Bangladesh eyes fresh $20bn FDI at Araihazar EZ
Big Japanese companies would expand their investment in Bangladesh as they were assured of support over tax, VAT and policy liberalization issues, Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal said on Saturday.
Kamal said this after holding a daylong meeting with the Japanese investors at NEC Auditorium at Agargaon in the capital.
He named leading Japanese firms including Nittsu NEC Logistics Ltd., Nippon, Sumitomo, Sojitz Corporation, Tekken and Honda, which were willing to expand their investment here.
"Japanese investors will bring higher investment. We have discussed some pending disputes over tax and VAT. National Board of Revenue has been asked to initiate steps to resolve those," Kamal told reporters at a briefing after the meeting.
Japanese Ambassador to Bangladesh Naoki Ito led the Japanese delegation.
Kamal said the pledge of expansion of investment from Japanese investors came following his government's commitment to addressing several issues regarding policy interventions on exemption of taxes in import of capital machinery, tax and royalty from different ongoing projects and reasonable end to some existing disputes pending for resolution.
"We are not yet sure about how much fresh investment would come. But, it will be definitely higher. It is likely to be estimated at the next official visit at the government to government level," Kamal said in reply to a question.
He said the government awarded Japan a dedicated economic zone at Araihazar upazila in Naraynaganj for establishment and expansion of their manufacturing plants.
A finance ministry statement says the 500-acre economic zone will have the expansion capacity up to 1000 acre to accommodate at least 200 companies. The construction of the economic zone is scheduled to be completed in 2023.
Paban Chowdhury, executive chairman of Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (Beza), told the media recently that he expected $20 billion fresh investment from Japanese investors.
Earlier on November 4, the Japanese ambassador met Kamal at his ministry and sought competitive incentives and long-term policies to ensure the viability of businesses of their investors who are eyeing expansion in Bangladesh.
The finance minister said Japanese investors expressed their satisfaction over the government of Bangladesh's initiatives of developing large infrastructures in the country to facilitate trade and commerce.
Meanwhile, the number of Japanese companies in Bangladesh grew from 183 in 2014 to 269 in 2018.
A recent study shows that 70 percent of them are interested in expansion within a year while remaining others in the next two to three years.