Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday said Bangladesh needs enhanced investment from its friendly countries, especially from the USA, as it aspires to become a developed and prosperous country by 2041.
“Bangladesh has been recommended to graduate from the LDC in 2026. We are aspiring to become a developed and prosperous country by 2041. For that purpose, we need enhanced investment from our friendly countries, especially from the USA,” she said.
The prime minister said this at a meeting with the first-ever visiting Executive Business Delegation of the US-Bangladesh Business Council at her official residence Ganobhaban.
She said that Bangladesh is now an attractive investment destination. Along with physical infrastructure, the government has upgraded and eased the rules and regulations relating to investment and business.
“Bangladesh has the most liberal investment policy in South Asia and that foreign investment is protected by acts of Parliament and bilateral treaties,” she said.
Highlighting her government's development programmes she mentioned that the entire country has recently been brought under electricity coverage.
“We are upgrading our road, railway and water communications by implementing some mega projects,” she said.
Hasina told the delegation that her government is setting up 100 special economic zones for domestic and foreign investors across the country.
“We may earmark one of the zones exclusively for the US investors, if you desire so,” she said.
She said that demographic dividend, and government’s focus on developing skilled manpower ensures that investors here get skilled human resources at competitive wages.
The prime minister said that Bangladesh-US friendship is based on common values and shared interests and it is reflected in expanding overall business relations.
“Our trade relations can be further strengthened with duty-free access and other trade privileges in the US market,” she said.
In this regard she said Bangladesh is ready to commence Free Trade Agreement-FTA negotiations with the US at an appropriate time.
She mentioned that export volume increased by more than USD 3 billion during the last five years. The export volume rose to USD 7.6 billion in 2021-22 from USD 5.8 billion in 2016-17.
Since independence, she said, the US has been one of the trusted development partners and it is contributing to Bangladesh’s socio-economic progress. The USA is the single largest source of FDI and export market for Bangladesh.
“I believe US companies will take the advantage and invest more in potential sectors like power and energy, ICT, infrastructure, light engineering products, mobile phone and electronic goods, automobile, agro-processing, pharmaceuticals, ceramics, among others.”
She said that the government is pursuing a long-term growth strategy for its citizens which is sustainable as acknowledged by the global economists and organisations.
Hasina said that the government has taken pledge to realise the “Golden Bangla’’, the dream of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman to turn Bangladesh into a poverty- and hunger-free prosperous country.
“With such strong prospect, I would now assure you of the best possible policy framework to ease our business and investment climate," she told the delegation.
She hoped that the US-Bangladesh Energy Taskforce which was launched in September 2021 will help advance energy cooperation between the stakeholders of both countries.
“Likewise, the proposed US-Bangladesh Digital Economy Taskforce will contribute in deepening the cooperation of companies of both countries to ensure our sustainable development.
She hoped that the business delegation would be able to understand the congenial atmosphere and feel confident for their potential investment in Bangladesh.
In this connection, she said that Bangladesh is now recognised for the state-of-the-art manufacturing factories in various sectors like RMG, leather, plastic, jute, ICT, agro-processing and many more.
“It is our TIME now and please make your TIME taking opportunities of our conducive investment regime. I wish every success of the US-Bangladesh Business Council,” she said.
Board Chair of US-Bangladesh Business Council Jay R. Pryor, Board members of the US-Bangladesh Business Council and business executives from Bangladesh and US also spoke at the meeting.
Bashundhara Group stands by 10,000 cold-hit people in Faridpur
Bashundhara Group, the country’s largest business conglomerate, distributed blankets among 10,000 cold-hit people of Sadar, Nagarkanda, Saltha and Sadarpur upazilas of Faridpur.
The blankets were distributed with the all out support from Bashundhara Group Managing Director Sayem Sobhan Anvir.
Bashundhara Group's executive director and Faridpur district Awami League’s industries and commerce affairs secretary Advocate Jamal Hossain Miah distributed the blankets at Talma Union Parishad chairman’s residence on Friday morning.
Speaking on the occasion, Jamal Hossain Miah said, “Bashundhara Group always stands by the people of the country. With the help of Bashundhara Group Managing Director Sayem Sobhan Anvir, blankets are being distributed among the cold-hit people across the country, including Faridpur. Bashundhara Group will continue effort to serve people in the future.”
After getting blankets, the poor people expressed their gratitude to Bashundhara Group for giving them worm cloth during this bone-chilling cold.
Bashundhara Group general manager Md Yunus Khan, Chief Operating Officer (Banking Sector) Md Razib Samad, Faridpur Press Club general secretary and Bangladesh Pratidin correspondent Kamruzzaman Sohel and Talma Union Parishad Chairman Kamal Hossain Mia were present among others in the event.
League General Secretary and Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader
pays a courtesy visit to Ahmed Akbar Sobhan, Chairman of country’s leading
industrial conglomerate Bashundhara Group.
Obaidul Quader was greeted with flowers by the Bashundhara family during the meeting at the Bashundhara Group chairman's residence in the capital on Monday.
Bashundhara Group Managing Director, Sheikh Russel Krira Chakra Limited Chairman and Bangladesh Jeweller’s Association President Sayem Sobhan Anvir, Rongdhanu Group Chairman Alhaz M Rafiqul Islam, Awami League Office Secretary Biplab Barua, Bangladesh Pratidin Editor Naem Nizam and Badda thana Awami League General Secretary AM Jahangir Alam were also present during the meeting.
Leaders of Narayanganj district and Rupganj upazila units of Awami League held a view-exchange meeting with Bashundhara Group Chairman Ahmed Akbar Sobhan on the visit of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to Rupganj.
MP from Narayanganj-4 constituency AKM Shamim Osman, Rongdhanu Group Chairman Alhaz Rafiqul Islam, Rupganj upazila AL General Secretary Alhaz Shahjahan Bhuiyan, Vice-President Barrister Khan Mohammad Shamim Aziz, Bashundhara Group Director Liakat Hossain, Kanchan municipality Mayor Alhaz Rafiqul Islam Rafiq, former upazila AL Vice-President Khandaker Abul Bashar Tuku, Daudpur Union Parishad Chairman Alhaz Nurul Islam Jahangir, Rupganj Union Parishad Chairman Alhaz Saladuddin Bhuiyan, upazila AL Information and Research Secretary Kamal Hossain Kamal, Health and Population Secretary Dr Faisal Ahmed and Kanchan municipality AL leader Tariqul Islam Mughal were present at the meeting held at the Bashundhara Group Chairman’s residence in Bashundhara Residential Area in the capital on Monday.
The Awami League retains a “significant level of support” and there is still a lot for the government in Bangladesh to point to as a success story amid current challenges, says Michael Kugelman, director of the newly created South Asia Institute at the Wilson Center in Washington, D.C.
“We have to keep in mind that the ruling party Awami League has been in power since 2009 and it retains a significant level of support,” he said, noting that the party has been able to bring success stories on the economic front and in countering terrorism.
Kugelman said that even if someone talks about all the bad things happening in Bangladesh, the bottom line is that there is still a lot for the government in Bangladesh which helps it sustain a significant level of success and there are people who see reasons to support it.
Mark Goldberg recently sat down with Kugelman to discuss the recent protests in Bangladesh. The Foreign Policy magazine published the podcast recently.
Responding to a question, Kugelman said Bangladesh has been a regional success story for its economic growth. “It's a global success story.”
He described what had happened over the last few months, including consequences of the Russia-Ukraine war, high level of inflation, rising fuel cost and responses from the government like rationing electricity amid power shortages.
Kugelman said disruption in electricity supply was a major strain on the economy and sudden fall in economic productivity was an opportunity for the opposition to take to the street.
Corruption, one of the realities in Bangladesh, scandals in the financial sector could be another trigger for the opposition, he said, adding that economic problems and corruption gave the opposition opportunity to draw more attention.
Kugelman, however, said the protests launched by the opposition parties “was not a mass protest” but a partisan protest.
The foreign affairs expert said the government had the opportunity to explain the “temporary consequences” of external factors.
Kugelman said Bangladesh has demonstrated success in the area of counterterrorism and noted that there was a period when it was a significant problem in the country which had experienced series of deadly attacks.
He said the Awami League government took initiatives to crackdown really hard on the militants, and terrorism has not been a problem in Bangladesh over the last few years. “That’s another success story.”
Bangladesh has become a much bigger player on the global stage, including its role in peacekeeping operations and with its non-aligned and balanced foreign policy, he observed.
Responding to a question on “democratic backsliding” he said it is important to look back at the broader history of Bangladesh.
In the past, he said, BNP (when it was in power) was resorting to similar types of tactics and there were crackdowns as well as reports of enforced disappearances.
Kugelman said many things that are happening today were also happening when BNP was in power.
He said “undemocratic tactics” happen in many countries, including Bangladesh and elsewhere in South Asia, and described them as “hybrid democracy”.
Responding to another question, he said he does not think that there will be a Sri Lanka-like situation in Bangladesh as there are safety measures in the latter.
Kugelman said Bangladesh's economy is much more resilient than Sri Lanka’s has been.
He also responded to questions on Bangladesh’s next national election which he hoped will be held as per the constitution.