Bangladesh ready for large foreign investment


TBS Report

28 November 2021, 22:35

Last modification: November 28, 2021, 10:46 PM

International Investment Summit 2021. Photo: Salahuddin Ahmed / TBS

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International Investment Summit 2021. Photo: Salahuddin Ahmed / TBS

A hundred economic zones and a dozen high-tech parks under construction, 11 growth sectors with great potential and new unexplored territorial waters are among the assets that Bangladesh has presented to potential global investors.

In addition, a significant decrease in the poverty rate and a gradual increase in per capita income make South Asia’s fast growing $ 411 billion economy a huge market for a wide range of goods and services.

And that Bangladesh is the right choice for foreign investors to invest their money in, development partners, diplomats and businessmen said on Sunday at a two-day investment summit plenary session in Dhaka.

In sessions on the first day of the summit, senior executives of multinationals operating in Bangladesh acknowledged that the government’s seriousness in building rapid infrastructure and a growing consumer market are major incentives for foreign investment.

They said, however, that the tax regime needed to be simplified and that a one-stop-shop solution was needed so that a cruise ship did not need permission from 40 offices to enter Bangladesh waters.

At the opening of the two-day summit hosted by the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (Bida), Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina assured investors of a conducive business environment.

In the summit’s opening document, the Prime Minister’s Principal Secretary, Dr Ahmad Kaikaus, said the 11 growth sectors have an investment opportunity of more than $ 75 billion over the next two years as Bangladesh encourages more than ever private investors.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina unveiled a publication from the 2021 International Investment Summit on Sunday by virtually joining the two-day summit opening ceremony from his official residence. Photo: PID

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Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina unveiled a publication from the 2021 International Investment Summit on Sunday by virtually joining the two-day summit opening ceremony from his official residence.  Photo: PID

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina unveiled a publication from the 2021 International Investment Summit on Sunday by virtually joining the two-day summit opening ceremony from his official residence. Photo: PID

Rupali Haque Chowdhury, president of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Foreign Investors (FICCI), emphasized stimulating foreign direct investment for the country’s economic objectives.

“We are here to give full support to the government in promoting investments,” she noted, adding that FICCI is in contact with foreign investors to help build confidence in government policies and commitments. .

Sanjiv Mehta, President of Unilever South Asia, said: “Unilever has been in Bangladesh since independence. The journey started with a single factory in Chattogram, but the second was installed in Dhaka later in the face of growing local demand.

With a huge consumer base, the country appears to be very lucrative for foreign investors and it could be a great investment destination if the tax structure is simplified, he added.

Dr Mercy Miyang Tembon, World Bank Country Director for Bangladesh and Bhutan, said Bangladesh’s economic zones now play a crucial role in product diversification, technology transfer and job creation.

“I visited economic zones. For me, some 1 lakh of new clothing jobs in industrial zones will be a game-changer for poverty reduction,” she added.

Nuzhat Anwar, Acting Country Manager for Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal at the International Finance Corporation (IFC), said: “At this point, we think Bangladesh has become a model for development. The country now needs a strategy ranging from new financing techniques to policy changes to take it to the next level. “

Referring to the Eighth Five-Year Plan, she said Bangladesh will need $ 608 billion by 2040 for infrastructure, while 75% of funding will need to come from the private sector.

“The role of the IFC will be important in building the confidence of private investors in providing financing,” she added.

Robert Chatterton Dickson, British High Commissioner to Bangladesh, said: “Bangladesh has made the impossible possible, which is widely recognized around the world.

On the opportunities and challenges to attract British investment, the British High Commissioner said Bangladesh needs to step up its engagement in the global economy.

Photo: Salahuddin Ahmed / TBS

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Photo: Salahuddin Ahmed / TBS

Photo: Salahuddin Ahmed / TBS

He said: “Internal resources will not necessarily be sufficient to take the economy to the next level. Thus, a public and private partnership will be necessary for sustainable growth.

“The second thing would be financial sector reform to increase foreign capital. I think the capital market has a tremendous opportunity to modernize and develop in a way that will attract foreign investment.”

“I think that increasing the attractiveness of the Bangladeshi bond market and capital for international investors would be extremely important,” he said, adding that the implementation of the law on cross-border higher education between the Kingdom United and Bangladesh would be a win-win situation to make the British competitive internationally. education offered by talented Bangladeshi youth.

In another session of the blue economy summit, Nurul Qayyum Khan, president of the Bangladesh Marine Fisheries Association, said it was vital to develop technology and skilled labor to attract local investment. and foreigners.

Its recommendations include joint ventures for the study of fisheries, the establishment of projects under a public-private partnership for tuna fishing, subsidies for fuel, long-term loan facilities with interest. reasonable and corporate tax restructuring.

Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen said: “The vast resources of the blue economy are mostly untapped.

In another session, Major General Abul Kalam Mohammad Ziaur Rahman, executive chairman of the Bangladesh Export Processing Zones Authority (BEPZA), said eight export processing zones were now operational with 459 factories. .

“Investors from 38 countries have invested in it because the factories have generated 47,000 jobs,” he noted.

Mr. Erfan Sharif, executive member of the Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (BEZA), highlighted tax exemptions, ease of duty-free importation and other tax exemptions for investors in industrial zones.

However, Syed Golam Kibria, a member of the National Revenue Office, said earlier in the plenary session that the council often finds itself in a difficult situation as it must ensure an uninterrupted money supply for infrastructure development and offer investors tax exemptions at the same time.

Bangladesh Bank Executive Director Mohd Humayun Kabir said the central bank is ready to provide foreign investors with maximum political support.

Salman F Rahman, the Prime Minister’s adviser on private sector development and investment, addresses the opening ceremony of the 2021 International Investment Summit on Sunday. Photo: Salahuddin Ahmed / TBS

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Salman F Rahman, Private Sector Development and Investment Advisor to the Prime Minister, addresses the opening ceremony of the 2021 International Investment Summit on Sunday. Photo: Salahuddin Ahmed / TBS

Salman F Rahman, the Prime Minister’s adviser on private sector development and investment, addresses the opening ceremony of the 2021 International Investment Summit on Sunday. Photo: Salahuddin Ahmed / TBS

Salman F Rahman, Advisor to the Prime Minister, said: “This is a new and different Bangladesh that is both resilient and adaptive. He does not shy away from challenges.

“We are more than ready to embrace the post-Covid world – its new possibilities and opportunities. We invite you to invest in Bangladesh and be an integral part of the remarkable prosperity that Bangladesh’s Vision 2041 will bring,” he said. added.

The Business Standard is the media partner for this two-day event.

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