Hasina says Bangladesh is determined to create investment-friendly environment

The Awami League government focuses on economic diplomacy and is determined to provide all kinds of policy support, including infrastructural assistance, in creating an investment-friendly environment in Bangladesh, said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

“We’re working to ensure bilateral and regional priority trade treaties, open trade treaties and coordinated economic partnership treaties,” Hasina said during the inauguration of the International Investment Summit 2021 via videoconferencing from the Ganabhaban on Sunday.

Mentioning the preferential trade agreement with Bhutan, Hasina said Bangladesh is now enjoying one-way duty-free exports to 38 countries. Also, it has ongoing contracts with 36 countries to avoid double taxation. Bangladesh is also working with various trade blocs.

As many as 2,332 participants from 15 countries, including the US, the UK, China, Japan, India, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Malaysia, have signed up for the conference.

Bangladesh has identified a series of sectors as the potential areas of investment: infrastructure, capital market, financial service, information technology, electronics, leather industry, automatic and light engineering, agricultural products, food processing, health service, medicine, jute, textile and the blue-economy.

“We believe that the investors will get to know in detail about the potential of these sectors through the summit. New markets will open up for Bangladeshi products and it will be able to draw the expected investment.”

Hasina thanked the organisers for holding the summit at a time when Bangladesh is celebrating the Mujib Barsha and the golden jubilee of its independence. She highlighted the steps taken by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman to ensure the rights of the oppressed and the development of a post-independence Bangladesh.

Investment, development of infrastructure and economic diplomacy to propel the growth were some of the points in the Awami League election manifesto when it won the election in 1996, she said.

“The expanded investment stood at $816 million in fiscal 2000-2001, while it was only $286 million during the BNP rule in fiscal 1995-96. We pushed up power generation to 4,300 MW in 2000-2001 from 1,600 MW in 1995-96.”

Hasina said her administration opened the private sector and constructed the Padma Bridge. “We established a communication network in Bangladesh and also an IT village and high-tech parks aiming to develop our export business. Unfortunately, Bangladesh had a chance to get connected to the submarine cable and fibre optics but BNP, the party in power at the time, refused it,” she said.

As the Awami League won the election for the third straight term to lead the country, Bangladesh has grown to global importance, due to its political stability, skilled human resources, lucrative incentives, open investment policies and also the geographical position in South and Southeast Asia. More than 60 percent of the direct investment in the country are reinvested due to the trust in Bangladesh.

Hasina highlighted her government’s efforts to ensure an investment-friendly environment: National Industrial Policy, Labour Law 2018, bond management automation and 39 high-tech parks.

Gradually 100 economic zones will be developed, she said adding Bangladesh has already received investment proposals worth $27.07 billion for its economic zones.

Currently, $30 billion investment proposals are awaiting for 79 public-private partnership projects, she said.

The government has introduced the ‘Bangladesh Investment Development Authority Act 2016' and has been providing 154 online investment services from 35 organisations through a one-stop service.