Friday, December 14, 2018

Take part in Bangladesh’s economic development: PM Hasina to Singapore investors

  • Sumon Mahbub from Singapore,
    Published: 2018-03-13 17:04:20 BdST


Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has urged Singapore entrepreneurs to invest in Bangladesh, saying it is shifting towards a modern, resilient and diversified economy from an agro-based economy.

“I invite you, the business communities in Singapore, for a partnership role in our journey towards economic development. I encourage you to visit Bangladesh and explore what we have to offer for your businesses and investment,” Hasina on Tuesday at the inaugural ceremony of Bangladesh-Singapore Business Forum.

International Enterprise Singapore, Singapore Business Federation, and Bangladesh Chamber of Singapore arranged the day-long event at a hotel.

In her address, she said Chittagong’s Mirsarai economic zone was perfect for investing. The investors may be offered 500 acres of land or more depending on requirements, she added.

Bangladesh Investment Development Authority, FBCCI, and Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry signed four MoUs with Singapore International Enterprise and Singapore Manufacturing Federation at the programme.

Highlighting Bangladesh’s liberal FDI policy, Hasina said: “It includes protection of foreign investment by law, generous tax holiday, and concessionary duty on import of machinery.”

She pointed out that Bangladesh has a huge young, energetic and easily trainable workforce with competitive wages.

“Bangladesh offers opportunities for duty and quota-free access to the markets of EU, Australia, Canada, India, Japan and New Zealand,” she further said.

Highlighting the globally known success of Bangladesh’s RMG sector, the premier said: “The volume of our apparel export is second to only China reaching almost $30bn in 2017. We want to increase it to $50 billion by 2021.”

Bangladesh is emerging fast as a major global hub for high quality, low-cost generic medicines, she said.

“Our pharmaceuticals are now being exported to 120 countries, including the USA and the EU, after meeting 97 percent of the local demand.”

Hasina said: “Our knowledge industry, ICT and related industries are also expanding rapidly. Ship-building is yet another promising industry in Bangladesh.

“Our builders have drawn global attention by making world-class light to medium-sized ocean-going vessels.”

As part of planned rapid industrialisation, the government is setting up 100 Special Economic Zones or SEZs in different parts of the country, said Hasina. “We are also developing several Hi-tech Parks in Bangladesh for IT industries with foreign investment.”

Bangladesh’s targets an export of $5 billion worth of IT goods and services by 2021, she added.

Bangladesh was shifting towards a modern, resilient and diversified economy from an agriculture-based economy, said Hasina.

“The manufacturing sectors now occupy four-fifth of our GDP. In 2017, Price Waterhouse Cooper predicted Bangladesh as one of the three fastest growing economies globally over the next three decades. Other two countries are India and Vietnam.”

She cited the Aug 8, 2017 issue of leading UK daily, Financial Times, which said Bangladesh achieved an economic miracle in the past 20 years.

Hasina said half of Bangladesh’s population is expected to become urbanised consumers by 2030.

Singapore Minister of Trade Lim Hng Kiang and Kathy Lai, acting Chief Executive Officer at IE Singapore also spoke at the event.

Hasina held separate meetings with local traders after inaugurating the forum.