The 4th Annual General Meeting of IBFB

The 4th Annual General Meeting of IBFB was held on 12 March, 2009 at Dhaka Sheraton Hotel with a participation of about 128 distinguished guests from different business sectors including a number of IBFB members. There were three sessions in the AGM- Inaugural session, Breakout Sessions and the Elections. Hon’ble Minister for Commerce, Muhammad Faruk Khan attended the inaugural session as the Chief Guest, Dr. Hasan Mahmud, Hon’ble State Minister for foreign Affairs enlightened the programme as Special Guest. Mr. Todd M. Sorenson, Director, Governance, USAID, US Embassy was also present as Special Guest at the meeting to make the programme successful.

IBFB President Mr. Mahmudul Islam Chowdhury has started the programme by requesting all to keep 1 minute silence to pay the tributes for the lost souls of our national heroes in the Pilkhana’s heinous mutiny on 25th February 2009.

Mr. Mahmudul Islam Chowdhury delivered his visionary speech to the audience. Hon’ble State Minister for foreign Affairs, Dr. Hasan Mahmud also delivered his valuable speech at the inaugural session. In his speech he mentioned the importance of the contribution of business sector in the growth of Bangladesh economy. According to him private sector should take the initiative for which govt. would act as facilitator. Hon’ble Minister realized the necessity of long term plan associated with short term plan for sustainable development. For this overpopulated country industries should be labor intensive. He advised the business community to accumulate their capital in the stock market so that the benefit of an individual company can be shared by small investors and hence common people. He also requested the business community not to use the arable land for establishing heavy industries.

Mr. Todd M. Sorenson made some valuable remarks on IBFB’s operation. He wished all the success and also ensured continued support of US govt. to it’s initiative.

Hon’ble Minister for Commerce, Muhammad Faruk Khan also delivered his speech for which audience was awaiting. He started his speech by giving thanks to IBFB for inviting him at the meeting. Hon’ble Minister appreciated IBFB’s initiatives in trade promotion and private sector development. He realized the necessity of an organization like IBFB in business policy advocacy.

In his speech he claimed that price of essential commodities has started falling soon after the formation of the present government and it will continue to fall he hoped.

A power point presentation delivered at the programme on IBFB’s activities, objectives and future plan clearly demonstrated the audience the purpose of IBFB in trade promotion and development activities.

Two breakout sessions were arranged after the inaugural programme. In the sessions participants discussed “How can price hike of essential commodities be controlled & How corruption affects business”. Prof. Muzaffer Ahmad, Chairman, TIB was present as the Chief Guest of the sessions. Professor Mustafizur Rahman, Executive Chairman, Centre for Policy Dialogue chaired the sessions.

Mr. Iqbal Hossain, Member, IBFB presented a key note paper on Price hike and Dr. Khalid Hasan, Managing Director AC Nielsen presented a key note paper on Corruption. After the presentations various recommendations came out from the resource persons who were present at the session.

According to Dr. Rahman people under the poverty line do not get opportunity to corrupt. He also agreed that discretionary power of the govt. officials should be reduced. He suggested govt. to establish a permanent pay commission for the benefits of the govt. servants.

He also felt that the gap between the salary structure of private and public sector job must be narrowed. Most of the Laws and Regulations related to establish business and running business are obsolete. They need to be updated in order to keep up with the time.

Prof. Muzaffer Ahmad, Chief Guest of the session delivered his valuable speech at the end of the session. He requested Government to reopen the system of accounting of expenditure and income of Govt. employees. He requested business community to give reward to the people who are honest in spite of the hardness of their low earnings. He requested them not to give gifts to the people who do not need any help. Prof Ahmed was shocked that the representatives of the people always do work beyond the constitution. If they were honest to their own assigned work, the scenario of corruption might have been different. According to him corruption stands on three pillars: Business, Bureaucrats, and politician. Corruption if removed from any one of these will definitely inspire others not to get involved in corrupt practices. He urged people from all quarter of the society to initiate anti corruption movement. He stressed the need for working together in the fight against corruption.

He requested business chambers and association to support and protect consumers’ well being so that there is no need of government intervention. Prof. Ahmed also invited people from the business community at the TIB head quarter to discuss with him any productive issues related to anti corruption.

Mr. Jon Danilowwicz, the Counselor for Economic and Political Affairs, US Embassy addressed the closing session as the Chief Guest. He also spoke at the programme. Mr. Danilowwicz also praised the role of IBFB and mentioned that US Embassy will continue providing support to IBFB.

In the closing session the result of the Election of the Board of Directors of IBFB was announced. The Newly Elected Board of Directors are:

* Mr. Hafizur Rahman Khan

* Mr. Syed Enamul Hoque Murad

* Mr. Fahim A Faruk Choudhury

* Mr. Farhad Ahmed Akand

* Ms. Umme Fatema

Among them Ms Umme Fatema was newly elected, while the others were re-elected.

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