Bangladesh German Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Thursday called on the government to setup a separate economic zone for German businesses aiming to attain higher foreign direct investment.
The chamber made the call at a luncheon meeting on ‘Emerging Bangladesh: Business Friendly Policies and Plans’ at a city hotel in Dhaka.
Chamber president Omar Sadat presided over the meeting attended, among others, by planning minister AHM Mustafa Kamal, Bangladesh Investment Development Authority executive chairman Kazi M Aminul Islam and CEMS Global group president and managing director Meherun Nessa Islam.
Omar Sadat said that the government of Bangladesh had taken a number of initiatives to increase foreign direct investments but somehow the mechanisms were not working properly and the country was lagging far behind Vietnam and Cambodia.
The chamber president said that the government should address seven things, including lack of infrastructure, land acquisition problem, absence of strong capital market, bureaucratic and workforce inefficiency, gas inadequacy and effective exploration of sea area for natural resources, to ease doing business for attracting satisfactory foreign direct investment.
On land acquisition, he said that the government had already setup exclusive economic zones for India and China.
‘The government should think whether it is possible to establish an exclusive economic zone for German investors,’ he said.
‘The government launched one stop service but one of my friends from Germany, who came in Bangladesh for investment purpose, termed it full stop service three years ago,’ he said.
The chamber president called on the government to take initiative for bringing out the bureaucracy from old-fashioned system even thought the situation improved a bit in past couple of years.
He also urged the government to improve the inefficiency of the country’s workforce providing them with vocational training at public and private level.
Emphasising the need for improvement in ease of doing index for higher foreign direct investment, Meherun Nessa Islam said that the government should give businesses access to all the business-related services.
AHM Mustafa Kamal said that the government would provide every support to the private sector so that they can play their due role for the betterment of Bangladesh.
On the tax rate, the planning minister said that the government revenue collection could reach Tk 5,00,000 crore from Tk 2,60,000 crore if the tax rate was reduced to 10 per cent from 35 per cent.
According to a statistics, 3-4 crore people of the country have earnings around middle income level but the number of taxpayers is about 12-14 lakh. It suggests that just an increase in tax rate cannot help achieving higher tax collection target, he said.
Kazi M Aminul Islam said that it was very much needed to frame right policy to support the private sector for attaining the development target.
If the infrastructure problem is solved, the country’s natural growth would be 10 per cent, he said.
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