‘Blue economy has immense potential but lacks proper planning’
Marine economy has immense potentials but remained shrank in limited areas that need proper planning and implementation to take advantage of the sea resources for national development, said Rear Admiral (Retd.) Md. Khurshed Alam, Secretary, Maritime Affairs Unit in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,
He highlighted these possibilities while presenting a key note on a workshop titled "Blue Economy and Course of Actions" at the FBCCI office on Sunday. He said the total sea area of Bangladesh is about 664 km, but fish is harvested in only 60 km.
He said Bangladesh's share in global fish production is limited to only 2.6 percent. Whereas China alone supplies 61 percent of the world's fish. In the same way, despite having vast sea areas there is still a huge amount of offshore oil and gas beyond reach. Though several plans were taken in this regard, it has not come into light.
In contrast, Myanmar has already started extracting mineral resources from near the Bangladesh sea blocks in the Bay of Bengal. He said the oceanic economic zone of Bangladesh is equal to 81 percent of the mainland. There are one and a half lakh ships transporting goods through oceanic ways all over the world, which is worth of 9 billion dollars, however Bangladesh owns only 70.
Seventy Four Percent of Containers are used in Asia which opens another wing of investment opportunity for Bangladesh as the total trade is growing at a rate of 15 percent every year, meaning the demand of Container will keep going up.
Prime Minister Adviser on Private Industries and Investment Salman F. Rahman MP, was present as the chief guest on the occasion. He said blue economy is a new potential sector for investment in Bangladesh. It is possible to export billion dollars worth of goods from this sector in the next few years.
He 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 to fix the policy strategy.
Speaking at the workshop, Deputy Minister in the Ministry of 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.
Sirajul Islam, Executive Chairman, BIDA, who spoke special guest in the workshop, said that an International Investment Conference is going to be held in Dhaka on 26-29 November. The Blue Economy will be discussed separately at that conference.
The event was presided over by FBCCI President Md. Jashim Uddin. He 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.
Earlier CPD's research director and FBCCI's panel advisor Dr. Khandaker Golam Moazzem, said There is no disagreement about the potential of this sector. But there are no plans yet. There are also doubts about who is the guardian of this sector. Instead of different ministries working separately, if BIDA takes over the charge, quick benefits can be obtained. The workshop was moderated by Mohammad Mahfuzul Hoque, CEO of FBCCI.