Business leaders and top executives of multinational companies on Sunday said that bureaucratic tangles, unpredictable tax policy, poor infrastructure and shortage of power and gas were the constraints for attracting foreign direct investment in Bangladesh.
At the 3rd Joint Chamber Meet-Up organised by Canada-Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Bangladesh Investment Development Authority at the Four Points Hotel in capital Dhaka, businesses said that good governance and business-friendly public service were also crucial for trade and investment.
‘Running business is not easy in Bangladesh,’ Stephane Norde, managing director of Nestle, said.
He said that poor road connectivity, inefficiency of ports and shortage of energy were the key challenges for running business in Bangladesh.
‘The investment horizon is very long in Bangladesh. Electricity, gas and tax-related problems are the prime challenges for running business in the country,’ Shadab Ahmed Khan, managing director of Coca-Cola, said.
Michael Foley, chief executive officer of Grameenphone, said that unpredictable tax policy was one of the major constraints for encouraging FDI in Bangladesh.
Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin, president of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry, said that after a long debate with the private sector the Board of Revenue had agreed to conduct the impact assessment of new VAT law.
It is discriminatory that some of the foreign companies in Bangladesh pay more tax than the local companies do, he said.
The FBCCI president said that ease of doing business, stable regulatory policy and tax policy reform were important for investment and the FBCCI was pushing the government for that.
‘At the end of the day we need investment. For investment, we need right business climate ant it is true we are still at the bottom in the index of doing business,’ BIDA executive chairman Kazi M Aminul Islam said.
Bangladesh is one of the best places for investment among the developing countries and the country has potential to increase the GDP growth to double digit through ensuring ease of doing business, he said.
Aminul said that the government had taken various initiative including enacting one-stop service act and its implementation rules to ease the doing business.
He hoped that Bangladesh was transforming into a middle-income country and its economy would be $3 trillion by 2041 with $15,000 per capita income.
CanCham president Masud Rahman said that although BIDA cut down time for getting utility services, it needed further improvement for making it a full-fledged web-based system.
He said that the government should reduce its dependency on quick rentals by implementing medium- and long-term plans in power and energy sectors.
Switzerland-Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Nakib Khan and Spain-Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Nuria Lopez spoke, among others, at the event.
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