November 2, 2016
Honorable Chief Guest, Mr. Md. Abul Kalam Azad, Principal Secretary, Prime Minister's Office,
Honorable Special Guest, Mr. Kazi M. Aminul Islam, Executive Chairman, Bangladesh Investment Development Authority,
Honorable Special Guest, Ms. Suraiya Begum, Secretary, Prime Minister's Office,
Dear Members of the Investment Climate Improvement Working Group,
Ladies and gentlemen
Assalamu Alaikum and good afternoon.
I am pleased to attend the 6th workshop on Investment Climate Improvement in Bangladesh.
Against the backdrop of sluggish trend of global real investment and slow down of global trade growth, it is praiseworthy that Bangladeshi economy continues steady growth, raising its rate to the new height of seven percent last fiscal year. Nonetheless, as a fellow who wishes to be a true friend of Bangladesh, I must say that there seems to be several challenges ahead that might put a damper on the sustainable development of Bangladesh.
First, two million plus people will enter into the workforce of Bangladesh each year over the next twenty or more years. Yes, it is a population bonus that a country is said to be awarded only once in its development process. On the other hand, as we all now know, unemployed youth are vulnerable to extremism or other evils. Thus, if it were not for sufficient job opportunities, a population bonus might turn into a population onus. To generate enough employments, Bangladesh should promote domestic as well as foreign investment especially for labor-intensive manufacturing sectors.
Second, Bangladesh has to increase import of primary energy to cover its diminishing natural gas and satisfy its soaring demand for energy. To import much more primary energy, Bangladesh needs to earn much more foreign currencies through export.
Third, Bangladesh will graduate from the status of Leased Developed Country near future and lose special privileges, like generalized system of preferences, it now enjoys. Then, Bangladesh will have to face fierce international as well as regional competition for trade and investment.
Last but not least, the recent terrorist attacks, particularly in Dhaka, have made foreign investors critical about the security situation in Bangladesh which is a vital part of investment climate.
In sum, Bangladesh needs to promote domestic and foreign investment so as to create ample job opportunities for surging working population and to boost exports to earn foreign currencies for rising energy imports under the circumstances of more and more severe competition with other countries and of more and more relentless pressure for security measures.
Undoubtedly the Government of Bangladesh led by the Prime Minister's Office has been putting much emphasis on improvement of investment climate. The recent establishment of BIDA is one of the remarkable fruits of the effort. I am sure that, under the dynamic leadership of its executive chairman, Mr. Aminul Islam, BIDA will play a pivotal role in bringing about revolutionary changes on the ground, thereby overcoming those challenges I've just mentioned.
Ladies and gentlemen,
In order to work on how Bangladesh should improve its investment climate, PMO, in collaboration with its Senior Adviser, Mr. Maekawa, organized a working group comprised of officials from twenty-five ministries and organizations concerned. The working group has been discussing how they should get rid of impediments, optimize procedures and attract maximum investment. They aim at being of utmost use for policy making with a bird's eye view of long-term scenarios of industrial and regional development through investment.
The working group is supposed to finalize its proposals by the end of February 2017 as a conclusion of its two years' activities. I hope today's 6th workshop has been meaningful in coming up with concrete and practical measures to be incorporated in the final proposal.
We at JICA would like to continue our support through a new technical cooperation project named "Promoting Investment and Enhancing Industrial Competitiveness" which will succeed the results and proposals from the working group. Let us continue our effort and cooperation until we finally materialize here in Bangladesh a great investment climate of internationally established reputation.
Shobaike Onek Dhonnobad. Thank you very much.