The interest in Bengal among British business houses has shot through the roof. Patricia Hewitt, the chair of the UKIBC, on whose invitation chief minister Mamata Banerjee is coming to London on Monday on her three-day visit, said that over 100 British conglomerates, ranging from retail and mining to banking, have now confirmed to attend the session on emerging opportunities in Bengal.
Renewed interest in Bengal
“I am very pleased by the turnout.The session will give the UK business houses a chance to hear directly from the government and from business honchos of Bengal who are travelling with the CM on what the business climate there is at present and the opportunities,” she said.
Hewitt, added that she is certain that Bengal will become a Mecca for British business houses in the next 3-5 years.
She added: “The British companies are impressed that the CM herself is coming. The positive messages from the Bengal investor summit in January which we relayed to our members and the fact that she is coming with a very serious business delegation is very helpful. The impressive business delegation from Bengal would be the best advocates of the business climate in the state“.
According to Hewitt, around 20 British companies at present are functioning in Bengal -from HSBC and Standard Chartered to BT, Max Bupa, OCS and KPMG.
Hewitt said, “This is actually the first investor road show from India being led by a CM. It is very important that Bengal is seen as a business friendly destination and overcomes its negative perception. This visit will open up a whole new opportunity for the state.”
She admitted that she has seen a “very obvious change at the Bengal business summit“ in January. “Work was going on to make the state investor friendly. Over the last year, we have seen real moves on ease of doing business and on simplifying tax systems.”
Praise for the CM
Patricia Hewitt was all praise for Mamata Banerjee herself. “She is a consummate political leader and has an extra ordinary ability to connect to people.Personal warmth and empathy are her strengths. She and I connected strongly when we met in Bengal in January and we have a personal bond.”