Call for easy policy to harness the potential of the blue economy

Bangladesh needs a holistic approach to ensure sustainable use of marine resources

TBS Report

28 November 2021, 21:55

Last modification: November 28, 2021, 10:07 PM

Representative image. Image: Collected


Representative image. Image: Collected

Untapped opportunities of the blue economy:

  • So far, Bangladesh has penetrated around 12% of the total high seas fishing area.
  • Arranging travel for international cruise ships requires permission from dozens of government agencies
  • A comprehensive approach to the sustainable use of marine resources is needed
  • Business leaders ask
  • Business-friendly policies
  • Abolition of laws that hinder public sector participation
  • Fuel subsidy
  • Long-term loan facility with reasonable interest
  • Streamlining corporate tax for local and foreign investors

The government needs to develop simpler policies and easily accessible services to attract local and foreign investment to harness the opportunities of the blue economy in the Bay of Bengal, experts and stakeholders said during a discussion. .

“We need to adopt policies that are conducive to business. We have laws that dictate that goods purchased with public funds must be transported by government ships. I think this is at odds with the policies of the current government of Bangladesh. We need to change these laws to ensure the participation of the private sector as well as public enterprises, ”said Azam J Chowdhury, president of the Bangladesh Ocean Ship Owners Association, during the session titled“ Blue economy: learn about it. ‘future’ at the 2021 International Investment Summit on Sunday.

“The vast resources of the blue economy have for the most part remained untapped. We only benefit from a fraction of it. We will need an integral approach to ensure sustainable use of these resources in various industries, ”said Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen, who was the main guest of the program organized by the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (Bida ) at the Radisson Blu Dhaka Water Garden hotel.

“The harsh reality is that Bangladesh is still far from realizing its potential in deep sea fishing. So far we have only penetrated about 12% of the total fishing area. This means that 88% of the area is still unexploited, ”Momen said.

“The size of the global shipbuilding market is around $ 600 billion, according to the World Trade Organization (WTO). If only 1% of this market is captured by Bangladesh, it will be worth $ 6 billion.” , he continued.

“Despite the existing demand, the Bangladesh shipbuilding industry has not prospered at the expected level,” he added.

During the presentation of the main document at the event, the Secretary of the Maritime Affairs Unit, Rear Admiral Md Khurshed Alam, said: “The blue economy can change the entire economy of Bangladesh. – not only the part involving fishery or mineral resources. Using marine resources. , various industries, including tourism, shipbuilding, deep-sea fishing, containers, medicine and cosmetic industries, can be developed. ”

He said the Bangladesh Marine Economic Zone is equal to 81% of the mainland.

Bangladesh was allocated an additional 19,467 square kilometers in the Bay of Bengal in 2014, but it has yet to realize its full potential to develop a blue economy, experts said.

Tawfiq Rahman, Secretary General of the Bangladesh Section of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (Pata), which organized the very first trip of an international cruise liner to Bangladesh in 2017, said: “We had to get permission to more than 40 government agencies and ministries to organize the trip. It is very difficult for an individual entrepreneur to obtain so many authorizations.

He urged the relevant authorities to create a one-stop solution center to facilitate the organization of such visits, which will strengthen maritime tourism.

Speakers at the seminar urged the government to remove barriers to business operations in order to encourage private and foreign investment in various sub-sectors of the blue economy, including shipping, shipbuilding, tourism and industrial fishing.

Bangladesh Marine Fisheries Association President Nurul Qayyum Khan said it was essential to develop technology, skilled workforce, joint venture for fisheries study and public partnership projects -private for tuna fishing in order to attract local and foreign investment in the fishery resources of the Bay of Bengal.

In addition, a fuel subsidy, long-term loan facility with reasonable interest, and corporate tax streamlining for local and foreign investors are also needed in this regard, he added.

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