State Minister for Foreign Minister Md Shahriar Alam, State Minister Information Communication and Technology Zunaid Ahmed Palak and BIDA Executive Chairman (Senior Secretary) Lokman Hossain Miah, among others, were present.
Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan, Nishimura Yasutoshi, Chairman of Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), Ishiguro Norihiko, Chairman, Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI) Ken Kobayashi alongside CEOs and top business leaders from Japan and Bangladesh were present.