Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today(January 1) laid emphasis on expansion of domestic market and increasing purchasing power of people to make the local industry more effective.
"Alongside the export, we have to put concentration on expansion of domestic market and increasing the purchasing power of people. It will make our industry more effective and production will be boosted," she said, reports BSS.
The premier made this remarks while addressing the inaugural ceremony of the month-long Dhaka International Trade Fair (DITF)-2023 at Bangabandhu Bangladesh-China Friendship Exhibition Center at Purbachal on the city’s outskirts.
She said today's diplomacy is not political; rather it will be economic diplomacy.
"I've directed all the embassies and foreign missions to explore the products' demand abroad and to find out that what types of products we can export there or from where we can bring investment," she added.
She said analysing the demand and necessity of different countries, "we will produce products in our country and then we will export those to those countries".
All the embassies and foreign ministries have been asked to work to this end, she said, adding, "We will boost our trade in this way."
The prime minister again put stress on finding new markets and products for diversifying the export basket of the country.
"We are dependent on limited export items which need to be diversified. The more we will be able to diversify our products, the more we will find new markets and the more we can expand our business and incomes," she said.
Sheikh Hasina put emphasis on establishing food processing industries to tap the immense potentials of these items around the world.
"The demand of food items will not shrink, it will always increase," she observed.
The prime minister, from the programme, declared jute and jute products as the "Product of the Year 2023".
Highlighting that once the jute was the golden fibre of the country, she said the demand of jute will never come to an end as jute products are environment friendly.
She said, "We have been able to discover the jute genome, so we can produce a lot of products."
Sheikh Hasina also mentioned that jute is such an item, of which, all parts can be used as jute leaves, fibre and jute sticks all can be used in different purposes.
"So we have to give importance to the jute. We've opened up our public jute mills. Anyone can take lease one of these mills," she said.
In this regard, she said the lessee can operate these mills directly or induct modern technology to produce diversified items.
She went on, "You can do your marketing across the globe as demands of the environment friendly products is increasing day by day. You have to take that opportunity."
The prime minister said that the government will introduce 5G for the 100 economic zones across the country.
"We've launched 4G service and will surely introduce 5G service. But this will be done for the 100 economic zones. This service (5G) is not needed in all areas, this will be applicable for the economic zones," she said.
She mentioned that the government is working on it.
She asked all concerned to put emphasis on IT and IT enabled services.
Later, the premier went round different stalls at the fair venue.
With Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi in the chair, Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) Vice Chairman AHM Ahasan delivered the welcome address.
Textiles and Jute Minister Golam Dastagir Gazi (Birpratik), Senior Commerce Secretary Tapan Kanti Ghosh and Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) President Md Jashim Uddin also spoke.
A documentary on export activities of the country was screened.
At the function, a commemorative book on Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman titled "Ami Tomaderi Lok" (I Am Your Man) was handed over to the prime minister.
Commerce Ministry and EPB organised the month-long largest annual commercial and trade event of the country at its permanent venue of Bangabandhu Bangladesh-China Friendship Exhibition Centre in Purbachal for the second time.
Some 17 organisations from 10 countries including Singapore, Indonesia, Korea and India alongside the local firms and companies are taking part in it.
This 27th edition of the DITF features some 351 local and foreign stalls, pavilions and mini pavilions, up from the previous year's tally of 225.
Apart from the premier pavilions, and mini pavilions, general stalls, food courts, mini stalls, premier stalls, there will also be a cafeteria where some 500 people can have food at a time.
Initially some 70 BRTC buses will ply to and from Kuril Biswa Road to the fair venue while the number of such buses would be increased as per the need. The bus fare has been fixed at Taka 35.
The main goal of the fair is also to showcase local products before the international market as the DITF plays an important role in local and foreign trade. The spot export orders of Taka 200 crores were made in the last edition of the fair.
The fair will remain open every day from 10:00 am to 9:00 pm while it will remain open till 10:00 pm in holidays.
The entry fee for the adults have been fixed at Taka 40 while that of the minors at Taka 20.
There will be scope for availing 50 percent discount if anyone buys tickets online. Besides, there will be vehicle parking facility for some 1,000 cars.
The prime minister hoped this DITF will help showcase all products and services of different parts of the country as foreign businesses will also come, which will further facilitate to gather experience.
She noted purchasing power of the countrymen is increasing day by day and that is why a big market can be created as Bangladesh and its neighbour countries have huge population.
Mentioning Bangladesh's geographical good position, she said, "We can communicate with East, West, North and South."
Taking this opportunity, "we can produce our products, do business, export and can develop our service sectors and bring tourists. Huge opportunities are in front of us," she said.
"Actually we want to build our country," she added.
Sheikh Hasina, however, asked the businessmen and industrialists to pay at least production costs or procurement cost of electricity and gas if they want to avail uninterrupted supply of these two items.
She said, "If you want uninterrupted electricity and gas, then you have to pay the production cost or procurement cost at least. How long will we provide subsidy?"
Sheikh Hasina said the government can't provide huge subsidy in electricity and gas for unlimited period that comes from the pockets of the mass people.
"We can't give such huge amount of public money as subsidy. So businessmen and industrialists have to pay attention on this matter," she added.
Mentioning that infrastructures are inevitable for the businesses, she said the government is developing all communication systems such as road, water, rail and air ways.
She said earlier in the first tenure of Awami League government they have completed Chattogram and Sylhet international airport and now Cox's Bazar airport is being constructed following modern and international standard.
Besides, construction of the third terminal of Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport (HSIA) in Dhaka is moving fast, she said.
Sheikh Hasina requested all to see the picture of HSIA before 1996 that how it was and then saw the development of it.
"This development was carried out by the Awami League government," she said.
The premier said the most challenge for her government was to construct Padma Bridge over the mighty River Padma as a big conspiracy was plotted and corruption allegation was brought.
But, the allegation can't be proven while Canadian Federal Court termed this allegation of World Bank as fully false, she said.
The head of government said, "We didn't come here to build our own fortune through corruption, rather have come here to build the fortune of people."
She added that she came here carrying the pain of losing father-mother-brothers and relatives to build the fortune of people and it is the reality.
"We've established a network across the country by constructing bridges and roads," she said.
Regarding rail connectivity which was supposed to be closed once upon a time, she said they have improved the rail communication instead of closing it.
In addition, the government has introduced highly modern first ever electric metro rail in Dhaka city, she said.
About the agriculture, the premier said Bangladesh is an agricultural country but there was no allocation for research on the sector.
She said her government unveiled separate budget for research and now food production has increased due to research.
She also said the government is setting up 100 economic zones across the country to save arable land.
"If anyone set up industry outside of the economic zones, they will not get any services," she said.
The premier reiterated her call to all to produce whatever they can instead of laying any arable land idle.