• Saturday, Sep 21, 2019
  • Last Update : 11:35 pm

PM to US investors: Invest in Bangladesh to share in prosperity

  • Published at 11:15 am September 25th, 2018
web-hasina-round-table-us-investor
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina addresses a luncheon organized by the US Chamber of Commerce at Hotel Grand Hyatt in New York on Monday, September 24, 2018 Focus Bangla

She also assured the US investors of her government’s full support and cooperation

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has invited US investors to come to Bangladesh with businesses, technology, and innovations for mutual benefit.

She also assured the US investors of her government’s full support and cooperation, reports BSS.

Sheikh Hasina made the stamen while speaking at a luncheon organized by the US Chamber of Commerce at Hotel Grand Hyatt in New York on Monday.

She said: “We also have challenges ahead of the Fourth Industrial Revolution looming on the horizon. I invite you to come to Bangladesh with your businesses, technology, and innovations for mutual benefit.

“Please join us in our journey of shared profit and prosperity . . . I assure you of my government’s full support and cooperation.”

The prime minister said Bangladesh follows South Asia’s most liberal investment policy,—offering the most attractive incentives, and the highest  profit rates.

“It includes: protection of FDI by law, incentives like generous tax holidays, concessionary duties on the imports of machinery, duty free imports of raw materials, remittances on royalties, 100% foreign equity, an unrestricted exit policy, and full repatriation of dividends and capital on exit,” she said.

The premier said Bangladesh’s strategic location has made it an emerging hub for regional connectivity, foreign investments and global outsourcing while “we have taken connectivity initiatives to connect our Indian, Chinese, and South East Asian neighbours”.

“We are ready to take up more in diversified areas of infrastructure, connectivity, and high-tech for sustainable double-digit growth. To the thrust sectors, I add the growing services sectors of: banking and finance, tourism, health, and education,” she said.

Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh could be a gateway to a market of four billion people—itself offering a strong and growing market of 160 million while it takes initiatives for secured economic growth and ten growth and employment-generating mega-projects.

“Delta Plan 2100, taken up in cooperation with the Dutch Government, is to secure water safety, food security, and economic growth by preventing floods and erosion,” she said.

Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh wants to open new avenues of the blue economy. She said: “We are establishing 100 Exclusive Economic Zones for new industries and investment in both the public and private sectors, two dozen high-tech parks are ready.”

In March 2018, she said the UN declared Bangladesh eligible to graduate from the LDC group to a developing country status.

“We have been implementing Vision 2021 since 2009 to materialize the dream of Father of the Nation Banglabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman,” she said.

She said using the graduation as stepping stone, Bangladesh is now working on Vision 2041—to become a developed nation.

“Bangladesh has come out of aid dependence as we have aligned our economy with the international trade and labour market,” she said.

The premier said during nine and a half years her government, the economy grew at an average rate of 6.6% and “reaching 7.86%, last fiscal year, the growth is expected to be 8.25% in the next fiscal year.”

Sheikh Hasina said inflation declined to 5.4% from 12.3% and foreign currency reserves grew more than nine times to over $33bn in 2018 from a mere $7.5bn in 2009 while the poverty rate on the other hand fell to 21.8% from 41.5% in 2006.”

The premier said technology and innovation are bringing a rapid economic transformation of Bangladesh.

“Having gained self-sufficiency, Bangladesh is now the third-largest producer of vegetables, fourth-largest producer of rice, and third-largest producer of inland fisheries in the world,” she said.

Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh is currently the second largest RMG exporter with exports totaling $30.61bn in the last fiscal year, and the country is poised to become the first soon.

“Bold entrepreneurship and drives for export-diversification with FDI are facilitating new sectors to emerge,” she said.

The pharmaceutical industry, she said, is one of those which currently meets 98% of local demand and exports to about 125 countries.

“Ship building is another one. We are exporting medium-size oceangoing vessels to even European countries. The knowledge-based ICT sector is thriving on 136 million mobile phone users, 73 million of them using mobile data,” she said.

The premier said a crucial factor for the high-growth energy sector, was the opening up of opportunities for FDI—with the country’s electricity production capacity reaching 20,000 mw this month from a mere 3200MW in 2009.

The premier said ongoing work on a 2400MW nuclear power plant, along with several coal-fired plants, is advancing the government’s plan to generate 40000MW electricity by 2030 and 60000MW by 2041.

“Around 10% of the electricity will come from renewable energy,” she said.

Sheikh Hasina said she is happy that the USA is now Bangladesh’s single-largest trading partner with bilateral trade of $7.5bn in 2016-17 and second-largest investment partner with investments of over $3bn.

Vice-President, Asia, International Government Relations, MetLife, Managing Director, Excelarate Energy, Steven Kobos; Brian Lope of International Government Affairs, Boeing; James O’Brien, Global Head of LNG, AOT Energy; Bea Perez of Coca-Cola;and Vice-President and Chief Development Officer, GE Power, Ambassador Teresita Schaffer of McLary Associates also spoke at the occasion.

They highly praised Bangladesh’s progress and development, particularly in socioeconomic field and women’s empowerment, under the dynamic leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

Additionally, senior officials of: the US-Bangladesh Global Chamber of Commerce, Coca-Cola Bangladesh, the Albright Stonebridge Group, Motorola Solutions, APR Energy, Drinkwell, IBM, Chenere, BowerGroupAsia, the US Department of State, Creative Associates International, ExxonMobil, Pragma Systems, Chrvron, YouTube-Google, GE Power, Walmart, Mclarty Associates, Medtronic, Coca-Cola India and Southwest Asia attended the meeting.

It was moderated by Senior Vice President, South Asia, US Chamber of Commerce, Nisha Biswal.

The premier later joined a question and answer session and replied to different questions raised by the US chamber leaders.