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BD-Japan Economic Cooperation

Mega Projects Being Constructed Under Big-B Plan

 Mega Projects Being Constructed Under Big-B Plan
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Md. Muzibur Rahman  :
Japan is the time-tested friend of Bangladesh after our independence. The Japanese engineers, experts, workers and nationals are relentlessly working and participating in ongoing development projects of Bangladesh. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his government are eagerly waiting with more cooperation with Bangladesh in education, cultural, social and economic development. Japan is ready to continue support to Bangladesh in its development efforts.
Hasina has made an official visit to Japan recently. She flew to Tokyo on May 28 to attend the 25th international conference on the 'Future of Asia' organised by Nikkei held on May 30 and 31. Bangladesh raised 'travel advisory' issue with Japan when Hasina met her Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe in Tokyo. After the Holey Artisan attack in 2016, where seven Japanese were killed, Japan issued travel advisory and it is still valid even though security situation has improved a lot. At that time many other western countries issued travel alert or advisory and they removed it but Japan is still maintaining a status quo.
During Hasina's visit to Japan, the USD 2.5 billion 40th Official Development Assistance (ODA) agreement has been signed, which was 35 percent higher than the last year. The amount will be used to build Matarbari Port and power plant and partial construction of Rapid Mass Transport project. Now it is appeared that Japanese assistance is increasing trends in Bangladesh development efforts.
Bangladesh is a unique platform for foreign investors where the return on investment is very high. It has now socio-economical and political stability and has suitable rules and regulations for favourable foreign investment. During the past decade, Bangladesh GDP (Gross Domestic Product) growth was about 6-7.24 percent. Recently World Bank (WB) forecasts that Bangladesh is among world's top 5 fastest growing economies in the world. The report titled 'The Bangladesh development update April 2019: Towards Regulatory Predictability' published recently, said this growth, despite of insufficient private sector investment, has been attributed to stable macro and export-oriented industry-led growth.
Other donour agencies like ADB (Asian Development Bank), IFC (International Finance Corporation) has echoed the same about positive Bangladesh. So, it is the great opportunity and high time for the Japanese people for investing in Bangladesh. Japanese people are hard industrious and dynamic. They constructed our 1st Kanchpur, Megna, Gumti Bridge in 1995 successfully before stipulated time and now has completed 2nd Kanchpur, Megna, Gumti Bridge saving about of  Tk 1500 crore from the original estimated cost and returned back to the Bangladesh government over Tk 700 crore. It revealed their (Japan) honesty, dynamism, hard work, integrity with the assigned works completed before stipulated time.
Under the Big-B plan, Japan is constructing port, power plant and other infrastructures at Matarbari and Dhaka to make Bangladesh an industrial hub in the region. Tokyo is investing a lot in the area and Bangladesh wants to develop it as an industrial zone with all connectivity facilities. Bangladesh government has offered an exclusive economic zone for Japanese investors and it can also be located near Matarbari.
Japan can invest in possible potential sectors like big infrastructures (more bridges and railways), RMGs, energy and power, education, ICT, ports and aviation, aerospace, tourism sectors, blue economy, deep sea ports, leather and jute industries, light engineering, jewellery, plastic products, human resource development and other agro-related industries. Bangladesh can export to Japan professionals, skilled (doctors, engineers, agriculturists, teacher etc.), semi-skilled, unskilled labour, rice, jute and jute goods, fruits and vegetables, garment products, rod, cement, fish, marine and other aquatic products etc.
Bangladeshi students can study in Japan; can take scholarships, studentships, citizenships in that country. Bangladesh and Japan are peace loving country in the world and express same views in the most of the world socio-economic and political affairs and orders. To reap the opportunities of globalisation, technological advancement and digitisation of the universe, both the country should increase bilateral cooperation especially in the field of economic development. We hope the relation of the two countries will further deepen with the biggest economic cooperation.
(Md. Muzibur Rahman, freelancer, writes on development and economic issues; email: muzibur64@gmail.com)

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