The visiting German business delegation leader Peter Clasen has identified energy crisis and transportation problem as the major impediments to attracting foreign investment in Bangladesh. Addressing a press conference at Lake Shore Hotel in the city on Wednesday, Clasen attached great importance to the energy and inland water transports sectors and indicated German investors” cooperation in this regard.
The German business leader laid emphasis on coalmining development and said the government should take immediate decision on mining method of Fulbaria coal field. Coal-fired power generation can resolve the ongoing power crisis in Bangladesh, he said. Pointing to the bureaucratic red tape, another impediment, Clasen said: “Decision makers have to change their attitude to encourage economic life instead of regulating it. Essentially this means reducing red tape and wiping out excesses of bureaucracy with the government focusing much more than hitherto on improvements of infrastructure.”
German Ambassador to Bangladesh Holger Michael, who was also present at the press conference, said the government should send unambiguous signals about Bangladesh’’s openness to foreign investment and that it maintains political framework conditions, which are conducive to long-term invest. He said functioning of Parliament is of vital importance and all political parties represented and all elected MPs should contribute to make it effective.
Asked whether the current political and economic situation is conducive to attracting foreign investment, Michael said: “Bangladesh is on a good way to a stable democracy, but we want the government put emphasis on the implementation of the ”charter for change.” The German business leader lauded the quality of Bangladesh shipbuilding industry and said: “Quality and cheap labour have attracted Europeans to buy ships from Bangladesh.”
He laid emphasis on skilled manpower development and said mere cheap labour would not be the sufficient for attracting foreign investment, “technical quality of Bangladeshi labourers should have to be improved.” He suggested developing more vocational training institutions. Clasen said German companies would invest in development of small-scale power generation plants and also in development of the renewable energy.
The German companies in collaboration with the local partners would also invest in production of different electrical appliances. Md Saiful Islam, president of Bangladesh Germany Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Chairman of Western Marine Shipyards, was also present at the press conference. The eight-member German business delegation, arriving in Dhaka on October 25, will be staying in Bangladesh till October 30.
UNB reports: The German business and investment delegation Wednesday apprised Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of their keen interest in investing in Bangladesh in sectors like gas exploration, coalmining, and renewable energy. Meeting the Prime Minister at her office Wednesday, the delegation led by Peter Clasen, Head of Bangladesh Section of OAV, the Network of German companies doing business in the Asia-Pacific countries, said they are especially interested to expand their trade and business in Bangladesh.
The Germans prefer Dhaka and Chittagong as their chosen places of investment, Prime Minister’’s Press Secretary Abul Kalam Azad told newsmen after the meeting. The delegation also expressed their willingness to help Bangladesh in modernising its agriculture system by building modern technology-based farms and imparting training to the farmers on processing organic food items.
Regarding renewable energy, the German team said Germany as an expert country in the sector can help Bangladesh introduce solar energy and biogas system in the country on a massive scale. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina expressed her happiness following the German delegation’’s interest in making investment in Bangladesh. She told the delegation that following the restoration of democracy in Bangladesh through the December 29 parliamentary polls in 2008, a congenial atmosphere for investment is prevailing here now.
She said Germany can import ceramics, leather products and pharmaceuticals from Bangladesh. In this context, the Prime Minister mentioned that Bangladesh has already started exporting ships to Germany, the Netherlands and Denmark, opening up a new vista for the country’’s external trade. Sheikh Hasina observed that Bangladesh could not achieve its development at required level as its democracy could not run uninterruptedly in the past.
“Now the people have their own government and the democratic government is working relentlessly to ensure economic emancipation of the people,” the Prime Minister told the Germans. Sheikh Hasina said though Bangladesh has faced electricity crisis for the last seven years, the present government within the last few months has been successful in improving the situation through proper management and hard work.
“But the climate issues have appeared as a major threat to the development process of Bangladesh,” the Prime Minister observed. Sheikh Hasina said the government has chalked out various plans, including the launch of capital and maintenance dredging in the rivers, setting up embankments and land reclamation to face the challenges stemming from the global warming.
She said though the government is taking all possible preparations to protect its people from the natural calamities, it is not possible to face the climate-change challenges alone. Hasina also reaffirmed her promise to turn Bangladesh into a food-sufficient country again the way the previous Awami League government did it. The German delegation lauded Sheikh Hasina’’s leadership in the international forums and hoped that she would be able to free the people of Bangladesh from poverty and all other socioeconomic problems.
Hasina thanked Germany for its continuous support and assistance to Bangladesh since its independence in 1971 under the leadership of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister MA Karim, Prime Minister’’s Office Secretary Mollah Waheeduzzaman, Ambassador Ziauddin and German Ambassador in Dhaka Holger Michael were present.
Date: 29 October 2009, Bangladesh