Business leaders and climate experts called for more engagement of the private sector for effective implementation of Bangladesh Delta Plan 2100.
The call was made at a seminar titled “Bangladesh Delta Plan 2100: Private Sector Involvement to achieve a Safe, Climate-Resilient and Prosperous Delta” organised by Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) in Dhaka on Saturday.
FBCCI president Md Jashim Uddin emphasised the need for private sector engagement in river management, water supply in urban and rural areas, waste management, flood control and drainage management.
He said that execution of the mega plan will require financing worth 2.5 percent of GDP per year, of which 20 percent is planned to come from the private sector.
Mentioning the use of waterways and river navigation, he called for harnessing the potentials of the country’s waterways.
For doing so, naval routes inside Dhaka and its surrounding districts and nearby areas should be introduced, which will make achieving a safe and environment resilient Delta easier, FBCCI remarked.
Dredgers and other heavy machinery used in the implementation of the projects undertaken to achieve the Delta goals are heavily import dependent.
He informed that the total duty on dredgers is 31 percent currently, which was earlier 1 percent.
The FBCCI president demanded lowering the duty structure to 1 percent.
While speaking as the chief guest, State Minister for Planning Dr. Shamsul Alam said that the revenue structure should be development-oriented rather than income-oriented.
He called for a review of the duty on dredger import, saying that the government has only 30 dredgers, but more than 200 dredgers are needed to implement the plan.
The state minister thinks that the entire dredging work should be left to the private sector.
The keynote paper, presented by former Additional Director General of Bangladesh Water Development Board Md Mizanur Rahman, revealed that the scope of engaging private entrepreneurs with the Delta Plan is yet to be untapped.
Md Mizanur Rahman said the private entrepreneurs have huge potentials of investing in dredging, land reclamation, ship building, inland waterways, water supply and sanitation, agriculture and irrigation, flood control and drainage system.
The private sector involvement will ease the financing needed to achieve the goals of Delta Plan 2100, he noted.
Water Resources Secretary Kabir Bin Anwar was present as special guest at the seminar. He put stress on good governance in Delta Plan implementation.
In contrast to decreasing large amounts of arable land, demand for food is increasing, putting the country in a great challenge.
Agriculture Secretary Md Sayedul Islam urged the private sector to come forward with investment in agriculture sector to make the country self-sufficient in agricultural products.
Environment, Forest and Climate Change Secretary Farhina Ahmed said an investment of $230 billion is needed to implement Delta Plan, which requires more involvement of the private sector.
Earlier, Emeritus Professor of BRAC University Dr. Ainun Nishat opined that the private sector engagement can reclaim a large area of land.
He suggested revising the Delta Plan every five years.
FBCCI panel advisor and founder director of Channel I Shykh Seraj said the research activities are slower than the climate change, which does not allow the research output functions properly.
Assistant Professor of Dhaka University Aroni Barkat sought compensation from the high carbon emitting countries whose activities put Bangladesh at the risk of climate change.
FBCCI vice-president Md Amin Helaly urged the government to implement union and village centric development master plans.
FBCCI director Md Naser called for the inclusion of FBCCI president in Delta Governance Council.
Among others, FBCCI senior vice-president Mostofa Azad Chowdhury Babu, vice-presidents Salahuddin Alamgir, Md. Habib Ullah Dawn, directors, chairmen of FBCCI standing committees, FBCCI secretary general Mohammad Mahfuzul Hoque were also present at the seminar.