Create a more business-friendly environment – The Daily Star

Presenting Bangladesh in a positive light by creating a business enabling environment and simplifying the investment process would help bring in more foreign direct investment (FDI), according to experts.

“You need to develop the country’s image as a favourable investment environment in order to bring more FDI to the country,” said Ito Naoki, Japan’s ambassador to Bangladesh.

However, certain rules and regulations related to investment need to be changed first considering the country’s fast-growing economy, he added.

Naoki made these comments while addressing an event styled “Accelerating Bangladesh”, organised by the Foreign Investors’ Chamber of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) at Sheraton Dhaka in the capital’s Banani yesterday.

Planning Minister MA Mannan said everyone is welcome to invest in Bangladesh.

“But we need regular policy reforms to create a business friendly environment,” he added.

Mannan believes that the roadmap for economic development and three growth drivers in Bangladesh — agribusiness, the digital economy and green finance — outlined by FICCI yesterday will provide a good frame of reference for the country’s development planning.

“It will also bring in more FDI to help our economy flourish in all sectors,” he said.

Salman F Rahman, private industry and investment adviser to the prime minister, said every industry in Bangladesh has high potential for meeting the country’s economic goals, such as creating employment opportunities for a large number of young and skilled people.

He went on to say that the three growth drivers would help increase Bangladesh’s export earnings.

It will also have a significant impact on small-and-medium enterprises in the country, unlocking their potential for long-term sustained growth and exploring new investment opportunities.

Rahman suggested that all trade bodies should advocate investment in macro and micro-level companies to move the country into the next level of its economic growth.

Regarding the challenges Bangladesh could face after graduating from a least developed country, he said the government is extremely aware about the issue and has formed a high-level committee to this end.

Citing the fact that Bangladesh’s FDI to gross domestic product ratio is the lowest in the world, Rahman said the government is keen to improve this situation through continuous reforms to rules and regulations.

Md Sirazul Islam, executive chairman of the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA), said they are working to improve the ease of doing business in Bangladesh.

He believes the situation has improved in this regard even though the country still holds a double digit ranking on the World Bank’s ease of doing business index.

“FICCI is here to extend full support to the government in promoting FDI,” said Rupali Chowdhury, president of the organisation.

“We has been providing National Budget Proposals to the government regularly, not only to improve its revenue collection, but also to make a business friendly atmosphere in Bangladesh,” she added.

Chowdhury informed that FICCI often engages with foreign investors in order to build their confidence on the government and show its seriousness to effectively implement policies and other commitments.

FICCI has been playing a significant role in building a sustainable community in Bangladesh. This includes improving the country’s sanitation facilities, physical infrastructure, education system, and employment opportunities.

FICCI unveiled its proposed roadmap and findings of a study on “Growth drivers of Bangladesh: accelerating investment opportunities in agribusiness, the digital economy, and green finance” during yesterday’s event, where M Masrur Reaz, chief executive officer of the Policy Exchange of Bangladesh, presented the research.

Reaz said Bangladesh’s resiliency and prosperity can be attributed to a number of causes, including increased private sector involvement, remittance, economic liberalisation, and trade integration.

Building on its achievements, Bangladesh intends to become an upper-middle-income country by 2031 and a developed country by 2041.

However, it must first overcome fundamental high-level economic restrictions, he added.

The report focused on agribusiness, the digital economy, and green financing for climate-smart investments to understand what is best to unleash their global and domestic competitiveness, taking into account global trends, Bangladesh’s diversification needs and national priorities.

Md Shahriar Alam, state minister for foreign affairs; Lee Jang-Keun, ambassador of South Korea; Paula Roos-Schindeler, deputy head of mission-embassy of the Netherlands; Shwapna Bhowmick, executive committee member of FICCI and country manager of Marks and Spencer; Yasir Azman, chief executive officer of Grameenphone; Nihad Kabir, president of the Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry; and Syed Nasim Manzur, managing director of Apex Footwear, addressed a different session of the event.


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