Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has said that her government wants to expand its relations with the Gulf in trade, tourism, investment and strategic partnership for economic development alongside bolstering the trade ties with the UAE.
"My government wants to attract foreign investments towards new sectors such as port, energy, power, real estate, civil aviation, tourism and telecommunications," she said.
The Prime Minister came up with the views in separate interviews with the Gulf News and Khaleej Times during her three-day (Oct 25-27) visit to the UAE.
"We want to expand the relationship with the Gulf in trade, tourism, investment and strategic partnership for economic development," Hasina told the Gulf News.
The visit is a continuation of Sheikh Hasina's past visit to the UAE in January, 2011, for furthering the level of UAE-Bangladesh partnership to a comprehensive, strategic and sustainable level.
"The economic opportunities prevailing in Bangladesh are strong enough to attract foreign investors. One has to take interest, come and see us. We'll do the rest to facilitate. From our side, we've eased the regulatory environment and made them more conducive to foreign direct investment," she said.
"The investment climate is now much better in Bangladesh than before. We have also ensured political stability. We are now trying to promote our attractiveness to large investor groups, including from the UAE and Middle East," Hasina said.
She said Bangladesh hopes to play an active role in some of the UAE's exciting platforms - like the World Expo 2020 and Dubai Design District - to promote its products, services, cuisine and culture, and to demonstrate its socioeconomic progress.
In another interview with the Khaleej Times while her attention was drawn about the last election and the election boycott of BNP and some other parties, she said, "The system of caretaker government has been declared unconstitutional by the highest court of the country. Interestingly, the system was challenged in the highest court by a citizen during the Bangladesh Nationalist Party regime."
"Everybody would have to abide by the order of the highest court. Boycott of some parties did not affect the last elections. Many feared that the chaotic situation created by some opposition parties before the election would continue afterwards. But that did not happen as people do not like recurrence of such violence and anarchy. Now a peaceful situation is prevailing in the country," she said.
"And after the elections the world leaders extended support to my government. Recently, our speaker has been elected executive chairperson of the prestigious Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) and one of our parliament members was elected as President of Inter-parliamentary Union (IPU). This is the testimony of world support and confidence for our government and parliament."
"Our exports continued to grow double digit to more than $30.5 billion, while remittance continued to grow, reaching its peak to $14.46 billion in 2013-14. As a result, our foreign exchange reserves also shot up and currently remain stable at around $22 billion - the highest in our history. The value of Bangladeshi Taka remains stable, occasionally gaining in value against the US dollar. So any foreign investor could reap good dividends from their investment in Bangladesh," Hasina told the Khaleej Times.
"Bangladesh will take keen interest if Dubai government requires any form of alliance between Dubai Design District and Bangladesh apparel manufacturers. Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) may get involved in this sector if they are given the opportunity."
Further marking its friendly ties with the UAE, Bangladesh recently extended unilateral 'visa on arrival' facilities for UAE citizens that allow Emiratis to visit to Bangladesh without prior visa.
Talking about the relation with India, she told the Gulf News that the government always has wonderful relations with India irrespective of the ruling party in New Delhi.
"It is natural to have some problems between neighbours. But my policy has been to have bilateral talks without any mediator, which has solved many problems including disputes on Ganges water sharing and border demarcation. I had a cordial meeting with India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New York recently and relations are excellent," she added.
Responding to a question about signing the Teesta accord despite opposition from West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, she said: "I don't know. I don't want to make any comment. We know what she did. Indian central government is very cooperative and so also other politicians. She did not cooperate. But I am sure she will realise and cooperate one day."
Talking about the voting rights of the expatriate Bangladeshis, she said voting by expatriate Bangladeshis in the country's elections is a complex issue. However, the Election Commission of Bangladesh is working on it so that NRBs can cast their votes. ?UNB