As another financial year comes to an end, it gives me immense pleasure to welcome all of you, our valued shareholders, on behalf of the members of the Board of Directors, to the 42nd Annual General Meeting of your Bank - IFIC Bank Limited and to present to you the audited Financial Statements and Annual Report for the financial year 2018. At the very outset, I would like to express my profound gratitude and sincere thanks for your continued belief, passion, support and patronage extended to the Bank towards making IFIC a caring, reliable and successful bank of the country. The Directors' Report on Financial Statements & Internal Control, the Financial Statements for the year ended on 31 December 2018 together with the Auditors' Report thereon are already in your hands. The Annual Report gives a detailed overview of your Bank's performance during the year 2018 that has been presented through various quantitative and qualitative parameters.
The Bangladesh economy has been able to maintain sustained economic growth during FY2017-18. According to the final estimate of the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS), GDP growth for FY2017-18 reached 7.86 percent, significantly higher than the growth of 7.28 percent in the preceding fiscal year. Major boost of growth has come from the broad agriculture and small & medium scale manufacturing industry sector. The per capita national income reached US$1,751 in FY2017-18, up by US$141 a year earlier.
Two-third of the total population is currently active. The Government is implementing different types of development programs to accumulate demographic dividend by utilizing the huge number of active working population. The Government has allocated around 24 percent of the annual budget to the HRD related sectors.
With a view to attaining sustainable development, it is very necessary to invest in economic sector especially in industry and production sectors. The Government is working for the overall development of investment scenario for the purpose of increasing domestic and foreign investment which relates to development activities.
Private sector is considered to be the main engine of the economic growth of the country. Hence, utmost priority is given to entrepreneurship and private investments, both domestic and foreign. Steps are also taken to establish one hundred Special Economic Zones throughout the country as well as setting up of a number of industrial parks to promote IT sectors.
Bangladesh has become a highly competitive location for investments in terms of cost, human resources, size of domestic market, access to international market, trade facilitation, investment protection, and socio-political stability. Consequently, foreign investment registered a growth of 67.9 percent in 2018.
The growth is driven by a committed workforce, 64% of whitch are young by age. A robust economic performance and growing investments in social sectors kept the country well on track to become a middle-income country by 2021 and a developed one by 2041.
The McKinsey & Company has rightly dubbed Bangladesh as a fast-growing sourcing destination, emerging manufacturing and distribution hub, and an expanding consumption economy.
Now let me come to the performance of your bank. Last year, as an outcome of inclusive banking, by pursuing excellence in customer care through customer relevance, by innovating consistently to deliver technology driven solutions to the banking industry and through continuous product innovations, we have carved a veritable niche for ourselves in the eyes of our customers. And it is thus that your point of view remains our point of consideration. [Per capita national income reached US$1,751 in FY2017-18 ] [100 Special Economic Zones throughout the country ]
The Bank also has a significant involvement and proactive participation in benevolent activities. As a trend-setter, the Bank is gradually organizing its involvement in the more structured CSR initiatives, following the Guidelines of Bangladesh Bank.
Our Management Team, like previous year, in 2018 also, maintained their winning streak, receiving national and international accolades for transparency, good governance, sustainability, people practices, brand management, CSR and IT applications.
We intend to grow our business in a sustainable manner by enhancing the quality and efficiency, exploring potential areas for new investment as well as devising new products and focusing on customer service.
[ Management Team possess the right competencies to capitalize on these opportunities to maintain a higher growth trajectory for the Bank ]
[ The Board continues its effort to set the right tone from the top of the Bank ]
We are confident that the Management Team possess the right competencies to capitalize on these opportunities to maintain a higher growth trajectory for the Bank. As such, your Bank would concentrate on sharpening its competitive edge by improving its business strategies and protecting its credibility through fulfillment of the promises.
For the effective governance of the business of the Bank, the Board of Directors strikes a balance at a high standard of effectiveness between driving the business forward and controlling it prudently.
The Board of your Bank continues its effort to set the right tone from the top of the Bank and tracking progress against potential key risks and reputation issues. I am pleased to report that your Board also continues to function well and is very clearly focused on its priorities. A strong governance framework is developed to support the longterm sustainable growth of the Bank.
On behalf of the Board, I wish to place on record our sincere appreciation to the Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh, Bangladesh Bank, Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission and other regulatory authorities, various financial institutions, banks and correspondents at home and abroad for their continued support and guidance.
My sincere appreciation is also to the Managing Director & CEO, the Management Team and the IFIC Bank Team for making 2018 yet another year of commendable success and for their continued pursuit towards achieving the Bank's objectives despite the veritable challenges.
We endeavor to serve our customers with the highest level of convenience, transparency and respect. We sincerely appreciate the trust they have reposed on us and are looking forward to maintain a long-term relationship with them.
A special word of thanks to our shareholders again, who have been an integral part of the Company's journey throughout the year.
Finally, I wish to place on record my appreciation to my fellow Directors for their unstinted support, guidance and insight which has helped us to steer the organization towards the many successes it has achieved till date.
We look to the next financial year with confidence and resolute dedication. Let there be good days ahead for all of us. May the Almighty Allah bestow His choicest blessings upon us!
Md. Matiul Islam