The consecutive 9th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of International Business Forum of Bangladesh (IBFB) was held on Thursday (24 April 2014) at Hotel Pan Pacific Sonargaon, in the city where election of the President, Vice President, Vice President (Finance) and four positions in the Board of Directors took place.
Mr. Abul Maal A. Muhith, MP, Honorable Finance Minister was present in the AGM as the Chief Guest, whereas Mr. M. A. Mannan, MP, Honorable State Minister of Finance & Planning, H.E. Dan W. Mozena, US Ambassador in Bangladesh, Mr. Kazi Akram Uddin Ahmed, President of FBCCI and Mr. S. M. Amzad Hossain, Chairman of SBAC Bank Limited were also present as Special Guests. The AGM was chaired by Mr. Hafizur Rahman Khan, President of IBFB and Chairman of Runner Group of Companies.
The Finance Minister, in his remarks as the Chief Guest, praised Bangladeshi entrepreneurs for their outstanding contributions to the national economy in spite of various obstacles they normally face. He said, Bangladesh has been able to continue private sector growth and attained some remarkable achievements especially in foreign reserve, export earnings, remittance flows etc. One of the greatest strength of Bangladesh, he said, is its 8 millions workforce working all around the globe, which will increase soon to 12 million. He informed the audiences that the Govt. has given importance to supply of power and energy and also taken some strong and expensive measures as a result of which the power generation raised up to 11,000 MW from 3,500 MW.
The State Minister of Finance and Planning thanked IBFB for their commendable role in finding out business and economic problems and coming forward with pragmatic suggestions and encouraged to continue their endeavors. The FBCCI president reiterated that the Bank Interest Rate should be reduced to help the entrepreneurs cope with the losses caused during the volatile political situation in the last year.
The US Ambassador at the outset of his remarks commemorated the victims of Rana Plaza tragedy that killed 1135 people and destroyed thousands of families. He reiterated his confidence that Brand Bangladesh will become a Premium Brand, a Preferred Brand in the world. The US Ambassador also informed the participants about US-Bangladesh bilateral relationship in various aspects such military partnership, combating terrorism and violent extremism, fight against trafficking of persons, arms and drugs, disaster responses etc. He hoped that TICFA inaugural session to be held in the next week in Dhaka will turn out to be a great success which will also be resulted in restoration of GSP facilities of Bangladeshi products in the US Market for which, as recognized by him, Bangladesh Govt. and other stakeholders are working very hard.
IBFB President Mr. Hafizur Rahman Khan, in his opening remarks, opined that Bangladeshi entrepreneurs have to compete with entrepreneurs of other countries where there is no frequent electricity failure, no high bank interest rate, transportation of goods does not take so much time as in Bangladesh (almost 12 hours for 250 kml), no strike, no destruction, no burning of vehicles etc. Still our entrepreneurs are successfully competing with them and sustaining in spite of this uneven playing field. I am sure, he said, our entrepreneurs deserve special thanks for such remarkable achievements. He requested the Finance Minister to take effective measures so that politics cannot harm and jeopardize regular business and economic activities of the country in future. The IBFB President also requested all political parties irrespective of their political philosophies and wisdoms to ensure political stability so that the natural flow of business and economic activities in the country remain uninterrupted. He, on behalf of IBFB urged political leaders to resolve all political problems and relevant discrepancies through dialogues, mutual respect, and coordination.