Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has urged the country's businessmen to put more concentration on research for product diversification and own branding to boost export and business growth.
"You (Businessmen) have to move ahead (inside and outside the country) through developing your own brand," she said.
The prime minister came up with the statement while inaugurating the month-long Dhaka International Trade Fair (DITF)-2022 virtually from Ganabhaban on Saturday, reports BSS.
The 26th edition of the trade fair has started at Bangabandhu Bangladesh-China Friendship Exhibition Centre (BBCFEC) at Purbachal, in the outskirts of the capital.
Sheikh Hasina said research is needed for the expansion of trade and commerce to understand and maintain the product demand and its quality.
In this connection, she said, industry owners and exporters should put their focus on this issue to boost export.
"I called upon you (businessmen) that you have to take the initiative to uphold the image of your own countryside by side with keeping your market afloat and expand by maintaining the quality of your products," she added.
Referring to the country's up-gradation as a developing nation, Sheikh Hasina said that there is still a long way to go to fulfil the dream of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the government is working relentlessly to materialise it.
To this end, she said that foreign ministry and all the high commissions, embassies and missions abroad have already been directed to work and go ahead following the strategy that "our present diplomacy will be economic diplomacy".
She continued that the government has already conducted feasibility studies on 23 countries for bilateral and regional trade agreements, free trade agreements and comprehensive economic agreements.
"We are working and taking preparation to tackle any challenges as a developing nation," she added.
With Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi, MP, in the chair, Export Promotion Bureau Vice Chairman and CEO AHM Ahsan gave the welcome address. Commerce Ministry's Senior Secretary Tapan Kanti Ghosh and FBCCI President Md Jashim Uddin also spoke.
At the outset of the ceremony, an audio-visual highlighting the development activities of the present government was screened.
The prime minister, at the function, also declared "ICT Products and Services" as the "Product of the Year" for 2022 to encourage exports in accordance with the export policy.
It was not possible to arrange the DITF in the last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but now the trade fair is taking place at its permanent venue (BBCFEC) for the first time.
This year, the government has arranged the fair keeping in mind the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the golden jubilee of the country's independence and the development activities of the government.
Sheikh Hasina extended credit to industrial entrepreneurs-owners-labourers as they had pulled the country's economy ahead even during the Covid-19 pandemic, saying that the economy was not stalled fully rather it was kept rolling, whereas the economies of many countries across the globe stood still almost completely.
Referring to 8 per cent growth attained by her government before the outbreak of the lethal virus, the prime minister hoped that they will surpass it again in future overcoming all barriers.
She also briefly described the government's steps and stimulus packages taken to keep the wheels of the economy moving.
Sheikh Hasina urged the businessmen to explore new markets for Bangladeshi items and diversify the products which are urgently needed to raise export growth.
"During this pandemic, food product's demand is increasing in many countries and this trend will never slow down," she noted, referring to the scenarios witnessed by the world in the Covid-19 pandemic period.
She said the demand in the local market is also growing fast as the country's economic activity has increased significantly.
In this connection, she urged the business community to produce agricultural products and look into food production and processing.
The head of government also laid emphasis on improving the quality and standard of existing export items and finding out the demand for various products across the globe. "You've to find out new countries, know their product demands."
In this context, she referred to leather and leather products, jute and jute goods, processed foods and agricultural items.
The premier said now the world has entered into the technological era and the government has taken time befitting initiatives to develop skilled manpower keeping in mind the fourth industrial revolution (4IR). "Our goal is that we don't want to lag behind anyhow."
About the trade fair, she said when an international fair is organised local businessmen and traders get the chances of exchanging their views with others of different countries which helps them to know about the demand of products and way of diversification.
She opined that the fair would also help the businessmen to find out partners as it is very much required to run business both at home and abroad.
Sheikh Hasina expected that the month-long fair will further spread the message of the country's potential among entrepreneurs, traders, industrialists, exporters, buyers and visitors.
She said the role of the export sector is immense in the economic progress of Bangladesh, in particular earning foreign exchange, generating employment, empowering women and alleviating poverty, which will lead the country to further prosperity.
She said when the Awami League government was formed in 2009 the total export earning was $15.56 billion, which they have raised to $45.38 billion in the last 13 years.
“Bangladesh is moving forward, the next generation will get self-respecting, non-communal, developed and happy prosperous golden Bangladesh as dreamt by the Father of the Nation,” she added.