The American Chamber of Commerce in Bangladesh (AmCham) held its monthly Luncheon meeting today at the SHERATON (Banani).
Mr. Lokman Hossain Miah, Executive Chairman, Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA), attended the event as the Guest of Honor & Speaker and spoke on “Investment for Smart Bangladesh”. President – AmCham, Mr. Syed Ershad Ahmed, Mr. Syed Mohammad Kamal, Vice President, AmCham, members of the Chamber including the Executive Committee Members, Executive Director, AmCham, and former Presidents, foreign dignitaries, business leaders, media representatives and other distinguished guests attended the meeting.
The guest of honor- BIDA chair He said that many foreign investors were coming to Bangladesh, but the volume of foreign direct investments was still lower in the country than many other competitor countries like Vietnam and Indonesia. ‘Vietnam can provide all services to investors within 35 days and the time in Indonesia is 49 days and in India 60 days. Our limitation is that investors require more than six months in Bangladesh to get approvals for starting their business,’ Mr. Lokman said.
The BIDA executive chairman said that they were working to make the one-stop service 100 per cent operational within three or four months to provide prompt services to the investors. ‘Recently, in a meeting I apprised prime minister Sheikh Hasina of the limitation over providing quick services to the investors. The prime minister asked me to ensure quick services to the investors like Vietnam,’ Mr. Lokman said.
AmCham President Syed Ershad Ahmed said, “Investing in a smart Bangladesh is not just an economic imperative, it is a moral one. By making the right investments in infrastructure, education, technology, energy, and social inclusion, we can build a sustainable better future for Bangladeshis. Let us work together to create a smarter Bangladesh for the generations to come.” He also added that cumbersome policies of the National Board of Revenue were causing bottlenecks in business. ‘It is important that the government simplifies the process of setting up a business by reducing bureaucratic tangles, providing a stable and predictable regulatory environment and ensuring hassle-free automated revenue collection process,’ he said.
The AmCham president said that maintaining political stability, increasing easy access to finance and supplying skills in a competitive cost were also important to encourage investments. ‘By creating a favourable investment climate and focusing on the right areas, we can attract it from both the sources it needs to achieve its full potential and reach next stage building a Smart Bangladesh,’ Mr. Ershad said.
He said that the government should invest in infrastructure specially improving logistics facilities and human capital, as these were the key factors that influence investors’ decision to mobilize their hard-earned resources in a country like Bangladesh.
Former NBR chairman Muhamad Abdul Mazid said that without ensuring investment-enabling environment, foreign investments would not take place in the country. Foreign investors keep an eye on the volume of local investments to make any decisions regarding making investments in any countries, he said. Mazid also urged the government to improve the situation of the country’s banking sector and the stock market. ASM Mainuddin Monem, managing director of Abdul Monem Limited, said that scarcity of land became one of the key challenges for investment in Bangladesh. Bangladesh-Malaysia Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Syed Almas Kabir, Policy Exchange of Bangladesh chairman M Masrur Reaz, among others, spoke at the event.
Mr. Syed Mohammad Kamal, Vice President – AmCham & Country Manager, Mastercard – Bangladesh summarized the discussion and offered the vote of thanks.