Bashundhara Group Managing Director Sayem Sobhan Anvir on Thursday called for an increase in trade and commerce between Bangladesh and the United States.
“The volume of trade between the two countries is not satisfactory. US organisations should invest more in different fields, especially in energy sector,” he said.
The managing director of Bashundhara Group, a leading business conglomerate in Bangladesh, made the call during his meeting with representatives from the US Embassy in Dhaka.
Two US Embassy officials -- Public Affairs Officer Nicholas Papp and Information Officer JJ Joria -- visited the media outlets of East West Media Group Limited (EWMGL), a concern of Bashundhara Group, in Bashundhara residential area of the capital.
On their arrival, the officials were accorded a floral reception.
Bangladesh Pratidin editor Naem Nizam, Kaler Kantho editor Imdadul Haq Milon, Daily Sun editor Enamul Hoque Chowdhury, Kaler Kantho executive editor Mostofa Kamal, NEWS24 executive director Hasnain Khorshed, Radio Capital executive director Mehedi Malek Sajib, and NEWS24 head of current affairs Associate Prof Samia Rahman were present at the meeting.
Sayem Sobhan briefed the US delegates on the business activities of Bashundhara Group which has been contributing a lot to Bangladesh’s economy.
Bashundhara Group has started constructing the country’s largest oil-refinery plant in Chittagong city, he said, adding that it has the largest shipping business which is facilitating exports and imports.
He expressed his optimism that Bangladesh will be able to achieve all development goals -- visions 2021 and 2041.
“Bangladesh is gifted with huge natural and manpower resources which will facilitate the country’s forward journey.”
Recalling the private sector’s tremendous contribution to Bangladesh’s economic development, Sayem Sobhan said the government’s duty is to ensure policy support while the private sector’s responsibility is to implement all development agendas.
He further said Bangladesh has failed to ensure quality education and infrastructure. If the country can overcome the two problems, none will be able to stop its forward journey, he opined.
The US delegates underscored the need for resolving the Rohingya crisis through joint efforts of Bangladesh and Myanmar governments.
They also said a section of Rohingya refugees are involved in drug peddling, arms smuggling and prostitution, causing a serious concern.
Emphasising the need for holding the next parliamentary elections in a peaceful manner, they called upon all parties of Bangladesh to refrain from any confrontation and chaos.
Speaking on the occasion, Naem Nizam said the EWMGL is the country’s largest media house, having three dailies -- Bangladesh Pratidin, Kaler Kantho and Daily Sun, an online news portal Banglanews24.com, NEWS24 TV channel and Radio Capital-94.8.
The US officials said EWMGL outlets should get the reports in Washington DC to be covered by its own correspondents.
In reply, Sayem Sobhan and Naem Nizam said they have reporters in different countries and states, including New York.
Besides, Bangladesh Pratidin is going to be published from New York. However, appointing a reporter in Washington DC will be taken into consideration, they said.
EWMGL and US Embassy representatives expressed deep concern over the upcoming Digital Security Act 2018, which is likely to curtail freedom of press.
“If the Digital Security Act 2018 comes into force, freedom of press will face a debacle,” said Naem Nizam.
The Bashundhara Group managing director and the US Embassy officials hoped to extend support to each other in all possible ways and it will continue in days to come.