Taxpayers' money to be sought to restructure ICB

FE Report | Tuesday, 23 February 2021

Foreign investors have evinced interest to invest in the country's large projects including power plants.

Their interest came following the securities regulator's presentation recently made at its road show held in Dubai.

The chairman of the Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission (BSEC) Prof. Shibli Rubayat Ul Islam on Monday said this at a press briefing held to put press the outcome of the BSEC's road show.

"Apart from the capital market, our presentation made at the road show upheld the country's whole economic position. Later the foreign investors showed interest about their long term investments in Bangladesh," Mr. Islam said.

The securities regulator held a three-day long road show at Dubai during February 9-12.

"The securities regulator will also seek fund from the government to restructure the state-run Investment Corporation of Bangladesh (ICB)," BSEC chairman told the press briefing.

According to BSEC officials, the securities regulator conducted bilateral meetings in Dubai with different foreign portfolio investors and investment banks such as Masreq Bank, Credit Suisse, Sinatra Holding, Baker Tilly JFC, and Industrial Packaging.

The securities regulator also held meeting with the City of London Investment Management, Kingsway Capital, Blackrock, Emirates NBD Capital, Asma Capital (Bahrain), Franklin Templeton, White & Case, National Bank of Fujairah, and Global SPAC Partners.

"After our presentation, the foreign investors talked to us exclusively and held separate meetings. We think the country's capital market has a wide scope of attracting foreign investments," said the BSEC chairman, adding that now they are receiving e-mails from the foreign investors every day.

He said the foreign investors are interested to invest in the power projects and other infrastructures.

"Some investors are also interested to invest in mutual funds," said Mr. Islam, adding that foreign investors made some suggestions for the development of the mutual fund sector.

The chairman said it's not possible to provide solutions to the country's large projects worth ranging Tk 5.0 billion to Tk 40 billion through the equity market only.

"The solution only lies with the development of bond market. The foreign investors having trillion dollar investments in conventional and sukuk bonds are exploring new areas of investments," said the BSEC chairman Mr. Islam.

He said the securities regulator held road show in Dubai to put press the country's exact economic position in a bid to reduce the foreign investors' wrong perception about Bangladesh.

"They wanted to know whether we are right about the country's economic condition. They seemed convinced when we asked them to be sure through Google searches," said the BSEC's chairman.

He said the country would come out of the negative perception so far made abroad if proper information is disseminated in the financial hubs of Dubai, London, New York, Hong Kong and Singapore.

The securities regulator will place eight-point proposal including a minimum 15 per cent gap in corporate tax for listed and non-listed companies in the budget proposal for the fiscal year 2021-22.

The BSEC chairman also said the securities regulator appointed auditor to conduct special audit at Delta Life Insurance Company.

The insurance regulator recently appointed an administrator at the Delta Life after suspending the company's board of directors for four months amid allegations of financial irregularities.

At Monday's press briefing, the BSEC's officials also said the securities regulator would place 8-points proposal in the budget for the fiscal year 2021-22.

The proposal will include the expansion of corporate tax gap for listed and non-listed companies.

To attract more companies to the capital market, the securities regulator wants a minimum corporate gap of 15 per cent for listed and non-listed companies against the existing 7.50 per cent.

The other proposals include the reduction of interest on margin loans to 12 per cent, the reduction of corporate tax for merchant banks and the solution of double taxation.

He said most of their proposals hopefully will be accepted by the government.

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