Blue Economy has Immense potential, need proper planning and implementation
Peoples Time Desk
The total sea area of Bangladesh is 664 km, but fish is harvested in only 60 km. Therefore, Bangladesh's share in global fish production is limited to only 2.6%. Where China alone supplies 61 percent of the world's fish. In the same way, despite having sea frontier, there is still a huge amount of offshore oil and gas beyond reach. Although several plans have been taken in this regard, it has not come into light. In contrast, Myanmar has already started extracting mineral resources from the near the sea block of Bangladesh.
Not only fish or mineral resources, rather Ocean Economy may change the whole picture of the economy of Bangladesh. By utilizing the marine resources, various industries including tourism, shipbuilding, deep sea fishing, container, medicine, cosmetics industry can be developed.
Rear Admiral (Retd.) Md. Khurshed Alam, Secretary, Maritime Affairs Unit, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh highlighted these possibilities while presenting the key note on a workshop titled “Blue Economy and Course of Actions” at the FBCCI office on Sunday morning.
He said that the ocean economic zone of Bangladesh is equal to 81 percent of the mainland. There are one and a half lakh ships transporting goods through ocean ways all over the world, which is worth of 9 billion dollars, however, Bangladesh owns only 70. Seventy Four Percent of Containers are used in Asia which opens another wing of investment opportunity for Bangladesh as the total trade is growing at a rate of 15 percent every year, meaning the demand of Container will keep going up. Although there are several seaports in Bangladesh, they are not suitable for mother vessels. In such a situation, the completion of Matarbari deep sea port will help to exploit the potential of Blue economy.
Private Industry and Investment Adviser to the Hon'ble Prime Minister, Mr. Salman F. Rahman MP, was present as the Chief Guest on the occasion. He said blue economy is a new potential sector for investment in Bangladesh. It is possible to export billion dollars from this sector in the next few years. Mr. Salman F. Rahman MP advised the FBCCI and BIDA to work together to find out why the progress of the once emerging sector, shipbuilding industry has slowed down and to fix the policy strategy. In addition, deep sea fishing trawlers or ships can be built under the joint ownership of domestic and foreign. However, in this case, it is necessary to amend the policy of the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock.
Speaking as the special guest at the workshop, Hon'ble Deputy Minister in the Ministry of Water Resources of the Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh AKM Enamul Hoque Shameem M.P said that along with the plan to utilize the marine economy, the policy of conservation of these resources should also be adopted.
Mr. Md. Sirajul Islam, Executive Chairman, BIDA, who was the special guest of the workshop, said that an International Investment Conference is going to be held on 26-29 November. The Blue Economy will be discussed separately at that conference.
The event was presided over by FBCCI President Mr. Md. Jashim Uddin. He said the maritime economy could play an effective role in attracting foreign investment and creating employment in post LDC era. The FBCCI will submit recommendations to the government to determine the strategy for the sector based on the issues discussed at the workshop.
In his closing remarks, Mr. Mostofa Azad Chowdhury Babu, Senior Vice President of FBCCI, said that the FBCCI will celebrate Victory Day on December 16 along with the private sector.
Earlier in the panel discussion, CPD's research director and FBCCI's panel advisor Dr. Khandaker Golam Moazzem, said There is no disagreement about the potential of this sector. But there are no plans yet. There are also doubts about who is the guardian of this sector. Instead of different ministries working separately, if BIDA takes over the charge, quick benefits can be obtained.
East West University professor and FBCCI panel advisor Dr. A.K. Enamul Haque said the growth of the world economy in the next 10 to 20 years will be blue economy-centric. He called for investment in tourism, shipbuilding, shipbreaking, fishing, ports and maritime equipment to harness the blue economy. However, he urged to eliminate policy discrimination between foreign and local entrepreneurs.
Mr. M A Momen, Vice President, FBCCI, Mr. Aminul Haque Shamim, Vice President, FBCCI, Mr. Amin Helaly, Vice President, FBCCI, Mr. Salahuddin Alamgir, Vice President, FBCCI and Mr. Habib Ullah Dawn, Vice President, FBCCI and other directors and advisors of the FBCCI were also present at the workshop.
The workshop was moderated by Mohammad Mahfuzul Hoque, CEO of FBCCI.