Rajshahi Krishi Unnayan Bank (RAKUB) is established by the government of Bangladesh as a specialized bank with the mandate to facilitate credit flow for promotion and development of agriculture and rural economic activities in the north-western region of Bangladesh and to usher in prosperity in the rural areas of the region as a whole, said Professor M Shah Nowaz Ali, Chairman, RAKUB, in an exclusive interview with The Guardian.
The Chairman, in this context, mentioned that RAKUB started operations on 15 March 1987 as a result of the government’s plan of providing intensive care to agriculture of Rajshahi division, currently Rajshahi and Rangpur divisions, aiming to provide livelihood to more than 35 million people of the area, as the region is less developed compared to other parts, though yet to explore its full potentials in agriculture.
Professor Shah Nowaz, a man from the north, further said that Rajshahi and Rangpur divisions characterized by their surplus food grain productions are popularly called the ‘granary of Bangladesh, for which RAKUB obviously asserts to be the largest development partner in the north-western region, aiming at overall development of farmers and all sub-sectors of agriculture, including agri-business and agro-based industries and poverty alleviation Programs.
The Chairman informed us that RAKUB finances for production of all the summer and winter crops, horticulture and nursery, for which crop sub-sector alone occupies 60 percent of the lending budget of the bank.
He further informed that the bank extends credit facilities for systematic and commercial livestock farming which includes dairy, beef-fattening, poultry raising and setting up of hatcheries which in turn is expected to increase production of milk, meet and eggs, the main sources of protein. He also added that as the marginal and small farmers’ access to mechanized farming is restrained for want of cash and collateral, the bank has a big lending window of draft animals for cultivation of land, transportation of agricultural produces and other farming activities.
He mentioned that RAKUB also attaches importance to the use of modern technology in fish cultivation, through extending adequate credit support for excavation of ponds, round the year cultivation of different species which have rapid growth, cultivation of sweet water prawn and other fishes.
A renowned educationist of the country, Dr Ali feels that technology-based farming of high yield and high-value crops, mechanization of cultivation, irrigation and pest-control is indispensable; so to cope up with the situation, the bank is financing for power tillers, tractors, tube wells, power-pumps and fertilizer and pesticide application devices.
He underscored that RAKUB pays due importance to setting up agro industries for preservation, processing and marketing of agricultural produces, having backward linkage with basic sub-sectors of crop, fishery, livestock and tree-farming, adding that manufacturing and marketing of agricultural implements, agro-industries for import substitution are also especially encouraged by easy terms of finance.
The Chairman revealed that the poverty-stricken area of north-western Bangladesh is characterized by comparatively lower rate of savings, inadequate capital accumulation and lean employment opportunities, for which the existing collateral-based banking system is also of little use in respect of extending support to the millions of landless people. To address the problem, RAKUB has been financing collateral-free micro-credit for income and employment generation through its poverty alleviation credit programs and thus RAKUB pledges to bring smile to the faces of millions of deprived people in the Northwest Bangladesh.
Professor Ali expressed his gratefulness and thanked Prime Minister and Finance Minister for evaluation of his contributions and appointing him chairman for the second term and sought cooperation of all to make his missions and efforts of second term successful.
In an exclusive interview, he replied to several questions, focusing on activities, problems, potentials, achievements, future plans of RAKUB, also including socio-ecoomic, political and academic issues of challenges and developments in Bangladesh. His deliberations are not simply informative but quite interesting and educative as well. The excerpts of his valuable interview are presented here for The Guardian readers at home and abroad:
The Guardian: Mr. Chairman, please give us a brief introduction to the beginning of Rajshahi Krishi Unnayan Bank through which it has come to its present success.
Chairman: Rajshahi Krishi Unnayan Bank (RAKUB) was established in 1987 with specific aims and objectives to bring substantial change in ensuring agricultural and integrated rural developments in the northwestern region of Bangladesh. It started operations with 253 branches of Bangladesh Krishi Bank of the then Rajshahi division, presently Rajshahi and Rangpur divisions and started functioning on the 15th of March 1987.
Today, there are 376 branches of the bank including Local Principal Office, Rajshahi and Dhaka Branch, Dhaka; out of which 190 are in Rajshahi and 184 in Rangpur division. Number of rural branches are 307 while urban only 69. At present authorized capital of the bank is Tk. 7500 million and paid up capital is Tk. 5700 million. RAKUB is the only state-owned bank having its head office outside Dhaka, i.e. in Rajshahi.
The Guardian: Keeping its aims and objectives in view, would you give us a full picture of RAKUB as a public bank and as a development financial institution?
Chairman: You’ve already been answered that Rajshahi Krishi Unnayan Bank was set up by the government of Bangladesh as a specialized bank with the mandate of facilitating credit flow for promotion and development of agriculture and integrated rural development in the northwest region of the country, comprised of Rajshahi and Rangpur administrative divisions. The mandate also covers supporting all other allied economic activities in rural areas, promoting sustainable rural development and ushering in prosperity in the rural areas as a whole.
The bank emerged as a result of the government plan of providing intensive care to agriculture of Rajshahi division, currently Rajshahi and Rangpur divisions, aiming to provide livelihood to more than 35 million people of the area. The region is less developed compared to other parts, though yet to explore its full potentials in agriculture.
Rajshahi and Rangpur divisions characterized by their surplus food grain productions are popularly called the ‘granary of the country’. Besides catering to agricultural credit, RAKUB, as it is acronymed, renders deposit banking services through all the 376 branches. Unlike other banks the head office of the bank is not in Dhaka, rather it is stationed at Rajshahi city which has ensured easy access to the farmers and entrepreneurs of this region.
RAKUB asserts to be the largest development partner in the northwestern region, aiming at overall development of farmers and all sub-sectors of agriculture. The bank also performs functions like financing agri-business and agro-based industries and poverty alleviation programmes.
The RAKUB finances for production of all the summer and winter crops, horticulture and nursery etc. Crop sub-sector alone occupies 60 percent of the lending budget of the bank. High yielding and high value crops and seeds productions are also encouraged. As we know, countries like China give emphasis to exports of high value crops while import crops of lower tag like wheat. So financing for high value crops can be significant for the bank and for the farmers as well.
The bank extends credit facilities for systematic and commercial livestock farming which includes dairy, beef fattening, poultry raising and setting-up of hatcheries which in turn is expected to increase production of milk, meet and eggs, the main sources of protein. As the marginal and small farmers’ access to mechanized farming is restrained for want of cash and collateral, the bank has a big lending window of draft animals for cultivation of land, transportation of agricultural produces and other farming activities.
The bank also attaches importance to the use of modem technology in fish cultivation. It extends adequate credit support for excavation of ponds, round the year cultivation of species, which have rapid growth, cultivation of sweet water prawn and other fishes. The bank makes use of expertise of the concerned government agencies for bringing more ponds as well as water bodies under cultivation and increasing productivity.
In today’s technology-based farming of high yielding and high-value crops, mechanization of cultivation, irrigation and pest-control is indispensable. To cope with the situation, the bank is financing for power tillers, tractors, tube wells, power- pumps and fertilizer and pesticide application devices.
The RAKUB also pays due importance to setting up agro-industries for preservation, processing and marketing of agricultural produces, having backward linkage with basic sub-sectors of crop, fishery, livestock and tree-farming. Manufacturing and marketing of agricultural implements are also encouraged. Agro-industries for import substitution are specially encouraged by easy terms of finance.
The poverty-stricken area of northwest Bangladesh is characterized by comparatively lower rate of savings, inadequate capital accumulation and lean employment opportunities. The existing collateral-based banking system is also of little use in respect of extending support to the millions of landless people. To address the problem, the bank has been financing collateral-free micro-credit for income and employment generation through its poverty alleviation credit programmes. Thus, RAKUB pledges to bring smile to the faces of millions in northwest Bangladesh.
With a capital base of Tk 5700 million provided by the government of Bangladesh it operates through its head office at Rajshahi, 18 zonal offices situated in 16 north-western district headquarters of Rajshahi and Rangpur divisions. It is an apex institution handling annually about 25 percent of agricultural credit disbursed in the country by banks and financial institutions.
The Guardian: In this context, would you discuss the recent activities of RAKUB?
Chairman: You’ll be glad to know that the recent years remain very eventful for RAKUB. We have coined a handful of new financial products, suiting lower and middle income rural people which have gained instant popularity among our customers. Another milestone is that the bank has got its head office in its own building in Rajshahi, which is a prestigious establishment of the bank with a beautiful architectural design.
I have noticed the jubilation of the employees and the flare of festivities on the event of formal opening of the head office building on the 20th of November 2011. It was simply not astonishing but more than that. It was a feel-at-home atmosphere prevailing all over.
Previously RAKUB’s finance was confined within agricultural sector, riskier area of financing, beset with threats of floods, cyclones, tornadoes, market failure, etc. So, RAKUB had to make a paradigm shift from traditional agricultural lending, the mainstream business to SME financing alongside in the recent years. This has opened up a new vista of expansion of business promising comparatively higher income.
Rajshahi and Rangpur divisions are full of potentials of setting-up agro-industries which will contribute in income and employment generation in the area. If we can harness the full potentials of the opportunity, the bank will turn to be a profit making concern within a short span of time. Realizing this, we are taking steps one after another.
The Guardian: As you know banking today depends a lot on technology. How do you prepare the RAKUB for facing challenges of modern technology based banking?
Chairman: You know our Hon’ble Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina dreams of Digital Bangladesh. Accordingly, the present government has promulgated its vision of establishing ‘Digital Bangladesh’. We in RAKUB also have a lot of responsibilities in this regard. In today’s banking business a popular coinage goes like: “automate or else perish”. We must go to the farmers’ doorsteps for increasing financial inclusion with the help of ICT enabled services.
The RAKUB, as you know, has not missed any opportunity of adoption of modern banking and use of technology in banking. We dream of Internet based banking in RAKUB. Our dream will come true that day when a farmer, say in Tetulia will be using credit card for making payment of fertilizer or pesticide. The bank has taken initiative of automating banking operations in all the 376 branches which is expected to be completed by March 2015.
Besides, a plan chalked up by the bank of introducing online banking is under implementation. Online banking will be introduced during the current financial year while all the branches of the bank will be online within 2016-2017. The government has allocated an amount of Tk 800 million for recapitalization of the bank which has been earmarked for the bank’s automation.
Further, recently we have teamed up with Dutch-Bangla Bank Limited for introduction of mobile banking service in the RAKUB. We have inked the agreement in June, 2014 and have gone live in September, i.e. within three months’ time. Mobile banking service will be available in all the branches very soon.
The RAKUB also distributes foreign remittance through all of its branches under an arrangement with the Western Union. Again, as you know, the Bangladesh Bank has introduced IT-based services like Bangladesh Automated Clearing House (BACH), automated reporting systems like Enterprise Data Warehouse (EDW), and online CIB, etc. requiring scheduled banks to comply with those activities. And the RAKUB has been keeping pace with all these initiatives of the central bank.
The Guardian: Would you tell us something about the much talked-about-issue of green banking and RAKUB’s policy towards environmental risk mitigation?
Chairman: We are aware that global warming is an issue that calls for global response. The rapid change in climate will be too great to allow many eco-systems to suitably adapt, since the change has direct impact on biodiversity, agriculture, forestry, dry land, water resources and human health. Due to unusual weather pattern, rising greenhouse gases, declining air quality, etc., society demands that business also has something to do in safeguarding the planet.
Green finance as a part of Green Banking makes great contribution to the transition to resource-efficient and low carbon industries i.e. green industry and green economy in general. Green banking is a component of the global initiative by a group of stakeholders to save environment. The state of environment in Bangladesh is rapidly deteriorating. The key areas of environmental degradation cover air pollution, water pollution and scarcity, encroachment of rivers, improper disposal of industrial, medical and house-hold wastes, deforestation and loss of open space and loss of biodiversity.
In addition, Bangladesh is one of the most climate change vulnerable countries. In line with global development and response to the environmental degradation, financial sector in Bangladesh should play important role as one of the key stakeholders. Green Banking is a very sensitive and important issue introduced by Bangladesh Bank. RAKUB, as a specialized state-owned bank, has been following the instructions of Bangladesh Bank relative to green banking.
In house Green Banking Management of RAKUB, its head office and field offices cover issues like ensuring sufficient ventilation facility in the bank buildings, keeping office premises clean, using energy saving bulbs, using optimum water and electricity, using duplex printers, using energy efficient vehicle, setting-up of solar panel, use of IPS and UPS, arranging video/audio conference avoiding physical traveling, introducing computerized banking, collecting documents online avoiding print copies, etc.
Business related green banking initiatives include financing eco-friendly, energy saving projects/businesses, financing projects related to use of renewable energy, supply of pure drinking water, refining polluted water, disposal of perilous and metal wastage, use of bio-gas and bio-fertilizer, etc.
The RAKUB has signed an agreement with Bangladesh Bank under a refinance scheme of Tk. 2000.00 million (200.00 crore). Under this programme, RAKUB has been financing 44 products like renewable energy plants, efficient energy/energy saving technology related plants, effluent treatment plant, alternative energy plants, non fire block brick manufacturing projects, recycling plants, vermicompost production, Hybrid Hoffman Kiln (HHK)/Tunnel Kiln/Equivalent Brick Kiln, etc.
The Guardian: Would you give us an idea about Environment Risk Management under Credit Risk Management ascertained by RAKUB for financing safety?
Chairman: Environmental Risk Management measures are considered before financing projects/businesses. As for example, location, type, geographical characteristics, earthquake and landslide proneness, etc. are considered in selecting project land. Storm, cyclone, draught, winter and summer temperature, humidity, rainfall, surface water, flood, etc. are taken into consideration. Cautionary measures are taken against contagious diseases like Anthrax, Avian flu, Bird flu, Nipah virus, etc. To protecting air and sound pollutions, black smoke, ash, poisonous gas, horrid sound etc. control are taken into consideration.
The Guardian: RAKUB steps into 28 years of its establishment. How would you appraise the achievements of the bank?
Chairman: You know RAKUB started its operation in 1987 with 253 branches, more than a quarter of a century has elapsed since then. At present the bank commands 376 branches. The prime achievement of RAKUB is its contribution towards increasing financial inclusion through a strong network of branches across the region.
Today, you can think of a RAKUB branch in every nook and corner of the northwest Bangladesh wherever you will find only a primary school and a tea-stall- no good road transportation system is there, no other facilities. Fighting against all this odds, RAKUB has brought more than three million clientele under its coverage. And the success that RAKUB boasts of its emergence as the bank for those who provide us with the foodstuff. And what is more important is that the farmers’ sense of owning the bank whenever they enter a RAKUB branch or meet any field staff of the bank in their own locality.
I strongly believe that our farmers will not find such comfort in any other financial institutions, be it a private or a state-owned commercial bank or even any NGO. It is a feeling of identification of the farmers with the bank where RAKUB surpasses others. Farmers feel it at heart to be their own bank. Here, where RAKUB is different from others.
Well, some examples could be given to demonstrate popularity of the bank. In some of our branches the local people make annual festivals centering the post-harvest loan collection activities of the local RAKUB branch. It is really a phenomenal way of spontaneous participation of the farmers in rural banking activities. These are coined as ‘Loan Fairs’, which are meant to be managed by the bank’s officers. But in many such fairs the borrowers get themselves involved in management of the fairs.
So, it is not any exaggeration to introduce RAKUB as an enterprise owned by the government of Bangladesh which belongs to the farmers of the northwest region of the country. The reason behind the popularity may be attributed to the technical efficiency of the bank performed through simplicity of operations, emanating from decades of rural banking experience of the managers and field level officials.
The Guardian: Would you reflect on the contributions of RAKUB to the national economy of Bangladesh?
Chairman: As a state-owned enterprise the bank is, of course, expected to make direct annual contribution to the national exchequer, which is yet to come to fruition, as the bank has been posting losses through out. But what the bank has achieved by the way of indirect contribution to the country’s economy is much significant in magnitude. We know what I hint at. This part of the country is particularly poised to boost agricultural development. It shares more than 30 percent of food grain production. The bank’s credit for crop production and irrigation equipment together makes 55 percent of the total outstanding credit.
Our present Government of Hon’ble Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has ensured efficient fertilizer distribution system and has taken a proactive food policy. As a result of which, the country today is at the threshold of food sufficiency and free from the famine like situation what is termed sometimes as ‘Monga’ prevailing in the northern region of the country.
I hope it won’t be any overstatement if I tell that we in RAKUB are happy to be a part of this success of the government. We stand beside the farmers in their need. We inject more than Taka 13,000-14,000 million annually in the rural economy for boosting agricultural production. It may be mentioned that it was around Tk 8,000 million during 2008-2009, i.e. before our term in the board of directors of RAKUB.
The RAKUB is now a full-fledged financial institution. It has brought so many social goods to the people of northwest Bangladesh. In different dire situations, RAKUB has involved itself in disaster management programmes of the government. To mention a few, way back in 1987, 1988, 1998 the bank made meaningful contribution towards post-flood agricultural rehabilitation for compensating the crop damages by catering to the credit need of hundreds of thousands of distressed farmers.
Participation in social safety nets is yet another bright area of RAKUB’s operations. The bank distributes Primary Education Stipend, Old Age Allowance, Widowed and Distressed Women Allowance, Disabled Allowance. We can recall the enormous task of opening Ten-Taka farmers’ accounts in 2008. Even the giant commercial banks’ rural branches made mess of it in some cases, while RAKUB managed it very neatly and outshined other players by opening around 1.3 million farmers’ accounts within a shortest possible time, braving its severe shortage of manpower to cope up with regular day to day operations. Our employees are proud to serve 3.67 millions.
The Guardian: Would you discuss the problems, potentials and successes of RAKUB?
Chairman: General dismay of workforce had been a big problem for the bank for years together. To be frank, there was no effective HR plan and policy for the bank. And this problem alone was enough to devour the potentials of the bank to be a viable financial institution. It started with 3,706-strong workforce in 1987 for its 253 branches whereas it now commands 376 branches with workforce shrunk to 3,508. RAKUB has added 114 branches in 28 years but obviously failed to adequately man the branches.
After my assumption of the office of the chairman of the board of directors, I rightly adjudged it to be our prime concern to revamp the organization structure from elevating ministry to approve manpower strength of 4,239 to 5,982. After all, you need energy to keep you going.
Employees of RAKUB otherwise are very challenge-loving and potential workforce, who are also accustomed to hard field work in the far-flung rural areas devoid of adequate communication infrastructure.
But due to procrastination and dillydallying of the preceding management of the bank about employee promotion, almost two decades were virtually spent and withered for some reasons or other. As a result, a sense of deprivation gathered among the employees, causing their motivation almost touching the bottom level.
And it was reflected in the sagging performance of the bank. Thanks to my colleagues of the board of directors including the then Managing Director of RAKUB and currently MD & CEO of Sonali Bank, Mr. Prodip Kumar Datta, who along with us played a vital role, for making a very good team to work out an ambitious organization chart and we got it approved by the Ministry of Finance for overcoming the problem.
As a result, a new promotion policy was formulated replacing the older one. We successfully arranged unprecedented promotion for 1,500 employees who were exhausted by years of deprivation. This is another milestone of RAKUB. I think it must have created a lot of enthusiasm among them. The workforce inspired by the promotion has reciprocated by boosting the operational activities pushing the indicators up. During the last two financial years the bank disbursed loans amounting to Tk. 13,356.20 million and Tk. 14,309.10 million as a result.
Loan recovery is a very tough job in RAKUB. You have to collect small amounts outstanding with hundreds of thousands of farmers in remote locations that too in a disadvantageous situation- you have only 1900 field staff to supervise 863,000 borrowers, you have inadequate transportation facilities, you can pay visit to the farmers’ doorsteps only during the day time when they are most likely off to fields for work.
In spite of all these the last couple of years have witnessed sharp rise in loan recovery. During the last two financial years the bank recovered loans amounting to Tk. 14,753.00 million and 16,771.40 million which stand in steep contrast to preceding years. Recovery of classified loans during the same period stood at Tk. 4,631.60 and Tk. 4,636.80 million respectively. Besides, the bank commands a robust deposit base at present. From Tk. 19,438.40 million in June 2012 it has gone up to Tk. 30,468.50 million in June 2014 i.e. it has experienced a sharp rise of 57% in two years’ time.
We were well aware that we needed fresh bloods for ensuring a competitive edge in banking area of the twenty first century. We have during this short tenure of ours appointed 780 officers and other staff already. Our efforts for government permission for appointment of further 1,686 employees have been successful. Process of appointment of 567 employees is underway which is expected to be completed by the end of the current year.
The paradox of RAKUB’s business activities is that the bank has to make loans at interest rates lower than the rates it pays on deposits. Though we have marginally increased our rates of lending in the recent years, yet it is not enough. However, on the other hand proper care has been taken to ensure that increased interest rate doesn’t affect our small and marginal farmers. Combined effect of all these positive moves, led by the present board of directors and aided by former Managing Director, Mr. Mofazzal Husain, and other officers and staff will certainly bring in a revolutionary change in RAKUB in its 28th year and keep it going in the years to come.
The Guardian: Please discuss the future plans of RAKUB.
Chairman: Farmers are the vital force for the predominantly agricultural economy of the northern region. The present government is out and out a farmer-friendly government. Since its establishment RAKUB has been functioning as one of the guiding forces to develop agriculture as well as trade and commerce of the northwest region of the country.
As a teacher of business studies, I have to keep myself abreast of the theoretical aspects of trade, commerce and industrialization, which ultimately leads to economic development. As chairman of RAKUB I have got the rare opportunity to translate my knowledge into action. I would like to emphasize the following aspects that require our urgent attention to add more speed for development of RAKUB:
1. Putting more emphasis in financing fishery, poultry, and dairy sub-sectors so that these can grow as sustainable industries.
2. Strengthening of lending for the cultivation of pulses, oilseeds and spices for import substitution.
3. Opening more branches to take RAKUB services to the doorsteps of the farmers by furthering financial inclusion.
4. To finance the bonafide share-croppers at promotional rates chosen through proper interview and selection.
5. Rewarding the graduate borrowers repaying back as per schedule.
6. Arranging festive occasions for farmers’ gatherings to encourage lending and repaying activities.
7. Curbing corruption and obstacles to the loan delivery process, and thereby, building a banking system absolutely free of middlemen, who have been allegedly meddling with the process.
8. Introducing attractive new products like commercial banks for attracting small savings.
9. Exploiting RAKUB employees’ commitment to help achieve the present government’s aspiration to see Bangladesh as a middle income country by 2021.
The Guardian: It is believed that your activities centering RAKUB have well been scanned by the government and as a result of which at the end of your first term, the government has appointed you as chairman of the bank for the second term. What is your feeling?
Chairman: Of course, I feel honored and grateful to the government, especially to Hon’ble Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for evaluation of my efforts and activities in boosting activities of RAKUB and appointing me for the second time.
You know the Hon’ble Prime Minister of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh has appointed me as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Rajshahi Krishi Unnayan Bank for a three year term on 22 July 2010. I was keen in discharging my responsibilities as a worker for the implementation of the manifesto of positive changes as announced by the Prime Minister.
I have taken it as a challenge to turn RAKUB into one of the cutting edge public level organizations to develop agriculture and improve the fate of our farmers. I believe this has drawn the attention of the Hon’ble Finance Minister and the Hon’ble Prime Minister, so I’ve been considered for another term. I express my gratefulness and thanks to the Hon’ble Prime Minister and the Hon’ble Finance Minister. I must express my gratitude to my colleagues in the board, the bank management and all levels of RAKUB employees who put their efforts to see the positive changes. I hope this time also I will remain seriously active to fulfil the pledges of the government. I wish the cooperation of you all to fulfil my mission.
The Guardian: Keeping aside your activities in RAKUB, we see you as an intellectual and educationist in the first place. What can you consider as more important in the implementation of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s dream to build Bangladesh as a middle-income country by 2021?
Chairman: First thing that comes up into my mind is the problems and potentials of our population. As it is known, Bangladesh is a country with enormous population of 160 million contained in only 147,570 sq. km. The country is not rich in natural resources either. That’s why, we need to find out the potentials of our population. Our migrant workers are second only to RMG sector in the country’s earning foreign exchange. The country has emerged as eighth largest remittance-earner in the world by earning US$ 15 billion.
So, we must find new avenues of sending skilled and unskilled manpower abroad and thus convert our population into assets.
Then there comes the question of attracting foreign investment. Here too the country has yet to harness the full potential. In order to attract foreign investments the government should have to prepare new plans of lessening the influence of red tapism and providing one-stop solution centre for various utility services. RMG is our most important export sector. But, presently this sector is beset with crises. We need pragmatic steps to do away with those crises posing threats to the garments sector. The government needs to revive jute industries which are full of potentials. Government and non-government investments have to be boosted in ship building, pharmaceuticals and tourism industry.
We must modernize Chittagong Port which is of prime importance as the source of our national revenue. Initiative of establishment of the deep sea port should be bolstered. At the same time steps should be taken to build up Mongla Port as a port of international standard. More pragmatic initiatives should be taken to train up educated youths, specially in backward regions to get them suited for IT enabled outsourcing professions. Certainly, this would call for, among others, high speed Internet connections in those