Published in The News Today on Friday, 17 March 2017
Bangladesh needs to enhance implementation capacity and supply capacity to improve investment culture if the country is to attract private investment especially foreign direct investment, said speakers at a seminar here on Wednesday, reports UNB. “Foreign investment will never come here unless we improve our investment culture and overall environment. The foreign investors will go to any other country as they’ve many options,” said Executive Chairman of Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (BEZA) Paban Chowdhury. With the theme of Attracting Investment in Economic Zones of Bangladesh, BEZA organised the seminar on investment promotion in the Hotel Radisson Blu in the city. “We’ve excellent legal framework, but it’s difficult to get solutions,” the BEZA chief said referring to the articles of a foreign journalist who is expert about Bangladesh and writes in various international media. Paban Chowdhury said Bangladesh needs quality investment to diversify its exports, reducing dependence on one or two products. He said they have now 38,000 acres of lands in economic zones. Mongla Economic Zone which was set up under PPP is now fully ready for attracting investment, while four private economic zones are ready for investors. But Sirajganj Economic Zone is a failed project, he said. The BEZA Executive Chairman said women entrepreneurs will be provided with 100 acres of lands in Mirsarai economic zone.
Executive Director of Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) Prof Mustafizur Rahman said the government will have to increase implementation capacity and supply capacity to attract investment. Besides, the government needs to address non-continuity of many policies and problems created by Statutory Regulatory Orders (SROs) to promote investment, he said. Prof Rahman said the country’s special economic zones will help set up investment connectivity and logistics connectivity. Noting that Bangladesh will not enjoy market opportunities of least developed country after 2027, he said Bangladesh has sufficient strengths in order to really translate comparative advantage to competitive advantage.
Principal Secretary of Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) Dr Kamal Abdul Naser Chowdhury said the government is working proactively to achieve the Vision 2021 and the Vision 2041. The government established skill development authority under the PMO, he added. Chairman of National Board of Revenue (NBR) Md Nojibur Rahman said NBR is pursuing policies which are pro-business and pro-investment. President of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) President Abdul Matlub Ahmad said any industry needs access to finance and basic infrastructures including lands and energy. “Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has given us political stability, low interest rate and legal coverage, but why is investment still stagnant?” he said. BEZA Executive Member Dr M. Emdadul Haque in his welcome speech said the government initiated the move to set up 100 economic zones by 2030 with a view to creating 10 million jobs and ensuring US$ 40 billion additional export. BEZA has already identified locations for 76 economic zones across the country, he added. Besides, Senior Secretary of PMO Suraiya Begum, PKSF Chairman Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad and President of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) Md Siddiqur Rahman also spoke on the occasion.