The Foreign Investors’ Chamber of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) was established on the 1st of July 1963 in the port city of Chittagong under the name and style of the “Agrabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry” (‘Agrabad’ being the name of the commercial hub of the city) with the initiative of the foreign companies located in and around Chittagong. It may be mentioned here that, at that point of time, most of the foreign companies, mainly British, had their establishments located in that region of the country.
Subsequently, after the emergence of Bangladesh as a sovereign and independent country in 1971, it was felt that the Chamber’s office should be shifted to Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh for practical reasons and that the name of the Chamber should be suitably changed in order to include foreign companies located outside Chittagong region. Accordingly, in June 1987 the Chamber assumed its present name i.e. the Foreign Investors’ Chamber of Commerce & Industry and had its office shifted to Dhaka from Chittagong.
FICCI is affiliated with the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FBCCI) as an ‘A’ class Chamber and is a founder member of the Bangladesh chapter of the Paris based International Chamber of Commerce-Bangladesh (ICC-B). The Chamber maintains regular communications with the International Trade Centre (ITC), Geneva and the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Paris.
The Chamber is represented in various Consultative and Advisory Committees of different government ministries and agencies and has been able to establish itself as an organisation to be reckoned with.
Companies having a minimum of 50% foreign share holding in their equity and/or 100% management control in case the percentage of foreign share holding is less than 50 are eligible for ‘Ordinary’ membership of the Chamber and those having less than 50% foreign share holding in their equity are eligible for ‘Associate’ membership.
The members of FICCI are some of the biggest corporate powerhouses in the country. At present, the Chamber comprises 188 members, operating in a wide spectrum of manufacturing, trading and service businesses and has been playing a catalytic role in the development of Bangladesh.
- To promote and protect the business interests of its members;
- To render such assistance and advice to the government of Bangladesh and its concerned agencies/authorities which may help promote growth of trade, commerce and industry of the country in general and foreign investors in particular keeping in mind the interests of FICCI members;
- To support or oppose, as the case may be, legislative or other measures of the government affecting trade, commerce and industry of the country in general and the FICCI members in particular;
- To help establish just and equitable principles in the domain of trade, commerce and industry of Bangladesh;
- To liase with other trade organisations home and abroad and with concerned government agencies/authorities for exchange of information, views etc. to serve the interest of FICCI members;
- To do such other things from time to time as the situation may demand for promotion and protection of the overall interests of the country’s trade, commerce and industry keeping in mind the interests of FICCI members; and
- The aim of the FICCI is to usher in technological transformation processes and develop entrepreneurial power houses throughout the country, i.e. mobilize the country intensively to attract foreign investment.
Bangladesh has been successfully transforming from a predominantly agrarian economy to a more industrialized and service based economy, where many of its manufacturing and service businesses are effectively competing with regional and global players. In this process of transformation, FICCI has been playing a defining role in overall economic development and growth of Bangladesh.
The contribution of FICCI to Bangladesh covers the wide spectrum of economic value chain, such as, direct financial contributions to the economy, development of key growth sectors, and various welfare contributions to the society.
The aim of FICCI is to facilitate technological transformation processes and develop entrepreneurial power houses operating on best business practices conducive to sustained economic growth and prosperity of the nation.
FICCI members adhere to international standard business practices and ethics, which ensure fair treatment for all its stakeholders – the shareholders, the employees, the customers, the suppliers, the national exchequer, and above all, the people of Bangladesh.
FICCI members together form the largest revenue- generating source for the government. FICCI comprises 188 members, a small number compared to 55,000 corporate taxpayers in the country. However, the combined contribution (if FICCI members exceeds 15% of total tax revenue collected by the government.
- Developing the key business sectors.
FICCI members have developed industrial and service powerhouses in many key sectors by introducing breakthrough products and services, which contributed immensely to the economic development of the nation.
- Bridging the communication gap digitally
It is the FICCI members who have delivered mobile telephony to the mass people and businesses thus providing much needed effective communications solutions. Today, mobile telephony is one of the largest service-sectors in Bangladesh, and FICCI members are proud to reach more than 90% of the total cellular subscribers in Bangladesh and meeting their communications requirements.
- Ensuring energy security for the nation
Energy security has been rated as the top priority of countries for sustained growth. FICCI members have invested quite heavily for the exploration of gas and natural resources in Bangladesh. Over the last decade, FICCI members have carried 80% of all gas exploration projects in Bangladesh contributing substantial extractable gas reserve to the nation.
- Introducing international-standard financial services
FICCI members have achieved their distinctive position in the financial market because of their prudent financial management, customer focus, innovative products, technology-based services, and judicious project appraisal. The FICCI members have been instrumental in dissemination of knowledge and best business practices which made the financial services sector the healthiest and most transparent segment of Bangladesh economy.
- Building the blocks for future
It is the FICCI members who have pioneered the production of quality cement in proper scale. Today, most of the largest players in this sector are FICCI members and some of them introduced innovative technology for low cost production making cement more affordable.
- Saving precious lives
FICCI members are producing and marketing life-saving drugs and introducing global brands of original research molecules to the local market. A FICCI member locally manufactures world-class infant cereals with proprietary technology.
- Enriching lifestyles
FICCI members are the most trusted names in consumer inods and home appliances for their consistently high quality and safe products.
- Facilitating Exports
Foreign logistics companies collectively handle about 50% i tlir export goods of the country.
FICCI members not only create significant job opportunities in Bangladesh, but also train them to enhance the technical and managerial skills-set to global standard. Together the operations of FICCI members provide employment to over 160,000 people and their activities support over 2500 ancillary enterprises.
Last year, nearly 700 employees from FICCI member companies received overseas training on a variety of technical and managerial disciplines. Many FICCI members, which are part of global groups, sent employees regularly on overseas assignment as a way of learning.
As a natural consequence, many of the trained employees of FICCI members eventually become the leaders in the industrial and business arena of Bangladesh. FICCI member companies play vital role the retaining a part of quality human resources from brain drain.
FICCI acts as a medium of bringing in best practices of good corporate citizenship from around the world into I’.angladesh. Exposed to the hazards of rapid industrialization .is any other developing country, Bangladesh has seen the implementation of many innovative environmental and •.or ial measures promoted through FICCI and its member companies.
FICCI members take the lead in discharging their ‘oiporate social responsibilities (CSR) and conduct v.hious community support programs for the society, .u«h as, makes provision for potable drinking water, .iw,lioness campaign to first diseases, women’s ‘ ii lowerment, vocational training, calamity assistance, iholarship schemes and healthcare facilities for the mimI«mprivileged, to name a few.
FICCI members, who are in energy or infrastructurerelated business, ensure that everyone in the affected area is better off as a result of their project. Community plans usually include establishment of a development fund, livelihood restoration and provision of alternative livelihood opportunities, retraining, assistance in improving agricultural output, crop loss dividends and full and fair compensation for loss of livelihood and property.
FICCI members act as a conduit of innovative technologies, know-how, and business practice from around the globe into Bangladesh and many of these concepts and practices have later been adopted and adapted by the local enterprises in delivering better quality products and services.
FICCI members have developed local suppliers, distributors and retailers by assisting them with modern technology and business processes resulting in greater productivity and industrialization nationwide.
FICCI acts as a medium of bringing in best practices of good corporate citizenship from around the world into Bangladesh. Exposed to the hazards of rapid industrialization .is any other developing country, Bangladesh has seen the implementation of many pioneering and innovative M’ .ilthy, Safety and Environmental (HSE) standards by i ICCI members.
The HSE manual of FICCI members, in cases, is so comprehensive that it has been cited as an example of desirable standard by international agencies, such as, international Finance Corporation of the World Bank Group.
FICCI members, who are in energy and infrastructure business, conduct, on a regular basis, environmental mil social impact studies and perform environmental, biodiversity and social monitoring throughout project life in compliance with national and international standards.
Bangladesh, with its macroeconomic stability, a large consumer base with increasing purchasing power and higher aspirations riding on the back of an average GDP growth of little over 6% per annum in the last several years, offers an attractive proposition for foreign investors. Obviously, it also has its own set of challenges like any other emerging economy.
FICCI members, by their sustained presence, play a vital role in attracting foreign investments of Bangladesh. Creating a platform for investors across the globe in the country, FICCI is playing an instrumental role in introducing Bangladesh to the prospective foreign investors thus enabling them to take decisions to make investment in Bangladesh.