Interview with Shafiullah Al Munir, Chairman — Index Group
How did Index Group, which started as a consultancy company, grow to become a prominent business conglomerate?
Index opened its doors in 2006 through consultancy. Not long after, we were the first to bring octane boosters into Bangladesh, to supply the government-owned gas company Sylhet Gas Fields. Previously, octane had to be imported, but after we started supplying boosters, Index never looked back. Our most remarkable project also came at the start of our journey. We were part of a World-Bank-funded water supply project, which led into an arsenic-mitigation campaign for water. For both these projects, Index carried out the campaigns and capacity-building workshops for project workers. The primary and secondary impact of these two projects on our society has been enormous.
Index has introduced the Index LP Gas brand. What role do you intend to play in the energy sector?
We are trying to bring about a new era in the power sector and the liquid petroleum gas (LPG) sector. We are establishing LPG-fired power generation units, which will increase the total inward demand of LPG, pull up the market and create more space to expand in the sector. In comparison with Bangladesh’s thermal power plants that use coal or other fuels, an LPG-powered one is a new concept. It will enable a lower emission per wattage produced, as well as greater production efficiency.
What is the role of Index Group in the development of tourism?
Tourism in our country is an emerging market, as is hospitality. To meet the increasing demand from Bangladeshis wanting to travel abroad and foreign tourists visiting our country, we have expanded in the market through our Index Tourism business. This provides world-class travel agent services to both inbound and outbound tourists. To develop this sector, we need to also develop our hospitality sector and build eco-friendly resorts. With the rise in Bangladeshi incomes, the domestic market has been flourishing and it is expected that this will continue. Index is working towards improving the total experience of visitors, be they here for business or leisure.
Index also offers a one-stop service for foreign investors. How do you help them do business in Bangladesh?
Two current partners are Danish giant Kosan Crisplant and South Korea’s S-Tank Engineering. These are the type of institutions we like to partner with, and we help them with local regulatory bodies and the approvals they need. We try and make the operating environment in Bangladesh easy and friendlier for our partners. We also provide intelligence to our partners about future possible surges in different sectors.
You are a multi-award-winning business personality. What else do you want Index Group to achieve?
I want it to become a more reliable and efficient sustainable business partner and to continue bettering ourselves. We will also keep a focus on corporate social responsibility, which has an enormous effect on society.