Reazul Bashar, from Abu Dhabi, bdnews:
The agreements signed with the United Arab Emirates will draw in “big investments” for the power sector and economic zones, Bangladesh Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque has said.
Four deals were signed in Abu Dhabi during the visit of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to the gulf nation on Sunday.
“I believe these deals have opened up the potential for new pathways for trade with the UAE, the kind we have not seen before,” Secretary Haque told reporters after the signing ceremony at the St Regis Abu Dhabi.
Hasina arrived in Abu Dhabi on Sunday morning after attending the Munich Security Conference in Germany. These are her first foreign visits after her party the Awami League secured power for the third straight term following the Dec 30 general election.
She joined the International Defence Exhibition and the Naval Defence and Maritime Security Exhibition upon her arrival. At noon, she met with business representatives.
DETAILS OF THE DEALS
A public-private partnership deal was inked between the governments of Bangladesh and Dubai, signed by Shipping Ministry Secretary M Abdus Samad and DP World Chairman Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem.
“This mainly focuses on ports and industrial parks. Because DP World has told us that, their port constructions are never limited to just that, they also build industrial parks in the area,” said Haque. “They are thinking of massive investments here.”
Prime Minister Hasina has encouraged their investment aims and ensured all forms of support from her administration, he added.
Another deal was signed between Bangladesh’s Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources and Emirates National Oil Company. The signatories are state minister Nasrul Hamid and Emirates National Oil Company Group CEO Saif Humaid Al Falasi.
“This agreement aims to ensure long-term supply of liquid natural gas for Bangladesh. This will lead to the setup of a land-based LNG-receiving centre in Payra port. The party has asked for 300 acres of land for that project,” said the foreign secretary.
“This is a big LNG investment and it’s happening in Payra.”
The third agreement was signed between the private office of UAE royal Sheikh Ahmed Dalmook Al Maktoum and Khaled Mahmud, the chairman of the Bangladesh Power Development Board. Under the MoU, LNG power plant, with the capacity of 800-1,000MW, will be built in two phases. It will also see to the making of a 100MW solar power plant.
Another fourth agreement for special economic zones at Matarbari was signed by Sheikh Ahmed Dalmook Al Maktoum and Prime Minister’s Principal Secretary Md Nojibur Rahman. “They have requested 300 acres of land in Matarbari,” said Secretary Haque.
TALKS ON INVESTMENT
As for the prime minister’s meetings with business representatives in Abu Dhabi, secretary Haque said, “The entire afternoon was spent in discussing investment.”
“What we were feeling is that the prime minister has visited the UAE before on official trips, but we didn’t notice the kind of interest we are seeing now.”
UAE Minister of Economy Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansoori was present in the meetings.
“The minister was emphasising a new kind of economic partnership. They told us they wanted to expand trade in Bangladesh with a new start. They are especially interested in investing. The sectors of interest are power-energy and economic zones.”
The possibility of having a joint business forum and a joint economic commission between Bangladesh and UAE was also discussed, he said.
“We had been trying to get our goals by reaching out to them. But it now seems that are also reaching out to us. For all the deals that were signed, our counterparts have expressed a lot of enthusiasm. They want to invest in Bangladesh,” said Muhammad Imran, the Bangladesh ambassador to the UAE.