Japanese businesses have keen interest to invest in Bangladesh as they have got rid of the fear in the wake of terrorist attack on Holey Artisan Bakery in 2016, speakers said at a press briefing on Tuesday.
Bangladesh Investment Development Authority organised the press briefing at a city hotel to apprise the media of the outcome of Bangladeshi high-profile business delegation’s visit to Singapore where they attended a Business-to-Business (B2B) Conference with Japanese businesses.
During their visit, the delegates experienced Singapore’s business reform initiatives and networking with key policymakers.
BIDA Executive Chairman Kazi M Aminul Islam chaired the programme while Chief Coordinator for SDG affairs at the Prime Minister’s Office Abul Kalam Azad was present as the chief guest.
Among others, Secretary to the Ministry of Commerce Subhashish Bose, Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) President Abul Kasem Khan, former president of Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) Syed Nasim Manjur and president of Chittagong Chamber of Commerce and Industry Mahbubul Alam, were present at the event.
In his address, Kazi M Aminul Islam said Bangladesh witnessed much advancement in different sectors in the last couple of years.
“Unlike before, our local investors have now earned capacity to make investment abroad. Earlier, we used to ask the investment destination countries what they would offer Bangladeshi investors.”
He added that Singapore ranked first or second at the World Bank’s ease of doing business index, whereas Bangladesh was placed 176th among 190 countries.
“We want to place ourselves in a two-digit rank number within the next five years.”
The Bangladesh-Japan B2B conference held in Singapore was the first initiative to regain investments from Japan and Singapore, Kazi M Aminul said, adding that it should be continued.
More business visits to different countries are needed to instill and restore confidence in foreign investors for investing in Bangladesh, he suggested.
Abul Kalam Azad said the purpose of B2B conference was not to make a direct offer of investment, rather it focused on bringing about an environment for investment.
The government is working on how to create a business-friendly climate to draw more foreign investment to the country, added the official.
He suggested that Bangladesh should replicate Singapore’s model to do better in the rank of ease of doing business index.
“Japanese investors invested about $20 billion in the ASEAN countries where our aim is to bring $2 billion investment in the coming days,” said DCCI president Abul Kasem Khan.
Former MCCI president Syed Nasim Manjur observed that among the SAARC countries, Bangladesh has received the lowest investment.
“To attract foreign direct investment, we have to inform the foreign investors that Bangladesh has not only cheap labour but also a big market to invest.”