CONNECTIVITY IS IMPORTANT FOR BANGLADESH: EU ENVOY
Terming Bangladesh’s approach towards connectivity as a positive measure, the European Union has said connectivity is now a pivotal concept for Bangladesh and nothing can stop it from becoming a growing reality.
“Bangladesh is taking a positive approach regarding connectivity, addressing the challenges and catching the opportunities,” EU Ambassador in Dhaka Pierre Mayaudon said, adding that one of these opportunities comes in the form of closer association with Europe.
“We have all good reasons to believe that this one won’t be a missed opportunity,” Mayaudon said.
Speaking at a diplomatic talk organised by the Diplomatic Correspondents Association Bangladesh (DCAB) at Lakeshore hotel yesterday evening, he said movements of people, goods, money and ideas will expand in and around Bangladesh.
“Don’t you think that two inspiring visions such as “blue economy” and “digital Bangladesh” formulated by the country’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina have connectivity in common?,” Mayaudon said.
Highlighting the recent engagement between Bangladesh and India on connectivity arena, Mayaudon said the good understanding between the two countries, as reflected by the Land Boundary Agreement, was instrumental in accelerating the signing of the Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal – Motor Vehicles Agreement.
“During the time of the implementation, obstacles will remain in terms of infrastructure and setting up of a regulatory framework but it will also show that a strong political impetus can make all the differences,” he observed.
Mentioning about Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent remark, the EU Ambassador said free movement of people and goods is very much the driver of the European integration.
“It brings not only development, but also security. Note that the EU received the Peace Nobel Prize in 2012 on that account.”
Turning to foreign investment issues, the envoy said in the global economy, investors have a wide choice of options and Bangladesh is one of them.
“Giving a fresh, positive, modern image of Bangladesh is crucial.”
He called for bringing reforms of the in the current Companies Act which dates from 1913 to make investment in Bangladesh easier.
“Success stories are critical for attracting foreign investment. We wish many of them could be brought to the attention of the general public to project an attractive image of Bangladesh,” he added.
On the garment sector, he said this export-driven relation was on the verge of a brutal collapse with the ruins of Rana Plaza.
The EU was considering withdrawing the duty- and quota-free market access regime it had granted to Bangladesh, he said.
It would have had devastating consequences, but two initiatives – Sustainability Compact and Accord and Alliance – saved this privileged market access regime.
He said the Europe customers are more aware, conscious and demanding about the products they may or may not decide to buy.
“The price is just one parameter. The social and economic environment of manufacturing process is equally important.”
DCAB President Masud Karim chaired the event while General Secretary Bashir Ahmed also spoke.
JUNE 23, 2015