'Policy reform a must for attracting more investments'
Published : Friday, 8 December, 2017 at 12:00 AM Count : 57
Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Bangladesh rose only $51 million in the first quarter (July to September) of the current fiscal year (FY) 2017-18, over the corresponding period of the last FY.
The rise is inadequate as per growth achieved in the recent past.
Apart from FDI domestic direct investment (DDI) growth is also not satisfactory though the government's target for credit disbursement with controlling inflation is being met as per its monetary policy.
Syed Ershad Ahmed a former FICCI (Foreign Investors' Chambers of Commerce and Industry) and AmCham Bangladesh (American Chambers of Commerce Bangladesh) president, lamented this while exchanging views with The Daily Observer on the country's overall FDI, legal infrastructure and the government's fund allocation for several sectors in its national budget.
Referring Bangladesh central bank's latest data he said foreign direct investment in first quarter of the financial year 2017-18 (FY18) was $490 million and it was $439 million during same time in the last fiscal whereas FDI in Bangladesh increased by $2 billion in 2016 and FDI in Bangladesh averaged $1 billion from 2002 until 2016, reaching an all time high of $2 billion in 2016 and a record low of $276 million in 2004.
He said every year Bangladesh gets a large number of unemployed educated young people but as per demand new jobs are not being created due to slow investment growth.
He said to woo both local and foreign investments the government needs to remove some bottlenecks in legal and regulatory infrastructure.
Ahmed also Managing Director of the US based logistics firm Expeditors (Bangladesh) Limited said to cope up with other countries in attracting foreign investment Bangladesh needs to increase its workers' productivity with providing proper training and appropriate education.
He said in this regard the vocational training institutions needs allocation for adequate fund in the national budget and he is optimistic that Bangladesh one day would overcome the low skill weakness as the country has already succeeded in agriculture sector with providing assistance and time to time measures.
The former FICCI president also suggested for reviewing the existing legal infrastructure and said the government should focus its attention in making available for energy and land.
He said, "Our corporate bodies can also provide training and education to our workforce for enhancing skills under their CSR activities."
The former Amcham president emphasised the need for allocating sufficient budget for the existing vocational training institutes that can help in developing human resources and insisted for improving legal infrastructure that can attract FDI and DDI.
"It is also a need for now to retain the foreign investors who are already operating in the country as they are working as our brand ambassadors in the international market", he said.
He said both air and sea port infrastructures should be maintained as per global standards and if there are hassles in the ports it may send wrong signals to the visiting foreigners.