Bangladesh and India have made tremendous development on connectivity between two countries, but it has not been publicized to the extent it should have been, said Salman F Rahman, Private Industry and Investment Adviser to Prime Minister.
In an online meeting with top Indian business executives in Bangladesh hosted by High Commission of India on Monday, he also said, “If connectivity takes place, economic activity grows. It is not the question of competing with each other; it’s about being complementary to each other. And, it is more so in the case of India because of the historical relationship between two countries.”
“Bangladesh and India do not only share brotherly or friendly relations enjoyed by other countries, it’s much deeper, especially because of the role India played in the creation of Bangladesh,” he said.
Hosted by the outgoing Indian High Commissioner, Riva Ganguly Das, the event was attended by more than a dozen top executives from Indian brands. Sirazul Islam, Executive Chairman of Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA), also spoke at the online discussion as a special guest.
Indian business executives suggested to open up Naraynganj port for receiving goods from India’s Paradip and Halda, which they said would save time and cost and reduce pressure on the Chittagong port. The adviser praised the idea and promised to take up the issues with respective authorities. He also suggested India to improve its railway infrastructure so that train can be used to ferry goods between two countries.
The outgoing Indian High Commissioner, Riva Ganguly Das, has raised a number of issues on behalf of Indian businessmen and business executives, including non-tariff barriers in trade between two countries, customs complications, CC limits on two-wheelers and three-wheelers being imported from India, long-term business visa for Indian citizens, etc. Indian executives also raised some issues including delayed completion of formalities regarding letters of credits by some banks. The adviser assured the Indian envoy and business executives to take up these issues with respective government agencies and ministries.
In response to one businessman’s complaint that he faces difficulties in remitting his dividends to his parent company back in India, Salman F Rahman acknowledged that there may be some sporadic cases. “But Bangladesh has implemented necessary liberalization needed at this stage,” he added.
Since currencies of the two countries are not convertible, some complications are still there, he conceded. “In the early years, we did not have a large foreign currency reserve, which would complicate this. But since the prime minister has taken over, our foreign reserve has grown to become very large. We are now very comfortable allowing foreign businesses to seamlessly remit their dividend to their parent companies.”
Sirajul Islam, BIDA’s executive chairman, said his agency was working to ensure seamless experience for Indian investors and businessmen.
Salman F Rahman also urged the Indian businessmen to become Bangladesh’s goodwill ambassadors and share their experience in Bangladesh with fellow businessmen and publicize the level of connectivity that two countries offer.