Dhaka, Bangladesh
‘$320b needed in infrastructure to be world’s 30th economy’

‘$320b needed in infrastructure to be world’s 30th economy’

Bangladesh needs 320 billion U S dollar investment only in infrastructure if it wants to become the world’s 30th largest economy by 2030, said a leading chamber president on Thursday, report agencies. “Bangladesh has achieved 7 per cent growth. Now, we have to increase our pace to attain 8 per cent. By the year of 2030, we need 10 per cent GDP growth,” said President of Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) Abul Kasem Khan. Addressing a roundtable discussion on ‘Road to 2030: Strategic Priorities’ at the DCCI auditorium, he said it is essential to make the PPP functional and Bangladesh needs foreign direct investment (FDI) with quality investment in infrastructure. The DCCI and Economic Reporters’ Forum (ERF) jointly organised the event. State Minister for Finance and Planning MA Mannan was present as the chief guest. Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (BEZA) Executive Chairman Paban Chowdhury, distinguished Fellow of Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) Prof Mustafizur Rahman, former DCCI President Asif Ibrahim, Editor of The Financial Express Moazzem Hossain and General Secretary of ERF Ziaur Rahman were present as panel discussants. Mannan said Bangladesh is on the right path of development and the government is firmly committed to accelerate industrialisation. In the South Asian region, Bangladesh has better opportunities to grow and if all work together Bangladesh will be the 30th largest economy by 2030. Paban Chowdhury said the government has taken initiative of establishing 100 economic zones in the country. BEZA has already allocated land for 76 EZs out of which 23 EZs are in process and 3 EZs have been given to private sector to develop and operate, he added. “BEZA has taken an initiative of establishing a Land Bank of 1,00,000 acres of land for economic zones,” he said. He said India has requested for 1054 acres of land for Indian economic zone which is under consideration. To attract tourists, the government will develop tourism city in the country and by the next two years an island in the Naaf River will be open for tourists, Chowdhury said. DCCI President made a PowerPoint presentation and mentioned some challenges like energy crisis, land crisis, lack of infrastructure, higher tax rate, shortage of skilled manpower for economy which needs to be addressed. “By the year 2030 we need 10 per cent GDP growth, we have to make PPP functional, we need FDI and we need quality investment in infrastructure,” said Khan. He said some challenges for the economy like energy crisis, land crisis, lack of infrastructure, higher tax rate, shortage of skilled manpower will have to be addressed. He underscored the need of formulation of a coal policy soon and said utilization of locally extracted coal will be more competitive. “We need to take some actions ahead of 2030 like decentralization of Dhaka, policy reforms, tax policy, reducing cost of doing business, more gas exploration, reducing cost of energy and skill development,” he added. CPD’s distinguished fellow Mustafizur Rahman said Bangladesh is losing FDI because of adequate infrastructure and the only solution to attract FDI is infrastructure development along with good governance and transparency. Regional integration in southern region is a window of opportunity for Bangladesh, he said, adding that Bangladesh needs to be engaged with BCIM economic corridor, BBIN motor vehicle agreement and Asian highway for this regional integration. Former DCCI President Asif Ibrahim said Bangladesh needs investment in every sector which is true but in line with that Bangladesh needs an investment-friendly environment. Editor of The Financial Express Moazzem Hossain termed investment as one of the main challenges for Bangladesh now and said a hard and action driven process and some policy reforms are needed. He said corporate tax rate in Bangladesh is the highest in South Asian region and urged the government to widen tax net. The world is moving fast and Bangladesh has to be competitive because this window of opportunity will not be open forever, if Bangladesh fails, other will grab the opportunity. ERF President Saif Islam Dilal said Bangladesh needs to turn its human resources into human capital, stressing the need for coordinated efforts to bring changes in the economy and infrastructure development.

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