Significance of the Bangladesh Business Summit

In the nation’s capital, Dhaka, events like the Bangladesh Business Summit and the Golden Jubilee commemoration of the Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FBCCI) are going on. The meeting was opened by the Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina. We send our best wishes for a hugely successful meeting and FBCCI celebration.

The Bangladesh Business Summit is a trade and investment development event with the potential to become the nation’s premier business gathering.

The summit brings together business leaders, investors, policymakers, practitioners, analysts of markets and policies, academics, and innovators to showcase Bangladesh’s economic and market strengths as well as its specific trade and investment possibilities. Additionally, it draws attention to the success tale that laid the groundwork for Bangladesh’s trajectory of sustainable development.

Bangladesh Business Summit has also showcased the dynamic business investment opportunities and the improvements and business environment reforms, and gain insights into the investment priorities of the global investors to improve policy, facilitate the exchange of investment success stories and good practices among investors.

The cost of all necessities has increased due to inflation, and as a result, established countries as well as developing countries like Bangladesh are suffering. Energy prices, food prices, the cost of producing food, the cost of manufacturing industrial raw materials and parts, and the cost of transportation have all unusually increased as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine conflict. 

In addition to having an impact on currency exchange rates, high inflation has made it challenging for local company owners to compete successfully on a global scale.

The government has been making investments in infrastructure, encouraging business, and up-skilling the workforce with the goal of creating a modern, prosperous country and a “Smart Bangladesh” by 2041, as imagined by Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the Father of the Nation. We believe that Sheikh Hasina should serve as prime minister for a second term because she is the “symbol of hope” for the entire business community as well as the general populace for the country’s flourishing development.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina declared that her administration would simplify the business process while opening the Bangladesh Business Summit-2023 on Saturday in the capital.

Because of the global economic downturn brought on by the CoVD-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine conflict, the Bangladesh Business Summit is a crucial occasion for business leaders. We anticipate that this summit will serve as a platform for showcasing Bangladesh’s achievements on the economic and societal fronts to a wider audience.

Undoubtedly, it is a prestigious event being hosted in the nation during a turbulent economic climate globally. The summit will be important for two reasons: first, it will give the country a chance to emphasize its significance and show other countries that it is a rising economic power.

Even though the FBCCI is hosting the event to celebrate its golden anniversary, there is no way we can downplay the significance of the occasion because it truly is a global occasion. The summit is being hosted at the Bangabandhu International Conference Center in Dhaka, and ministers from seven nations, including the United Kingdom (UK), the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), China, Bhutan, and the United Arab Emirates, are participating.

Twelve global corporations, more than 200 foreign investors, and business leaders from 17 different countries are all present in addition to ministers from seven different countries. Bangladesh therefore has a fantastic chance to make the international community aware of its significance. Once the significance has been established, it is possible to elevate our connection with them and possibly create new opportunities for the growth of our professions and businesses. 

It will be more likely to aid us in turning around by absorbing the shock of the Covid-19 pandemic if we can demonstrate our potential, particularly in trades and companies, and be able to attract foreign investments.

Again, if we can demonstrate that we are an emerging economy, the summit’s participating nations and business associations will have more confidence in us and permit us to attract more and more foreign investment. Bangladesh will benefit greatly from this meeting in both ways if we can proceed wisely after it is over.

By boosting Bangladesh’s economic potential, fostering new investment opportunities, and encouraging business expansion, it can tremendously benefit us. Following the summit’s opening, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina also expressed her desire for expanding business and investment opportunities in the nation.

In her inaugural address, the prime minister emphasized the significance of the nation, claiming that Bangladesh had attained the status of developing nation and had evolved into the global model for growth.

We also hope that Bangladesh’s path to becoming a developing nation and its position as a global role model will serve as an example of how a nation can advance with hard work and good intentions. We concur with the prime minister of the nation that the business summit can serve as a showcase for Bangladesh’s achievements on the social and commercial fronts.

The ability to showcase prospective industries to foreign investors, such as textile, agroprocessed food, leather, ceramics, and jute, will aid our nation in diversifying its exports. They can then make a significant contribution to our economic expansion in addition to the textile industry. 

Along with the prime minister, we would also like to state that if the summit can serve as a platform, we will shortly be able to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) by 2030, following our accomplishment of the Millennium Development Goals. (MDGs). We can readily meet the government-set goals in the not-too-distant future if we are sincere enough. 

Bangladesh used to be stigmatized as a place of natural disaster and extreme destitution. But now, things are different. It has developed into the 35th-largest economy in the globe. The nation is currently regarded as the next Asian Tiger. By 2041, it will be ready to become a prosperous nation. One of the most important elements in making it a wealthy country can be increasing the inflows of foreign direct investment (FDI). Therefore, in order to facilitate Bangladesh’s transition into what she termed a smart country by 2041, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has urged investors and businesspeople from around the world to make investments in Bangladesh. On Saturday, she issued a rallying cry while opening a three-day Bangladesh Business Summit 2023 in the nation’s capital.

A favorable business environment is crucial for luring FDI. The nation provides rich benefits to outside investors. It provides South Asia’s most tolerant FDI policy. It permits unrestricted exit policies and 100% foreign equity ownership. Additionally, it provides the most generous reward programs in South Asia. Nearly all industries in this country are unrestricted in terms of international investment. The nation provides a generous tax holiday, lower tax rates for particular industries, a bond facility, export rewards, and other financial benefits. By establishing 100 economic zones throughout the nation, it has laid a firm foundation to support the expansion of economic activity. 

A little reflection on oneself: We appreciate the government’s proactive efforts to enhance the business climate in the nation. However, more needs to be done to foster a friendly business climate in order to boost economic development. Existing foreign investors frequently lament the bureaucratic snarls that prevent them from operating their businesses and acquiring various licenses. Besides, there are many barriers which include corruption, poor socio-economic and physical infrastructure, unreliable energy supply, absence of good governance, low labour productivity, high-cost of doing business, complicated tax system, frequent changes in policies on import duties for raw materials, machinery and equipment, delays in decision-making, et cetera.

The obstacles mentioned above that contribute to the high cost of investment must be removed if the government is serious about elevating the nation’s standing as a desirable location for business and investment on the international stage.

Sumaiya Jannat is a Bangladesh-based businesswoman and development worker. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author.