The 7th Annual General Meeting of IBFB
The International Business Forum of Bangladesh (IBFB) held its 7th Annual General Meeting on 31 March 2012 at Hotel Pan Pacific Sonargaon. The meeting commenced at 11.30 AM with the presence of the IBFB members, Guests and journalists from various press and print media. The Chief Guest at the event was H.E. Dan W. Mozena, the US Ambassador to Bangladesh. The other Special Guests at the event were Mr. A. K. Azad, President, FBCCI and Mr. Aftab Ul Islam, President, AmCham.
Mr. Mahmudul Islam Chowdhury, President, IBFB presided over the programme. In his opening speech, he gave emphasis on the growing interest of business personalities in becoming a member of IBFB, which at present has 325 members. He also spoke of the several research and advocacy workshops conducted by IBFB on Shipbuilding Industry, Light Engineering Sector, Environment Clearance for Industrial Ventures, Strong Public Financial Management, Business Ethics, Industrial Credit and Improving Transparency of State-owned Commercial Banks, Complexities in Income Tax Laws and its simplification, City Governance and Private Sector Development, Strengthening Local Governance, The Needs of Energy Consumers, The Need of Energy Producers and Government Perspectives.
Mr. Mahmudul Islam Chowdhury stressed the need for success of democracy in Bangladesh through effective and accountable local governance. IBFB is working as a bridge between the stakeholders and policy makers.
In his speech as Special Guest, Mr. A. K. Azad, President, FBCCI thanked the members of IBFB for inviting him as the special guest. He expressed his willingness to work with IBFB in future to enhance the Bangladesh economy. He suggested decreasing the unemployment rate of Bangladesh by exporting more manpower and sought the assistance of the US Ambassador in Bangladesh in getting duty-free access in the United States market for the Bangladeshi garments industry. He also mentioned that FBCCI seeks to decrease the gap between Bangladesh and World Bank, as Bangladesh needs the support of World Bank in order to strengthen the infrastructure.
Mr. Aftab Ul Islam, President, AmCham in his speech as Special Guest shared his joy at being present in the 7th Annual General Meeting. He urged the IBFB to look into the issues such as ICT, infrastructure which is being constrained by many laws. A change needs to be brought in place to help improve the infrastructure.
H.E. Dan W. Mozena, Ambassador of the United States of America in Bangladesh, expressed his love for Bangladesh as it has great prospects, prosperity and improved quality of life. He also emphasized that Golden Bangladesh is not a myth but it is possible in a decade or so. He expressed his vision of Bangladesh becoming the China in export, meaning, Bangladesh could be the world’s biggest exporter of readymade garments, household textiles, information technology, pharmaceuticals, silk products, finished leather goods and jute. The Bengal tiger would devour other countries in the region and produce ample food supplies to nutritionally benefit the Bangladesh society. Goldman Sachs sighted Bangladesh as emerging business prospective nation. He believes Bangladesh can take its rightful place in the global economy as it is united by a rich culture and richly endowed with natural resources, which if properly exploited will make the country self sufficient. The global economy is shifting. Bangladeshi products are increasing in demand. China is altered its economy and relocating RMG manufacturing to Bangladesh. It should be the destination of choice for RMG manufacturers. The pharmaceutical manufacturing industry is an emerging. The decline in other countries of silk production is reflecting upon Bangladeshi businessmen to capture the opportunity. The shipbuilders in Bangladesh are looking towards America as a market. The prospects of middle-income Bangladesh cannot occur easily. Bangladesh has to take tough decisions and greatly expand trade.
Bureaucracy, red tape, corruption discourages investment in Bangladesh. The American investors decided not to invest after years of trying to get into the market but could not so for the system. He expressed his disappointment of the leading political parties not coming to unison to decide on the next election. This in turn, dissuades investors to the country. A strong economy for Bangladesh requires healthy people and the American government will do its part to help Bangladesh become a middle-income country. The reality of Bangladeshi success or failure of becoming a middle-income country lies largely with the business leaders of the nation. They have the resources, vision and expertise to run a business or government efficiently. They know how to overcome corruption and strengthen the energy sector in order to make it the China of Business.
Md. Abdus Salam