Engineer Towhidur Rahman- Chairman, Shahjalal Islami Bank Ltd. and Fresh Group


“A good industrial basement is prepared for the next 50 years…”

Engineer Towhidur Rahman, CIP- is a popular face in the corporate sector. He is working in the arena of business, industry, education development and investment of our country. He has started his business in Sea-food exportation through Fresh Group but now he has expanded his business in Garments, Textile, and Banking and Education sector and has proved his efficiency. Towhidur Rahman is now the Chairman of Shahjalal Islami Bank, a leading bank in private banking sector. He is working restlessly for the development of the country in various sectors and besides all these he is trying to develop in educational sector. As a result, he is now the Chairman of Prime University Trusty Board. Recently he has talked all about the development thinking and environment of Bangladesh. Interview is written by- Reza Khan.

All kind of development of a country, like- Finance, Investment and infrastructural development always depend on Electricity. What is your investment in Energy sector?

Thank you for your question. Power sector is an emerging sector of our country. There is no alternative of Power in the infrastructure development. The first and foremost initiative of financial development of a country is power. So private bank is leading a great role here. Without Power industry is inactive. Shahjalal Islami Bank Ltd. has a huge investment to Summit Group, a private Power producing organization. But private bank has many bindings for investment. There is guide line from Bangladesh Bank that in which sector how much we can invest. We invest in Power sector to maintain all the rules and regulations. Besides Government has a huge infrastructural development plan like- bridge, culvert, high way road etc. Shahjalal Islami Bank is playing a positive role to fulfill Government’s plan. Every private bank has their enough liquid money. They also get foreign fund. So fund is not a matter. If we can invest a lot, we will be glad.

We have a very friendly environment for investing. You are investing to the Power sector and many. This facilities are for the big entrepreneur. What are you thinking for smaller businessmen?

There is no big and small entrepreneur to the bank. As we corporate client, we small and medium enterprise SME cell also. We are giving equal importance to all. Our economy is growing up and that growing is not only in the capital city or in the big city but also in every town. If you see, you will find that our industry is spreading all over the country. There are approximate 50 crore BDT investment in North Bengal rice mills and that could not be imagined. This proves that bank is not working in the town; they are working in the remote area also. We have a survey that many new industry has arisen in the capital city and around. Besides all over the country it is developing. Recently we have invested 50 crore BDT in a hard board mill. This is a big investment. Like this, we have many example.

You are an entrepreneur and now you are the Chairman of Shahjalal Islami Bank Ltd. Please say something about your personal business Fresh Group.

Fresh Group is one of the pioneer group of our country. We have started our business in 1988 with Sea-food. At that time garments industry and Jute was not in a stable position. Then we exported prawn as Fresh food. At present our export every year is at least 4-5 hundred crore BDT. In sea food industry, we are the largest company in Bangladesh. Later we start two more project in this sector and then we come to Textile industry. Textile is a fast growing and there is a chance for unlimited business. You know, once China exported 60-70% but now their export percentage has decreased to 30%. Gradually they are going to quit from this sector. So in this sector Bangladesh is in a favorable position in the world. This also demolish unemployment problem. In my industry there are about 8 thousand people who are working regularly.

Trained and educated manpower are asset of a country. You are now associated with Prime University. In fact you are the Chairman of trusty board. What do you think that how much we have advanced?

This is really a big challenge for us. Our development activities are growing fast so that we should grow up our people trained. If we don’t have a trained manpower, we cannot progress further. We have a huge lack trained worker in our garments sector though it is filling up very soon. Now many educated person is coming in this sector and the sign is very positive for the industry. We have many educated employee those who are from BUET, Dhaka University and like.

Few days ago, we had a convocation and in the ceremony our honorable Minister, Ministry of Education, Nurul Islam Nahid was present. In that time we had a conversation that now we need to be educated at any cost. We need to make our student technically sound. Recently Government has taken an initiative to establish 100 Polytechnic Institute all over the country so that we can build up a technically expert Nation.


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