Sylhet, 22 October 2022: Speakers at a workshop in Sylhet has called for reaping the full potential of local agriculture, tourism as well as geographic location to enhance the economic growth of the region.

Simultaneously, they have called for creating a business-friendly environment for the non-resident Bangladeshis for attracting investment from the NRBs.

Support to Sustainable Graduation Project (SSGP) of the Economic Relations Division (ERD) organized the workshop styled ‘’Local Level Stakeholders Consultation on Inclusive, Smooth and Sustainable LDC Graduation’’ in collaboration with the district administration of Sylhet as well as the Sylhet Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

ERD Secretary Ms. Sharifa Khan graced the occasion as chief guest while the President of the Sylhet Chamber of Commerce and Industry Mr. Tahmin Ahmed attended the event as special guest. Deputy Commissioner of Sylhet Mr. Md. Mozibor Rahman chaired the workshop.

It is notable that Bangladesh met all the criteria for graduation from the LDC status during the triennial review of the Committee for Development Policy (CDP) of the United Nations back in 2018 and 2021. Consequently, CDP recommended Bangladesh for LDC graduation with a five year long preparatory period. The recommendation has been duly endorsed by the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). Subsequently, United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) has taken note of Bangladesh’s graduation recommendation during its 76th session held in November 2021. The country is set to leave the list of LDCs by 2026 after enjoying a preparatory period of five years.

The Government of Bangladesh is attaching highest priority to ensure smooth and sustainable graduation with momentum. It has formed a National Committee on LDC Graduation (NCG), headed by the Principal Secretary to the Honorable Prime Minister, involving all the relevant Ministries and organizations from both public and private sectors. Seven thematic subcommittees have been formed under the guidance of the NCG to address various core issues related to graduation. It is recommended by the United Nations that a graduating LDC should prepare a national smooth transition strategy (STS) during the preparatory period in cooperation with the relevant stakeholders. The 9-member Subcommittee on STS led by the Secretary ERD and co-led by the Secretary of the Prime Minister’s Office is tasked with the formulation of the STS. ERD has undertaken a project called “Support to Sustainable Graduation Project (SSGP)” to identify the impacts of graduation, to provide necessary capacity-building supports and other necessary supports to the relevant ministries as well as to promulgate this historic achievement at home and abroad by producing various research papers and publications related to graduation.

In this context, ERD, with support from SSGP, has been organizing a series of workshops at the local level to sensitize the grassroot level stakeholders regarding the process and opportunities of LDC graduation as well as to discuss on how the local level stakeholders can be involved in the process of ensuring smooth and sustainable LDC graduation.

Speaking on the occasion, ERD Secretary Ms. Sharifa Khan termed LDC graduation as a matter of pride for the country. Recalling that Bangladesh had been able to successfully tackle various global challenges in the past—she hoped that Bangladesh would similarly be able to maintain the development momentum even after the LDC graduation.

Deputy Commissioner of Sylhet Mr. Md. Mozibor Rahman, in his speech, said that awareness building and sensitization about LDC graduation at the grassroot level would help to make the country’s development process more inclusive and sustainable.

President of the Sylhet Chamber of Commerce and Industry Mr. Tahmin Ahmed emphasized on necessary training and skill enhancement of the local population to prepare the country for LDC graduation.

Additional Secretary of ERD and the Project Director of SSGP Mr. Farid Aziz delivered the welcome remarks of the event. Mr. Aziz, in his welcome remarks, emphasized on sensitizing the local private sector representatives, especially the export-oriented industries about the opportunities to be created by LDC graduation of the country.

Component Manger of SSGP Mr. Md. Anwar Hossain delivered a presentation on ‘Inclusive, Smooth and Sustainable LDC Graduation: Challenges and Way forward’ during the workshop. Chief Executive Officer of BUILD Ms. Ferdaus Ara Begum delivered a presentation on Participation of Private Sector and other Stakeholders at Sub-National Levels for Graduation with Momentum: Strategy Going Forward’.

Speakers at the workshop highlighted on the process of LDC graduation as well as its impacts on Bangladesh. They emphasized on productivity enhancement as well as diversification of local industries (e.g.- agriculture) and export sectors in the context of LDC graduation. The workshop also discussed on the effective role that can be played by all stakeholders in creating a more business-friendly environment for women entrepreneurs as well as small and medium enterprises.

Upazila Chairman of Sylhet Sadar Mr. Alhaj Ashfaque Ahmed, Managing Director of Baraka Power Ltd. Mr. Fahim Ahmed Chowdhury and Associate Professor of the Department of Architecture of Shahjalal Science and Technology University Mr. Subrata Das also spoke during the workshop.

Officials from ERD and SSGP, officials from the district administration as well as the representatives from the private sector and civil society participated in the workshop.