Planning Minister MA Mannan urged the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (Bida) and all other relevant government agencies to get rid of unnecessary rules that are not favorable to investment.
The minister was speaking as the main guest at a webinar on “Attracting Foreign Investment to Bangladesh and Promoting Bangladesh”, jointly hosted by Bida and the Better Bangladesh Foundation (BBF) on Saturday. There are currently various rules that could discourage investment.
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“You (Bida) know unnecessary rules and so do I, and since we both know it, let’s push them back, clean them up. Let’s keep fewer rules so business can be done faster,” Mannan said.
He also urged the authorities concerned to ensure that everyone can do business on an equal basis.
“Ease of doing business is something we don’t get very good scores on. So we have to work on it,” he added.
The Bangladesh Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI), the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) and BBF could work together to position themselves between government and investors.
Highlighting the government’s efforts to attract more foreign direct investment (FDI), the planning minister said everyone agrees that this year’s national budget has been made business-friendly.
“So what else should we do? Open up, liberalize and reduce unnecessary rules and regulations,” Mannan added.
Japanese Ambassador to Bangladesh Naoki Ito said more than 300 Japanese companies are now operating in the country. The number of Japanese companies in Bangladesh has tripled in the past 10 years.
Japan is the largest Asian export market for Bangladesh with shipments amounting to around $ 1.3 billion. Thus, Japanese companies are ready to develop their activities here despite the difficulties presented by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
“We see three important factors for increasing business and facilitating trade and investment – the further development of infrastructure, a better investment climate and the development of the workforce, especially the youth,” said Ito said.
He went on to say that Bangladesh’s infrastructure will change drastically over the next five years and that Japan is fortunate enough to be a part of this journey through its participation in many development projects, such as the water port. deep from Matarbari and the Dhaka metro.
Noting that the country’s investment climate has improved, Ito said some issues remain, such as delays in customs clearance, securing letters of credit and some restrictions.
Thus, unless a solution to these problems is found, they will further hamper the flow of investment for Bangladesh.
“Since we are working on the construction of the Araihazar Special Economic Zone, success in Araihazar is very crucial for future partnerships between Japan and Bangladesh,” he said.
“I hope that by the end of the day, Araihazar will have hundreds of companies and at least $ 1 billion in investments. But we need a better business environment as well as investment incentives. “, added the Japanese ambassador.
While speaking about the prospects for future investment in Bangladesh, Ito said he recently announced a $ 25 million investment in the local garment sector, including the Ishwardi Export Processing Zone.
In addition, Mitsubishi Corporation is considering the possibility of investing in the local automotive sector.
“I hope that Mitsubishi will make the decision to invest soon,” he added.
Sirazul Islam, executive chairman of Bida; Md Jashim Uddin, President of the FBCCI; Faruque Hassan, president of BGMEA, and Ghulam M Alomgir, president of Max Group and director of FBCCI, also spoke on the show.
Masud A Khan, President and Founder of BBF, moderated the event.