In keeping with the economic philosophy provided by Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the country is now moving forward under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, speakers said at a discussion on Wednesday.
They said If Bangabandhu had more time, Bangladesh would be where it is today, much earlier.
The Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) organised the programme on the occasion of the 46th martyrdom anniversary of Bangabandhu.
Awami League advisory council member and former minister, Tofail Ahmed, was the chief guest at the meeting of "Bangabandhu's Economic Philosophy: Bangladesh in Industrial and Trade Development". Presided over by FBCCI President Jashim Uddin, business leaders spoke at the programme.
In his speech, Tofail Ahmed highlighted the various steps taken by Bangabandhu in the economic progress of then newly-independent Bangladesh, in 1972. He said his daughter Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has made Bangladesh a dignified state by standing on the foundation given by Bangabandhu.
"She is working to complete the unfinished work of Bangabandhu and recognition of Bangladesh's achievements is also coming from the international arena," he added.
Addressing business leaders, Tofail Ahmed said, "The prime minister has given you what you want. Try not to damage the interests of workers."
Salman F Rahman, private industry and investment adviser to the prime minister, said Bangabandhu gave a blueprint for how the country could move forward and the prime minister is now implementing it.
"If Bangabandhu had more time, Bangladesh could have achieved today's Bangladesh much earlier, and today Bangladesh could be on the list of developed countries," he added.
Presenting the key article, Mohammed Farashuddin, former governor of Bangladesh Bank, highlighted an overview of Bangladesh's economic advancement with comparative information on the achievements of post-independence Bangladesh vis-a-vis today's Bangladesh.
He particularly acknowledged the role of the private sector in achieving this.
At the same time, mentioning that the influence of middlemen has not decreased yet, he said, "Bangabandhu wanted to reduce the influence of middlemen, but now they seem to have become more powerful."
The former central bank governor emphasised lending at 2% interest to protect small entrepreneurs, focusing on increasing productivity, and stopping the misuse of bonded warehouse facilities. He said the money should reach small entrepreneurs.
However, business leaders disagreed with Dr Mohammad Farashuddin's statement on the misuse of bonded facilities.
AK Azad, former president of FBCCI, said although there were some bonding issues in the 80s, the problem is no longer there.
"Foreign investment is often talked about. But we have to listen and see whether we can provide quality electricity or fuel. To get a connection, you have to obtain clearance from 36 places at Titas Gas," he said.
"We want foreign investment, but how much service or benefit can we provide to domestic investors?"
Planning Minister MA Mannan said there is no one more friendly to the private sector than Sheikh Hasina.
Apart from power and education, there are many more investment opportunities in other sectors he said, but emphasised increasing local investment rather than foreign investment, saying, "Raising a cow in a village, sending a child to school, or training a teacher, is the best investment for me."
Former FBCCI president and Member of Parliament, Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin, former president Kazi Akram Uddin Ahmed, President of Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (MCCI), Nihad Kabir, and Senior Vice President of FBCCI, Mostafa Azad Chowdhury Babu, among others, spoke on the occasion.
Mohammad Mahfuzul Hoque, chief executive officer of the country's apex trade body, FBCCI, conducted the discussion.