Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday invited British investors to visit Bangladesh and be part of its developmental journey making the best use of the opportunities it is offering for investment.
"Many lucrative sectors are there like energy, renewable energy, shipbuilding, automobile, light engineering, agro-processing, blue economy, tourism, knowledge based hi-tech industries and ICT. These sectors look for foreign investment. British investors can choose any of these and beyond," she said.
The Prime Minister said this while inaugurating the "Bangladesh Investment Summit 2021: Building Sustainable Growth Partnerships" and Roadshow at Churchill Hall, Queen Elizabeth Centre here.
Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission (BSEC) in collaboration with Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) and the Bangladesh High Commission in London organised the Summit.
A video titled 'The Rise of Bengal Tiger: Potentials of Trade and Investment in Bangladesh' was screened at the programme.
Recorded video speeches of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Prince Charles were played at the summit. British Minister of State for Trade Policy Penny Mordaunt also spoke on the occasion.
Sheikh Hasina, who joined the event virtually from her place of residence here, offered exclusive zones where companies from a specific country can invest. "UK investors can take one such zone for themselves."
She also urged the British Bangladeshi people to come to Bangladesh for investing there individually or in partnership.
"People here are used to having rice and curry. You can invest in Bangladesh to build agro-based industries to bring fresh items here," she said.
Hasina assured them of extending her government's all-out support for their safe investment. "If you face any problem, I'm there to support you," she said.
Hasina went on saying, "The demographic dividend, and our focus on developing skilled manpower ensures that investors here get skilled human resources at competitive wages. Let me assure you that our government agencies, including the Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission and the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority, all will do their best to ensure a congenial business environment for you."
She said they will provide British investors with ample opportunities for the best possible returns on their investments. Quite a few major business organisations are already operating successfully in Bangladesh, she added.
"Thus I would like to welcome more companies to come forward and invest in the capital market of Bangladesh," Hasina said.
The Prime Minister said, "Bangladesh and the UK have been enjoying the best of relations since the birth of our new nation in 1971. In fact, the UK was a leading country to lend a generous hand in rebuilding war-ravaged Bangladesh. The relationship has since been growing from strength to strength."
Today, she said, the United Kingdom is the third largest export destination of Bangladesh, and the second largest investor in Bangladesh.
She hoped that the Bangladesh Investment Summit will make the two countries' business relations even more fruitful. "The Roadshow would, of course, provide impetus by displaying Bangladesh's potentialities with rewards of high returns from business and investments."
As of today, Bangladesh is a changed a country as it has undergone huge transformations on socio-economic fronts in last one decade and the UN declared Bangladesh eligible for graduation from LDC to a developing country due to governments efforts in realising "Vision 2021", and moving forward to be a developed country by fulfilling "Vision 2041", she said.
According to the ADB Outlook 2019, the Prime Minister said Bangladesh is the fastest growing economy in the Asia-Pacific region.
She mentioned that ADB attributes this to the strong leadership, good governance, stable government, political stability, sound macro-economic policy and right development priorities. Already Bangladesh is the 31st largest economy in the world based on PPP, she added.
Hasina said Bangladesh has become an attractive investment destination due to rapid urbanisation, increasing consumption of electricity, rapid growth of middle-class consumers with increasing purchasing power; growing connectivity with massive markets in South and South East Asia.
"We've been heavily investing in development of infrastructures, including energy and power, and road and railway communications," she said.
Hasina informed that the government with its own fund is constructing the Padma Bridge having a railway track connecting the untapped southern Bangladesh with the rest of the country. "Bangladesh is entering the era of Metro-rail shortly."
As many as 100 Economic Zones and 28 High-Tech Parks are being made ready for foreign and domestic investments, she said.
To feed the current and future growth of industries and overall development, she said electricity production capacity has reached over 24,000 Megawatts with a target of 40,000 Megawatts by 2030 and 60,000 Megawatt by 2041, she said.
"We're also constantly improving our legal and financial infrastructures. Already, Bangladesh has the most liberal investment regime in South Asia. And foreign investment is protected by Acts of Parliament, and bilateral treaties," Hasina said.
The PM said Bangladesh's ICT sector is now growing fast with a billion-dollar export to 60 countries. The ICT industry is expected to grow nearly five folds to reach the five-billion dollar mark by 2025. With more than 600 thousand free-lance IT professionals, Bangladesh is the right place to invest in the ICT sector, she said.
Hasina said Bangladesh now stands in the world as the second largest RMG exporter; third largest producer of vegetables; third largest producer of inland fisheries; third largest in internet freelancing; and the fourth largest producer of rice.