BD Post Report
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday urged the business community to bring diversity in their export basket and explore new markets in the world.
The Prime Minister made the statement while inaugurating the ‘Destination Bangladesh: Gateway to growth and Development’ organised by Dhaka Chamber of Commerce & Industry (DCCI), at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre, on the occasion of its 60th founding anniversary. Sheikh Hasina said her government has set a goal for quick development of the country through fulfilling the basic rights of the 160 million people. “In doing this, we have given utmost importance to the private sector as the sector is the key to make the economy strengthen through investment,” she said.
The prime minister said her government has done everything for economic development in a planned way and set a goal to make Bangladesh a middle income country by 2021.
To achieve the goal, she said, the first five-year plan has already been implemented and the implementation process of second five-year plan is under way along with a long term perspective plan for 2041 when “we want to see Bangladesh as a developed nation in South Asia.” Sheikh Hasina said her government has also given focus on rural development for expansion of the trade and commerce up to rural level and socioeconomic development of grassroots people.
“No development, including industrial one, can be economically sustainable without improving the economic condition and enhancing purchasing capacity of the rural people,” she added. Pointing out her government’s focus on regional and sub-regional cooperation, the prime minister said “we want to explore the large market of South Asia.” Sheikh Hasina said her government assumed office in 2009 amid global economic recession. Her government’s well-thought-out policy and dynamic steps helped keep the economy out of the adverse effect of the recession, yielding average six percent annual growth which reached 7.86 percent in the last fiscal, she continued.
Against the backdrop of increasing per-capita income and purchase capacity of the people, the prime minister hoped that the country would be able to achieve 8.25 percent growth next year as private sector would play a big role to fulfil the target. Mentioning her government’s plan to set up 100 Special Economic Zones (SPZs) across the country, the Premier said her government envisaged expansion of industries under private sector.
“The SPZs are being set up to attract private investments aimed at creating job opportunities,” she said, adding that the government will provide you land and other utility services including electricity and communication facilities.
Sheikh Hasina said her government has set a goal of producing 24,000MW of electricity by 2020 and 40,000 MW by 2040. Under the Delta Plan-2100, country’s total electricity generation would be 60,000 MW, she also said.
The prime minister thanked DCCI for organizing such a timely event to portray the pace of growth of our dynamic private sector, hoping that the conference with the foreign partners would be able to explore real potential sectors.
She also reassured her support to the private sector to continue the country’s economic growth spree.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina also feared that the current pace of national progress would be stalled unless the ruling Awami League was re-elected to power.
“Our past experience is very bitter,” she told the business leaders saying the country in the past witnessed discontinuation of the development process with the change of government.
The premier added: “I don’t know what will happen if another party come to power as the election is approaching”.
She said if people give vote to Awami League again, then it will be able to fulfil its targets, saying “And, if we even don’t get their vote, we will also try to stand beside them.”
Sheikh Hasina said in 1996 to 2001, her government had showed successes in many areas including power generation, improving literacy rate and food production and many other areas.
“But, unfortunately we found that the country went backward in all those sectors in the next seven years and the country went under the complete grip of terrorism, militancy, lawlessness and other anti-social activists,” she said.
“Two governments — one at Hawa Bhaban and other in the Prime Minister’s Office — ruled the country when doing business was very impossible for businessperson without making them happy,” the prime minister said.
After coming to power in 2009, Sheikh Hasina said her government gradually has brought everything under a discipline and put in force a system to take forward the country in a planned way.
Now, Bangladesh is progressing fast and many international agencies also acclaimed the country for the success,” she added.
Sheikh Hasina said according to the PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), Bangladesh would emerge as world’s 28th largest economy by 2030 and 23rd largest economy by 2050, exceeding many developed economies like Netherland, Australia, Spain and Malaysia.
“I hope you the business persons will do your business keeping the target in mind,” the prime minister said, adding that “If we come to power, we will do our best to fulfil the target.”
Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed, State Minister for Finance MA Mannan and President of Federation of Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) Shafiul Islam Mohiuddain also attended the function as special guests while Abul Kashem Khan, President of DCCI gave welcome address.
On the occasion, DCCI conferred the ‘Visionary Leadership Award’ on the Prime Minister, terming her a ‘torchbearer’ of Sonar Bangla and a real change maker who is an inspiration to the private sector.
“Sheikh Hasina opened the gateway for greater investment and a trendsetter of transforming Bangladesh into ‘Destination Bangladesh’,” a citation of the DCCI said.
BSS contributed to the report