Billion dollars export possible from blue economy: Salman
DHAKA, – Prime Minister’s Private Industry and Investment Adviser Salman F Rahman today said that blue economy is a new potential sector for investment in Bangladesh and it is possible to export billion dollars from this sector in the next few years.
The Adviser said this while addressing a workshop as the chief guest titled “Blue Economy and Course of Actions” held at the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) office today. Salman advised the FBCCI and BIDA to work together to find out why the progress of the once emerging sector, shipbuilding industry has slowed down, and thus to fix the policy strategy. In addition, he said deep sea fishing trawlers or ships can be built under both domestic and foreign ownership.
However, in this case, it is necessary to amend the policy of the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock. Speaking as the special guest at the workshop, Deputy Minister for Water Resources AKM Enamul Hoque Shameem said that along with the plan to utilize the marine economy, the policy of conservation of these resources should also be adopted.
Md Sirajul Islam, Executive Chairman, Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA), who was the special guest at the workshop, said that an International Investment Conference is going to be held on November 26-29. The Blue Economy will be discussed separately at that conference. While making his key-note presentation, Rear Admiral (Retd.) Md Khurshed Alam, Secretary, Maritime Affairs Unit, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said that the total sea area of Bangladesh is 664 km, but fish is harvested in only 60 km. Therefore, Bangladesh’s share in global fish production is limited to only 2.6 percent where China alone supplies 61 percent of the world’s fish.
In the same way, Khurshed said despite having sea frontier, there is still a huge amount of offshore oil and gas beyond reach. “Although several plans have been taken in this regard, it has not come into light.
In contrast, Myanmar has already started extracting mineral resources from near the sea block of Bangladesh,” he added. Khurshed said not only fish or mineral resources, rather Ocean Economy may change the whole picture of the economy of Bangladesh. “By utilizing the marine resources, various industries including tourism, shipbuilding, deep sea fishing, container, medicine, cosmetics industry can be developed.”
He said that the ocean economic zone of Bangladesh is equal to 81 percent of the mainland while there are one and a half lakh ships transporting goods through ocean ways all over the world, which is worth of 9 billion dollars. However, Bangladesh owns only 70. Khurshed said although there are several seaports in Bangladesh, they are not suitable for mother vessels. In such a situation, the completion of Matarbari deep sea port will help to exploit the potential of Blue economy, he opined.
The event was presided over by FBCCI President Md Jashim Uddin. Jashim said the maritime economy could play an effective role in attracting foreign investment and creating employment in post LDC era. The FBCCI will submit recommendations to the government to determine the strategy for the sector based on the issues discussed at the workshop. In his closing remarks, Mostofa Azad Chowdhury Babu, Senior Vice President of FBCCI, said that the FBCCI would celebrate Victory Day on December 16 along with the private sector. Earlier in the panel discussion, CPD’s research director and FBCCI’s panel advisor Dr Khandaker Golam Moazzem, said There is no disagreement about the potential of this sector.
“Instead of different ministries working separately, if BIDA takes over the charge, quick benefits can be obtained.” East West University professor and FBCCI panel advisor Dr A K Enamul Haque said the growth of the world economy in the next 10 to 20 years will be blue economy-centric. He called for investment in tourism, shipbuilding, ship breaking, fishing, ports and maritime equipment to harness the blue economy.
However, he urged to eliminate policy discrimination between foreign and local entrepreneurs. FBCCI Vice Presidents M A Momen, Aminul Haque Shamim, Amin Helaly, Salahuddin Alamgir, Habib Ullah Dawn and other directors and advisors of the FBCCI were also present at the workshop. The workshop was moderated by Mohammad Mahfuzul Hoque, CEO of FBCCI.