Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem
Mr. Sheikh Fazle Fahim, President of the FBCCI,
Mr. Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu (রিফাত হিসারজিকলিওলো),
President of the TOBB,
Hon’ble State Minister for Foreign Affairs,
Secretary-General of the D-8,
Participants, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Assalamualaikum and A Very Good Day to you all.
I am humbled to speak at this ‘D-8 Business Forum’ on the eve of the 10th D-8 Summit. It is an important event when the Chairmanship of the D-8 Chamber of Commerce and Industries (D-8 CCI) is being handed over to the Federation of Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industries (FBCCI) from the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB). Here I would like to put on record our special appreciation for Mr. Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu (রিফাত হিসারজিকলিওলো), the President of the TOBB. Since he took over as the Chair of the D-8 CCI in 2017, he has relentlessly supported and promoted the D-8 CCI. Thank you, Mr. Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu (হিসারজিকলিওলো). I would also like to congratulate Mr. Sheikh Fazle Fahim, the President of the FBCCI for taking over the Chairmanship of the D-8 CCI. I wish you all the success in taking this Chamber to even newer heights.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
2. In this special occasion, let me first pay my deepest homage to the memory and spirit of the Greatest Bangalee of all time, Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. It was his vision of Sonar Bangla, a prosperous Bangladesh or the Golden Bengal, that we are aspiring to achieve.
3. Following the legacy of Bangabandhu, his able daughter and our Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, has also put her policy priorities of achieving economic advancement without leaving anyone left. Inclusive development is at the forefront of our national plan. With implementing this strategy, Bangladesh moved out from the World Bank-defined list of low-income countries (LIC) to Lower Middle-Income Country (LMIC) in 2015. Now it is graduating from the UN list of Least Developed Countries (LDC). This is a remarkable achievement for Bangladesh at a film where we are observing our 50th Golden Jubilee of independence and 100th anniversary of our Father of Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. This has been possible for pro-people and pro-business socio-economic policies of the Sheikh Hasina Government. Bangladesh is now a vibrant economy, a land of opportunity.
Ladies and gentlemen,
4. Risk and uncertainty are the two key elements that any business must always be prepared for. While this is true, the current age of the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR) has already begun to transform traditional industrial structures in unprecedented ways. Thus, while the objectives of the business remain the same, the way to operate is changing fast. In terms of network, it is not sufficient just to be a big business entity, but now it is also important to get engaged with many actors of different profiles, and from different fields, to ensure sustainable businesses.
5. As businessman, one cannot but accept the pressing need of enhanced connectivity and collaboration in this new reality, to ensure safe and sustainable outputs and profit margins. In this regard, the Statute of the D-8 CCI calls for such cooperation among the Member States through forging economic integration to ensure social development.
6. Today’s world is facing uncertainty in all aspects because of the COVID-19 global pandemic. The UN has estimated that the global economy is expected to lose nearly 8.5 trillion dollars in output over the next two years. It is this unfortunate situation that has compelled us to hold this auspicious Business Forum virtually. At the same time, it is on you, the leaders of business sector who have a special responsibility and challenge to help the global economy turn around.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
7. Through people centric leadership of our Hon’ble Prime Minister, Bangladesh has been able to balance between ‘life and livelihood’ to great extent during this pandemic. The government has adopted a series of stimulus packages worth of USD 14.6 billion, which is around 4.44% of our GDP with a view to protecting the income of the poor , the vulnerable and helping the revival of economic activities. Stimulus package was timely and effective.
8. The total GDP of the D-8 Member States is around 4.9% of world GDP and the total population is around 15.3% of world population. This is manifestation of the region’s consumer base for both service and commodities along with its inherent growth potentials. To tap into that, I believe D-8 CCI could play the key role through effective collaboration and partnership with their government sector in addition to their own networking mechanism.
9. Leveraging the commonalities, D-8 Member States should aim at promoting intra-trade and investment innovation. We need common investment policies, guidelines, and strategies including diaspora investment opportunities; and work for minimizing tariff and non-tariff barriers. We also need to create funds for development, R&D, technology transfer, capacity building and support for institutions and centres of excellence, including the SME and blue economy sectors. We would like to particularly stress on the area of innovation and mainstreaming them in our developmental strategy circuit.
Ladies and gentlemen,
10. Finally, I would again like to express my appreciation to the new Chair of the D-8 CCI, the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI), and also to the immediate past Chair, the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB) for their laudable arrangements. The Secretary-General of the D-8 Secretariat of course deservers special appreciation for his sincere efforts and significant contribution. I would also like to render my sincerest gratitude to all the delegates from across D-8 for joining this Business Forum, albeit virtually, and thus manifesting your commitment to the development of not only your respective countries but the D-8 as a whole. This is the spirit that moves things in the right direction in a sustainable and manner. I wish you a productive and joyous afternoon ahead.
Long live the Developing-8 Organization for Economic Cooperation.