ON the occasion of the 22nd anniversary of the Independence and National Day of Bangladesh, I would like to thank the South China Morning Post, for giving me the opportunity to address its readers and to extend my heartiest greetings to fellow Bangladeshis residing in Hongkong. Today, we recall with deep gratitude our valiant martyrs who, by their supreme sacrifice, made it possible for us to live in freedom and dignity. Bangladesh has been watching with great admiration the phenomenal economic growth in Hongkong. As a developing country belonging to the same continent, Bangladesh, under the leadership of Prime Minister Ms Khaleda Zia, has adopted a number of pragmatic policies and programmes for improving the quality of life of the teeming millions. These include the development of agriculture, a new industrial and investment policy for rapid industrialisation and market-oriented economy, poverty alleviation and integration of women into the mainstream of the national economic development activities. The Prime Minister has recently mentioned that economic emancipation of the people is a must to make the country's political independence meaningful and expressed the hope that the nation would gradually be made self-reliant by increasing export earnings. She emphasised that with the restoration of democracy all out efforts have been undertaken to implement the policy of privatisation, de-nationalisation and de-control. It is expected that with more incentives given to foreign investors, more export-oriented manufacturing units will be set up. The Board of Investments (BOI) recently issued No Objection Certificates (NOCs) to 75 foreign companies who have proposed to invest about taka 5,560 million (HK$1.1 billion) in various industrial sectors of the country. These companies represent the entrepreneurs belonging to dozens of countries and territories, including Hongkong. Bangladesh, being a leading member of South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation (SAARC), has also been playing an active role in promoting co-operation in the fields of trade and investment among the seven-member countries with a population of about 1.2 billion. It is gratifying to note that, during the past year, a number of Hongkong entrepreneurs have invested in Bangladesh, particularly in the Export Processing Zone. In order to further encourage and boost foreign investments, the present Government has recently announced a number of measures including attractive fiscal and monetary incentives. On this occasion, I extend the sincere thanks and deepest appreciation of the Government and the people of Bangladesh to the Government and the people of Hongkong for their goodwill and continued interest in Bangladesh. I would also like to convey my best wishes to the people of Hongkong for their continued success, well-being and happiness.