Anwar-ul Alam Chowdhury (Parvez), President of Bangladesh Chamber of industries (BCI) said that the proposed budget seems to be challenging…
Mr. Ghulam Mustafa is a leading business personality of the country. He is the Managing Director & CEO of Prantik Express Ltd. and Prantik Travels & Tourism Ltd. which are related to Freight Forwarding and Manpower Exporting business. Apart from Manpower Export, they are also engaged in Global Logistics Industry and their services are: Air Freight, Ocean Freight, Rail Freight, Trucking customs Brokerage, Removal & Relocations, Warehousing and Distribution, Project Handling and Documents. Born at Feni in the year 1950 Mr. Mustafa is a son of renowned teacher and grandson of an illustrious lawyer. He did his M.A. in Economics with honours from Chittagong University in 1976. Mr. Ghulam Mustafa is married to Ms. Ann Kaiser Sultana Ranu, an M.Sc. in Psychology from University of Dhaka. They are blessed with two sons and a daughter.
A valiant Freedom Fighter Mr. Ghulam Mustafa is also involved with various socio-cultural organizations. He is a Rotarian and served as President of Rotary Club of Dhaka in RY 1999-2000. A frontline Freedom Fighter Ghulam Mustafa was the commander of an unit of pioneer platoon of 10 East Bengal Regiment (EBR). He was the Staff Officer to the C.O of 10 East Bengal Regiment during War of Liberation and fought gallantly against the 15 Balooch Regiment and 24 Frontier Force Regiment of Pakistan Occupation Army. The fierce battle called “Second War of Belonia Bulge” where Mr. Mustafa fought gallantly, have been included lesson curriculum of Bangladesh Military Academy and many other Military Academies of the world. This illustrious personality has been honoured with more than 100 awards from local foreign countries which in short are CIP (5 times), Fellow of the World Bank, 3 Gold Medals for business ethics, professionalism and humanitarianism in business, Golden Key of Manila city by its Mayor, Arthakantho Business Award and so on. Very recently, Mahmudul Hoque Khan Dulal on behalf of REFLECTIONNEWS took an exclusive interview in which he tried to narrate the present status of our business environment, manpower export, current economy, price spiral of daily essentials and so on. Some excerpts of the interview are given below:
REFLECTIONNEWS: As we know that you are one of the leading business personalities in the country and have been contributing significantly to the growth of our national economy. In this context how do you see the prospect of Bangladesh economy?
GHULAM MUSTAFA: I see unending and tremendous prospects of Bangladesh economy and it’s heroic, hardworking and creative people. You are aware that I was a Freedom Fighter and fought gallantly for the Liberation of my very dear motherland. We had been subjected to exploitation, deprivation and degradation in the name of Islam and Pakistan. The liberation opened the door of wide opportunities for the nation. You can see that Bangladeshis are now having the opportunities to occupy all the positions starting from the position of the President, Prime Minister down to the street cleaner. All the positions in the Army, Air Force, Navy, Police, BGB, Civil Administration, Judiciary etc. are filled by the Bangladeshis. All the Banks, Insurance Companies, DFIs, Airlines, Shipping Companies, Trade, Commerce, Industries, Imports, Exports etc. are now owned by the Bangladeshis which is the direct fruits of the Liberation of the country. Can you imagine that more than 80,00,000 Bangladeshi workers and professionals are now working abroad and sending more than 12 billion US$ annually as remittance? It is fascinating to note that in the face of global recession, we continued to experience on an average 6% growth rate. I am hopeful that by the year 2021 when we will celebrate 50 years of our Independence, the country will be elevated and will be graduated to become a mid-income level nation to fulfill the dream of the Father of the nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman to turn the country as Sonar Bangla.
REFLECTIONNEWS: Do you think the present business atmosphere is congenial for running business smoothly? What so far the present government is sincere enough to extent its all out support and co operation in a bid to flourish the man power sector?
GHULAM MUSTAFA: The business atmosphere is not fully congenial because of insufficient power supply, inadequate gas supply, traffic jam, lack of proper rail/road/river transportation etc. The Government is trying its best to develop the manpower sector but failed so far to open up the Labour Market for Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, and Kuwait etc. Government is also resorting to bring the public sector in the export of manpower sector by insisting on signing the G-to-G Agreement with Malaysia. In my opinion, Government should act only as the Regulator and Facilitator. If the Government try to export manpower with some declared and undeclared intention, the image of the Government may suffer with a big blow because of probable corruption and mismanagement. Optimization of manpower export may also be affected if Government tries to control the sector which was basically and essentially developed strenuously by the private sector Recruiting Agents.
REFLECTIONNEWS: What sorts of impediments do you face in carrying out your business activities?
GHULAM MUSTAFA: I have partly responded to this question above. Frustration of the Recruiting Agents and lack of initiative by them due to the negative evaluation of the performance and contribution of the private sector in the recruitment and export of about 8 million workers abroad by the Government high ups is the main impediment, as I have noticed.
REFLECTIONNEWS: What should do the stakeholders in tourism namely hoteliers, travel agent, tour operators, airlines, resort owners, and so on with a view to make understand the concerned authorities as well as others like private investors, banks and financial institutions about the economic , social and cultural benefits which the country can derive from the development of this vital sector?
GHULAM MUSTAFA: Tourism is a very prospective sector for our national economy in addition to the prospect of building the image of the country through this sector. For this, we need a Tourism Friendly long term policy including proper transportation system, security of the travelers, hotel and entertainment facilities as per the demand and requirements of the tourists, both local and foreign. Development of tourism facilities need the Governmental intervention/policy supported by the efficient private sector participation including the role of BPC, Banks, Law Enforcers, Travel Agents and Tour Operators.
REFLECTIONNEWS: Banks play a significant role for the development of our trade, commerce and industry. But it is alleged that the rate of interest against the bank loan is so high due to that entrepreneurs feel discourage for expanding business activities. What is your comment regarding this?
GHULAM MUSTAFA: Fully agreed. The banks may, with the approval of the Finance Ministry/Bangladesh Bank, reduce the interest rate to almost half of what they are charging now by proportionately reducing the rate of interest they are now paying against the saving instruments. This will make our export more competitive in addition to the benefits to be derived by the general public in the way of reduced price of commodities.
REFLECTIONNEWS: Please comment on the soaring price spiral of daily necessities.
GHULAM MUSTAFA: Price spiral is a byproduct of development initiative both by the public and private sector including the deficit financing by the Government for long term development agenda of the nation. It is the phenomenon experienced by all the developing economies. However, initiatives by both the Government and the private sector are imperative to enhance the income of the limited income group of the people e.g., employees so that welfare of the people are not compromised for the future development of the economy.
REFLECTIONNEWS: Brief us your future plan.
GHULAM MUSTAFA: My entire business endeavor starting from the year 1980 to till date was concentrated to the Export Sector because I strongly believe that by concentrating my business efforts to the Export related activities, I can contribute in the much needed hard currency earning of the country and thus serve the cause of the nation. All of my future business plan, naturally, will be regulated with the same principle of earning the bread & butter for me and for the members of my family and vis-a-vis serving the cause of my motherland for which I almost sacrificed my life while fighting with the Pakistani Occupation Army during our Liberation War in the year 1971.