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Ahammad Parvej Khan
The inflow of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) rose $79 million or 6.90 percent to $1.224 billion during the first five months of the current fiscal from $1.145 billion in the corresponding period of 2017-18 fiscal.
Experts opined that the FDI inflow in Bangladesh is low compared to that in many countries at similar stage of development.
Although labor costs are generally believed to be attractive to foreign investors, they hesitate to make fresh investments because of the country’s underdeveloped infrastructure, and other impediments such as shortage of power and energy, lack of consistency in policy and regulatory framework, scarcity of industrial lands, corruption, and political uncertainty, they added.
A recent review of the Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (MCCI) observes that in order to encourage foreign entrepreneurs to invest in Bangladesh, government pursues the most liberal investment policy in South Asia.
It gives legal protection to FDI; offers incentives like generous tax holiday and concessionary duty on import of machinery; allows duty free import of raw materials, 100 per cent foreign equity, and full repatriation of dividend and capital on exit, the MCCI review adds.
Besides, the government is working to create some 10 million employments and boost export earnings by around US$40 billion through establishing 100 economic zones (EZs) under Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (BEZA) across the country by 2030.
The government already approved some 79 EZs, including 56 public and 23 private economic zones.
Also, the government approved 600 industrial enterprises for setting up industries in eight export processing zones (EPZs) namely– Chattogram, Dhaka, Cumilla, Mongla, Ishwardi, Uttara-Nilphamari, Adamjee and Karnaphuli.
A fund would be set up with owners, buyers and workers of the companies operating in the country’s eight EPZs.
The ‘owners-buyers-workers’ fund aims to meet expenses with regard to emergency support, social safety net and other development and administrative requirements. The fund will have contributions from each purchase order, donation from buyers, government, foreign individual or companies, a certain amount from workers and profit from the fund’s investment.