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BD’s development facing two big challenges: ICCB chief

ICCB’s 24th Annual Council held

FE Report | August 07, 2019 00:00:00

International Chamber of Commerce, Bangladesh (ICCB) President Mahbubur Rahman presenting the Executive Board Report at the Annual Council of the ICCB in Dhaka on Tuesday

International Chamber of Commerce, Bangladesh (ICCB) President Mahbubur Rahman said on Tuesday the country's development is presently facing two big challenges-maintaining continuous economic growth and eradicating inequality.

"If the country wants to continue its economic growth, it has to ensure the equal distribution of the benefits of the growth among all. That means the government has to give more importance on social service delivery including health service and education," he said.

He made the observations while presenting the Executive Board Report at the Annual Council of International Chamber of Commerce, Bangladesh (ICCB) held in Dhaka.

Mr Rahman also said businesses face regulatory uncertainty on various fronts.

He said the regulatory predictability matters because it makes property rights insecure and constrains investment. "This leads to uncertainty for businesses - medium-size firms seem to bear the brunt more than large or small firms - and with inconsistencies in policy implementation, it can adversely affect employment growth."

"Bangladesh's regulatory system needs setting up of a technical regulatory oversight body at the centre of government to oversee, lead and report on regulatory reforms," said the ICCB chief.

He also observed that attaining the target depends on how quickly Bangladesh can resolve the challenges.

In this regard, increased foreign and local investments are required alongside immediate starting activities at the economic zones, Mr Rahman said.

The executive board report of the ICCB mentioned that Bangladesh would require huge investments in physical capital, human capital, and innovation enabled by reforms in areas such as financial sector, business regulation, and to address the infrastructure gap to become an upper middle-income country by 2031 and achieve high-income country status by 2041.

It also referred the development update of the World Bank which noted that private sector investments in Bangladesh remain weak. Initiatives are needed to address several challenges, particularly in boosting private-sector investment and diversifying exports.

In the report, the WB had expressed concern over the rise in non-performing loans (NPLs). Directed lending, poor risk management, and weak corporate governance led to the rise in NPLs.

The practice of loan rescheduling and write-offs also increased, creating further stress on banks, mentioned the ICCB president.

"To bring stability and discipline to the financial sector, Bangladesh has to ensure the central bank's autonomy on regulation, integrate risk-based supervision in the central bank's supervisory framework, tighten rescheduling guidelines and stop ad-hoc rescheduling," said Mr Rahman.

The Council adopted the Executive Board Report and Audited Financial Statements of ICC Bangladesh for the year 2018.

ICCB Vice President Rokia A Rahman, DCCI President Osama Taseer, Bangladesh Insurance Association President Sheikh Kabir Hossain, former 1st Vice President of BKMEA Mohammad Hatem, FICCI Vice President Francois de Maricourt, ICCB Board Members -- Aftab ul Islam, A K Azad, Tapan Chowdhury, Anwar-Ul-Alam Chowdhury (Parvez), Kutubuddin Ahmed, and Md. Fazlul Hoque attended the council meeting.

Besides, ICCB Members -- Anis A Khan, Managing Director and CEO of Mutual Trust Bank Ltd, Rahel Ahmed, Managing Director and CEO of Prime Bank Ltd, Subrata Biswas, CEO of State Bank of India, Ahmed Shaheen, DMD of Eastern Bank Ltd, Mominul Islam, CEO of IPDC Finance Limited, Md. Khalilur Rahman, Managing Director of National Housing Finance and Investments Ltd, Syed Ershad Ahmed, Country Manager and Managing Director of Expeditors (BD) Ltd, Mahbub Jamil, Chairman of ICE Technologies Ltd, Parveen Mahmud FCA of Shasha Denims Ltd, M A Jabbar, Managing Director of DBL Ceramics Ltd, Rashed Maksud Khan, Chairman of Bengal Fine Ceramics Ltd, Abul Kasem Khan, Managing Director of A K Khan Telecom Ltd, Jowher Rizvi, Managing Director of Summit Alliance Port Ltd, Khurshid Irfan Chowdhury, Managing Director and CEO of Transcom Beverages Ltd, Mohammad Shahjahan Khan, Managing Director of S S Shipping and Trading Ltd, Mohammad Fazlul Azim, Managing Director of Azim Group, Mohd. Arshad Ali, Managing Director of The Merchants Ltd, Abu Alam Chowdhury, Managing Director of CONEXPO Ltd, Md. Nurul Haq Majumder, CEO of Financial Excellence Ltd, Rizwan-Ur Rahman, Managing Director and CEO of ETBL Securities and Exchange Ltd, Muhammad A (Rumee) Ali, CEO of Bangladesh International Arbitration Centre (BIAC), and ICCB Secretary General Ataur Rahman were also present at the council meeting.

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