Sunday, 5 February, 2023

Govt recognises logistics as a crucial sector: Salman F Rahman

Nordic Chamber of Commerce and Industry launches white paper on ‘FDI in Logistics Sector’

Prime Minister’s Private Industries and Investment Advisor Salman F Rahman has said the government recognised logistics as a crucial sector and in these difficult times of major global disruption, they remain committed to be an integral part of the worldwide supply chain.

He also said the government is involved in a process of formulating a ‘National Logistics Policy’, which will aid investment and cater to the need of the economy in the long run.

While appreciating the white paper on ‘FDI in Logistics Sector’ at its launch on Sunday, brought out by Nordic Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI), Salman F Rahman said it will benefit all the stakeholders in contributing to the policy formulation and its proper implementation.

NCCI in Bangladesh hosted the online launch of its white paper, a follow up to the daylong event on the same topic hosted by the chamber in May, 2022.

The event was attended by business leaders, foreign dignitaries, government stakeholders, regulatory bodies, policymakers, and advocacy coalitions.

Ambassador of Denmark to Bangladesh Winnie Estrup Petersen said as Bangladesh focuses on the development of infrastructure, policies and guidelines need to be in place to get the most effective output from such infrastructural investments.

“Thus, inputs from all quarters are essential for providing the best to the country,” she said while speaking on behalf of the embassies of Denmark, Norway and Sweden.

While talking about the economy of Bangladesh, the ambassador highlighted that the Bangladesh economy has proven to be strong and resilient, boasting a growth even during pandemic when most economies of the world contracted.

This uninterrupted trajectory of economic growth will see Bangladesh graduating from the LDC group in 2026.

“To be able to be at par with the global standards, foreign direct investments (FDI) in the logistics sector is a good start. It can readily bring in the technology, skill set and dynamism that will elevate the country to a more developed arena,” said the Danish envoy.

The ambassador also mentioned that to maintain and enhance the tempo of growth, the logistics sector needs to be strengthened through global connectivity, effective and efficient services guided through the long-term vision of the government.

However, to attract such investments, it is important that Bangladesh further enhances a conducive business environment for foreign companies such that they are motivated to invest and do business here, she said.

“A conducive general framework and a well-developed logistical infrastructure are closely connected, and it is important not to lose sight of this connection,” the Danish envoy said.

Ambassador Petersen applauded the effort of the NCCI in publishing the Whitepaper focused on the logistics sector terming it “timely and necessary discussion”.

Speaking as special guest, Executive Member, Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) Mohsina Yasmin said white papers are a major asset when it comes to improving business strategy, understanding the current state, and identifying potential growth areas.

“It can also act as an influential document to advocate for policy changes and assist policymakers to support business and investment friendly environment,” Yasmin said.

NCCI President Tahrin Aman highlighted that the logistics sector is a crucial component of the whole trading ecosystem, and major industries heavily rely on it.

“So much so, that without logistics, the whole economy will come to a standstill. Therefore, even though the demand for logistics is derived, this industry plays a pivotal role in turning and improving the economic indicators, both in the micro and macro levels of the economy,” Aman said.

He explained, “As we plan to grow our economy, it is imperative that we also focus on infrastructural development to support this economic expansion.”

He added that the white paper has concrete recommendations for the policymakers and hoped that the policymakers and stakeholders at the higher echelon of government will consider the effort of the NCCI to inform policy decisions in the future.

He reaffirmed the commitment of NCCI to assist the government in all its effort to increase investment and make Bangladesh an economic power, not just regionally but also globally.

Riaz A Choudhury, acting Head of Wholesale Banking, HSBC said “The publication of white paper on ‘FDI in Logistics Sector’ is a very timely initiative from the NCCI. Digitization and modernization are inevitable game changers for the future of logistics industry. Leveraging our global expertise and digital platform, HSBC is willing to be a part of this transformation journey.”

Asif Khan, Managing Partner of Edge Research and Consulting, in his address shared highlights from the Whitepaper and key policy recommendations suggested in it.

Edge Research and Consulting was the research partner of the NCCI for this publication.

The ‘Vote of Thanks’ was delivered by Angshuman Mitra Mustafi, Country Manager, Maersk Bangladesh Ltd and Treasurer of NCCI, on behalf of the organizers. Mashur Rahman, Executive Director of NCCI moderated the event.The Whitepaper will be available for download from website of the Nordic Chamber-

The NCCI previously hosted a day-long event with the participation of all stakeholders, both private and government including BIDA, PPPA, 3 Port Authorities, NBR, Bangladesh Bank, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Commerce.

Additionally, representation from Think Tanks, Academia and Research, as well as a wide cross section of private sectors actors, including service providers and users attended the event.

The program emphasized Bangladesh's diverse range of opportunities, which are based on the country's economic progress since its independence.

While highlighting Bangladesh as an attractive investment hub, speakers at the event discussed the need for overall logistics sector development considering Bangladesh's projected increase in trade volume in the coming decades.