Creating a business-friendly atmosphere is a must to attract foreign investments in Bangladesh, mainly from China, to diversify the export products, said business leaders on Thursday.
“The flow of foreign direct investment [FDI] is rising but not so impressive as the demand and absorbing capacity of Bangladesh economy is,” said Dr MA Razzaque, research director of Policy Research Institute Bangladesh (PRI).
He made the observation while talking at the Annual General Meeting of the International Business Forum Bangladesh (IBFB) at Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel in the city.
The PRI research director said though the investment from China and the export to the USA have increased in Bangladesh as a result of the US-China trade war, the amount is less than that of Vietnam.
Razzaque said Vietnam has inked a free trade agreement with the European Union. The agreement will help increase their business in the European market and push Bangladesh into competition.
So, Bangladesh should take initiatives to keep its market stable in the EU.
Addressing as the chief guest, Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi said the government was ready to provide all types of supports to promote business community and investors as well.
He also said the ministry had made the process more convenient by launching an online registration system for exporters instead of manual registration through the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB).
The commerce minister claimed they were trying to develop an automated register of Joint Stock Companies and Firms to provide all services online and create a business-friendly environment for foreign investors.
FBCCI President Sheikh Fazle Fahim said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had planned to transform Bangladesh from a least developed country to a middle-income one and a developed nation by 2041.
As part of the plan, substantial investments in infrastructure to update industrial eco-system for domestic and foreign direct investment are evident in 100 economic zones, hi-tech park, export processing zones and the emphasis on multimodal connectivity.
“To attract FDI, we offer one of the most liberal and flexible investment policies in South Asia such as generous tax holiday, tax exemptions, accelerated depreciation, tariff refund, double taxation prevention, 100 percent foreign ownership, and full repatriation of capital invested from foreign sources including profits and dividends,” said the FBCCI president.
To further attract investments, useful measures, including One Stop Service Act and the Ease of Doing Business, are being taken at the highest policy level, he added.
Chief of International Office of Migration (IOM) Bangladesh Giorgi Gigauri suggested that ensuring ethical recruitment and fair labour supply chain practices are integral for the protection of migrant workers at all stages of the supply chain.
“Government alone cannot curb modern slavery issues; private sectors also have major roles to play to ensure that their workers are ethically recruited and have access to a safe working environment,” he added.
International Republican Institute Resident Program Director Dr Goeffrey Macdonald was present at the event, among others.
President of International Business Forum Bangladesh Humayun Rashid presided over the session.