Attracting more foreign investment

8 August, 2020 12:00 AM printer

For the last couple of months, the country has been in an uncomfortable situation due to coronavirus pandemic which was also threatening to limit its future prospects. But luckily, the pandemic has not gone out of control in Bangladesh. Slowly but steadily, the economic situation has started to become normal. Moreover, the government is putting more emphasis on attracting foreign investment as it is evident from Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s unveiling of a book titled ‘Bangladesh Investment Handbook: A Guide for Investors’. Similar books have also been translated in other foreign languages like Mandarin, which is definitely a step in the right direction.

However, it does not need to be said that the coronavirus crisis has to be resolved as soon as possible. It is not only an impediment to the current progress of the country but might prove to be a bigger hurdle in future unless efficiently managed. Bangladesh still has a long way to go before it becomes a proper middle income country, and foreign and domestic investments will be key to that success.

In order to provide safe haven to foreign investors, the Bangladesh government has decided to set up 100 special economic zones in the country both at the public and private levels. The construction of these zones is already underway with a completion target of 2030. The government has already planned to allocate 75,000 acres of land for these zones to expedite Bangladesh’s journey to becoming a developed country by 2041. Once completed, these economic zones are expected to create an estimated 10 million jobs, and produce goods and services worth USD40 billion

In a pure economic sense, it is a golden time to invest in Bangladesh for a host of reasons like political stability, favourable policy supports, sufficient utility services like gas and power, increasing port capacity and continuous development of infrastructure facilities like roads and highways. But, it is common knowledge that investments are still severely impaired in Bangladesh by bureaucratic entangle. The Bangladesh Economic Zone Authorities (BEZA) should streamline the process of investment in Bangladesh so that both foreign and local investors feel encouraged.