Becoming a Developed Nation by 2041

Govt prioritises FDI, export diversification

Diplomatic Correspondent

18 February, 2021 12:00 AM printer

Prime Minister’s Private Industry and Investment Adviser Salman F Rahman said the government has set the target to transform Bangladesh into a developed nation by 2041 and placed the highest importance on Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) and export diversification.

He said this while addressing a webinar on “Building a Sustainable Environment for Foreign Direct Investment: Outlook and Opportunities for Bangladesh.”

The Nordic Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI) in Bangladesh, in cooperation with the Royal Norwegian Embassy, the Embassy of Denmark and the Embassy of Sweden, organised the event on Wednesday, said the NCCI in a press release.

NCCI facilitated discussion on the development of the overall business environment and addressed bottlenecks to attract Nordic investment in the country. Business leaders, foreign dignitaries, government regulatory bodies, policymakers and advocacy coalitions also joined in the webinar.

“Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s idea of Shonar Bangla, a fairer and prosperous country, bears resemblances to the Nordic success in the creation of more equitable and robust economies,” Salman Rahman said.

He also mentioned that as Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has set the target to transform Bangladesh into a developed nation—the culmination of Shonar Bangla—by 2041, we place the highest importance on the attraction of FDIs and diversifying our export basket. “As such, we aim to further our relations with Sweden, Denmark and Norway with focus on IT, telecom, energy, RMG and shipping.”

Speaking on the occasion as a special guest, Md. Sirazul Islam, Executive Chairman of BIDA said that Bangladesh is a land of limitless opportunities.

“As many as 94 per cent of respondents of a survey on Nordic businesses in Bangladesh said they are expanding their operations. I will urge existing Nordic investors to be our ambassadors and highlight just how profitable, comfortable and supportive Bangladesh is as an investment destination,” he said.

Miah Rahmat Ali, Senior Private Sector Specialist of IFC, presented a keynote and highlighted that the government of Bangladesh has taken several critical reform initiatives to build a sustainable environment for the private sector, including foreign direct investment.

The government may consider bold and evidence-based reform initiatives to ensure more predictability in regulatory service delivery and private sector related policy formulation and a level playing field for all businesses.

Also, Abu Hena Md Rahmatul Muneem, Chairman, NBR, joined the event as a special guest.

NCCI President, Tareq Rahman, in his welcome remarks, told that the Nordic companies can largely contribute to the long-term sustainable growth of Bangladesh through FDI in infrastructure, sustainable agriculture, power, healthcare, telecommunication, manufacturing and finance, with particular focus on innovation and climate sustainability.

He commended the work of the Government of Bangladesh to implement the “Digital Bangladesh”, which will take the country forward to achieve the middle-income status by 2024.

Speaking on behalf of the Nordic Embassies in Bangladesh, the Swedish Ambassador Alex Berg von Linde said: “The Nordic countries remain committed to our partnership with Bangladesh to strengthen the possibilities of our companies to be agents for sustainable development in Bangladesh. In this regard, we especially value our good and long-standing dialogue with the Government of Bangladesh and its’ Agencies and Authorities on issues relating to the Ease of Doing Business in the country.”

“Improving the business and investment climate for the companies already present in the country will send a clear signal to others, waiting to bring their products, know-how and investment into the market: Bangladesh has the potential to be a competitive and modern business destination”, Ambassador Berg von Linde added.

A panel discussion moderated by Dr Ahsan Mansur, Executive Director, Policy Research Institute (PRI) with the Special Guests, IFC and NCCI President focused on issues limiting expansion, trade and investment in Bangladesh for Nordic businesses.

Panellists also discussed the regulatory related constraints which creates uncertainly and adversely affect business. They also underscored the importance of digitization of processes which would improve the ease of doing business and create a level playing field for all actors in the market.

During the Q&A session, several NCCI members and stakeholders also highlighted the importance of agile and timely response of public sector departments.