April 9, 2016
Honorable Chief Guest, Mr. Md. Abul Kalam Azad, Principal Secretary, Prime Minister's Office,
Honorable Special Guest, Ms. Suraiya Begum, Secretary, Prime Minister's Office,
Mr. Abul Matlub Ahmed, Honorable President of Federation of Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI),
Guest Speaker from Japan, Mr. Nobuo Aoki, General Manager, New Market Planning Office, Overseas Operation Division, KAJIMA Corporation,
Members of the Investment Climate Improvement Working Group,
Ladies and gentlemen
I am very pleased to be present at the seminar on Investment Climate for "The Bay of Bengal Industrial Growth Belt (BIG-B)."
Vision 2021 of the Government of Bangladesh envisions to become a middle income country by the year 2021, and, in order to achieve that, robust economic growth is a must. In line with this, in its 7th five-year plan, the Government of Bangladesh envisages to attain an inclusive and sustainable economic growth through boosting capital accumulation and labor productivity. Greater capital accumulation and labor productivity, in turn, require acceleration of private investment. Though Bangladesh is endowed with a young labor force and emerging middle class, there is enormous room for improvement of investment climate. Sound investment climate encompasses supporting physical infrastructure, provision of sufficient supply of primary energy and electricity, attractive incentives as well as speedy procedures and stable security situation. It is high time for the Government of Bangladesh to gear up in improving investment climate in order to reach the coveted "middle-income" country status.
At this critical juncture, Honorable Prime Ministers of Japan and Bangladesh agreed in 2014 to establish "Japan-Bangladesh Comprehensive Partnership" and strengthen their bilateral development cooperation under the initiative of "the Bay of Bengal Industrial Growth Belt." I believe BIG-B is a well-timed initiative for Bangladesh to take full advantage especially of Asian economic vibrancy and expand its presence in global value chains.
Ladies and gentlemen,
We understand the Government of Bangladesh is relentlessly working in the right direction to create favorable investment climate. JICA has been working alongside Bangladesh Government in its endeavor through providing manifold support under the initiative of BIG-B. As earlier mentioned in the presentation, BIG-B has three pillars: Developing Economic Infrastructure, Improving Investment Environment and Fostering Connectivity. Under the first and third pillars, notable infrastructure like Dhaka Mass Rapid Transit Line 6, Kanchpur, Meghna and Gumti Bridges, Dhaka-Chittagong Main Power Grid and Matarbari Ultra-Super Critical Coal Fired Power Plant are all under implementation with JICA's soft-loan assistance.
Under the second pillar of BIG-B, JICA Expert, Mr. Maekawa, who has been dispatched to the Prime Minister's Office, has formulated Working Group and continued to discuss how investment climate of Bangladesh should be improved to be competitive enough to prevail among Asian emerging nations. Our recently signed Foreign Direct Investment Promotion Project, which is to develop Economic Zones for Japanese investors, would be a touchstone of suggestions put forward by the Working Group.
I hope the Working Group will further elaborate their suggestions, absorbing observations of the private sector and the actual situation on the ground. I also hope all the responsible organizations will firmly implement those suggestions, so that Bangladesh will come to be one of the most promising destinations of investment in the world.
Shobaike Onek Dhonnobad. Thank you very much.