Mr. Abdul Hai Sarker is the founder Chairman and one of the longest serving Board Members of Dhaka Bank Limited. He was a key architect to set the pace of this great corporate voyage for excellence. Today’s Dhaka Bank manifests his crusading zeal for a sound banking institution that would be a shining example for all and the best choice of the new generation. Born in a respectable Muslim family of Sirajgonj District, Mr Sarker accomplished his Post Graduation Degree (M.Com) from the University of Dhaka in 1970. Soon he involved himself in international trade and business and became a reputed industrialist in the country. His sincere effort and dynamic leadership culminated in a large business conglomerate in the name of Purbani Group comprising Shohagpur Textile Mills Ltd., Karim Textile Ltd., Karim Spinning Mills Ltd., Purbani Yarn Dying Ltd., Purbani Fabrics Ltd., Purbani Food & Beverage Ltd., Purbani Fisheries Ltd., Purbani Traders Ltd., Purbani Rotor Spinning Ltd. and Purbani Synthetic Spinning Ltd.
So Mr. Sarker, we want to know that, today the condition of business and commerce of Bangladesh particularly if focusing on this current time apart that period we are passing since 2009, the way our honorable leader Sheikh Hasina leading the country, in that case what is the situation of the private investment especially?Mr. A. H. Sarker said, ‘There are all kinds of public and private investment opportunities in Bangladesh. But sometimes that is prevented, whenever we have to move forward gradually.Once several hartals and strikes took place immensely that hindered our prosperity. And that hindering of stepping little ahead was a continuous process. Over the past two years, the situation was more or less normal. Everything was stable. But suddenly something happened in recent. A massive attack took place in Holey Artisan Bakery, Gulshan.’
How has that situation affected our economy? He replied, ‘That Artisan attack put tremendous effect on our economic, social and political life. The textile industries that has been built up in Bangladesh are 80% export-based. Textile is largely an export-oriented business. But the consumers of our country can’t consume all of our productions. In that case we have to export them entirely. If anyhow this export gets hampered it affects tremendously.’
Do the foreigners feel the effect of insecurity due to this type of attacks?Mr. A. H. Sarker told us, ‘After this attack, we even get afraid of visit any magnificent place thinking that if any attack occurs! This fear of the merchants is actually hampering their business big time. Ultimately our garment export is main actually. We invested a lot in backward linkage, spinning, knitting, dyeing and finishing sectors. Govt. is also associating. Depending on these, we are moving forward. Machineries and cotton of textile sector produced in this country and that’s why these have to be imported. We make a cloth and then export this after converting it into garments. So if all factories don’t get congenial and favorable at a time, it creates obstacles. That time we are going forward very neatly. Even though we couldn’t bring Japan in this business before but after that they started coming.’
Japan might be most horrified about this Artisan occurrence, aren’t they?Mr. A. H. Sarker replied to this question,‘Japan started to come even in bigger way. They are the biggest buyer of garments. And they began to come. Before we couldn’t even bring them here after sending invitation though. But then after some time they started coming to Bangladesh instead of China. But the most tragic thing is that, the gentlemen came to Bangladesh in the morning and got victimized by the attack after going to Holey Artisan Bakery for eating. They were the advisers of Metrorail. What a misfortune they appointed!’
Mr. Hai Sarker, both you are banking personality. Our current banking industry is going through a revolution. The bank is not in the same condition itself ten years ago and now, particularly in the matters like the use of information technology, mobile technology, ATM card, online banking etc. so how are you dealing with adapting this condition?He said, ‘Dhaka bank is a third generation bank. Our banking methods are different from traditional banking. If we want to adapt modern banking instead of traditional one, there is no way except using technology. We have mobile banking and online banking systems in our bank. We are always trying our best to reach the customers and for further more automation too. But nowadays lots of banks are being built up and thus competition is huge also. You are talking about investment, remember? But the main reason of remaining behind the expected investment is power. It is a huge obstacle.’
Our Prime Minister is successfully improving the power generation, isn’t she? He said, ‘Our Prime Minister has taken enough initiatives. Rampal Power Plant is being built up too, where and how – it is not my concern. I always salute Government’s attempt for increasing power generation. The specialists of critical and technical matters will understand this. Every merchant is with all kind of efforts to generate power.’
Mr. Sarker, we have gotten bit of concerned about recently happened some ATM booth forgery in our country. How much conscious are these private banks about it? He replied us, ‘when the private banking industry was started for the first time, then after the liberation of the country, a group of people came with an idea of how to get house and car by taking money from bank. That time, Bangladesh bank almost had no regulation. After having problems, the control of central bank got improved gradually to prevent those problems. Nowadays the control is so much unbreakable that leaves no chance for fraudulency. Banking default culture is very less now. We are still carrying over the crisis of banking sectors, but these days no risk is created newly. An expert has been appointed in every sector of the bank now. Your all information will be investigated by an expert of the sector that you choose to get loan from and after that you will get loan.’