1588Published on October 18, 2018
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has urged businessmen in Saudi Arabia to invest in Bangladesh, calling it a thriving centre of regional connection, foreign investment and global outsourcing.
She made the remarks during a meeting with the business community in Riyadh on Wednesday morning.
Leaders of the Saudi Chamber Council, Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and members of the local Bangladesh business community were present at the meeting held at the King Saud Palace in Riyadh.
The prime minister focused on the business opportunities offered by Bangladesh in her speech.
She called the bilateral relationship between Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia as ‘excellent’ and said it was based on common faith, culture, values and aspirations.
“Both countries have reached increasing level of bilateral trade in recent years crossing the $1 billion mark in the 2017-18 fiscal year. But, we are far behind in taking advantage of the full potential of trade and investment opportunities,” she said.
Saudi Arabia has currently invested $5 billion in 25 projects in Bangladesh, she said, adding that the investments primarily focus on agro-based industry, food and processed food, textiles and garments, leather, petro-chemical, engineering and service sector products.
Hasina touted Bangladesh becoming eligible to graduate from the LDC group to a developing country in March 2018, adding that she hoped it would become a developing country by 2021 and a developed country by 2041.
Bangladesh is now among the top-10 fastest-growing economies of the world, said Sheikh Hasina and said expected the country to reach 8.25 percent GDP growth next year.
The foreign currency reserve has grown over ninefold from 2008-2009, up to $3 billion in 2018, she said.
The prime minister also focused on developments in the information technology sector.
“Technology and innovation are bringing fast economic transformation to Bangladesh. Currently Bangladesh is the second largest RMG exporter in the world market exporting products worth $30.651 billion in the last fiscal year,” she said.
Bangladesh is now the 3rd largest producer of vegetables, 4th largest producer of rice and 3rd largest producer of inland fisheries in the world, she added.
The pharmaceutical industry is one of the vibrant sectors in Bangladesh, which is currently meeting 98 percent of local demand and exporting to about 125 countries, she said.
Shipbuilding was another sector that is flourishing in Bangladesh, the Hasina said.
The prime minister said that ‘Digital Bangladesh’ has become a reality today. The widespread introduction of Internet-based public service delivery has led to growth in job creation at the grassroots level.
The government has built extensive essential IT infrastructure for delivering quick and easy services to the doorstep of the common people.
More than 150 million SIMs are being used in the country and the number of internet users is over 90 million, said Hasina.
She also mentioned launching of the first Bangladeshi satellite Bangabandhu-1.
“With the launch of the work on the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant, we have moved a step ahead in the peaceful use of nuclear energy,” said Sheikh Hasina as she mentioned the power generation capacity in the country has gone over 20,000MW.
She urged the businessmen to take advantage of these opportunities.