Bangladesh has offered on-arrival visa for the citizens of six Gulf countries aiming to boost engagement and cooperation with these nations.
“Bangladesh has taken the decision as trade and investment with the Gulf countries have increased many fold,” Director General of the Foreign Ministry Nazrul Islam told the Dhaka Tribune.
As a large number of Bangladeshis are now working in the Gulf countries, visit by their employers to Bangladesh was also taken into account, he said, adding that about 400 to 500 Gulf citizens visit Bangladesh every month for trade, investment or official purposes.
Citing statistics, Nazrul said Bangladesh exported products worth about $50m to the United Arab Emirates in the fiscal year 2009-10 which jumped to over $250 million in the last financial year.
Products worth about $400m are exported to the six countries where Saudi Arabia has a share of about $100m.
It could increase to $1bn if proper steps were taken as these countries import a huge quantity of products, Nazrul said.
“We import various products worth about $2bn from the Gulf countries which include petroleum products worth over $1.5bn,” he added.
About five million Bangladeshis are now working in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain and Qatar and send billions of dollars as remittance every year.
The Gulf countries are also keen to invest billions of dollars to take advantage of the lucrative market in Bangladesh.
Qatar had expressed willingness to invest in the second international airport in Dhaka and 2,000MW power plant and their proposed investment size ranges between $4bn and $5bn altogether.
Kuwait is interested to build a refinery in Bangladesh with an estimated investment of $1bn.
Prince Walid bin Talal of Saudi Arabia visited Bangladesh in 2012 and expressed a desire to invest in tourism and power sectors and he might invest $1.5bn to $2bn.
The UAE has offered to invest in four multibillion dollar projects in shipping sector. They showed interest in Chittagong seaport, Mongla seaport, setting up a dry dock and deep sea port.
Oman was keen to sign a memorandum of understanding with Bangladesh on gas and oil exploration.
Bahrain had proposed investing $200m to set up a power plant in Bangladesh.
Source: Dhaka Tribune