Published:  12:35 AM, 19 September 2023

Comprehensive Planning Is Needed for More Foreign Investment

Comprehensive Planning Is Needed for More Foreign Investment

(Concluding Part)

In general, the survey asks, what is the cost of production of goods in any country. In response to this, it can be seen that the cost of producing products in Japan is 100%, and the cost of producing those products in Bangladesh is less than 60 percent. The cost of production is lower than in Bangladesh only in Cambodia and Laos. Investment by Japanese companies is very important for Bangladesh. Now Japanese companies should focus on removing the barriers to business expansion. In this regard, the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) has said that the process has been started to issue work permits to foreigners within three days. Besides, BIDA is also working to finalize the approval of business-related services in less time than Vietnam. In Bangladesh, the regulatory agencies still require many types of documents for company formation. It takes more time, the cost is more than in many countries. Japanese companies are also urged to use the Authorized Economic Operator or EEO facility to reduce customs complications. In addition, the most important thing is that having investment potential does not mean that foreign investment has come, incentives must be given to increase foreign investment. It needs to be prioritized.

Broadly speaking, foreign investment will not increase if the unfavorable conditions prevailing in our country for the expansion of a new enterprise or business also exist for foreigners. Therefore, to attract foreign investment, a favorable environment must be created. This applies to investors from all countries, not just Japan.

Bangladesh Hi-Tech Park Authority (BHTPA) was established in 2010 with the aim of creating an investment-friendly environment and employment in the IT sector. After its establishment, nationwide activities have been conducted in the development of hi-tech industries. In this case, the sector has received some domestic investment, but the desired foreign investment has not been seen.

According to the data of Bangladesh Bank, in the last one and a half decades, foreign investment in the information technology sector of the country has come only to 180 million dollars. Government policymakers have set a target of $5 billion in foreign investment in the sector by 2025.

As for why foreign investment cannot be attracted, the stakeholders claim that the information technology sector of the country is still in the development stage. Due to this the desired foreign investment was not received. However, Bangladesh is a very promising country in the information technology sector. With proper planning and world-class skills, it will be possible to get foreign investment in the future.

For this purpose, it is necessary to move forward by fixing the target in a specific way. Because of the limitations in technology, skilled manpower and lack of proper planning, the entrepreneurs of the information technology sector feel that the technology sector is not developing as expected. According to them, one of the biggest reasons for hindering foreign investment is the country's slow infrastructure development and inability to keep pace with the world's demands. In this case, we have to plan more realistically.

In this case, it is not possible to show a business growth model of at least 20 years to attract foreigners. In addition, we have to adapt to the needs of foreigners at present. On the other hand, due to lack of proper skills, they have to work at lower prices than other countries. There is no substitute for acquiring timely technical skills. Educated youth need to be employed in the expansion of the technology sector.

Efforts should be made to implement the investment promises made by China-based companies. According to the authorities, the visit of the Saudi Arabian delegation needs to be focused so that it can also bring results. Foreign companies are already assembling, which is positive. In addition to its continuation, steps should be taken to extend its continuity in the future.

Business activities in the technology sector have been conducted in Bangabandhu Hi-Tech City located at Kaliakore in Gazipur for several years. Besides, some companies have started small-scale production activities in the hi-tech parks built in Sylhet and Rajshahi. Very little foreign investment has come into these parks. Bangladesh currently has 650,000 freelancers, the second-largest number of online laborers worldwide. Bangladesh's potential in the information technology sector is quite bright if it can be utilized properly. For this, a large trainable youth population needs to be developed.Bangladesh Hi-Tech Park Authority has launched an online one-stop service for investors. As a result, foreign companies wishing to invest will be able to complete all the procedures very easily and quickly. Besides, the authorities also claimed that the investment environment has been maintained.

1 thousand 600 types of products are exported from Bangladesh to different markets of the world. 85 percent of the total export earnings come from 292 types of ready-made garments. Only 15 percent of the income comes from the remaining 13 hundred products. But among these 1,300 products, there are many products, which have a huge market and are constantly increasing in demand. For the economic development and sustainable growth of Bangladesh, export products should be diversified. If this can be done, the dependence on one product will be reduced on the one hand, and the total export income will increase on the other hand. Employment will increase.

Businessmen-industrialists from Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Bhutan have established business relations among themselves. The relationship of trust between them is slowly building. Import, export trade, investment, and miscellaneous business is increasing day by day. Governments are helping with this. All international organizations including the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), and Asian Development Bank are helping.

Bangladesh, China, India and Myanmar (BCIM) were formed to further expand the area of cooperation. It is seen that as a result of these millions of Bangladeshi Indians are encouraged in tourism, medical tourism. Our exports are increasing. Relationships will develop between businessmen of the country. Our exports will increase, and revenue will increase. Infrastructure will be developed. However, all concerned should come forward to attract foreign investment through proper planning.

Hiren Pandit is a columnist
and a researcher.

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