In a recent statement, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of Bangladesh expressed her country’s willingness to allocate more space within its Export Processing Zones (EPZs) for Japanese companies interested in establishing industries in Bangladesh. This declaration came as a Japanese delegation conveyed the strong interest of numerous Japanese companies to invest in Bangladesh.
During discussions, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina reiterated Bangladesh’s commitment to fostering a favorable environment for Japanese investments. She stated, “Bangladesh has provided space to Japan in the EPZs, and we can allocate more space if Japan intends to establish industries.”
The Japanese parliamentary delegation, comprising five members and led by Nakanishi Yusuke, Director of the Committee on General Affairs in the House of Councillors, paid a courtesy call on the Prime Minister at her official residence, Ganabhaban. After the meeting, the Prime Minister’s press secretary, Ihsanul Karim, briefed reporters on the discussions.
The Japanese delegation emphasized the importance of further strengthening the existing development partnership between Japan and Bangladesh. They highlighted Japan’s involvement in various significant projects, including the metro-rail, and praised Japan’s contributions to infrastructure development in Bangladesh, particularly in mega projects.
The delegation also commended the recently initiated direct flight between Dhaka and Narita, emphasizing its potential to enhance connectivity between the two nations. They underscored the need to maintain peace in the Indian Ocean region to facilitate trade and business.
Additionally, the Japanese delegation praised Bangladesh’s remarkable achievements in women’s empowerment and education. In response, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina highlighted that a significant number of girls in Bangladesh receive education in educational institutions, often surpassing the enrollment of boys. She also mentioned that her government provides free education to girls.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina further sought Japanese assistance in the construction of a sea aquarium in Bangladesh, emphasizing the potential benefits of such a project.
In a separate meeting, Yohei Sasakawa, Chairman of the Nippon Foundation, informed the Prime Minister that the foundation will provide USD 3 million in support of the Rohingya population on Bhasanchar Island. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina reiterated the importance of the Rohingya people returning to their home country, Myanmar, and highlighted ongoing communication efforts with the Myanmar government in this regard.
Yohei Sasakawa, who survived the Second World War along with his mother when over one lakh people died, commended the strong friendship between Bangladesh and Japan. He also praised Bangladesh’s efforts to eliminate leprosy and rehabilitate those affected by the disease. The Nippon Foundation Chairman invited the Prime Minister to participate in the National Leprosy Conference scheduled to take place in Dhaka in October this year.
The meetings were attended by Prime Minister’s Principal Secretary M. Tofazzel Hossain Miah, Foreign Secretary (Senior Secretary) Masud Bin Momen, and Japanese Ambassador to Bangladesh Iwama Kiminon.
Vietnam’s National Assembly President Attends Forum in Dhaka for Economic Collaboration with Bangladesh
Vuong Dinh Hue, the President of the Vietnam National Assembly, recently participated in an event held in Dhaka known as the ‘Forum on Policies and Laws to Foster Economic, Trade, and Investment Collaboration between Vietnam and Bangladesh.’ This significant gathering was jointly organized by the Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Ministry of Planning and Investment, the Vietnamese Embassy in Bangladesh, and in cooperation with key entities including the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) and the Vietnamese Business Association in Bangladesh.
The forum drew the presence of a distinguished high-level delegation from the Vietnamese National Assembly, alongside prominent figures from the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI), the Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI), and a substantial representation from businesses on both sides. Additionally, various ministries from both Vietnam and Bangladesh were represented.
During the forum, three notable business-to-business Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) were inked. These agreements included collaboration between BMH Vietnam Company and Doreen Group Bangladesh, focusing on investment cooperation, technology transfer, and the advancement of pre-engineered steel production. Another agreement was reached between Bangladesh Vietnam Development Assistance Company and the Bangladesh Pharmaceutical Association, with a specific focus on pharmaceutical exchange. Lastly, Huong Giang Aviation Services and the Bangladesh Tourism Association came together to establish a tourism alliance, marking a significant step in enhancing tourism ties between the two nations.
As part of his official three-day tour, Vuong Dinh Hue visited the state-of-the-art facilities of Beximco Pharma in Tongi, where he received an informative presentation and toured the manufacturing facility.
Bangladesh’s Commitment to SDGs Unshaken Despite Global Challenges, Says PM
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has reaffirmed her government’s unwavering commitment to implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), even in the face of challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, the Ukraine war, and the climate crisis. She made this declaration during a meeting with Helen Clark, Chair of the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (PMNCH), at the United Nations Headquarters.
As part of her commitment to healthcare services accessibility for all citizens, PM Sheikh Hasina mentioned the implementation of the National Health Sector Strategic Plan (2011-2030) and a 27% increase in healthcare sector allocations for the current fiscal year 2023-24.
Helen Clark commended Bangladesh’s exceptional progress in healthcare under Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visionary leadership, citing the nation’s remarkable achievements in reducing maternal and child mortality rates and ensuring universal healthcare services.
Bangladesh’s GDP Growth to Reach 6.5% in FY24: ADB
Bangladesh’s economy is anticipated to expand by 6.5% in fiscal year 2024, reflecting an improvement in domestic demand and enhanced export growth, as per the recent Asian Development Bank (ADB) report titled “Asian Development Outlook (ADO) September 2023.” This growth projection is slightly higher than the 6.0% recorded in the previous fiscal year, driven by a recovering euro area.
Inflation is predicted to decrease to 6.6% in the current fiscal year, down from 9.0% in FY2023. Additionally, the current account deficit is expected to narrow marginally, from 0.7% of GDP in the previous fiscal year to 0.5% in FY2024, thanks to improved remittance growth.
The report identifies the main risk to this growth projection as a potential deterioration in export growth if global demand remains weaker than anticipated.
ADB Country Director Edimon Ginting commented on the government’s effective management of external economic uncertainties, highlighting ongoing infrastructure development and crucial reforms aimed at enhancing the investment climate. These structural reforms encompass bolstering public financial management, mobilizing domestic resources, optimizing logistics, and deepening the financial sector to foster private sector growth, diversify exports, and create productive employment opportunities in the medium term.
The report also underscores the importance of addressing climate change by expanding domestic renewable energy supply in the context of elevated oil prices.
The revival of private consumption, driven by moderate inflation and increased remittances, coupled with the completion of significant government infrastructure projects boosting investment, is expected to stimulate economic growth. However, the initial uptick in interest rates following adjustments to the country’s monetary policy framework may temper private investment.
Inflation is projected to ease due to lower global non-fuel commodity prices, increased agricultural production, and the initial tightening of monetary policy under the new framework.
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