Bangladesh needs to frame sector-specific investment roadmap with strategic priorities to seize the opportunity from investment relocation from China, Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) has said on Saturday.
Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) president Shams Mahmud made the suggestion, saying that both demand and supply-side shock weakened Bangladesh’s international trade during the coronavirus pandemic.The suggestions were made at a webinar titled ‘Current State & Future Outlook of Bangladesh Economy’ organized by DCCI.
Planning Minister MA Mannan, Policy Exchange Chairman Dr. M. Masrur Reaz, Former DCCI president and BUILD chairman Abul Kasem Khan, Chittagong Stock Exchange Chairman Asif Ibrahim, Anwar Group of Industries Managing Director Hossain Khaled also joined the webinar, among others. Due to coronavirus impact, private investment is projected to down to 12.72 per cent in 2019-20 fiscal compared to 23.54 per cent in 2018-19 fiscal. FDI inflow in Bangladesh fell to $2.87 billion in 2019 compared to $3.6 billion in 2018.
To boost international trade, the DCCI president also emphasized on restoring GSP facility in the USA, eliminating non-tariff barriers with partners through strong diplomatic initiatives, and signing of free trade agreements (FTA) and preferential trade agreements (PTA) with potential partners.
“More focus needs to be given on sourcing funds from external sources reducing dependency on bank borrowing to mitigate the deficit budget,” said Shams Mahmud.
Agriculture and agro-processing industry need to be supported and remain functional with strong local-supply chain system to ensure low-cost food security, he added.
DCCI also emphasized on ensuring stimulus packages to the labour-intensive industries and informal sector. Moreover, through re-skilling and up-skilling, unemployed migrants can be employed in agriculture and other local industries.Terming the leather sector a booming one, Shams Mahmud strongly recommended establishing CETP, ensuring low-cost loans for the tanners and reduction of duty on import of chemicals. Addressing the programme, Planning Minister Abdul Mannan said all the sectors should be compliant like the RMG sector.
Emphasizing on policy reforms, the minister stressed on looking at the east policy for better regional gain, but in terms of business, every door should be opened. Mentioning that medical textile has emerged worldwide, he called upon the private sector to grab this opportunity.
For infrastructure development, the minister also invited the private sector to come forward, assuring that the government will extend cooperation to the private sector in this regard.
Policy Exchange Chairman Dr. M. Masrur Reaz emphasized on survival, resilience and revival for economic recovery as the global demand and supply have been declined due to the global pandemic.
Former DCCI president Hossain Khaled said the government’s high bank borrowing may slow down credit flow to the private sector.
“We should take more green projects. We have surplus electricity now, introducing electric vehicles may reduce extensive fuel dependency,” he said.