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Staff Correspondent
To become the world’s 30th largest economy by 2030, Bangladesh requires $320 billion private investment only in infrastructure.
Abul Khasem Khan, president of Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI), made the observation in his welcome speech during an international conference styled “Destination Bangladesh” organised by DCCI marking its 60th anniversary at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in the capital on Sunday.
He said this volume of investment, if can be ensured, will strengthen all infrastructures sectors principally energy, telecommunication, airports, seaports, railways, roads and water of the country, to ultimately stabilise and accelerate the growth of the national economy.
“In order to attract desired investment, reach double-digit GDP growth and turn Bangladesh into the gateway between South and Southeast Asia, infrastructure development is crucial,” he said.
“We estimate an injection of $300-$320 billion into the economy by 2030 for infrastructure development alone, reaching 6%-7% of infrastructure investment to GDP from the present level of 3.64%,” he observed.
He also said, “To accelerate the infrastructure implementation, building investors’ confidence, ensuring coordination, and to see the best use of investment, we need deeper engagement of the private sector in the development planning under the public private platform.”
DCCI proposed to form a high-powered infrastructure project oversight authority titled ‘National Infrastructure Development and Monitoring Advisory Authority (NIDMAA)’ represented by the government and the private sector, he added.
During presenting the keynote paper, Wendy Werner, country manager for Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal chapter of International Finance Corporation, laid special emphasis on strengthening the infrastructure sector of Bangladesh in order to become one of the largest economies in the world within so short a period. He then charted out sector-wise investment requirements.
To ensure 30,000 mega watt power productions within the period, the power sector will need 25 percent contribution from gas, 25 percent from coal, 10 percent from nuclear and 5 percent from oil energy while 35 percent contribution is required from renewable energy resources worth about $6-7 billon, Werner said.
Bangladesh’s power sector growth in installed capacity rose from 4.5 GW to 20 GW over the past 10 years where private sector accounts for 60 percent of the total installed capacity, he said.
Referring to the $3 billion annual loss in the roads infrastructure, he said the sector needs about $136 billion private investment to develop it.
About economic zones, he said around $40 billion could be earned by exporting different types of products after establishing 100 economic zones in the country where a whopping amount of 10 million jobs could be created.
He further noted that the country released more than 400 billion litre waste water annually. Currently less than 15 per cent people have access to clean drinking water and this sector badly needs an investment of around $62 billion.
Country’s telecommunication sector having 150 million subscribers along with 81 million internet subscribers is chiefly powered by private investment of around 97 percent of total investment, he said.
Mr Werner added that Bangladesh is currently 111th in the ranking with regards to infrastructure quality around the globe. If the required amount of investment from the private sector and $9.6 billion of foreign direct investment could be ensured, the country would thrive to emerge as the 30th largest economy in the world within 2030.
“China-based Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank has already planned to invest $270 million in a clean water infrastructure project which aims to improve access to piped water and sanitation to municipalities having poor water quality, but the country needs massive investments in all of its private sectors to ensure an even faster economic pace,” he said.