PM’s adviser says at the conference of the Confederation of Asia-Pacific Chambers of Commerce and Industry
Bangladesh would develop 200 economic zones (EZs) in the country eyeing foreign direct investment (FDI) to implement planned industrialization and save agricultural land, Prime Minister's Private Sector Adviser Salman Fazlur Rahman said on Tuesday.
"We are in action to develop 200 economic zones. Around 50/60 zones (EZs) are in operation now," Rahman said at the inaugural session of the 33rd conference of the Confederation of Asia-Pacific Chambers of Commerce and Industry (CACCI) at a Dhaka city hotel.
Rahman said Bangladesh would launch one stop online business registration procedure for foreign investors very soon.
"We are working on it," he told the program attended by 160 registered participants from CACCI member countries.
Rahman said Bangladesh offered a very liberalized regime for foreign investors with multiple benefits of full ownership, joint ventures and public private partnership models, ceiling-free investment, access to foreign currency loans from abroad, one stop service desk for business process, cent percent profit repatriation, tax holiday scheme, duty-free import of capital machinery and raw materials, planned economic zones, sufficient power and energy supply, optic fiber channeled broadband internet covering both urban and rural areas, competitive workforce and a high-growth domestic consumer market.
Rahman said economic zones were designed with four different models, three of them aimed to attract FDI.
"The government-developed EZs are the model. Secondly, private sector entrepreneurs allocated lands for developing EZs. Thirdly, there are EZs under public-private joint ventures. And, the fourth model is the country-specific EZs. In this category, a country was offered land to develop EZs. India, Japan, Korea, China and the UAE have been given lands for developing country-specific EZs," he said.
He, however, did not elaborate on the proposed 200 EZs, while the government had earlier said about establishing 100 EZs.
Sheikh F Fahim, president of Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FBCCI) and vice president of CACCI, said Bangladesh had one of the most liberal and flexible investment regimes in South Asia and made it to World Bank's list of 'Top 20 Improvers of Doing Business in 2020'.
He said that net FDI inflow to Bangladesh in fiscal year 2017-18 grew by 67.94% to $3.61 billion over the $2.15 billion in previous (2016-17) fiscal.
CACCI President Samir Modi said most of the Asians now belonged to low-income group and the new globalization's challenge for them was to cope up with the advent of digital technology.
"In addition to the governments, businesses as private sector actors can play a significant role in mitigating the challenge by adopting digital technology across the countries, which are striving to get better economic growth," he said.
He said it was positive a change towards adopting digital technology and the number of internet users was growing rapidly in CACCI member countries.