Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday directed the authorities concerned to attract more foreign investment through utilising the country’s existing investment-friendly environment.
“It is right that the corona situation hits the economy badly. At the same time, it has also created opportunities. We must focus on investors to bring foreign investment in the country by taking due measures,” she said.The premier came up with the directive while virtually joining a meeting of the board of governors of the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority from her official residence Ganabhaban.
Other board members got connected from the Prime Minister’s Office in the capital.
Putting emphasis on attracting more foreign investment, the premier said industries have been shut down in many countries.
“An investment-friendly environment exists in the country. But all countries of the world are now facing problems due to coronavirus. We will have to focus on how we can take the economy of our country forward amid the problem. We must have to work to make our investment atmosphere more attractive,” she said.
“Besides manpower, plots along with other facilities are ready. We have to utilise the opportunity,” she added.
Highlighting various problems in trade and investment due to the Covid-19, the premier called for starting afresh amid the crisis.“We should not sit idle. We must start working at least on a limited scale,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh achieved the Millennium Development Goals, announced by the United Nations, with competence and is now making efforts to attain the Sustainable Development Goals.
“We have already started putting importance on some issues. Infrastructure development is one of them as investment can never be attracted without having good infrastructures,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina said the government has been working to turn all communications routes — roads, waterways, rail and airways — into developed ones.
Mentioning that the government had already addressed the acute electricity crisis, she said now the country has surplus electricity.
The premier said the government was importing LNG alongside taking measures to extract (more) natural gas in the country.
With a view to creating conducive environment to investment, 100 economic zones are being set up across the country, she said adding that the government was taking measures so that the entire country is developed, not one region of it.
The economic zones can easily attract larger local and foreign investments alongside creation of huge jobs, she said.
Sheikh Hasina said people have started getting benefits from the measures taken by the government for attracting investment.
Alongside giving tax rebate to expedite industrialisation, the government has taken various measures, including exemption of interest for the import of capital machinery, she said.
Stating that there would be no problem over lands in the case of investment due to the 100 economic zones, Hasina mentioned that the tax rebate and exemption of interest and setting up of the economic zones will make the investment environment more attractive.
She said Bangladesh achieved 8.1 percent GDP growth and was on the way to attain 8.2 percent growth, but unfortunately the coronavirus has stalled this progress.
Hasina said the country could have advanced further had the coronavirus not hit.
“Though the coronavirus dealt a blow to the country, it has also created a scope for us. We’ve to keep this in mind…we’ve to bring more investment…we’ve [huge] population and our lands remain ready [for investors]. There are other facilities.”
Mentioning that the BIDA had a plan to organise Bangabandhu International Investment Summit in Bangladesh in Mujib Barsho, she said it is not possible to arrange such a summit as planned in the current situation, but it can be done through a digital platform.