• Thursday, Feb 21, 2019
  • Last Update : 06:02 pm

Banks, financial institutions must improve capacity to support SDGs

  • Published at 06:51 pm July 2nd, 2018
The Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) organizes a program titled 'Role of Private Sector to Achieve SDGs'in Dhaka on Monday; July 2, 2018 Dhaka Tribune

The business community also called for policy support to create more jobs

Banks and financial institutions must improve their capacity to support the private sector, in assisting Bangladesh’s government, to attain the sustainable development goals (SDGs), said business leaders.

They jobs called for policy support to create more jobs as it would be challenging for Bangladesh to achieve the SDGs otherwise.

The business community recommended this in the capital, on Sunday, while addressing an institutional dialogue on the “Role of Private Sector to Achieve SDGs.” The Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI), in collaboration with the SDG wing of the prime minister's office, organized the program.

FBCCI President Md Shafiul Islam (Mohiuddin) presided over the program where Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed was present as the guest of honour. Principal Coordinator (SDG Affairs) in the Prime Minister's Office Md Abul Kalam Azad was also present there as a special guest.

Shafiul Islam said: “The private sector is willing to invest but there are regulatory and policy issues that need to be streamlined. Banks and financial institutions need to develop their capacities to support the private sector.”

He said: “Bangladesh would require $928 billion in additional funding from 2017-2030 to fully implement the SDGs, while the annual average costs would amount to $66.2 billion. Of the total resources, around 56.86% will be collected from domestic sources, 9.46% will come from external sources, 6.91% from FDI.”

“There are some other sources [of money] such as the capital market and bond market…. 42.09% will come from the private sector. Therefore, it is important that we develop the private sector’s capacity to generate these investments,” he added.

Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed said: “Export earnings from goods reached $37 billion in the fiscal year of 2017-2018. Of these, earnings from the readymade garment (RMG) industry stood at $30 billion. The overall export earnings from goods and services reached $41.5 billion in the year.”

He also said exporters might play an important role in achieving the SDG targets if they were provided with the required facilities. But, corporate income tax has been reduced by 2.5% for banks, while it has been raised for exporters in the national budget.

Abul Kalam Azad said: “It would not possible for government employees alone to achieve the SDGs.”

The private sector must come forward in this regard, he said, adding that more than half of the financing must come from the private sector to achieve the target.

According to the FBCCI president, there are various challenges in implementing the  SDGs. The country has around 20 million school-going students, and by 2030, the majority of them should be at the graduation level. According to FBCCI, providing the younger generation with decent jobs in the future will be a big challenge. “Here the starting point could be to raise the capacities of the private sector or generate employment jobs,” the business community opined.

Furthermore, they mentioned that there are various challenges to policies of rural transformation; industry; science, technology and innovation; development finance; macroeconomics; and employment generation.

Although the SDGs are a global issue, a significant proportion of the funding for SDGs relies on domestic funding, investments, and collective action, they said. Thus, a financial model is crucial to harmonize the funding sources, they suggested. They added that the government needs to generate revenue and the private sector needs government support in the form of incentives.