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Consistent, simple policies key to attracting investors in BD

Say experts while seeking regulatory coordination to tap the shifting global value chain

FE REPORT | November 21, 2023 00:00:00

Experts at a programme on Monday called for ensuring consistency, simplification and carrying out reforms to create a conducive investment climate in Bangladesh.

They also advocated for better coordination among regulatory agencies and long-term strategies that take into account the changing global value chain and local demographic dividend.

These observations were made at a plenary session titled 'Investment Climate: Current Landscape & Mission 2041' on the concluding day of the two-day Investment Expo 2023 and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry's (FICCI) 60th-anniversary celebration.

FICCI organised the event at a city hotel in partnership with the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) and the Ministry of Commerce.

Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister Md Tofazzel Hossain Miah attended the session as the chief guest, while Chairman and Founder of Policy Exchange Bangladesh Dr M Masrur Reaz was the keynote speaker.

Senior Commerce Secretary Tapan Kanti Ghosh, President of the Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Dhaka (MCCI) Saiful Islam, Country Representative of JETRO Dhaka Yuji Ando and Trade Representative (Director General), Dhaka Korea Trade Center, Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency Samsoo Kim participated in a panel discussion moderated by former FICCI president Rupali Haque Chowdhury.

FICCI President Naser Ezaz Bijoy gave the vote of thanks.

In his speech, Tofazzel Hossain Miah talked about Bangladesh's transformation into a society with upward mobility, presenting opportunities for investors.

He elaborated on government initiatives to create an enabling environment and encouraged investors to explore new areas, such as the blue economy.

While acknowledging the limitations of some public agencies, he urged businesses to play their part in addressing these challenges.

He cited examples of investors receiving land allocations in industrial estates but not starting operations, instead waiting for land prices to increase and then leasing the land to others.

In his presentation, M Masrur Reaz said a good number of infrastructure developments have facilitated investment in Bangladesh.

Now the country should expedite its logistics policy formulation process, he said.

MCCI President Saiful Islam underscored Bangladesh's strategic geographical location, providing access to neighbouring countries with large middle-class populations, as a key attraction for foreign investors.

"Foreign investors can seize the opportunity," he said.

Yuji Ando said Bangladesh has a large consumer base, which further entices investors. However, there are issues in the customs clearance process that require attention.

Rupali Haque Chowdhury identified sudden policy changes as a hindrance to creating a conducive investment climate. She advocated for acknowledging and addressing these issues.

She also pointed out the country's improved power generation capacity, yet highlighted the challenges in obtaining power connections.

Naser Ezaz Bijoy said foreign investors not only bring capital but also technology and knowledge to the receiving country.

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