Our good friend and a great well-wisher of Bangladesh Jon Danilowicz, the newly appointed DCM of the US Embassy in Bangladesh,
Honorable Ambassador of Myanmar and Deputy High Commissioners from British & Australian High Commission,
Honorable members from the Diplomatic Missions and Donor Agencies,
Distinguished Leaders of the Country,
Directors and Members of IBFB,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Assalamu Alaikum and Good Evening to all of you.
It is indeed my pleasure to welcome Mr. Jon Danilowicz, the New Deputy Chief of Mission of the US Embassy in Bangladesh. Please let me say a few words about Jon and his attachment to Bangladesh. After his graduation with a Bachelor’s of Science in Foreign Service degree (magna cum laude) from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service in 1989, Jon was awarded a Masters of Arts in National Security Affairs (with highest distinction) from the U.S. Naval War College in 2003. Jon was later detailed to the Naval War College in 2006 for a one-year assignment as a Professor in the Strategy and Policy Department. Jon began his foreign service career as Vice Consul/Third Secretary in Dhaka from 1990 – 1992, and later served as the Department of State’s country desk officer for Bangladesh from 1997 – 1999. Prior to his current position as the Deputy Chief of Mission in Bangladesh, Jon served previously in Dhaka as Counselor for Political and Economic Affairs from 2007 – early 2011. He also managed U.S. law enforcement and counter narcotics programs as NAS Director in Panama City from 2003-2006. Jon hails from Massachusetts and is a life-long Red Sox fan. His wife Nancy and younger daughter Katie reside with him in Dhaka, while sons Jon Jr., and Christopher and daughter Emily are living in the United States.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
As you may aware, International Business Forum of Bangladesh (IBFB) is a Government registered nationwide business forum launched in September 2006. IBFB’s membership comprises of all classes of entrepreneurs from all over Bangladesh as well as foreign countries. The uniqueness of IBFB is that, besides the businesspersons, the intellectuals or the members of the civil society who wish to contribute for business and economic growth of the country can also take a membership of this organization. It is a primary chamber or business forum with the territory of whole Bangladesh, which as always will voice mostly on national issues and policies with the decision makers. The primary objective of IBFB is to promote trade and commerce, accountable governance for creating investment climate and for doing so, it puts a lot of emphasis on research and advocacy through dialogue. We at IBFB strive for identifying common challenges and obstacles faced by the business community, and we lobby for any change in policymaking, which we believe, will improve the business climate in Bangladesh and have a strong and positive impact on enhancing trade, commerce and investment. In this regard, IBFB in cooperation with USAID and IFC had accomplished several researches and advocacy programs in the past. Let me mention some of them for your kind understanding such as Shipbuilding Industry, Light Engineering Sector, Improving Transparency in Environment Clearance Certificate for Industrial Ventures, Role of Media for Business Advocacy, Problems in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Bangladesh, Business Ethics, Industrial Credit and Improving Transparency of State-owned Commercial Banks, Public Service Delivery, Complexities in Income Tax Laws and its simplification, City Governance and Private Sector Development, Strengthening Local Governance, The Need of Energy Producers and Government Perspectives, Reducing Corruption in Property Registration and IFC Ranking of Doing Business in Bangladesh etc. To reduce corruption from the top, we conducted a research and a follow-up workshop for effective public financial management. In this regard, we recommended for strengthening the CAG (Comptroller & Auditor General) Office for which the enactment of an Audit Act in the Parliament is also necessary.
Being non-partisan, IBFB has every intention to promote just causes for transparency and good governance, especially when it pertains to the economy of Bangladesh. As a membership-based organization, we already have 330 members from home and abroad. The Honorable Commerce Minister along with the FBCCI President has launched the first IBFB Chapter Office in Chittagong on 21st March 2012, and we wish to establish more chapter offices in other metropolitan cities around the country. This organization is working as a bridge between the stakeholders and policy makers, which may also be treated as a Center for Policy Reforms through research-based logic and argument, which will help the country and the civil society in particular to raise their voices for necessary reforms in the governance. There were about 40 MPs, couple of Ministers and Chairs of Parliamentary Standing Committees, Ambassadors and High Commissioners of different Foreign Missions, Leaders of the Civil Society who also participated in our seminars and workshops not only in Dhaka but also in Chittagong, Khulna and Rajshahi. Such activities and remarkable achievements certainly prove the strengths and expertise of IBFB in quality research and advocacy.
Before concluding my speech, I once again convey my gratitude to Jon Danilowicz and wish him a grand success in his new endeavors as the new Deputy Chief of Mission of the US Embassy in Bangladesh. Once again, I thank to the honorable Ambassador of Myanmar and Deputy High Commissioners from British & Australian High Commission, and other distinguished dignitaries and guests for taking some of their valuable time off to come and attend our program.
Thank you all.
Mahmudul Islam Chowdhury