Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina sought both public and private investment from UAE in larger volume in potential sectors such as RMG, IT, agriculture and special economic zones in Bangladesh for mutual trade benefit of the country.
"Our government has taken initiatives to attract foreign investments in our Economic Zones, Special Economic Zones and High Tech Parks," she said this yesterday while addressing a dinner reception arranged in her of honour by the Bangladesh Embassy in Abu Dhabi at Shangri-La Hotel here.
Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh Economic Zone Authority is offering one-stop services to the investors for more than 100 infrastructure-related and utility services.
Noting that Bangladesh offered the most liberal investment policy in South Asia, she said the UAE investors may invest in readymade garments, infrastructure building, constructions, communication, energy, IT, shipbuilding, tourism infrastructure, light engineering, industrial park and logistics hub in Bangladesh.
Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen also spoke on the occasion while Bangladesh Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Muhammad Imran gave the welcome speech.
Chairman and Managing Director of RELAM Investment Sultan Al Rashed Lootah, Chairman and Managing Director of Emirate Islami Bank Hesham Abdullah Al Qassim and Managing Director (International Operations) of Malabar Gold Shamlal Ahamed, among other entrepreneurs, were present.
Spelling out the foreign investment protection policy, Sheikh Hasina said, "It includes protection of foreign investment by law; generous tax holiday; concessionary duty on import of machinery; unrestricted exit policy; full repatriation of dividend and capital on exit, to name a few."
The export of agricultural and argo-based products constitutes one of our major exports after readymade garments, she said, adding, "We welcome the UAE entrepreneurs to invest in Bangladesh in agro and food processing sectors."
Noting that there is a huge potential of mutual trade and investment between Bangladesh and UAE along with opportunities for mutual collaborative engagements, she said, "We have identified many potential sectors for beneficial collaboration between Bangladesh and UAE both in public and private sectors.
The premier hoped that the close cooperation between Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) and Economic Development Authority of UAE, and Bangladesh Economic Zone Authorities (BEZA) and Emirates Economic Zone authority will play important role in the promotion of business and investment between Bangladesh and UAE.
Stating that mutual trade between Bangladesh and UAE is steadily growing, she said, "I believe, with our mutual efforts, the bilateral trade may further be diversified and enhanced."
"The relations between Bangladesh and the United Arab Emirates have developed significantly in the recent past and attained a new height. The relations are multifaceted and diversified which are ever-expanding in many areas," she added.
The premier also called upon UAE to import Bangladeshi goods, saying, "The UAE may import with competitive prices Bangladeshi products like pharmaceuticals, jute and jute goods, ceramic, leather, food items, plastic goods, knitwear, frozen food, textile and home textile, agricultural products and engineering products."
She recalled her visit to the UAE in February this year when agreements were signed between Bangladesh and UAE on the establishment of port, industrial park, setting up of power plants and LNG terminal, supply of LNG and investment in the Economic Zones.
"Following my visit, we have received very positive response from the UAE side. The UAE firms have come up with proposals of investment in our power and energy sector, including solar energy," she added.
"They have also shown interest in the establishment of LNG terminal and port. We have also received proposal from Emirates Economic Zone to establish its ventures in Bangladesh Economic Zone on G2G basis," she continued.
The premier also said that Emirates Economic Zone would like to establish sustainable Economic Zone, Halal Food processing unit and certification centres. "We have welcomed the proposal since agriculture is our major economic foundation," she added.
Sheikh Hasina said that it is heartening to note that huge transformations have taken place in the socio-economic and development sectors of both Bangladesh and UAE.
"Nowadays, Bangladesh and United Arab Emirates have multidimensional relations which have changed from uni-dimentional relation of only export of Bangladeshi manpower to the UAE," she added.
The premier said that relationship has now been diversified in various sectors like energy and power, investment, infrastructure building, technical cooperation in investment, exchange of business delegations and development cooperation.
"Currently, Bangladesh is regarded as wonder of development in international arena. Bangladesh is one of the fastest growing economies of the world," she said.
Stating that there remains a growing need of gas and electricity in Bangladesh owing to rapid industrialization, the prime minister said, "Energy related cooperation with the UAE would greatly facilitate our industrialization process."