New Delhi, Oct 4 (UNB) – Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Friday urged big Indian investors to set up industries in Bangladesh and export the products, to be produced in those industries, to vast markets in India and South East Asian countries, taking advantage of the improved connectivity.
“We want to see trade and investment together where Indian big investors can set up industries in Bangladesh and export the products to the north-eastern states of India and to the South-East Asian countries, taking advantage of the improved connectivity between us,” she said.
The Prime Minister was addressing the inaugural session of India-Bangladesh Business Forum, held at the Hotel ITC Maurya here, the capital city of India.
Hasina 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.”
Noting that most of the growing economies in the world have undertaken their primary trade and investment projects in their neighbouring countries, she said in a similar manner, Indian business leaders could play a very big role in furthering Bangladesh’s economic prospects.
“Together we would build “Sonar Bangla” or Golden Bangladesh, as dreamt by the Father of our Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman,” Hasina said.
She said the persistent growth of global Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Bangladesh since her government took over in 2009 reflects the increasing confidence of the foreign investment in Bangladesh.
Hasina said Bangladesh has the most liberal investment policy in South Asia and it 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.
She said foreign investment is protected by relevant acts of Parliament and bilateral investment treaties.
“We’re in the process of establishing 100 Special Economic Zones,” Hasina said adding that a dozen of them are ready with four allotments to three countries.
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, said the Prime Minister.
“Substantial investment from Indian investors in these three Indian Economic Zones in Bangladesh would help broaden our exportable base,” she said.
Hasina said the trade and investment between our two countries are increasing.
She said the volume of bilateral trade has steadily grown during the past years and the balance of trade, however, is still largely in India’s favour.
The volume of trade between two countries is nearly 10 billion dollars, she said.
In 2018, the Prime Minister said, Bangladesh was India’s eighth largest export destination with 8.8 billion dollars export and Bangladesh’s export to India also crossed 1 billion-dollar mark for the first time last year.
“So, the progress is visible, but there’s a lot of scope for further deepening our relations in the area of trade and investment,” she added.
The relations of Bangladesh with India reached the best-ever stage, which Prime Minister Modi himself has termed a “Sonali Adhyay”. “We’re confident that in the coming years, we would further lift our relations to new heights.”
“Despite profound geopolitical changes and challenges, we’ve been able to strengthen and consolidate our relations, based on the principles of mutual benefit and a shared future,” said Hasina.
The cooperation between the two countries has expanded in all areas, including security, energy, connectivity, trade and investment, defence, culture and people to people contact, she said.
The Prime Minister said Bangladesh has achieved a remarkable economic progress in the last decade often recognised as “development model”.
Bangladesh is one of the fastest growing economies in the world and it is the second largest garment exporter, third largest inland fish producer, fourth largest freshwater fish producer, fourth largest rice producer and eighth largest remittance earning country, she said.
The GDP growth was 8.1 percent in the last fiscal year and it is expecting to be 8.2 percent in the current fiscal, said the Prime Minister.
The foreign currency reserve rose to US$ 33 billion and exports grew 3 times from 2005-06 to reach US$ 40.53 billion in 2018-2019, she mentioned.
The Prime Minister said Bangladesh and India are currently enjoying the best of relations and the political leaderships are committed to ensuring the right kind of enabling environment for the entrepreneurs.
“The platform is there and we’re ready to provide every assistance to facilitate your endeavours. I would urge all of you (investors) to make best use of the platform and contribute to the economies of both the countries for the greater mutual benefits of our peoples,” she said.
The Prime Minister also said, “Thereby we could make our countries and the region as a whole more prosperous, and free from hunger and poverty.”
Addressing the event, Indian Minister for Commerce & Industry and Railways Piyush Goyal said India and Bangladesh are not partners rather both countries cooperate with each other in making the countries prosperous.
Noting that the two neighbouring countries share common heritage, culture and language, he said both countries have stable governments and rapid growing economies.
He urged the businessmen of both the countries to grab opportunity that Bangladesh offers.
The Indian minister asked his country’s businessmen to find out areas from where they can import goods from Bangladesh for the sake of a balance in trade.
Bangladesh Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi, FBCCI President Sheikh Fazle Rahim, President of Confederation of India Industries (CII) and also vice chairman of Toyota Kirloskar Motor Private Limited Vikram S. Kirloskar, FICCI President and also Managing Director of HSIL Limited Sandip Somany also spoke on the occasion.
ASSOCHAM President and Chairman of Welspun Group BK Goenka moderated the event.
A video presentation on 'Raising Bangladesh' was screened by FBCCI at the function.
Two G2B MoUs were signed between Start-up Bangladesh (ICT Division) and Tech-Mahindra as well as Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority and Adani Ports and SEZ at the event.
Dhaka, Oct 3 (UNB) – Welcoming Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in New Delhi, India on Thursday described its relations with Bangladesh as a “relationship of utmost priority.”
“A relationship of utmost priority,” Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) tweeted sharing photos of Prime Minister Hasina’s arrival in New Delhi as part of her official visit.
The MEA also said Bangladesh and India share “multifaceted relations” which go far beyond the strategic partnership.
During her four-day official visit, Sheikh Hasina will hold a bilateral meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and meet President Ram Nath Kovind on Saturday.
Water-sharing of common rivers, Rohingya repatriation and trade and investment issues are likely to be discussed during the bilateral meeting between Prime Minister Hasina and her Indian counterpart Modi.
Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen said at least 10-12 instruments will be signed on bilateral issues though it is not yet finalised how many deals will exactly be signed.
In the presence of two Prime Ministers, agreements and MoUs on investment in economic zones, oceanographic research, enhancing water-way connectivity, increasing bilateral trade, standardisation of products, education, ICT, culture and sports sector will be signed, he said.
Issues like bringing down border killings to a zero level, combating regional terrorism, anti-dumping, enhancing cooperation in energy and water sharing will be discussed during the meeting.
Dr Momen said the two prime ministers will talk about water-sharing of seven common rivers, including Teesta at the bilateral meeting,
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina reached New Delhi on Thursday morning to join the World Economic Forum (WEF) Summit and hold meetings with top Indian leaders.
A VVIP flight of Biman Bangladesh Airlines carrying the Prime Minister and her entourage departed from Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport at 8:15am. The flight landed at Palam Air Force Station, New Delhi at 9:45am (local time).
A red carpet was rolled out for the Prime Minister at the airport. She was received by Deboshree Chudri, Indian state minister for Child and Women Development, Bangladesh High Commissioner to India Syed Muazzem Ali and India’s High Commissioner to Bangladesh Riva Ganguly Das.
New Delhi, Oct 3 (UNB) – Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday urged the global investors, particularly the Indian entrepreneurs, to invest in non-conventional potential areas.
“It’s time for global investors, particularly the Indian entrepreneurs, to invest in Bangladesh in areas like education, light-engineering, electronics, automotive industry, artificial Intelligence -- beyond the conventional menu,” she said.
The Prime Minister made the call while addressing as the chief guest at the Country Strategy Dialogue (CSD) on Bangladesh at the India Economic Summit 2019 of the World Economic Forum (WEF) at Hotel Taj Palace in the capital city of India.
Hasina said Bangladesh is moving fast to a high-value, knowledge-intensive society, beyond apparel manufacturing.
Last year, she said, Bangladesh exported 12 industrial robots to Korea while four ships made in Bangladesh have come to India.
Recently, Reliance purchased a large quantity of refrigerators made in Bangladesh and Bangladesh also has six lakhs of IT freelancers – the largest freelancing community, Hasina said.
“Today, Bangladesh offers the most liberal investment regime in South Asia – in terms of legal protection of foreign investment, generous fiscal incentives, concession on machinery import, unrestricted exit policy, full repatriation of dividend and capital on exit, for example,” Hasina said adding Bangladesh is establishing 100 Special Economic Zones, with one-stop service across the country.
She said 12 such Zones are already functioning while two are reserved for Indian investors.
A number of High-Tech parks are also ready for technology and innovative enterprises, the Prime Minister mentioned.
In between Eastern and North-East India, China on the west and South-East Asia, Bangladesh deserves the attention of global and Indian business as a seamless economic space, said Hasina.
“We can serve as the economic hub for the sub-region. Beyond our own 162 million people, Bangladesh can be the connecting landmass to a combined market of nearly 3 billion people,” she said.
Last year, the Prime Minister said, HSBC predicted that Bangladesh will be the 26th largest economy in the World by 2030.
She said two things are key -- open society (in Bangladesh), religious harmony, liberal values, secular culture and the other is that two-thirds of its homogenous population is young – mostly under 25.
They are fast skill-able, adaptive to technologies, ready to engage in competitive wages, Hasina said.
“Many see Bangladesh as ‘a market’ of over 30 million middle- and affluent-class population and a ‘development miracle’. To me, our strengths are the societal values and people’s trust in Bangladesh. Equally, people’s aspiration to progress and their resilience as well as their confidence in our leadership,” she said.
The Prime Minister said Bangladesh is urbanising fast and by 2030, about 48 percent of our population will live in towns and cities.
“Most of them will be young, energetic and digitally connected. They will be agile, receptive to new ideas and look for new ways of creating wealth,” she said.
In fact, Hasina said, this is already happening with over 110 million active internet subscribers in Bangladesh. By 2025, mobile internet penetration will reach 41 percent population.
“Rapid urbanisation fed by increasing consumption of electricity and over a 30-million middle class is indeed a huge market,” she said.
“We’ve challenges like many other countries but we know how to transform challenges into opportunities,” the Prime Minister said.
This year, the economy of Bangladesh posted a record high growth of 8.1 percent in the last fiscal year.
“We’re close to achieving double digit growth. Since 2009, Bangladesh economy has grown by 188 percent in size. Our per capita income is around US$ 2000,” she said.
Hasina said agriculture is no longer a subsistence one in Bangladesh. “Beyond self-sufficiency, we’re now the 4th largest in rice production, 2nd in jute, 4th in mango, 5th in vegetable production and 4th in inland fisheries, in the world. We’re decoding genome of key crops and fruits to move further.”
In transforming the country into a `Digital Bangladesh’ since 2009, Bangladesh have ensured 100 percent ICT access for people at the grassroots, she said adding that her government’s focus is to employ technology to solve common people’s developmental challenges.
“As a result, Bangladesh has the 5th largest internet user population in the Asia-Pacific. We’re moving fast towards a cashless society. Last year, e-commerce transactions reached 260 million dollars,” she said.
Hasina said Bangladesh is continuously learning in its journey to development with its confident people, able leadership and governance. Bangladesh offers you a stable and humanitarian state, where leadership is responsive and responsible.
That is coupled with sound macro-economic fundamentals, pragmatic and open economy shall continue to set global trends and examples of a peaceful and progressive nation, she said.
PM's Private Industry and Investment adviser Salman F Rahman depicted the investment-friendly climate prevailing in Bangladesh.
The WEF leaders, including its president Borge Brende, highly praised Sheikh Hasina for her leadership in the economic development of Bangladesh.
They said Bangladesh earned a remarkable GDP growth over the past years.
Dhaka, Oct 2 (UNB) - The High Commission of India here on Wednesday celebrated the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi as part of the yearlong celebrations of Gandhi @150.
Education Minister Dr Dipu Moni was the chief guest on the occasion.
The event saw a huge participation by schoolchildren from Delhi Public School Dhaka, SFX Greenherald International School, Dhaka and Bangladesh Scouts, Dhaka, who spoke on the different ideals of Mahatma Gandhi and how these ideals inspired them.
As part of the Indian government’s 150th birth anniversary celebrations of Mahatma Gandhi, artistes from over 124 countries paid homage to Mahatma Gandhi by rendering his favorite bhajan 'Vaishnav Jan To Tene Kahiye'.
Indian High Commissioner Riva Ganguly Das handed over the book "Vaishnav Jan Toh Tene Kahiye" to legendary Rabindra Sangeet exponent and distinguished ICCR alumni awardee Rezwana Choudhury Bannya in recognition for her rendition to Gandhiji's favourite bhajan.
The celebrations also saw a musical tribute to Mahatma Gandhi by Sharmila Banerjee and troupe.
Oct 2 (UNB) - South Korean Ambassador to Bangladesh Hu Kang-il has said his country is interested to boost collaboration with Bangladesh in ICT sector.
"South Korea is the first country to invest in Bangladesh's readymade garment sector. We are now interested in ICT sector," he said adding that South Korea will always help promote trade and investment between the two countries.
The Ambassador made the remarks while addressing a reception at a city hotel on Tuesday night marking the South Korea’s National Day
Minister for Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Zunaid Ahmed Palak attended the programme as chief guest.
South Korean envoy Kang-il said Bangladesh has achieved tremendous success in the field of economy in the last 10 years.
"I applaud Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's leadership for the development of the country. Under her leadership, we hope that Bangladesh will become a middle-income country within 2041," said the Ambassador. .
State Minister for ICT Zunaid Ahmed Palak said Bangladesh always values diplomatic relations with South Korea. He said the friendly relations between the two countries reached a new height with the South Korean Prime Minister's visit to Bangladesh in July.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is playing leading role to establish digital Bangladesh by the year 2021 and South Korea remains with Bangladesh in this journey, Palak said adding that "We believe that this relationship between the two countries would be strengthened further”.
Diplomats based in Dhaka, and business leaders, civil society members and journalists were present at the reception.