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Staff Correspondent
Speakers at an international conference on Sunday said Bangladesh, supported by consistent development track records, strong private sector growth, prudent macro-economic management, strong export market, growing domestic market of 160 million people and future growth potential, has been globally portrayed as a rewarding investment destination.
They said the steady double digit manufacturing sector growth which has substantially contributed to reaching industry to GDP ratio to 33.71 per cent. This consistent industry performance reflects expanding trends of industrialisation and opportunities to create quality employments and support technological advancement.
Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industries (DCCI) organised the daylong international business conference styled “Destination Bangladesh” at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC), Agargaon in city, marking the 60th founding anniversary of the country’s leading chamber.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, as the chief guest, formally inaugurated the conference in the morning.
The daylong conference comprised of a plenary session on ‘Gateway to Growth and Investment’ and a total of six simultaneous thematic sessions that included SDG Bangladesh, Infrastructure Bangladesh, Sustainable Jute Pulp Paper and Jute Sector development, investment-Bangladesh, FDI opportunities, and Innovative and Digital Bangladesh.
Speakers, from home and abroad, attended different sessions of the conference as designated discussants who shared their knowledge and understanding and explored new avenues for building a stronger commitment from all stakeholders.
Delivering speech at the inaugural session, Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed said Bangladesh’s success story is export-driven and termed by the global think-tanks as a miracle and a development role model.
“The country has achieved a persistent economic growth over the decades and successfully graduated into a lower middle income country (LMIC). The country’s export figure will cross $60 billion by 2021, and in the last fiscal year we exported 700 different kinds of products to 199 countries worth $41.5 billion, out of which $37 billion came from the export of commodities and the remaining from the service sector”, the commerce minister said.
He said the government has given thrust to reap the opportunities from the negotiations of WTO and to attain the GSP Plus benefits and is also actively progressing to secure free trade agreement (FTA) and hand-in-gloves relations with regional trade partners.
FBCCI President Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin said Bangladesh is on a mission to write a new narrative in the global economic platform, having strong growth precedence maintaining 7 per cent plus perennial growth over the last three consecutive years.
He said this consistent growth spree coupled with other macroscopic dynamics will enable Bangladesh to avail 8 per cent and higher growth trajectory within next couple of years.
DCCI President Abul Kashem Khan, who presided over the inaugural session, said to attract desired investment, reach double digit GDP growth and turn Bangladesh into the gateway between South Asia and Southeast Asia, infrastructure development is crucial.
While delivering his speech at a thematic session on jute, former adviser to caretaker government Dr Hossain Zillur Rahman said the progress on jute revival has been incremental rather than strategic, yet the potential for a strategic breakthrough is also on the horizon.
Recommending a strategic shift in the policy mindset, he said the country urgently needs growth drivers that can sustain its economic momentum and propel the country towards its aspiration to be a prosperous and equitable middle income country.