President seeks more investment to attain SDGs

Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha . Dhaka | Published: 00:00, Dec 11,2019


President Abdul Hamid is seen along with participants at the inaugural session of the Asia-Pacific Conference on Financing Inclusive and Sustainable Development held at InterContinental Dhaka in the capital on Tuesday. — Bangabhaban photo

President Abdul Hamid on Tuesday urged investors and entrepreneurs to invest more in Bangladesh, saying that such investments would help the country to fill up the financing gap in attaining the Agenda 2030.

‘Bangladesh has been working actively to attain the Agenda 2030 or Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). More investment is needed as the main challenge for Bangladesh as well as other developing countries is to mobilise the required financing,’ said the president while addressing the opening ceremony of the Asia-Pacific Conference in the capital.

The International Chamber of Commerce, Bangladesh (ICCB) in collaboration with UN-ESCAP, ICC, ADB and FID organised the conference on ‘Financing Inclusive and Sustainable Development’ as part of marking the ICC’s 100-year celebration.

The president urged for mutual cooperation among the nations to be more active, adding that domestic resource mobilisation coupled with enhanced participation of private sector and effective international development assistance can ensure the required financing.

‘It is imperative to ensure proper utilisation of the resources in this regard,’ said the president.

Hamid said that the Bangladesh government is providing all-out support with various pragmatic steps to protect foreign direct investment (FDI) by introducing very liberal trade and investment policies.

‘Bangladesh welcomes foreign direct investment (FDI) . . . it wants to be an active partner in the world economic community,’ he added.

He said, ‘We are one of the most open economies among the developing countries and wish to continue  the process. There are hardly any trade restrictions and tariff rates are being rationalised. We have very attractive and competitive incentive packages to promote both direct and portfolio investments.’

Hamid said that FDI jumped by 58 per cent in 2018 from 2017 as Bangladesh had already created enabling and friendly environment for business and investment.

‘Our investment, trade and industrial polices have also been aligned accordingly. To attract greater and sustainable foreign and domestic investment, the incumbent government decided to setup 100 economic zones in the country,’ he mentioned.

Being a fast growing emerging economy in this region, the president said that despite many hurdles, Bangladesh has achieved significant success in attaining a high GDP growth over the years, its poverty rate has been reduced significantly and also attained remarkable progress in UN Human Development.

‘Besides, Bangladesh ranked 36th in the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Inclusive Development Index and 48th in the Global Gender Gap Index,’ he added.

Referring to the various development plans of the government, led by prime minister Sheikh Hasina, he said that the government has taken up specific and integrated programmes to accomplish its goals of transforming the country into a middle income one by 2021 and a developed one by 2041.

At the very outset, the president paid profound respect to founder president Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the four national leaders and the 1971 liberation war martyrs.

He also recalled the contributions of the foreign friends and supporters who sacrificed their lives and provided their heartfelt support during the liberation war.

Finance minister AHM Mustafa Kamal, foreign minister AK Abdul Momen, prime minister’s private industry and investment adviser Salman F Rahman, UN under-secretary general and executive secretary of ESCAP Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, ICCB president Mahbubur Rahman and ICCB vice-president Rokia Afzal Rahman, among others, spoke on the occasion.

Former UN secretary general Antonio Guterres joined the programme through video conferencing. He read out a message wishing the conference success.

Visiting ministers, foreign delegates, business leaders, secretaries concerned to the president and senior civil and military officials, among others, were present.

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