Bangladesh Bank Governor calls for greater bilateral ties with Sri Lanka

Tuesday, 29 July 2014 00:01 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • Says his country offers good opportunities for Lankan investments and businesses
By Radhi de Silva Governor of the Bangladesh Bank Dr. Atiur Rahman early this week in Colombo called for greater bilateral trade and investments with Sri Lanka. Addressing a special reception hosted by the Commercial Bank Dr. Rahman spoke about the macroeconomic situation in Bangladesh, and also investment opportunities available in Bangladesh for the Sri Lankan entrepreneurs and other interested parties. Dr. Atiur Rahman is a renowned economist. Dr. Rahman having graduated from the Dhaka University, with an undergraduate degree in economics, he was awarded the prestigious Commonwealth Scholarship through which he studied at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, where he obtained his Ph.D. in 1977. Prior to his assumption of office as the Governor of Bangladesh Bank, he was a Professor of Economics in the Department of Development Studies (2006-2009) at the, University of Dhaka, and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Shamunnay, a centre for excellence in development research in Bangladesh. Dr. Rahman whilst delivering his presentation he added that the Bangladeshi economy has grown at the rate of 6-7% per annum over the past few years which is a vast achievement for a country which has had a harsh economic history during its inception as an independent state. He added that more than half of the GDP is generated by the service sector; while nearly half of Bangladeshis are employed in the agriculture sector. Exports of textiles and garments are the largest source of foreign exchange earnings and more than 15,000 expatriates of Sri Lanka are employed in the apparel industry in Bangladesh. Shipbuilding, pharmaceuticals and consumer goods manufacturing are important emerging industries. Dr. Rahman further added that the Bangladeshi Government is keen on assisting the agricultural development and also small scale entrepreneurs through microfinance mechanisms with the assistance of non-governmental organisations such as BRAC (formerly Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee). The current economic policy of Bangladesh welcomes foreign investors enabling to enter into the local markets with fewer restrictions and emphasis was made that the growth rate of the state has been stable throughout and has not shown any drastic fluctuation compared to its neighbouring states such as India, thereby making an ideal location for Sri Lankan entrepreneurs to invest and expand their businesses. The participants of the event also included the Sri Lankan investors already having established their businesses in Bangladesh and those who were considering venturing out into the Bangladeshi economy. The discussion held with the Governor of the Bangladesh Bank was certainly a great opportunity to gather business opportunities available for the Sri Lankan investor. The Chief Guest for the evening was Mohammad Sufiur Rahman, who was represented by the acting High Commissioner for Bangladesh, who gave an introduction to the current status of the economic development that is taking place in Bangladesh and emphasised on the strong bilateral trade between the Governments of Bangladesh and the Sri Lanka especially in the field of pharmaceutical industry and also the maritime connectivity, by entering into a coastal shipping agreement in May this year to expand the port and naval activities between the two countries. The Commercial Bank has had close ties with Bangladesh since having opened its offshore branches in Bangladesh in 2003, which was during a time when most international banking institutions were only considering whether to establish in Bangladesh. The Managing Director and the Chief Executive Officer of Commercial Bank Jegan Durairatnam states that Commercial Bank has had an active interest in Bangladesh for a very long period which initially started off with four delivery points in 2003 and over the years Commercial Bank has strengthens its presence in Bangladesh, thereby currently having eighteen delivery points in the cities and the suburbs of the country. Commercial Bank is proud to be recognised as one of the main leading banks established in Bangladesh alongside other leading international banks. With its expansion and good banking standards Commercial Bank of Ceylon has received AAA ratings for the fourth consecutive year by CRISIL, Fitch Ratings Lanka Ltd. has rated Commercial Bank with a rating of AA (lka) in recognition of the bank’s strong franchise, good profitability, sound asset quality and capitalisation. The Commercial Bank of Ceylon has also been ranked among the Top 1,000 Banks of the World for a fourth successive year in 2014, becoming the only Sri Lankan bank to achieve this feat. Durairatnam further adds that Commercial Bank of Ceylon has throughout the years assisted the Sri Lankan investors to establish their businesses in Bangladesh, and assured that the bank will continue to support the Sri Lankan entrepreneurs who are keen in entering into business in Bangladesh by providing the required financial and banking assistance. Pix by Lsantha Kumara