Bangladesh most liberal in investment policy in S Asia
06 November 2015, Nirapad News: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina categorically asserted that among the South Asian countries Bangladesh has adopted the most liberal investment principle.
The premier also said, ‘We have enacted laws to provide security to foreign investments’.
She made the assertions while addressing a seminar of top businesspeople of The Netherlands at Grand Hotel Amrâth Kurhaus the Hague.
Sheikh Hasina also recalled that on February 11 of 1972 The Netherlands was the first European country to recognize Bangladesh as an independent state.
‘Since then, the country has been a reliable development and trading partner of Bangladesh’ she said adding, ‘the relationship between our two countries has reached to a newer height through the exchange of a number of high level visits in the recent past’.
The PM further mentioned that Dutch-Bangla business tie started its journey by the Dutch East India Company in 1602 on spices.
‘With a paradigm shift, the Dutch companies were active in Bangladesh in the early years following our independence. Currently, total investment by the Dutch investors in Bangladesh stands at US $ 684 million. Around 30 Dutch companies including Unilever, Philips, Organon are presently active in Bangladesh.’
‘Since our government assumed office in 2009, our GDP has been growing over 6.2% annually, export earnings reached to US$ 32 billion, remittances doubled to US$ 15 billion and foreign currency reserve increased to US$ 27 billion.’
‘Bangladesh now ranks 37th largest economy in the world in terms of purchasing power parity (PPP). Our economy is also among the five fastest growing economies of the world.’
Goldman Sachs has included Bangladesh in the list of ‘Next Eleven’ and JP Morgan in its list of the ‘Emerging Five’, the PM asserted.
According to her, Bangladesh has made significant progress in alleviating poverty, attaining food security, education, health and sanitation, gender mainstreaming, social safety nets, human rights and so on. Bangladesh is now widely recognized as a ‘role model’ for development.
‘Bangladesh is fast making an economic transformation. From subsistence agriculture, it is becoming a mechanized, process oriented, diversified and value added one.’
‘Technology and innovation is the hallmark of the present day agriculture in Bangladesh. The manufacturing and the service sectors occupy four-fifth of Bangladesh GDP.’
‘We have the most liberal investment policy in South Asia. It includes protection of foreign investment by law, generous tax holiday, concessionary duty on import of machinery, remittances of royalty, 100% foreign equity, unrestricted exit policy, full repatriation of dividend and capital on exit and many more.’
‘Other advantages include the young, industrious and easily trainable abundant workforce with competitive wages, cheaper costs of establishing business and duty free quota free access to the EU, Australian, Canadian, Indian, Japanese and New Zealand markets.’
Upholding Bangladesh’s tremendous success in the readymade garment (RMG) sector, the premier said, ‘We are now the 2nd largest garment exporter in the world’.
‘The industry employs four million workers, 90% of whom are women from the poor families.’
‘Their employment has been an instrument for women empowerment as well as keeping our society liberal and progressive.’
‘We have been making steadfast efforts and undertaken serious reforms in improving health, safety, wages and working conditions in the RMG sector.’
‘A responsible business conduct for sustainable supply chain is in operation in Bangladesh. We deeply appreciate the valuable support from the Government and the businesses of the Netherlands in our efforts in this regard.’
‘Like the RMG sector, other sectors are making significant progress. Pharmaceutical is such a sector. After meeting up 97% of our domestic requirements, our pharmaceutical products are exported to 83 countries,’ Sheikh Hasina stated.
‘The industry is now equipped to produce bio-tech products and Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API). Bangladesh is fast emerging as a major global hub for high quality, low-cost generic medicines.’
‘Our knowledge industry, ICT and related industry is also expanding rapidly. Gartner has billed Bangladesh as one of the top 30 global destinations for software and IT services.’
‘Thousands of made in Bangladesh applications are running on IPhones, Samsung Galaxy, and other Android and Blackberry phones. Last year our IT companies and freelance IT professionals earned over US$ 360 million.’
‘Every year, around 20,000 young IT graduates are joining the sector.’
‘Ship-building is another fast emerging industry in Bangladesh. Our builders have drawn global attention by making world-class light to medium size ocean going vessels. The industry now commands 1% share of the US $ 200 billion global market.’
‘We welcome Dutch companies to invest in the emerging sectors like textiles, leather, jute, ceramics, petrochemicals, pharmaceuticals, shipbuilding, agro-processing, plastic goods, light engineering and electronics, telecommunications and IT, power, energy, water and marine and other infrastructure projects, hi-tech manufacturing and microprocessors.’
‘We have eight fully operational “Export Processing Zones” (EPZs) exclusively for 100% export oriented industries. We are now working to establish 100 “Economic Zones” (EZs) in different parts of the country as part of our new plan to industrialize Bangladesh.’
‘We are also developing a number of Hi-tech Parks in Bangladesh for IT industries. We offer competitive incentive packages for the investors in these Zones and Parks. Anyone can come as a “developer” and “operator” of an entire Zone or an investor in these Zones and Parks.’
‘Following the dream of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman to make a hunger free, poverty free and deprivation free Bangladesh, a “Sonar Bangla”, we are on the way to becoming a digitalized, knowledge-based middle income country by realizing our “Vision 2021’ and a developed country by 2041.’
‘We have already graduated to a Lower Middle Income Country. As we strive to achieve those goals, I request you, the leaders of Dutch business and industry to partner with us in investment, trade, profit sharing and prosperity. Together we can bring a change in the life of millions of people.’