PM Eyes $7b FDI by 2015
Saturday, 26 September 2009

Prime minister Sheikh Hasina has said her government has sets it sights on boosting foreign direct investment into the country to $7 billion by 2015.

At an address in front of a small group of investors at Grand Hyatt New York on Thursday evening, she said it has also set aside $350 million for three public-private partnership programmes in an effort to draw foreign money.

She urged global investors to invest in Bangladesh and said her government will extend all support to encourage investment.

She called upon the investors to consider Bangladesh as their next Asian investment destination as it offers low-cost labor, large domestic market and market access to nearly 3 billion people in Asia.

Bangdesh's economy has remained somewhat insulated from the fallout of the global financial downturn that has ravaged even many developed economies.

Hasina mentioned the envisaged improvement of the investment environment in the private sector, and the public-private-partnership (PPP) initiative will soon be brought under the PMO, which will enable it to work closely with the Board of Investment.

Geographically, Bangladesh is today considered a country of immense possibilities, as its millions of youths have already created waves in the global labour market, she said.

Highlighting the stupendous growth rates achieved by India and China in the recent past, Hasina said the two promising Asian giants expect to attain 50 percent more growth by 2050.

Bangladesh hopes to fall successfully into their footsteps soon by introducing e-governance throughout and cutting in on internet expenditure by 75 percent.

Sajeeb Wazed Joy, the prime minister's son, also spoke at the talk sponsored by Trans-First, a US-based money transfer agency.

JP Morgan, Citibank, Bear Stearns and other big business firms were represented at the seminar.

Last month, the Bangladesh Bank said FDI during 2008 topped $1 billion for the first time with the fast-growing telecommunications sector drawing nearly two-thirds of the money.

The government is now shifting focus to boost infrastructure projects and deal with a chronic power-shortage problem. Bangladesh can produce about 3,500 megawatts although it needs approximately 5,500 megawatts of energy production capacity.

The IMF projects the economy to grow 5 percent in 2009 and 5.4 percent in 2010.

Hasina said her government expects 2009 growth of 6 percent.

Officials are also using Bangladesh's proximity to larger, more rapidly developing consumer markets like China and India as a key selling point, calling it the "India-plus-one strategy."

Bangladesh is especially targeting Bangladeshi ex-patriates to continue investing in the country.

During the fiscal year ended in June, remittances rose 22 percent, or by $1.2 billion, growing faster than the country's garment export business, its largest industry which has suffered during the global economic crisis.

Meeting with Nepal PM, Maldives president

Hasina met with Mohamed Nasheed, the president of the Maldives, and her Nepal counterpart Madhob Kumar Nepal at the United Nations HQ on Thursday.

Abu Taher, a journalist based in New York, said, quoting the the Maldives president, that the Indian Ocean island nation will will take 65 physicians from Bangladesh soon.

Nasheed also expressed his willingness to take soil from Bangladesh to raise the height of the country from the sea level to deal with the impacts of climate change.

Both the countries agreed to work together to fight the affects of the climate change.

Hasina and Nepal discussed the transit issue and use of Mongla Port.

The prime minister offered to give Nepal 15 percent special cut in service charge for using the port.

Hasina, who came to New York last Tuesday, will address the General Assembly on Saturday.

She joined a private working dinner with UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday, a special ceremony and dinner hosted by US president Barack Obama on Wednesday and a luncheon with secretary of state Hillary Clinton on Thursday.

She is due back on Oct 1.

Source: bdnews24.com

Comments Add New
Emon Ahmad  - To prime minister's attention |2009-11-01 17:45:20
To Sheikh Hasin, You've got the highest mandate ever given to any leader in a free and fair election. Pls. use it to develop the country. Forget animosity, bitterness, and forgive to show compassion and wisdom.
Ther's no alternative to industrialization to achieve development. Initiatives to develop info technology is good. But it'll not enough to solve the problem of 160 million people. Galvanise the nation, build up industries in electronics, ship building, engineering, machinery, every sector. Invite the private sector, invite those forces that built a formidable garments industry. They'll build Bangladesh to be reconed with.
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