Take steps to explore marine resources: PM to businessmen

DHAKA : Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday asked the country’s businessmen to tap the growing domestic market and take steps for exploring the huge marine resources, reports UNB.
The Prime Minister came up with the suggestions when a delegation of newly elected office bearers of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) called on her at her office. FBCCI president Abdul Matlub Ahmed led the delegation.
PM’s Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim briefed reporters after the meeting.
Sheikh Hasina said not only concentrating on the RMG sector, the country’s businesses should go for tapping the vast marine resources in the Bay of Bengal, especially for deep sea fishing, following the gain of huge marine areas through the maritime boundary verdicts over Myanmar and India.
She said they should also go for tapping the growing domestic market alongside boosting exports. “The more the purchasing capacity of the common people will increase, the domestic market would get bigger,” she said.
About the government’s various steps in the power and energy sector, Sheikh Hasina said her government had set up many gas transmission lines to extend the gas connections.
Referring to the withdrawal of import duty on LPG, she said her government did not receive much response from the businessmen and suggested the local entrepreneurs go for manufacturing cylinders.
About the recent power and gas tariff hike, the Prime Minister said the government had to purchase fuel at a higher price earlier for power generation for which it had to bear a liability of Tk 38,000 crore. Out of such liability, she said, about Tk 8,000 crore have so far been paid.
Sheikh Hasina said the AL government has always been a business-friendly one. “We always create environment for flourishing businesses. We don’t do businesses of our own; rather we promote businesses for ensuring further economic development.”
Referring to the reduction of bank interest rate to a certain limit to flourish industrialisation and businesses, she said the government would try to bring the bank interest rate to single digit.
Mentioning that many Muslim countries procure Halal meats from other countries, the Prime Minister said the Bangladeshi entrepreneurs have failed to avail such opportunity and suggested them tap such potential market.
The Prime Minister said the proposed Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal (BBIN) and the Bangladesh, China, India and Myanmar (BCIM) initiatives have provisions of regional connectivity which could help flourish businesses.
Encouraging the businessmen to pay taxes, she said their paid tax is in a sense helping themselves as the government could pay incentives to them based on the tax.
She also suggested the industrialists and businessmen go for planned industrialisation having provision of water bodies so that any possible fire incident could be dealt with properly.
Pointing at the ongoing works on Dhaka-Chittagong, Dhaka-Mymensingh, Dhaka-Sylhet four lane projects alongside setting up rail link to Cox’s Bazar, Sheikh Hasina said such works would flourish industrialisation.
Putting emphasis on optimum utilisation of rawhide, she said her government is looking for suitable place for setting up slaughterhouses.
Highlighting various steps of the present government in various fields, the Prime Minister said the poverty rate has come down to 22.4 percent and the export earnings from IT sector has reached $ 300 million.
Speaking on the occasion, FBCCI president Abdul Matlub Ahmed said the country’s businessmen would work hand in hand with the government to materialise Vision-2021.
PM’s Political Affairs Adviser HT Imam, Economic Affairs Adviser Dr Moshiur Rahman and Principal Secretary Md Abul Kalam Azad were, among others, present.