Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today said the businessmen who come to invest here would get the opportunity to avail the market of South and Southeast Asia as Bangladesh will make a bridge between East and West for expanding business.
"In future, Bangladesh will be developed as a communication bridge between East and West," she said while inaugurating the weeklong "Bangladesh Trade and Investment Summit 2021" at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC).
Joining virtually from her official residence Ganabhaban in the capital as the chief guest, the prime minister said different opportunities are being created in various ways keeping in mind the geographical location and importance of Bangladesh.
She opined, "Those who come to invest in Bangladesh will not only get Bangladesh, I would say there will also be an ample opportunity (for them) to capture the South Asian and Southeast Asian market and export".
The prime minister added it will further help to expand trade and commerce in the country.
Sheikh Hasina said the communication networks are being built all over the country through improving water, rail, road and airways.
Mentioning that, there was only one international airport in Dhaka in 1996, she said after assuming office, Chattogram and Sylhet airports have been turned into international ones while work is going on for another international airport in the tourist hub Cox's Bazar.
"We are developing Syedpur airport as a regional one so that the neighbouring countries can also use it," she added.
Speaking about the sea ports, Sheikh Hasina said they are improving the country's principal Chattogram sea port, Mongla port and a new Payra port, which will be developed as a deep sea port in future.
Extensive development work is also being done at Maheshkhali in Cox's Bazar centring the new sea port, which will also be turned into a deep sea port in future, she added.
As part of the celebration of the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the Golden Jubilee of the country's Independence, Ministry of Commerce and Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) are jointly hosting this international virtual Summit.
Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen, Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi, Prime Minister's Private Industry and Investment Adviser Salman F Rahman, Commerce Secretary Tapan Kanti Ghosh, President of Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FBCCI) Md. Jashim Uddin and President of DCCI Rizwan Rahman also spoke at the ceremony.
An audio-visual documentary on Bangladesh's economic progress was screened.
The summit includes nine sectors, underscoring critical enablers and avenues of the economy, seeking massive investments especially in Infrastructure (Physical, logistics and Energy), IT/ITES and FINTECH, Leather goods, Pharmaceuticals, Automotive and Light Engineering, Plastic products, Agro and Food Processing, Jute and Textiles and FMCG (Fast-moving consumer goods) and retail business.
A total of 552 companies from 38 countries along with Bangladesh of five continents will participate in 450 business to business (B2B) match-making sessions, which will help explore new business opportunities and attract FDI in Bangladesh.
Six webinars on different trade and investment related issues will be organised, where representatives from the business community, local and international experts and policy makers will participate to give their insights on these issues.
The prime minister said the nine sectors which have been prioritised in Bangladesh Trade and Investment Summit is time befitting, but more sectors and products will have to be explored to increase exports.
She said, "Along with these sectors, I will also say that we need to research and find out what new products we can produce and export".
She added, "We also need to consider whether we can produce those products in Bangladesh by realising country-wise product demands."
Sheikh Hasina also requested the business leaders, especially in the private sector, to pay special attention to this issue.
"I think we need to increase the number of our export items," she said.
She hoped local and foreign industrial entrepreneurs, traders and investors will be able to know in detail about the potentiality of the business sector in Bangladesh for trade and investment through this conference.
As an outcome of the summit, new doors of Bangladeshi products will open in the world market and Bangladesh will be managed to attract the desired investment along with increasing exports, she noted.
Mentioning that 23 trade wings are working in friendly countries to strengthen trade diplomacy, she said feasibility studies have been completed with 23 countries for implementation Bilateral Preferential Trade Agreements (BPTA), Regional Preferential Trade Agreements (RPTAs), Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) and Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreements (CEPAs).
She went on saying that Bangladesh is working continuously with different international and regional groups such as UNCTAD, UNESCAP, EU, D-8, BIMSTEC.
Sheikh Hasina said they've introduced One Stop Service (OSS) portal system from 2019 to provide all investment related services under one platform with which more organisations are being incorporated gradually.
With the aim of offering 154 investment services of 35 organisations online through OSS portal, a total of 42 services of 12 organisations have been provided online in the current financial year, she said.
The remaining services will be available in this portal during the next financial year, she added.
She said the establishment of 97 economic zones has been approved till June 2021, of which nine economic zones are in production while development work is underway in 28 economic zones.
Employment of about 40,000 people has been generated in those economic zones while creating employment for another 800,000 people is underway, the premier said.
She continued the government has taken initiative to build the largest economic zone "Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Industrial City" on about 34,000 acres of land in Mirsarai, Sonagazi and Sitakunda upazilas.
The prime minister said the desired progress has been achieved in every sector of the country in the last 13 years and Bangladesh is now a "role model" in socio-economic development in the world.