Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has emphasised the need to diversify products and find new markets to boost export earnings. Hasina spoke at the inauguration of an international conference, “Destination Bangladesh” organised by the Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre on Sunday.
“We want to diversify the industry. We have to assess the areas with more production and what kind of market demand is there.”
“We must think of diversifying our products and what difference it makes. What is the global demand? Just dont look at one or two countries. We have to look at every side -- what Bangladesh can supply to meet demand in different countries.”
Bangladesh fetched $36.66 billion in exports in the last fiscal year, with $30.66 billion coming from garment exports. In the current fiscal year 2018-19, the government has set an export target for $39 billion.
Expressing hopes that the export earnings will increase in future, Hasina said: “We will do whatever we want to do for the sake of economic development.”
The government will take multifaceted steps to increase the per capita income, budget and economic growth, besides increasing investments, she said.
Hasina also shed light on investments in 100 economic zones for the expansion of trade, fast-track projects, public private partnerships and investors benefits.
“Whenever our businessmen came up with the problems, we have always tried to resolve them promptly.”
"We have introduced the One-Stop Service to improve the investment environment. The BIDA [Bangladesh Investment Development Authority] faced some problems even after the passage of a new law. We are trying to understand and resolve the problems.”
Hasina mentioned short-, medium- and long-term plans for economic development for Bangladesh.
"We are in power now. The election is ahead. If people vote for us, we can meet these goals. We can do our job. And if not, I cannot say what will happen next, because our experience is very bitter. Yes, we will always stand by people.”
When the Awami League was in power from 1996 to 2001, electricity production increased, so did the rate of literacy, Hasina said. “Bangladesh came to be known as the food basket.”
"Unfortunately, seven years later, when I formed the government, I found that that everything was reversed.”
Hasina said terrorism, militancy, bombing, grenade attacks and extortion ruled the country in that period.
“There were two governments -- Hawa Bhaban and the Prime Ministers Office. You cannot do business if you are unhappy. Such a situation was created. Gradually, we brought back discipline. Ive made sure everything goes according to plan.”
The London-based PwC has billed Bangladesh as a powerful emerging economy, Hasina said. By the end of 2030, Bangladesh will be the 28th largest economy. By 2050, it will become the worlds 23rd largest economy by crossing the countries such as the Netherlands, Australia, Spain, Thailand and Malaysia.
“I want you to keep those targets in mind.”
Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed, State Minister for Finance MA Mannan and FBCCI President Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin also spoke. DCCI President Abul Kasem Khan presided over the event.