Japan plans to complete the construction of the Matarbari Deep seaport by 2026, a senior official of the Japanese Foreign Ministry told the FE.
Matarbari deep sea port is considered a game changer for the regional economy.
The survey for the port was completed in 2018 and the loan agreement was signed in 2019, said Iwamoto Keiichi, deputy director general of the Southeast and Southwest Asian Affairs Department of Japanese foreign ministry.
As per the schedule, the port construction will be completed by 2026, and Japan is confident of meeting the deadline, he mentioned.
Mr Iwamoto also pointed out that in line with the decisions taken by the two leaders- Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abbey -during latter’s visit to Dhaka, Japan committed to extending cooperation in several sectors.
“These sectors are; improvement of transportation, stable energy supply, development of spatial economic zone and development of the private sector.
Mr Iwamoto mentioned that big projects like MRT, deep seaport, railway bridge on the river Jamuna and cross border road network are being funded by Japanese government.
Responding to a question, Mr Iwamoto said that Bangladesh’s dependency on a single sector like textile is vulnerability for its export basket.
He suggested diversification if the export basket of Bangladesh.
Addressing the challenge of making up the declining gas reserves of the country is crucial to its economy, he noted.
He also stated improvements in basic infrastructure like roads and ports are also crucial to the attract foreign investors.
In this regard, he mentioned that in the area of customs, Bangladesh needs to do more reforms, as many investors and businessmen face problems with the existing customs procedure of Bangladesh
Mr Iwamoto says that bilateral trade between Japan and Bangladesh is growing though there is a little deficit for Bangladesh.
Bangladesh can offset this deficiency by improving its export basket.
He mentioned that last year Bangladesh's import from Japan was $1.8 billion while Bangladesh's export to Japan was $1.2 billion.
Responding to another question, Mr Iwamoto said that a number of Japanese companies are planning to relocate from China to other South Asian countries and Bangladesh may take the opportunity if it can further improve its investment climate.
He mentioned that the abundant cheap labour in Bangladesh is a strength of the country.
However, he pointed out the Japanese companies which have already relocated their factories from China have found their destination mainly in Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia.
Responding to another question, Mr Iwamoto said that under the Indo Pacific strategy Japan has no plan to provide any economic package but friendly countries like Bangladesh are getting assistance from Japan in various sectors since inception.