Prime minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday invited the Saudi entrepreneurs to come to Bangladesh with business and technology for mutual benefits as well as shared profit and prosperity, assuring them of her government’s full support and cooperation in this regard.
‘I invite you to come to Bangladesh with your business, technology, and innovations for mutual benefit…we can join hands in our journey of shared profit and prosperity,’ she told a meeting with the leaders of the Council of Saudi Chamber (CSC) and the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce at King Saud Guest Palace.
‘I assure you of my government’s full support and cooperation to this end,’ she added.
The prime minister arrived in Riyadh on Tuesday evening on a four-day official visit to Saudi Arabia at the invitation of Saudi King and Custodian of Two Holy Mosques Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.
Hasina said Bangladesh welcomed Saudi entrepreneurs to invest in its emerging sectors like capital market, power, energy, telecommunications and IT, petrochemicals, pharmaceuticals, shipbuilding and agro-processing.
‘We also welcome you to invest in light engineering, blue economy, research and development and technology innovation, water and marine and other infrastructure projects, and services sectors like banking and finance, logistics, and human resource development,’ she said.
The premier mentioned that Bangladesh had the most liberal investment policy in South Asia with most attractive incentives, returning highest profit rate.
‘It includes protection of FDI (foreign direct investment) by Law, incentives like generous tax holiday, concessionary duty on import of machinery, duty free import of raw materials, remittances on royalty, 100 per cent foreign equity, unrestricted exit policy, and full repatriation of dividend and capital on exit,’ she said.
Other advantages, she said, include the young, committed and an easily trainable workforce with highly competitive wages, cheaper cost of setting busi
ness, and access to a large duty free, quota free market that includes EU, Australia, Canada, India, Japan and New Zealand.
Hasina said Bangladesh has also low cost electricity and water, good credit rating, minimum risk factors, and fast technology adaptability.
‘All these combined together, Bangladesh gives the maximum return and dividend to the investors,’ she said.
The premier said Bangladesh’s strategic location is making the country an emerging hub for regional connectivity, foreign investments and global outsourcing.
‘We’ve eight fully operational ‘Export Processing Zones’ (EPZs) exclusively for 100 per cent export oriented industries. In addition, we are developing 100 Economic Zones to ensure resilient and sustainable industrialisation for new industries and investment at both public and private sectors,’ she said.
Sheikh Hasina said the government wants to connect and transform those by introducing smart, next-generation logistic networks so that these zones become part of dynamic global supply chains. ‘Two dozen hi-tech parks are in place also,’ she said.
The prime minister said her government is implementing 10 growth and employment generating mega projects and is ready to take up more in diversified areas of infrastructure, connectivity and hi-tech, tourism, health and education for a sustainable double digit growth.
‘We’ve earmarked 2,000 acres of land in one of the Exclusive Economic Zones for Saudi Arabian investors, which can be developed and operated as per the investors’ own requirements,’ she said.
She said both countries have reached increasing level of bilateral trade in recent years crossing the US$ 1 billion mark in 2017-18 fiscal. ‘But, we are far behind in exploiting full potential of trade and investment opportunities,’ she added.
The premier said Saudi investment to Bangladesh now stands at US$ 5 billion in 25 projects and it primarily focuses on the areas of agro-based industry, food and processed food, textiles and garments, leather, petro-chemical, engineering and service sector products.
In March 2018, she said, the UN declared Bangladesh eligible for graduation from LDC group to a developing country.
CSC chairman Dr Sami A Alabadi, its secretary general Dr Saud A Almashari and Saudi ambassador to Bangladesh Abdullah H M Al-Mutairi also spoke on the occasion.
The Bangladesh delegation included Bangladesh foreign minister AH Mahmood Ali, PM’s Private Sector Development Affairs adviser Salman F Rahman, chairman of Bangladesh Investment Development Authority Kazi Md Aminul Islam, foreign secretary Md Shahidul Haque, Bangladesh ambassador to the KSA Golam Moshi.
Acting FBCCI president Sheikh Fazle Fahim, BGMEA president Siddiqur Rahman and other business leaders from Bangladesh also attended the meeting.
Want stories like this in your inbox?
Sign up to exclusive daily email
More Stories from Trade & Commerce