Public and private organisations in Bangladesh are taking various initiatives to revive the economy from the Covid-19 blows and are working to keep industrial manufacturing on as well as to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) in the country, speakers said at a programme on Tuesday.
They were addressing a three-day online conference titled "DCCI Business Conclave 2021," which was organised by the Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI). Tuesday was the first day of the event.
Around 200 entrepreneurs from 10 countries and 34 ambassadors and high commissioners of Bangladesh and different countries will participate in the conference over three days.
Meanwhile, in another programme on the same day, Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (Bida), the apex investment promotion body, inked a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Standard Chartered Bangladesh to promote the country's investment-friendly environment abroad. The programme was organised at the Bida office.
Standard Chartered Bangladesh, the largest foreign bank in the country, will collaborate in trade exchange and marketing initiatives that will help foreign companies invest in Bangladesh.
Their first initiative will be the China-Bangladesh Investment Summit scheduled to be held virtually on 25 January. It will showcase the potential of the partnership between Bangladesh and China and highlight the emerging strategic opportunities of the China-Bangladesh investment corridor.
The summit is supposed to be attended by more than 300 delegates, including representatives from China's public and private sectors, policymakers, investors, bankers, and economists as well as public and private sector leaders from Bangladesh.
"Economic progress has not stopped even in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic due to untiring efforts of entrepreneurs as well as steps taken by the government," Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen told the DCCI conference.
He called on foreign entrepreneurs to invest here, saying Bangladesh is now an attractive destination in South Asia for foreign investment.
The minister assured that the economic diplomacy policy adopted by the government would attract more foreign investment and increase the exchange of information technology in a few years, including the expansion of new markets for export products.
Abul Kasem Khan, chairperson of the Business Initiative Leading Development (BUILD), told the programme Bangladesh currently ranks third among the fastest growing economies in the world and first in Asia.
He called upon the government and the private sector to work together to maintain the continuity of economic progress.
At the event, DCCI Director Shams Mahmud emphasised diversification of export products and the use of information technology in expanding business.
DCCI President Rizwan Rahman called on foreign entrepreneurs participating in the conference to get involved in the recovery of Bangladesh's economy.
"FDI will accelerate our emerging economy and will enable us to achieve double-digit growth and Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. It will also enable us to achieve the vision to be a higher income country by 2041," said Bida Executive Chairman Md Sirazul Islam at the MoU signing event.
He said Bangladesh is ready for FDI despite the pandemic.
"We are continuously working to improve in the ease of doing business arena and accelerate FDI flow. However, to take the country forward, the government has to work together with public and private organisations."
Sirazul said as part of easing business, a one-stop service (OSS) had been introduced and this would reduce business costs as well as make investment easier.
"Under OSS, 41 government services are currently being provided and 10 new ones will be added this month," he told both the DCCI conference and the MoU signing programme.
He said the Matarbari deep sea port would make a significant contribution to Bangladesh's economy, especially in the foreign investment sector.
Standard Chartered Bangladesh Chief Executive Officer Naser Ezaz Bijoy said the bank has a long history of 115 years of customer service and has become a trusted bank for foreign investors in Bangladesh.
"We hope the signing of the MoU will greatly enhance our cooperation. Companies are currently looking for opportunities to invest in the diverse market and we have a unique window of opportunity to expand the FDI pool," he added.
Bida officials said they had signed MoUs with 20 organisations at the event to expand the OSS service.