Bangladesh needs more deregulations and structural reforms to get desired foreign direct investment (FDI) in the country from Japan and elsewhere, said Japanese Ambassador in Dhaka Ito Naoki on Thursday.
To back his statement, he pointed out issues like telegraphic transfer and disparity in cash incentives.
He was exchanging views with the members of the Diplomatic Correspondents’ Association (DCAB) at a programme titled ‘The DCAB Talks’ held in the city.
“In Asia, telegraphic transfer is not allowed in two countries -- Bangladesh and Pakistan,” Mr Ito said apparently seeking withdrawal of the restrictions.
Noting that cash incentives against exports are not given to 100 per cent foreign-owned companies, the ambassador said such disparity should be removed to attract foreign investors.
The envoy praised the government for attaining impressive economic development and for handling the Covid pandemic.
He mentioned that Japanese Special Economic Zone in Araihajar can lure one billion dollar foreign investment if there is coordinated and concerted effort.
The success of Araihajar Economic Zone will help promoting two other Japanese economic zones in Mirsarai and in Matarbari. And these successes will result in huge Japanese investment in Bangladesh, Mr Ito argued.
Responding to a query, Mr Ito said Matarbari project is part of the Indo-Pacific vision for a more open and peaceful Indian and Pacific ocean.
This will be a regional connectivity hub with deep sea ports , power plants, LNG terminals and other big infrastructures, he said adding that with 30 meter draft the Matarbari port can harbour big ocean-going ships.
“The present port in Chittagong has a draft of only 9 meter and goods bound for Japan need to be carried to Singapore first. From there, they are transferred to Japan-bound mother vessels. So when Matarbari will be operational this trouble will be removed,” he explained.
Responding to a question, he said Japan strongly feels that Rohingya repatriation is crucial to the regional stability and peace.
But given the present domestic scenario in Myanmar, it is very difficult to make the repatriation happen very soon, he observed.
He said that Japan established high-level communications with military rules and has been engaged in convincing them about the necessity to resolve the Rohingya problem.
In this connection, he mentioned that Japan has been also engaged in providing humanitarian supports to the Rohingya community since the beginning of the crisis.
So far Japan has provided $214 million – 150m for Rohingyas people in Bangladesh and 64 million for Rohingya community at Rakhine State in Myanmar.
The ambassador said that both Japan and Bangladesh will celebrate 50 years of diplomatic ties through various programmes.
DCAB President Pantho Rahaman chaired the meeting moderated by its General Secretary AKM Moinuddin.