Business leaders and policymakers on Thursday stressed the need for showcasing Bangladesh with vigour to lure more foreign direct investment.
Addressing the 25th-anniversary celebration meeting of the American Chamber of Commerce in Bangladesh (AmCham) in the city, they also felt that the true potentials of the US Bangladesh bilateral trade need to be explored as a measure to prepare the country to face the post –LDC challenges.
Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen, who was the chief guest of the programme, urged the American investors to take the advantage of the cheap but intelligent labour force of Bangladesh.
He opined that the US companies can be competitive by shifting to Bangladesh.
Bangladesh is the right place to make money, the minister said assuring that the protection of the foreign investment in Bangladesh will be guaranteed here.
He lauded the US government for their support during the Covid pandemic and announced that the US government assured to provide 29 million covid vaccines to Bangladesh.
He also expressed gratitude to the US government for its continued support to the Rohingya issue.
Dr Momen proposed that the US government may provide duty-free facilities to the Bangladeshi RMG products made of US cotton.
He also urged the USA to help Bangladesh restructure the coastal embankment.
And you can charge toll by constructing road along the seashore, he told the US investors.
Salman F Rahman, the private industry and investment affairs adviser to the Prime Minister, said that inclusive growth is the core objective of the present government.
He pointed out that keeping this in mind the government has provided huge cash incentives to the underprivileged section of the people so that they could be able to graduate themselves from poverty and to be self-reliant economically.
Salman, who was the special guest of the programme, warned that if the country fails to plan and take action properly after being graduated to a middle-income country, it may be stuck in the same status.
He noted that as the tax- GDP ratio is very low in our country, a handful of people has to bear the burden of larger higher taxes.
Suggesting expansion of the tax net to reduce the tax burden of the current taxpayers he said, “Investment will automatically go up if we can increase the tax revenue through expanding the tax rate”
A vibrant bond market and capital market is crucial to ease the burden on the banking system, he felt.
He said although the government is investing heavily in the public sector today, at one stage when the public investment will slow down there will be a need for a strong surge in private investment.
Though the US is the largest investor in Bangladesh, in absolute terms we can get much more investment from the US, Salman said.
He suggested AmCham get more US companies to be involved in local business especially in sectors like agro-businesses and IT.
US Ambassador in Dhaka Earl Miller said during the last three years US Bangladesh trade ties became deeper despite pandemic and in the coming days, Bangladesh will see more visits from the US business people.
Among others, AmCham President Syed Ershad Ahmed, past presidents of the Chamber Md Nurul Islam, Forest D Cookson, M Aftabul Islam, Syed Mohammad Kamal, Zamil Ahmed spoke on the occasion.