A panel of business leaders and analysts on Monday urged the government to announce transport and logistics as a high-priority sector to attract more foreign direct investment (FDI).
At the International Investment Summit 2021, the panel called for framing a world-class master plan, providing eco-friendly logistics, formulating prudent policies, and ensuring an integrated approach of the government agencies to build confidence in foreign investors.
Offering proper incentives such as tax holidays and ensuring facilities for sustainable growth of the sector were also emphasised at the plenary session of the conference, titled ‘Transport & Logistics: The Right Move’ held at a city hotel on the second day.
Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) has organised the two-day International Investment Summit 2021 to brand a ‘new Bangladesh’ and attract investments.
State Minister for Shipping Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury told the session that enhancing private investment and export diversification requires dynamic logistics.
Iterating the government’s commitment to taking all steps required, he said transport infrastructure investment needs in Bangladesh is estimated to be around $285 billion by 2040.
The transport and logistics service market has an estimated value of $ 15 billion, he added.
Calling upon international investors to grab opportunities in the potential sector, the minister mentioned that the demand for warehousing and storage is expected to increase with rising trade and economic activities. Such demand, he pointed out, is expected to increase by 64 per cent shortly.
Abul Kasem Khan, Co-Chair, Logistics Infrastructure Development Working Committee, Bangladesh (LIDWC) and Chairperson, Business Initiative Leading Development (BUILD), presented a keynote paper at the session moderated by Naquib Khan, President, Bangladesh Supply Chain Management Society.
Victoria Rigby Delmon, Infrastructure Upstream Lead, Asia and Pacific, International Finance Corporation (IFC), and Wan Chee Foong, Regional CEO, Middle East South Asia & Head of Group Business Development, PSA International Pte Ltd., Singapore, spoke as panelists virtually.
Mahbubul Alam, President, the Chittagong Chamber of Commerce & Industry (CCCI), Rear Admiral M Shahjahan, Chairman, Chattogram Port Authority (CPA), and Syed Ershad Ahmed, President, American Chamber of Commerce in Bangladesh (AmCham), also addressed the session as panelists.
Victoria Rigby Delmon laid emphasis on Bangladesh’s major potential areas such as megaprojects, ports, and data connectivity in the logistics and transport sector.
Saying that the country’s traffic should be eased, she also stressed the need for transparency and accountability in implementing private-public partnership projects.
Mahbubul Alam urged foreign investors to invest in water transportation.
Wan Chee Foong said Bangladesh should work for building world-class infrastructure and transportation ensuring sustainability.
Elaborating on the importance of maritime transportation and logistics, M Shahjahan called on the international investors to invest in ongoing port-related mega projects.
Syed Ershad Ahmed underlined the need for environmentally-needed supply-chain management to lure international investors.
He said the railway infrastructure should be developed more to this effect.
Every $1.0 invested in infrastructure development is expected to yield additional increases in the gross domestic product by $ 0.05 - 0.252 which implies growth by 5.0 per cent to 25 per cent, the session was told.