A speaker addressing ‘Ayubowan Bangladesh’ event held in Colombo, Sri Lanka
: Bangladesh's friendly government; its pleasant and eager-to-help bureaucrats; its techno-savvy white collar workers; and its cooperative and reasonably priced labour were praised by Sri Lankan speakers at the "Ayubowan Bangladesh" (Long Live Bangladesh) event, held under the aegis of the NDB Investment Banking Quarter of Sri Lanka and the Bangladesh High Commi-ssion on August 16.
The Sri Lankan speakers pointed out that since Sri Lanka is a small market of 20 million people in comparison with Bangladesh with its 160 million, Lankan entrepreneurs would do well to look at Bangladesh to expand their operations, according to a news agency.
WKH Wegapitiya, Chairman, Laugfs Holdings Ltd., said Bangladesh officials go out of the way to iron out issues or remove any obstacles that might arise while Indian officials put up non-tariff and other barriers.
U Gamini Sarath, General Manager, Offshore Opera-tions LTL Group which has invested in power generation, said that Bangladeshi institutions and bureaucrats are much friendlier than their counterparts in Sri Lanka.
Sarath said he had walked into the offices of the top functionaries in Bangladesh departments without a prior appointment and got his work done, while here in Sri Lanka, bureaucrats would stonewall him.
Wegapitiya had a special word of praise for Kazi M Aminul Islam, Executive Chairman of the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA).
"Aminul Islam personifies the One Stop Shop concept by himself becoming the One Stop Shop," Wegapitiya said.
Love for Sri Lankans is widespread in the general population of Bangladesh, which is a major factor, the speakers noted.
Wegapitiya attributed this to the ancient linkage between Bengal and Sri Lanka. Prince Vijaya, the progenitor of the Sinhala race, came from Bengal.
Gamini Sarath attributes it to similarity in the culture, physique and language. Both Bengali and Sinhala are derived from Sanskrit.
M Riaz Hamidulla, the Bangladesh High Commi-ssioner to Sri Lanka, said the four things that bind Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are rice, fish, saris, and music.
BIDA Chairman Kazi Aminul recalled when Bangladesh was poor, Sri Lankan entrepreneurs believed in its potential and became the first to invest in it in the 1980s.
Sri Lankan investors and technical experts helped the Bangladeshi garment manufacturing sector grow to be a major factor in world of garments.
Vajira Kulathilaka, CEO NDB Investment Banking Cluster, said Bangladesh is no longer a poor country and growing at 7 per cent. Incomes have gone up exponentially and lifestyles of the middle class, whether in the urban and rural areas, are changing rapidly. There is thus great scope for manufacturing a variety of consumer products or products of daily use.