Be our partners, Hasina to Swedish entrepreneurs
‘Together we can change lives of millions’
Friday 16 June, 2017 04:48:58 pm
From Golam Moin Uddin, UNB Staff Writer
Stockholm (Sweden), Jun 16 (UNB) - Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Friday urged Swedish business leaders and entrepreneurs to be Bangladesh’s partners in investment, trade, and innovative businesses for a shared prosperity.
“Together we can bring a change in the lives of millions in both of our countries,” she said while taking part in the Bangladesh-Sweden Business and Investment Forum at Rosenbad Conference Center of the Prime Minister 's Office here.
Sheikh Hasina also invited the business leaders of Sweden to visit Bangladesh to explore the immense opportunities for changing lives of millions in the two friendly countries.
She mentioned that Bangladesh has the most liberal investment policy in South Asia where the cost of establishing business is relatively lower. “We enjoy ‘duty-, quota-free’ access to the markets of the EU, Australia, Canada, India, Japan and New Zealand.”
The Prime Minister said the Bangladesh-Sweden relationship is now deeper and stronger than ever before. “And this is the time to unlock full potential of our relations.”
She hoped this Bangladesh-Sweden Business and Investment Forum event will give further impetus to trade and investment relations, help both countries to achieve their common goals.
Hasina mentioned that Bangladesh is now establishing 100 ‘Special Economic Zones’ (SEZs) across the country, and has already allocated special economic zones exclusively for China, India and Japan, on G2G basis and also developing a number of Hi-tech Parks.
“Our knowledge industry, ICT and related sectors are also expanding rapidly. Shipbuilding is another fast-growing industry in Bangladesh, by making world-class light to medium sized ocean-going vessels,” she said.
The Prime Minister said Bangladesh has made a significant progress in the areas like poverty alleviation, attaining food security, improving health and sanitation, women empowerment and expanding social safety nets.
Hasina mentioned that PricewaterhouseCoopers in its February 2017 Report identified Bangladesh ‘as one of the three fastest growing economies globally over the next three decades.’ The strength of Bangladesh economy is globally recognized. We have achieved a growth rate of 7.24 percent this year.
She mentioned that Bangladesh is a success story in the Ready-made Garment sector. “We’re now the 2nd largest garment exporter in the world. Like the RMG sector, other sectors are making significant progress as well.”
About the development of pharmaceuticals sector, she said that the pharmaceutical products of Bangladesh are now being exported to 83 countries, including the USA.
“We’re fast emerging as a major global hub for high quality, low-cost generic medicines, including Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients,” she told her audience.
Hasina pointed out that Bangladesh has become self-sufficient in food despite its small land area compared to its vast population.
According to Food and Agricultural Organization, she said, Bangladesh is among the top 10 global producers in horticulture, inland fisheries, rice and potato. Agricultural innovation, led by small and marginal farmers with appropriate government support, was the key to this success.
Swedish Minister of Enterprise and Innovation Mikael Damberg spoke on the occasion.
A memorandum of understanding between Sweden-Bangladesh Business Council, Stockholm and Nordic Chamber of Commerce and Industries was also signed to strengthen cooperation in the areas of trade and investment.
The MoU was signed in the presence of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and the Swedish Minister of Enterprise and Innovation.
FBCCI President Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin and Executive Chairman of Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) Kazi Aminul Islam made separate presentations.
Senior PMO Secretary Suraiya Begum and Labour Secretary Michael Shipper also took part in the panel discussion.
Industry and business leaders of Sweden and members of the Bangladesh business delegation were present.