Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday directed the Industries Ministry to conduct surveys in every district to select potential industrial sites to encourage investment from both home and abroad through creating other necessary facilities.
“You’ll (Industries Ministry) have to conduct surveys in each district to identify potential industrial sites through creating other necessary facilities so that the investors feel encouraged and don’t shy away,” she said.
The Prime Minister said this while exchanging views with the high officials of the Industries Ministry and its affiliated organizations at the conference room of the ministry in Motijheel after her last visit to the ministry in 2009.
Industries Minister Amir Hossain Amu also spoke on the occasion. PM’s Principal Secretary Abdus Sobhan Sikder, PMO Secretary Md Abul Kalam Azad and Ministry Secretary Mohammad Mainuddin Abdullah were, among others, present.
Stressing the need for further flourishing industries in the country, the Prime Minister said new mills, factories and industrial zones will have to be built in the country based on the jute, textile, agro-products and other items as well as creating their local market, boosting exports and thus flourishing these industries.
Putting emphasis on setting up environment-friendly ‘green industries’, she said it is not always wise to pay heed to the environmentalists’ outcry to stop something because they do not always see the losses to the environment but often have their own political motivations.
In this connection, the Prime Minister strictly opposed the mushrooming of industries here and there and stressed following the necessary policies and guidelines in allocating industrial plots.
Hasina said her government did not assume office to do business but to create scope for the businessmen and facilitate them. She said the necessary government purchase should have to be done from the state-owned enterprises to save them and save public funds, but if there is additional demand that could be met from the private sector.
In this connection, Hasina cited that Pragati Industries Corporation has huge potentials for tapping the increasing demand as the purchasing capacity and affordability of people has increased.
Mentioning that the present world is a now a world of industrialization, the Prime Minister said her government always lay emphasis on industries for which the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) is looking to come in a bigger way after assuming office by the AL government.
Apart from reconstituting the public sector, she said her government had opened the private sector in various sectors like in the media, insurance, banking, but still there is a need for government regulation of the national economy.
“It’s unfortunate that various governments at different times with their various opinions have destroyed the industrial management of the country. There’s a need for private sector, but, if government is not there, there’ll be no control and the standard will not improve,” she added.
Highlighting her government’s vision of setting up more labour-intensive industries as well as decentralizing industries, Hasina said seven Special Economic Zones (EPZs) are being set up to woo more local and foreign investments which should have to be proper in nature and in line with the demand of time.
Alleging that the jute sector was completely destroyed in the country, she suggested undertaking a plan for rejuvenating the sector as well as protecting it.
About the privatization of state-owned enterprises, the Prime Minister noted that there is often poor response in terms of financial bid. “So, we’ve decided not to sell any industry anymore…since there’s a need for sufficient land for making investment, instead of selling those, those could be turned into plots and be made open for investment.”
In the process of urbanization, she said, there is a need for identifying separate plots for the industries. “There should be no industries here and there…it should be stopped.”
About the relocation of the tanneries to the leather industry estate in Savar from Hajaribagh and other parts of the country, Hasina said the process has been a lengthy one despite government initiatives.
She suggested the authorities concerned for completing speedily the work of setting up ETPs first, signing deals with the industrialists for giving mandatory fees for using ETPs while allocating their plots to save the environment from pollution.
Referring to the government initiative of undertaking upazila master plan, the Prime Minister also directed the Industries Ministry to take initiatives for finding out areas in the upazilas which would be suitable for setting up industries and thus wooing investment.
Citing the huge demand for agro-processed foods both at home and in abroad, she said her government gave priority to the establishment of agro-processing industries, including vegetables, fish, meat and milk.
She referred to the huge demand for halal meat in the middle-eastern countries and asked the authorities concerned to take necessary steps to tap the market.
Hasina also noted her government’s desire to raise the share of industrial sector to GDP through setting up more agro-processed industries.
Claiming that there is no fertilizer crisis in the country now, Hasina stressed proper supply of gas to Kafco and other fertiliser factories for ensuring their smooth production.
The Prime Minister also suggested enhancing the country's export basket increasing the number of exportable items with newer ones instead of depending on some particular items.
In this regard, she asked to explore the markets across the world to determine which product has demand abroad and establish industrial units in the country to produce those items.
She suggested the ministry to search for suitable land in Barguna for setting up ship recycling and ship-breaking industries considering the proximity of the Paira Port and Naval Base.
The Prime Minister advocated for launching a campaign by the ministry on checking sale and consumption of adulterated food items.
From the ongoing river-dredging programs, she said, lands are being reclaimed while planned urbanization would be there incorporating lands for industries, homesteads and arable lands.
Hasina also reiterated her commitment to building a hunger- and poverty-free middle-income country well before 2021 and a prosperous developed country by 2041 for which there is a need for industrialization in a bigger way.
“We’ll be able to build a happy and prosperous Bangladesh where agriculture, industries and human resources will make their contributions. If we could use these resources in a planned way, then no one will be able to hinder the march forward of Bangladesh,” added the confident Prime Minister.
PM directs to find out industrial sites in every district