Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Saturday (Jul 15) urged the businessmen to make the country's economy stronger, saying that the government is always beside them. "Make the country's economy stronger. We are always beside you (businessmen)," she said. The premier was addressing the Business Conference on Building Smart Bangladesh in city's Bangabandhu International Conference Center (BICC) as chief guest. Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) arranged the event, local media reported.
The PM urged the businessmen to explore new markets and products for the export basket using their innovative ideas. The government will always stand beside them, she added.
Sheikh Hasina said that Awami League never judge any businessman seeing their political affiliation. "Political affiliation of the businessmen is not important to us. We always think about the welfare of the people of the country," she said. In this regard, she mentioned that irrespective of the political affiliations, the government gives scope to all which is beneficial for the people of the country.
Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi and Prime Minister's Private Industry and Investment Adviser Salman Fazlur Rahman were preset as special guests.
In his welcome address, FBCCI President Md Jashim Uddin highlighted the economical development of Bangladesh under the present government, led by Awami League, and said that leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is needed for continuing the development and progress of Bangladesh. "Sheikh Hasina has to be the Prime Minister of Bangladesh for businesses, development and progress of the country," he added.
Former FBCCI Presidents – Yousuf Abdullah Harun, Abdul Matlub Ahmad, Mir Nasir Hossain and Kazi Akram Uddin Ahmed, National Association of Small and Cottage Industry President Mirza Nurul Goni Shovon, Bangladesh Association of International Recruiting Agencies (BAIRA) President Mohammad Abul Basher, BASIS President Russel T Ahmed, Bangladesh Shop Owners' Association President Helal Uddin, former President of Bangladesh Jute Spinners Association Sheikh Nasir Uddin, BCI President Anwar-ul Alam Chowdhury, PRAN-RFL Group Chairman Ahsan Khan Chowdhury, Former MCCI President Nihad Kabir, Chattogram Women Chamber President Monwara Hakim Ali, MCCI President Saiful Islam, BTMA President Mohammad Ali, Bangladesh Association of Pharmaceutical Industries (BAPI) Senior Vice-President Abdul Muktadir, Meghna Group Chairman Mostafa Kamal, HSBC Bangladesh CEO Md Mahbub-Ur Rahman, FICCI President Naser Izaz Bijoy, Bangladesh Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BWCCI) President Salima Ahmad, JBCCI President MYUNG-HO LEE, Regional Head, Bangladesh, and Pakistan Inditex Javier Carlos Santonja Olcina, BGMEA President Faruk Hassan, BKMEA President AKM Salim Osman, Bengal Group Chairman Morshed Alam, former FBCCI President AK Azad, Leather goods and Footwear Manufacturers & Exporters Association of Bangladesh President Syed Nasim Manzur, Bangladesh Association of Banks Chairman Nazrul Islam Mazumder, Bashundhara Group Chairman Ahmed Akbar Sobhan, International Chambers of Commerce Bangladesh President Mahbubur Rahman, DCCI President Barrister Md. Sameer Sattar, FBCCI Senior Vice-President Mostofa Azad Chowdhury Babu, Chattogram Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Mahbubul Alam, among others, also spoke.
During their speeches, all the business leaders expressed their trust and confidence in the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. They also said that leadership of Sheikh Hasina is needed in the coming days for the economical development and progress of Bangladesh.
The business leaders highlighted the development activities especially the mega projects of the present government which has changed the socioeconomic status of Bangladesh unprecedentedly in last 14 and half years.
"There is no alternative to Sheikh Hasina in Bangladesh," said the business leaders, uttering their solidarity with the vision and leadership of Sheikh Hasina.
Irrespective of all political thinking, the businessmen want the continuity of the government to uphold the progress and development of Bangladesh.
At the outset of the conference, a theme song on FBCCI's 50 years and its contribution to the country's economy and development during this journey was played. An audio-visual on the outcome of Bangladesh Business Summit-2023 was also screened.
The PM also unveiled the report prepared compiling the outcome of Bangladesh Business Summit-2023.
Mentioning that today's Bangladesh is a changed one, Sheikh Hasina said that this Bangladesh has to be pulled further and "you people (businessmen) has to take this responsibility".
She noted that as education, trade and commerce are expanding, the people's financial condition will be better.
Sheikh Hasina said that the government has already provided all types of facilities to this end and the remaining barriers would be solved soon.
"At least, I can say that I didn't create any "Khawa (eat) Bhaban (building)'like the 'Hawa Bhaban" (of BNP) which will create difficulties for businesses," she said.
The PM said that her government will always extend cooperation to the businessmen. "We want that businessmen are marching ahead to build Smart Bangladesh by 2041."
Referring to the materialisation of "Digital Bangladesh", she said that they want to build Smart Bangladesh where each people of the country will become smart citizen, economy will be smart economy, government will be smart government and society will be the smart society. "We want to pull Bangladesh ahead in this way".
In this connection, Sheikh Hasina said, "It is not enough to see mere a dream, but also to obtain the ability to realise the dream. And that kind of thinking should be there".
Pointing towards the audience, she said that not only the senior businessmen were here, but also young entrepreneurs were also present here. "We want to encourage the country's youth-folk to be entrepreneurs rather chasing behind the job so that they can provide jobs," she added.
To this end, the premier referred to the government's "startup" campaign alongside providing special fund so that the youth can turn them into entrepreneurs. She also mentioned about the changing of company law so that any individual move forward and can open firm. "We (Awami League government) don't do business... ."
Sheikh Hasina said that her government has put maximum emphasis on improving the business environment for both FDI and local private investment. Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) is working to support the private sector and Bangladesh Economic Zone Authority is working towards the establishment of 100 special economic zones by 2030, she added.
The PM said that the government has taken several measures to facilitate and automate business.
In the case of renewal of import-export license used in foreign trade, a five-year renewal facility has been introduced instead of the existing one year, she said, adding that a similar initiative has been taken in the case of the issue of trade licenses and clearances from the Department of Environment.
Referring to the country's journey as "developing nation" from 2026, she said that many countries have already stepped back even after making announcement of implementation of developing nation but "we didn't step back, Bangladesh will never step back rather we will implement it".
She said that under the leadership of PM's Principal Secretary 7 sub-committees have been formed to take time-bound action plans based on the thematic concept of tackling the challenge of LDC graduation, and the work of implementing these action plans is ongoing.
"I am hopeful that business community will play a leading role in fulfilling their responsibilities in meeting this challenge," she added.
Sheikh Hasina said that the industrial sector is always evolving and at present fourth industrial revolution is coming ahead where skilled manpower will be needed.
"To build up skilled manpower, we are providing computer training and setting up incubation center. From school level, we are providing computer lab to provide training to the school students," she said.
In this connection, she said that for the nano technology the government is formulating a law.
"It has been given approval from the cabinet and will be given approval from the Parliament," she added.