Saudi ministers see new chapter of relationship with Bangladesh

Saudi Commerce and Investment Minister Dr Majed Bin Abdullah Al Kassabi has said the relationship between Bangladesh and Saudi sees a “new chapter” as the first ever Saudi delegation of ministers visit the country for wider investment opportunities.

The Saudi Minister said his country is serious in enhancing business ties with Bangladesh.

“We are here to support, we are here to work, identify scopes, listen and open the highway of dialogue between the two countries,” the Saudi minister said while addressing a plenary session of the joint ministerial level meeting with Bangladesh on investment held at a hotel in Dhaka.

Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal and Prime Minister’s Industry and Investment Advisor Salman F Rahman also spoke on the occasion.

Executive Chairman of Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) Kazi M Aminul Islam was also present.

Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia are now in a discussion as the oil-rich kingdom is keen to invest in potential areas, including infrastructure and energy sector.

A big delegation comprising two top Saudi ministers — Commerce and Investment Minister Dr Majed Bin Abdullah Al Kassabi and Economy and Planning Minister Mohammed Bin Mazyad Al-Twaijri arrived in Dhaka on Wednesday night by a special flight to discuss the investment issues.

Senior officials of Saudi Public Investment Fund, Saudi Fund for Development and top officials of Saudi companies are among the 35-member Saudi delegation, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs here.

Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal is leading the Bangladesh side at the Bangladesh-Saudi Arabia bilateral meeting being held with special focus on investment.

The Saudi delegation members are expected to meet President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina before leaving Dhaka on Thursday night.

The Foreign Minister on Tuesday hoped that the high-profile Saudi delegation will come up with a big investment package during the visit. “We’ll let them know about the potential areas of investment. I believe, the outcome will be very good.”

The relations between Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia have reached a new height in recent time by consecutive four successful visits of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to Saudi Arabia in the last three years, officials said.

During her meetings with Saudi leadership, it was identified that despite having huge potentials, the two countries are far behind in exploring the opportunities for cooperating in the field of trade and investment, they said.

During the last visit of the Prime Minister to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in October last year, the focus was on expanding cooperation in the field of investment.

On October 17 last year, Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia signed five Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) to enhance cooperation in chemical, steel and solar power sectors between the two countries.

The MoUs were inked after the meeting of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina with the Saudi business community, including leaders of the Council of Saudi Chamber and Riyadh Chamber of Commerce, at King Saud Palace.

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