Industries minister Amir Hossain Amu on Thursday said Bangladesh can be one of the richest countries in the world if its marine resources can properly be tapped.
Addressing a function marking the distribution of Commercially Important Person cards 2016 among 56 recipients at a city hotel, he also urged the industrialists and entrepreneurs to set up more industries at special economic zones and other places to remove dependence on others and take the country forward further.
‘Now we're able to stand on our own feet, and our country is turning into an economically prosperous one. The way the country is moving forward with your (businessmen's) help and cooperation, I hope our country will also become a developed one much ahead of 2041,’Amu said.
The minister further said, ‘We don't have lack of resources. If we can properly collect the resources from the sea areas we got from India and Myanmar through legal battles in the international court and use those in the right way, I believe it will not only make a developed country, but also one of the richest ones in the world.’
The government recognised 56 businesspeople and industrialists as CIPs for the year 2016 under five categories, including the names of eight industrialists as ex-officio.
The minister distributed CIP cards among the 56 recipients for their contributions to the country's industrial sector through establishing industries, creating jobs and boosting economic growth at a city hotel.
Eight business leaders — Abdul Matlub Ahmad, AK Azad, M Siddiqur Rahman, AKM Selim Osman, Rupali H Chowdhury, Selima Ahmad, Tapan Chowdhury, Mirza Nurul Gani Shovan — received the CIP cards as the ex-officio.
Of the awardees, 20 businesspeople received the CIP cards in the heavy industry (production) category while five others got the card in same category (service).
A total of 12 industrialists obtained the CIP cards in medium industry (production) category while three in the same category (service). A total of five businesspersons got the CIP status in the category of small industries (production) while one person in the same category (service).
Meanwhile, two more businesspersons — one each in micro and cottage industries categories respectively — also received the CIP status.
The recipients will enjoy the facilities under the CIP cards for one year from the day of receiving it.
The CIP cardholders will get privileged entrance to ministries, invitation to various national-level events and citizen's reception hosted by the city corporation.
They also get priority in seat reservations in airlines, railways, roads and public transports in the waterways, and get letters of introduction from the foreign ministry for travelling abroad.
President of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry M Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin, president of Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association AKM Selim Osman, president of Bangladesh Textile Mills Association president Tapan Chowdhury and acting industries secretary M Abdul Halim, among others, spoke at the programme.
With the distribution of the CIP cards, Amu hoped, the current industrialists will get encouraged to develop the sector further while the new entrepreneurs will come forward to set up industries. ‘We want more entrepreneurs to come forward as our goal is to stand on our own feet. We also want to create our own entrepreneurs to cut our dependence on others.’
He said prime minister Sheikh Hasina is taking the country forward with her visionary leadership riding a bumpy road.
The minister urged all to remain alert as local and international quarters who could not accept the emergence of Bangladesh are still conspiring to thwart the country's march forward.
He lauded the role of businesspeople for keeping the country's economic growth vibrant facing many obstacles and losses caused by hartal, blockade and other violent acts by BNP-Jamaat clique. ‘I extend my heartfelt thanks to you for your contributions to the country's economy and GDP growth. We hope you'll also demonstrate your capability to face any challenge in the days to come.’
Amu said they are working to increase the industrial sector's contributions to the national economy to 40 per cent from the existing 33 percent with various initiatives.
He also said the government is formulating necessary laws and policies to ensure environment-friendly and knowledge-based industrialisation.
The minister urged the industrialists and entrepreneurs to enhance their competence and capacity to face the competition and challenges in the international market.
He assured that the Industries Ministry will play the role of a facilitator in expansion and development of the sector as it did in the past.
FBCCI president Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin said political stability and the continuation of the policies are necessary to keep the momentum of the development of the industrial sector and the country's economic growth.
He also said investment, industrialisation and employment generation are also crucial for the country's successful graduation as a middle-income country from the LDC and attaining the Sustainable Development Goals.
Mohiuddin said many entrepreneurs from Japan, India and China have huge interests to invest in Bangladesh. ‘We've to keep alive their interest and take steps so that they can either invest her cent percent or with partnership with local businessmen.’
He alleged that many entrepreneurs of small and medium industries have long been facing serious harassments and hurdles in the name of enforcement of law, and urged the government to take steps in this regard.
BKMEA president Selim Osman said a third party is active to harm the development and growth of the industrial sector. ‘The government will have to tackle the third party with an iron hand to save the sector.’
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