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PM asks youth to work for forming cooperative

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Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Saturday, November 5, called upon the country’s youths to engage in inspiring people to form cooperatives for boosting food production and pulling the country ahead further.

“The youths will have to come forward. We can go a long way if the youths do their activities in bringing village people together as everyone will have the responsibility,” she said.

The premier was addressing a function on the 51st National Cooperatives Day at Bangabandhu International Conference Center, BICC as the chief guest, joining virtually from her official residence Ganobhaban in Dhaka.

She told the youths not to chase after the job but rather get involved in food production activities such as poultry and fish cultivation by forming cooperatives.

Referring to the 100 special economic zones being established by the government, she said, “you (youths) can set up food processing factories there, which will not only meet the local demand but also can help export abroad.”

Sheikh Hasina said she believes that the country could attain desired economic success through cooperatives.

She also urged all to work in combination to overcome the crisis that was created in the country due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the Russian-Ukraine war as well as sanctions and counter-sanctions.

With State Minister for Rural Development and Cooperative Swapan Bhattacharjee in the chair, Register and Director General of the Department of Cooperatives Dr. Tarun Kanti Sikder delivered the welcome address.

Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives Minister Md Tazul Islam and Rural Development and Co-operative Division Sectary Md. Mashiur Rahman also spoke as a special guest.

A total of nine Samobay Samity (cooperative associations) and one person were given National Cooperative Award-2021 on the event.

On behalf of the prime minister, Md Tazul Islam handed over the award. Each awardee was conferred with a gold medal and a certificate.

At the outset of the function, a video documentary on national cooperative day was screened. The theme of the day is “Bangabandhu’s Philosophy, Development of Cooperative.

The prime minister said cooperatives are absolutely essential for agricultural production, life and livelihood of the people in the country.

“Cooperatives create enormous scopes in a densely populated country like ours. Paying attention to it, we will have to strengthen cooperatives,” she said.

She stressed the need for giving utmost importance to cooperatives for the development of the country’s people.

Sheikh Hasina said her government is working for the people and wants to create scopes so that every individual can improve their life and livelihood.

She said her government opened every sector for private entrepreneurs so employment is generated.

Talking about inflation, the premier said the price of every commodity has soared throughout the world due to the war and Covid-19, which affected Bangladesh also and almost all the countries are now suffering from high inflation.

“Everyone has to run using its reserve (of foreign currencies). Also, we are to do it for the well-being of the common people of the country,” she added.

She said that now Bangladesh needs to purchase fertilizers, fuel and edible oil at very high prices amid high transportation costs for the sake of the people and agricultural production.

The head of government said although the country has cent per cent electricity coverage, but now they are facing much trouble in generating power as imports of fuel and gas are being hampered due to the war.

“I hope that we can overcome this situation,” she said, referring to the measures taken by the government such as solar power, coal-fired power plant as well as the import of power from Nepal and Bhutan.

She, however, reiterated her call to the countrymen to put concentration on savings and exercising austerity as well as boosting food production.

She once again requested all not to spare any inch of land uncultivated but rather made a call to produce whatever they can.

She said the current progress of Bangladesh should in no way be interrupted.

Though the Covid-19 and current war and sanctions slowed down the progress to some extent, the government’s goal is to go forward overcoming this situation and build the country as Sonar Bangla as dreamt by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, she added.

Sheikh Hasina said her government’s goal is that the rural people would get civic facilities, improved life and lead a decent lifestyle.

In this context, she mentioned several schemes, including “My House My Farm” (Amar Bari Amar Khamar) and “My Village My Town” (Amar Gram Amar Shohor) programmes, which were taken by her government for the development of rural people.

“We want to transform every village into a town,” said the prime minister.

She stressed the need for the construction of modern houses through cooperative societies to make modern flats affordable for the villagers as well as to protect arable lands by stopping the indiscriminate construction of homes everywhere.

The government has also started a project titled “Palli Janapad” to construct modern houses in a planned way for the rural people, she said.

The premier said her government took the ‘My House My Farm scheme’ and micro-saving project under the scheme so that the poor people don’t need to bear the burden of micro-credit rather they can save money and take loans, forming a cooperative society under it.

If they save Tk200, the government would add another Tk200 to it till two years and the money would remain deposited in Palli Sanchay Bank, she added.

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Major American Corporations Eye Investments in Bangladesh: State Minister

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State Minister Ahsanul Islam

State Minister for Commerce Ahasanul Islam Titu announced on Tuesday (May 28) that major American conglomerates, including Amazon, Chevron, Coca-Cola, and Boeing, are showing keen interest in investing in Bangladesh.

“We are working to streamline the investment process for American companies, ensuring they can operate smoothly without any obstacles,” State Minister Titu told reporters following a meeting with a delegation from the US-Bangladesh Business Council at the Ministry of Commerce.

The minister highlighted that the discussion focused on simplifying investment procedures and removing any barriers that might deter new American companies from entering the Bangladeshi market.

A representative from Amazon attended the meeting, where discussions centered on the potential for Amazon to integrate Bangladeshi products into its global supply chain and enhance the local e-commerce infrastructure. “Amazon is looking into establishing a central warehouse in Bangladesh to facilitate regional and international product distribution,” Titu added.

The US delegation also explored opportunities in energy, digital payments, and startup sectors.

Titu outlined the primary goals of the United States-Bangladesh Business Council: improving market access for Bangladeshi products, facilitating US investments in Bangladesh, and strengthening bilateral relations. These efforts align with the government’s Smart Bangladesh strategy aimed at strategic growth.

Addressing concerns about some American companies withdrawing their investments from Bangladesh’s capital market, Titu emphasized the importance of welcoming international conglomerates. “If Facebook, Amazon, Chevron, Coca-Cola, and Boeing become involved in Bangladesh’s business landscape, it will significantly ease the country’s progress,” he stated.

Titu also mentioned Bangladesh’s scheduled graduation from the Least Developed Countries (LDC) category in 2026 and stressed the importance of securing market access in various countries within the next two years.

He assured that the government is committed to attracting international investors through policy support, emphasizing Bangladesh’s potential as a significant market with a stable government expected for the next five years.

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Bond Market Reforms Key to Investment Growth: Salman F Rahman

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Prime Minister’s Private Industry and Investment Adviser Salman F Rahman today underscored the need to bolster the country’s capital market to secure funding for investors.

“Globally, the capital market is the primary source for raising finance for investors. However, in our country, businessmen typically rely on bank loans for mid-term investments or expansion. We are working towards improving the bond market,” he stated.

Salman made these remarks following a meeting with an executive business delegation from the US-Bangladesh Business Council at the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) Bhaban in the city, sources said.

The meeting was attended by Board Chair of the US-Bangladesh Business Council and President and CEO of Excelerate Energy, Steven Kobos, along with President of the US-Bangladesh Business Council and South Asian Vice President of the US Chamber of Commerce, Ambassador (ret) Atul Keshap, among others.

Speaking to reporters, Salman mentioned the government’s efforts to safeguard the capital market from manipulation. “Share prices depend on the market. The government never interferes in this regard. The primary role of the government is monitoring,” he added.

He also highlighted the importance of institutional investors in strengthening the country’s capital market.

Moreover, Salman noted that US entrepreneurs have shown increased interest in investing in Bangladesh, recognizing the current government’s various development initiatives.

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PM Sheikh Hasina Seeks U.S. Business Support for ‘Smart Bangladesh’ Vision

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Sheikh Hasina

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today called on U.S. businessmen to support Bangladesh’s goal of becoming a developed and smart nation by 2041. Addressing a delegation from the US-Bangladesh Business Council at her official residence in Ganabhaban, she emphasized the importance of their partnership in this transformative journey.

“We aim to become a ‘Smart Nation’ by 2041. Your support in enhancing our global competitiveness and expanding our export base is crucial,” she said.

The Prime Minister highlighted Bangladesh’s imminent graduation from a “least developed” to a “developing” country in 2026, attributing this progress to sustained efforts over the last 15 years. “Our efforts have led to Bangladesh being recognized globally as a ‘Role Model of Socio-Economic Development’,” she stated, citing good governance, the rule of law, rural investment, women’s empowerment, and ICT advancements as key factors.

Sheikh Hasina noted the longstanding economic and developmental partnership with the U.S., which is Bangladesh’s largest export destination and source of foreign direct investment. She expressed optimism about further strengthening this relationship.

“To protect our economy from current pressures, investment—both domestic and foreign—is vital. The implementation of Bida’s One Stop Service (OSS) will facilitate this,” she said, addressing the OSS implementation progress review meeting at the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority’s (Bida) headquarters.

She urged the U.S. business community to invest in Bangladesh’s high-potential sectors, including renewable energy, shipbuilding, pharmaceuticals, and ICT. “We are establishing 100 Special Economic Zones (SEZs) and 28 hi-tech parks, making Bangladesh a prime destination for IT investments,” she added.

Highlighting Bangladesh’s competitive advantages, she mentioned the availability of a young, skilled workforce at competitive wages and the country’s liberal investment policy. She reassured investors of the government’s commitment to improving the investment environment.

In response to the Prime Minister’s address, Bida Executive Member Mohsina Yasmin presented a report on OSS progress, while NBR Chairman Abu Hena Md Rahmatul Muneem assured the business community of considering logical amendments to the Customs Act.

Sheikh Hasina underscored Bangladesh’s significant socio-economic achievements, including reduced poverty rates, increased life expectancy, and higher literacy rates, particularly among women. She noted that Bangladesh is currently one of the world’s fastest-growing economies, projected to be the 25th largest by 2030.

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