Ansar Ahmed Ullah
Contributing Editor, Shottobani
London: A two day event as part of World Conference Series 2017 on ‘Branding Bangladesh: NRB, RMG & UN Peacekeeping ” was inaugurated on 6 September.at the UK Houses of Parliament. The Conference was part of Dhaka based ‘Centre for NRB’s world series on the theme of ‘Branding Bangladesh: Showcasing NRB, RMG & UN Peacekeeping’. Other events are being held in the US and UAE.
The Hon’ble State Minister for Finance & Planning, Govt. of Bangladesh Md Abdul Mannan inaugurated the session with British MPs Shadow Minister Dawn Butler who hosted the event, Anne Main, Chair of All Party Parliamentary Group on Bangladesh, Jim Fitzpatrick, Rushanara Ali, Rupa Huq, Seema Malhotra, Baroness Pola Manzila Uddin and former Brent Mayor Parvez Ahmed amongst others.
Mr Shekil Chowdhury, Chairperson of Centre for NRB said. ‘After successful completion of World Conference Series 2014, 2015 and 2016 in different parts of the world, we realised that the world needs to know about positive achievements of Bangladesh and its people home and abroad. We want to showcase our successes in the world arena and promote socio-economic relations between Bangladesh and rest of the world.’
The second day of the Conference was the Business Session held on 7 September at the Holiday Inn hotel, Cavell Street, East London. The business session opened with Hon’ble President Abdul Hamid and Hon’ble Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s messages being read out. Opening welcome speech was made by Mr M S Shekil Chowdhury, Chairperson, Centre for NRB. He set the agenda by saying, today we stand before you to discuss how best we can promote Bangladesh in world arena. We will talk about the contributions made by the NRB, along with the role of Bangladesh armed forces and Police in the UN Peacekeeping Missions. These sectors have helped Bangladesh tremendously to uplift its image in the eyes of the world. He drew Minister’s attention to provide more conducive environment to encourage NRBs to invest in Bangladesh. He added though the NRBs contribute greatly to the economy of Bangladesh, they hardly get required support when they want to invest in Bangladesh.
Panel members at the business session were Ms Sharifa Khan, Commercial Counsellor, Bangladesh High Commission, Shahagir Bakth Faruk, director of British Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce, former Brent Mayor Cllr Parvez Ahmed, Syed Jaglul Pasha, General Secretary of Jalalabad Association and Centre for NRB’s Europe coordinator Muhibur Rahman who spoke about the challenges and opportunities for NRBS. Reports on Bangladesh Army’s & Police’s contribution to UN Peacekeeping was presented. They stated that Bangladesh Army started its journey in the UN peacekeeping missions in 1988 with 15 observers in UNIMOG (Iraq-Iran). Since then the Bangladesh army has been maintaining its dominance as a leading troop contributor country to UN peacekeeping. Bangladesh Armed Forces has so far participated in 54 out of 68 peacekeeping missions in 40 countries. They participated in missions in Afghanistan, Angola, Burundi, Cambodia, Congo, Croatia, East Slovenia, East Timor, Ethiopia, Haiti, Iran, Iraq, Ivory Coast, Kosovo, Kuwait, Liberia, Macedonia, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Tajikistan, Uganda, West Sahara, Former Yugoslavia, CAR & Chad, Darfur, Lebanon, West Africa, Syria, Mali, African Union and UNHQ (USA). While on duty, Bangladeshi Peacekeepers not only safe guarded the life and property of the endangered people but at times sacrificed their lives in the line of duty. They have brought fame and glory for Bangladesh by their dedication and sacrifice.
Following that the session was opened to the floor for discussion where NRBs, business and community activists contributed and made suggestions. Difficulty in acquiring properties, lack of cooperation from the authorities and political situations were cited as bottlenecks to investment in Bangladesh by the NRBs. The session ended Hon’ble State Minister for Finance & Planning Mr. M. A. Mannan responding to speakers and contribution from the floor.