July 14, 2024, 8:03 pm

Country’s investment environment improved: Salman

  • Update Time : Thursday, May 30, 2024
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TDS Desk:

The overall condition in investment environment has improved although there has been some downtrend in the Business Climate Index 2023-2024, Prime Minister’s Private Industry and Investment Adviser Salman F Rahman said on 30 May.

He said that some 62% Japanese companies and businesses want to expand their business here in Bangladesh and such kind of interest from them proved that the investment environment here is now good.

The prime minister’s adviser informed that the government has been working tirelessly to overcome the weaknesses and shortcomings towards improving the favourable investment environment.

Salman said this while addressing the formal launching of the Bangladesh Business Climate Index (BBX) 2023-2024 by the Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI), Dhaka at an event at its Gulshan office.

It is a joint publication of the MCCI and Policy Exchange Bangladesh (PEB). Lokman Hossain Miah, Executive Chairman (Senior Secretary), Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA), spoke at the event as the special guest. The event was moderated by Farooq Ahmed, secretary-general and CEO, MCCI.

Salman believed now that there were three BBX reports, a trend could be identified, which BIDA could analyze and base their actions on.

Noting that the GDP size of the country has now reached to $460 billion, the Adviser also highlighted the need to increase the tax base, decrease the tax rates, and further improve the country’s infrastructures.

He believed that by targeting a business and investment-friendly landscape, Bangladesh could increase its level of domestic and foreign investments and remain firm on its growth trajectory.

Mentioning that the interest rate has been increased to contain inflation alongside lowering the liquidity, Salman hoped that such step would help to lower inflation from July.

He also informed that the government has been working to strengthen further the capital market.

BBX 2023-2024 is the third iteration of Bangladesh’s first home-grown index that gauges the country’s business climate. At present, it uses 11 pillars, including the latest ‘Environmental Regulation and Standards’ pillar. These pillars contain a total of 39 sub-indicators that are used to calculate the index.

During his intervention, BIDA Executive Chairman Lokman Hossain Miah said that the BIDA has always remained committed to improving Bangladesh’s investment landscape and open to suggestions from the business community.

He appreciated the organizers for launching this report and believed it would help BIDA chart its next course of actions.

MCCI President Kamran T. Rahman said that the BBX 2023-2024 evaluates the country’s comprehensive business environment, ecosystem, uncertainties, disruptions in the global supply chain, and the escalating situation arising from the Russia-Ukraine conflict and Israel-Palestine conflict.

He believed the study would help investors and policymakers with industry-specific action programs.

In his keynote presentation, Dr M Masrur Reaz, chairman and CEO, Policy Exchange Bangladesh, mentioned that during 2023-2024, the BBX score has dropped to 58.75 from last year’s 61.95, showing that significant efforts are needed to address business environment challenges.

There were improvements in three pillars coupled with drops in seven pillars. Rajshahi was the best-performing region while Barisal came last. To unlock the country’s potential, Reaz emphasized improving infrastructure and logistics, strengthening financial systems, enhancing legal and regulatory frameworks, bolstering institutional governance, etc.

A fireside dialogue was held between Zaved Akhtar, President, FICCI, and Yuji Ando, Country Representative, JETRO. Ando welcomed this latest BBX report and pointed out that 62% of Japanese companies operating in Bangladesh were expecting to expand as per a survey.

Akhtar emphasized the credibility, capability, and consistency of policies and simplification of customs, tax, and VAT frameworks in Bangladesh.

In the open forum, topics that came up for discussion include different ways of improving the pillar scores in the future and the need to focus more on improving access to finance, ease of paying taxes, and policy stability.

The event came to a close with a vote of thanks from MCCI. Members of the business community, think tanks, and line associations attended the event.





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