Infrastructure dev key challenge for getting investment: seminar

Staff Correspondent | Published: 21:52, Apr 20,2017

 
 

State minister for finance and planning MA Mannan speaks at a roundtable discussion on ‘Road to 2030: Strategic Priorities’ held in Dhaka on Thursday. Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority executive chairman Paban Chowdhury, Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Abul Kasem Khan, senior vice-president Kamrul Islam and former president Asif Ibrahim and The Financial Express editor Moazzem Hossain were present, among others. — New Age photo

Experts at a discussion on Thursday said a qualitative development of infrastructure would be one of the major challenges for the country to get sufficient local and foreign investment needed to attain its desired goal.
Besides, enhancing the government’s project implementation capacity, creating skilled workforce and ensuring transparency should also get priority, they said.
They came up with the observations while speaking at a discussion on ‘Road to 2030: Strategic Priorities’ jointly organised by the Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Economic Reports’ Forum at the DCCI auditorium in the capital Dhaka.
DCCI president Abul Kasem Khan presented the keynote paper on the issue at the discussion.
Kasem said, ‘Bangladesh needs $20-$22 billion investment annually only in infrastructure if we want to become the 30th largest economy by 2030.’
He said the country has achieved 7 per cent gross economic growth and the pace of the growth needs to be increased from here to attain 10 per cent by the year 2030.
For achieving the growth, the government has to make public-private partnership functional and to attain increased foreign direct investment and quality investment in infrastructure, said Kasem.
Mentioning that slow pace of infrastructure development as one of the major challenges, he said that the country’s allocation for infrastructure development should be increased to 6-8 per cent of GDP from the existing allocation of only 2.85 per cent.
The DCCI president also stressed importance on adopting coal policy and reducing corporate tax.
Mentioning infrastructure development as the only solution, Centre for Policy Dialogue distinguished fellow Mustafizur Rahman said, ‘Because of inadequate infrastructure we are losing FDI.’
The government has to come to a decision regarding the country’s coal reserve due to its importance for the businesses and industries as imported coal would hamper business competitiveness, he said.
Mustafizur also mentioned that regional integration and cooperation in the South Asian region was a window of opportunity for Bangladesh and to grab the opportunity connectivity would be one of the major requirements.
He said that the government should focus on the quality of infrastructure.
Former DCCI president Asif Ibrahim said, ‘We need investment in every sector that is true but in line with that we need an investment-friendly environment.’
Speaking on the quota-free access in EU markets, Asif said, ‘We are enjoying 12.5 per cent duty- and quota-free facility in the European market, which is at risk now.’
‘If we do not reform our labour law, especially for the RMG factories, the EU may postpone GSP facility it offers Bangladesh,’ he said.
State minister for finance and planning MA Mannan said in our country misuse sometimes outpaced corruption.
‘In the South Asian region, Bangladesh has better opportunities to grow and if we work together Bangladesh will be the 30th largest economy by 2030,’ he said.
Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority executive chairman Paban Chowdhury said the government has taken initiatives for establishing 100 economic zones in the country and the BEZA has already allocated land for 76 EZs out of which 23 EZs are in process and 3 EZs have been given to the private sector to develop and operate.
The BEZA has taken an initiative for establishing a ‘Land Bank’ of 1,00,000 acres of land for economic zones, he said.
The Financial Express editor Moazzem Hossain said that investment was now one of the main challenges for Bangladesh.
He said the world is moving fast and we have to be competitive because this window of opportunity will not remain open forever. ‘If we fail, other will grab the opportunity.’
DCCI senior vice-president Kamrul Islam presided over the discussion while ERF president Saif Islam Dilal and general secretary Ziaur Rahman were present, among others.

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