December 24, 2014
Honorable Chief Guest, Mr. Amir Hossain Amu, Minister of Industry,
Honorable Special Guest, Dr. Atiur Rahman, Governor, Bangladesh Bank,
Mr. Takeshi Matsunaga, Charge D' Affaires, the Embassy of Japan,
Dr. Syed Abdus Samad, Executive Chairman, Board of Investment,
Mr. Go Watanabe, Managing Executive Officer, Chief Executive Officer for Asia and Oceania, the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Limited,
Mr. Kazi Akramuddin Ahmed, President, FBCCI,
Ladies and Gentlemen.
Assalam alaikum and good afternoon.
I am really delighted to attend the signing of MOU between Board of Investment and the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Limited and would like to cordially congratulate on the departure of the significant partnership.
With its emerging domestic market and abundant economical labors, Bangladesh is drumming up lots of interest among foreign investors including Japanese who view Bangladesh as the potential new destination in their "China plus one" strategies.
It is a quite favorable situation for Bangladesh which needs to encourage private investment including foreign direct investment to increase from the current level of less than 20% of GDP to that of 30% in order to jump to a growth trajectory of more than six percent and become a middle-income country by 2021.
To make the most of the favorable circumstances, the Government of Bangladesh should show its strong commitment by executing visible improvement in the existing systems to create an enabling business environment.
JICA has been supporting improvement of investment climate in Cambodia, Indonesia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Pakistan and Vietnam. For example, Vietnam has garnered so much investor's confidence by firmly committing itself to provide favorable investment sites of 289 industrial parks and 15 coastal economic zones. As a result, foreign direct investment from Japan to Vietnam has reached US$ 18 billion accounting for over 18% of the total capital in the parks and zones.
As for Bangladesh, JICA has been engaged in the Investment Climate Improvement Project in collaboration with the Prime Minister's Office since October 2012, encompassing legal systems, procedures and bureaucratic bottlenecks. In addition, JICA is now embarking on a new project which will construct economic zones for Japanese investors. We have identified a few sites in the vicinity of Dhaka and will start feasibility studies of the economic zones to finance improvements of off-site infrastructure, equity investment for on-site development and soft term loans to investors in economic zones through Bangladesh Bank.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The year of 2014 is to be remembered by the people of Japan and Bangladesh as an epoch making year to step into a new dimension of the bilateral relationship.
During their summit talk in Tokyo this May, Honorable Prime Ministers Shinzo Abe and Sheikh Hasina agreed to strengthen bilateral cooperation through the "Japan-Bangladesh Comprehensive Partnership." In that occasion, Prime Minister Hasina committed herself to constitute a dedicated task force to support Japanese companies doing business in Bangladesh.
The two prime ministers met again in Dhaka this September and agreed to pursue further economic cooperation under the initiative of "the Bay of Bengal Industrial Growth Belt," or BIG-B for short. BIG-B aims to accelerate industrial agglomeration along the Dhaka-Chittagong-Cox's Bazar belt and beyond. BIG-B expects Bangladesh to take advantage of its linchpin position between South Asia and South-East Asia and play the role of a regional "node and hub," so that Bangladesh will reshape herself as a sparkling trading nation which is deeply incorporated into global value chains.
BIG-B consists of three pillars: 1) Supplying reliable energy and power for industries, 2) Fostering transport connectivity as a regional node and hub and 3) Promoting domestic and foreign direct investment. Indeed, the new collaboration between Board of Investment and the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Limited best fits the essence of BIG-B.
I hope that the new alliance will gather momentum of the deepening bilateral relationship, thereby paving the way for Bangladesh to undergo dynamic development for decades to come.
Shobaike Annek Donnobad. Thank you very much.