4:32 pm - Wednesday September 25, 1016

President pleads for infrastructure

President Md. Abdul Hamid emphasised maintaining business-friendly environment for generating much-needed jobs for teeming millions through accelerating the country’s socioeconomic advances.

Also suggesting that the government create required infrastructure for economic expansion, he said that the rest of the development works would be done by the businesses by harnessing potential from home and abroad.

The President made the suggestions while addressing the inaugural session of a two-day ICC international conference at the Bangabandhu International Conference Center in Dhaka as the chief guest.

ICCB-300ICC Bangladesh (ICCB), the national chapter of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), a world business organisation, has arranged the high-profile business meet on “Global Economic Recovery: Asian Perspective” in celebration of 20 years of its presence in the country.

“With more than two million people being added to our labour force each year, we need to provide adequate employment opportunities,” the President told his business audience from home and abroad.

He mentioned that since independence, the country has been pursuing socioeconomic development for the wellbeing of its people.

“We’ve achieved over six-percent GDP growth for the last two decades.

“Simultaneously, we have achieved major progress in human development,” he said.

The head of state also pointed out that the life expectancy increased to 70.3 years, child mortality rate declined to 41 per cent and literacy rate went up to 59.82 per cent.

“Five years after the global financial crisis, the world economy is showing signs of bouncing back with a recovery in high-income countries,” he said about the current global economic trends.

Asia, especially China, Japan and India, played the key role in overcoming the economic downturn.  “…Asia’s reform momentum must be maintained to ensure the region’s position as the global growth leader,” he said, and hoped that Asia would continue to lead the way for sustained world growth.

Opening the conference, the President expected that the conclave “will surely open up a window of opportunity for exploring the potentialities of Asian countries and thus taking proper initiatives for a better Asia”.

The inaugural session was also addressed, among others, by Finance Minister Abul Maal A Muhith, Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed, UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi, ICC vice-chairman and incoming ICC president Sunil Bharti Mittal, Chairman of Fung Global Institute and Chairman of ICC Research Foundation Dr Victor K. Fung, ICC Bangladesh President Mahbubur Rahman and vice-president Latifur Rahman.

Present among others at the opening function were ICC secretary- general John Danilowich, Commerce and Supplies Minister of Nepal Sunil Bahadur Thapa, the Deputy Minister for Commerce of Myanmar.

A total of around 500 delegates, including experts, policymakers and business leaders, from home and abroad are attending the Dhaka meet.

Mr Muhith underlined the need for continuously reducing poverty and imbalances in society to generate demand in the economy.

He hoped that there would have exchange of views at the ICC international conference to learn how China managed to continue development growth and creation of demand in its economy.

Tofail Ahmed said despite many adversities, Bangladesh achieved tremendous economic growth, where the business community has greater contribution.  Mr Mukhisa Kituyi put emphasis on inclusive investment for sustainable development. He also put forward some ideas to discuss at the business sessions of the international conference, trying to find resolutions.

Praising the role of ICC Bangladesh in the development of trade and commerce in the region, Mr Mittal underscored accelerating the economic growth to take away the disparity from society.

He noted that the Bangladesh model of growth holds hope for all developing countries striving for development.

Mr Mahbubur Rahman said, “We all recognise that Asia has tremendous potential. Yet, in our quest for progress, we should not overlook the situation facing us.” Asia is home to 4.4 billion people, or about 60 per cent of humanity, living on 30 per cent of its landmass. It has the highest density of population among all the countries. “This has been a tremendous source of strength for us,” he said.

“From Asia’s young population, we get the labour that enables us to export labour-intensive products. At the same time, our workers go abroad to provide services and send remittances amounting to billions of dollars. Clearly, there are limits to this process.”

He observed that the high density of population in countries such as Bangladesh raises concerns about environmental sustainability. “It is imperative that technology provide a solution to our problems; otherwise, the consequences can be disastrous in the long run.”

Citing the likely increase in wealth inequality despite more development, he hoped for deliberations and way forward on it.

Mr Latifur Rahman thanked all the guests and participants at the conference. He also lauded the role of Mr Mahbubur Rahman for his relentless and outstanding effort for the betterment of trade and commerce in Bangladesh.

Later, President Md. Abdul Hamid unveiled the cover of a special publication on the conference. Today (Sunday), a plenary session on ‘Global Economic Recovery: Contemporary Reality’ and three business sessions with separate themes will take place at the Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel.

The themes are: ‘Asian Growth: Realities and Challenges’, ‘Trade: Does the Bali Outcome Hold Promise for the Future?’, and ‘Promoting Investment in Asia’.

– Courtesy FE