Broader collaboration between the government and the private sectors is vital for achieving the sustainable development goals (SDGs), said speakers at a discussion on Thursday.
They also underscored the need for bigger participation of the private sector in power, health care and education fields to achieve the targets within such goals.
The views came at a roundtable discussion on "Potential Roles and Challenges of Private Sector to Achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)" organised by the Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) in the city.
President of the DCCI Abul Kasem Khan delivered the address of welcome.
Senior research fellow of Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS) Dr Nazneen Ahmed presented the keynote paper at the event, moderated by former president of the DCCI Asif Ibrahim.
The speakers also stressed the need for faster communication between Dhaka and Chattogram.
Speaking as the chief guest, principal coordinator (SDG Affairs) of the Prime Minister's Office Md Abul Kalam Azad underlined the need for creating skilled manpower, building required infrastructure while increasing exports for achieving SDGs.
He noted the private sector contributed a lot in achieving the millennium development goals (MDGs).
"The private sector has many things to do. It can play a significant role in achieving the SDGs," he said.
He said that per capita income would reach US $ 16,000 by the year 2041 when Bangladesh would achieve the developed nation status.
He said the government is considering formulating a long term tax and value added tax (VAT) policy.
He said frequent changes in tax and VAT policies might discourage foreign investors from investing in the country.
He said the government has established a platform at the Economic Relations Division (ERD) where the businessmen can put forward their suggestions with regards to SDGs.
He said the government has created a land bank of 100,000 acres for establishing economic zones, especially in the southern belt of the country.
Out of the lands, some 35,000 acres of land have been acquired and handed over to BEZA, he said.
He urged the private sector to invest in the economic zones and the government will facilitate it by providing electricity and gas.
"It is our private sector that is leading our gross domestic growth (GDP)," he said.
President of the Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) Nihad Kabir suggested the government ease doing business in the country.
She recommended mapping out an integrated growth strategy for ensuring quality (vocational) education, institutional capacity building, and coordination between the public and the private sectors.
She said financing for SDG will not be a problem as Bangladesh may try to get the Green Climate Fund.
She underscored the importance on transparent long-term regulatory framework.
President of the Chittagong Chamber of Commerce and Industry Mahbubul Alam suggested strong institutional mechanism involving all stakeholders including public representatives, the government, the private sector, the civil society, the knowledge community and the development partners.
DCCI president Abul Kasem Khan said Bangladesh needs intensive focus on employment generation to institutional capacity building for achieving the SDGs.
He said the private sector has been facing some challenges like affordable and reliable energy sources, inadequate technology and expensive compliance.
He said that reforms in all major policies related to the economy, trade and investment are essential.
"We need policy continuity, consistency and cohesiveness for more engagement of the private sector in attaining SDGs," he said.
He called for more private sector participation in policy designs.
"Bangladesh will need around US$ 928 billion of additional resources up to 2030 for achieving the 17 goals," Mr Khan mentioned.
Dr. Nazneen Ahmed highlighted the goals of SDG 8, 9 and 12, which are directly linked with the private sector.
She suggested increasing investment, skill development and development of infrastructure. DCCI vice-president Riyadh Hossain gave the vote of thanks.
President of the International Chamber of Commerce, Bangladesh (ICC-B) Mahbubur Rahman, DCCI former president Hossain Khaled, and directors of DCCI were present, among others.
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