World Bank (WB) President Robert B Zoellick has said Bangladesh holds the potential to become a ‘powerhouse’ in the international market by utilising its human resources properly and developing its infrastructures in the apparel industry.
"I am very pleased to see that the Bangladeshi people are doing jobs in the factories owned by the foreign investors. You have some good factories indeed. This country can be an effective partner in the global market ensuring proper utilisation of human resources and developing its infrastructure facilities," he said.
The visiting new chief of the multilateral donor agency made his observations and suggestions while talking to the Newsmen during a walkabout at the textile and apparel units of Youngone Corporation in Dhaka Export Processing Zone in Savar area Sunday.
Robert Zoellick had a discussion with Youngone''s Chairman Kihak Sung and a firsthand view of various aspects of operation of the factory, including the Effluent Treatment Plant.
They discussed important matters relating to investment climate, trade and labour issues facing the foreign investors in the country''s main export-earning industry, which has long been striving for duty-and quota-free access to the coveted market in Zoellick''s native country, the United States.
Expressing satisfaction with the infrastructure facilities of the Youngone Corporation, the WB chief said now the real challenge is to continue such facilities also in the other enterprises of this sector.
He also emphasised industrialisation and its proper management for Bangladesh''s deserved economic uplift, saying that it will increase production in the country and thereby enrich its export basket.
Zoellick for speedy implementation of Bank-funded projects : The WB President said that Bangladesh should outline an action plan for successful implementation of the development programmes, taken up by the government with the Bank''s credit support.
He also assured the Bangladesh government of the Bank''s enhanced credit support for accelerating the country''s economic development.
Zoellick made the suggestion and assurance while making a courtesy call on Chief Adviser Fakhruddin Ahmed at the latter''s office before leaving Dhaka after his two-day visit.
Appreciating the ongoing reforms programmes of the caretaker government, the WB chief also hailed the micro and macro economic performances of the country.
He also suggested that the government should speed up implementation process of the WB-funded projects.
The top boss of the global lender also assured Bangladesh of extending the Bank''s support regarding the capacity building to other government organs from the existing union parishads level.
The WB would play a proactive role in the passage of the proposed USD trade bill that will allow duty and quota-free access of Bangladesh products to the US market, he said.
Zoellick, however, expressed the Bank''s willingness to prove supports for conducting an analytical study to mitigate the possible adverse impact of the global warming on Bangladesh.
Mentioning that a US$ 56 million scheme styled "Agricultural Technology Project'' will soon get approved by the WB, Zoellick said, the Bank would continue its credit support for the projects until 2015 depending on its successful implementation.
About the regional cooperation, he said both Bangladesh and India should take necessary steps to use surplus energy from Nepal and Bhutan through the arrangements under the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation.
Finance Adviser Mirza Azizul Islam, Bangladesh Bank Governor Salehuddin Ahmed, Finance and ERD secretaries and other senior officials of Bangladesh government and World Bank were present on the occasion.
Zoellick, who arrived in Dhaka Saturday on the last leg of his South Asia trip, went to Dhaka Export Processing Zone Sunday morning along with senior officials of the World Bank.