FE Today Logo
Search date: 25-06-2019 Return to current date: Click here

Power sector tops tally of FDI in 2018: Unctad

Economist for legal reform to improve biz climate

FE Report | June 25, 2019 00:00:00

BIDA Executive Chairman Kazi M Aminul Islam speaking at a programme on the UNCTAD World Investment Report-2019 at a city hotel on Monday. Executive Director of Policy Research Institute of Bangladesh (PRI) Dr Ahsan H Mansur is also seen — FE photo

The power sector topped the tally of receiving foreign direct investment (FDI) in 2018 when Bangladesh received a record US$3.61 billion, according to a United Nations agency.

The Unctad's world investment report, released on Monday, said the net inflow of FDI to the power sector was $ 1.12 billion, followed by food (around $730 million), textiles & wearing ($ 404 million), banking (around 283 million) and telecommunications (nearly 220 million).

The state-run Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) presented the FDI figures at a city hotel, where Prime Minister's private sector and investment advisor was the chief guest.

The Unctad released the report globally recently.

Sharing the key features of the investment report, BIDA executive chairman Kazi M. Aminul Islam said the global inflows shrank by 13 per cent to $ 1.3 trillion in 2018, but Bangladesh managed to achieve a phenomenal growth of around 68 per cent.

"It's because of various investment-friendly state initiatives that started paying off. We're the best this time in terms of FDI growth," he said.

He urged foreign investors to invest in the country as Bangladesh is a "fruitful investment destination."

According to the report, China led the tally of inward FDI with $ 1.30 billion, followed by the Netherlands ($692 million), the United Kingdom ($371 million), USA ($174 million) and Singapore ($171 million).

Hailing Bangladesh's FDI outcome, the PM aide Salman F Rahman said the government has set a target of lifting Bangladesh's position in the World Bank's Ease of Doing Business index by 2020.

Currently, Bangladesh ranked 176th among 190 countries in the index.

"By 2021, we want to see Bangladesh below 50 in the ranking. For this to happen, we need some legal changes that we're doing," he added.

Executive director of local think-tank Policy Research Institute of Bangladesh (PRI) Dr Ahsan H. Mansur said the recent events of acquisition of assets by overseas companies helped the country saw a steep rise in the FDI inflow.

He said the mega deals such as Japan Tobacco's acquisition of Dhaka Tobacco, the purchase of 25 per cent stakes in Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE) by a consortium of Chinese bourses and the Chinese giant Alibaba buying of some stakes in bKash greatly contributed to the growth.

The PRI head laid emphasis on reforms in areas linked with the ease of doing business and suggested the country follow other nations like India how they improved their positions in the World Bank's index.

Speaking as the special guest, principal coordinator (SDG) of the Prime Minister's Office Abul Kalam Azad said everybody has to be careful so that no small little thing can affect the ease of doing business here.

He said the trade licence fees have been increased to Tk 2,500 from the existing Tk 500. "If it gets approval, it will certainly affect Bangladesh's position in the index. I will request the government not to allow the proposal."

Executive chairman of Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (BEZA) Paban Chowdhury and president of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) Sheikh Fazle Fahim also spoke at the function.

[email protected]

Share if you like