Dhaka, 3rd May, 2017
Esteemed representatives from the private sector and the Government of Bangladesh met for an Expert Group Meeting entitled “Challenges and Opportunities with Foreign Direct Investments in Bangladesh”organized by NCCI in partnership with Telenor on Wednesday, May 3, 2017.
Participants at the session included H.E. Pierre Mayaudon, Honorable Ambassador of the European Union (EU), Mr. Abrar Anwar, CEO of Standard Chartered Bank (SCB), Mr. Ajit Kumar Paul, Executive Member & Secretary of Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA), Mr. Håkon Kjøl, Senior Vice President and Head of Public & Regulatory Affairs, Telenor Group, Dr. Ahsan H. Mansur, Executive Director at the Policy Research Institute (PRI), Dr. M Emdadul Haque, Additional Secretary at the Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (BEZA), Mr. Raihan M Chowdhury, Senior Business Editor at Financial Express, Mr. Stephane Norde, CEO of Nestle, Mr. Ahmed Jamal, Executive Director at Bangladesh Bank, Mr. Hans Henrichsen, Telenor Group Country Representative and Mr. Shamim Ul Huq, Managing Director, Maersk Bangladesh Ltd and President of The Nordic Chamber of Commerce & Industry. Special Guest: H.E. Sidsel Bleken, Honorable Ambassador at the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Dhaka. The session was moderated by Professor Mustafizur Rahman, Distinguished Fellow, Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD).
NCCI President Shamim Ul Huq in his remarks in urged the need for a holistic approach to the topic of FDI and welcomed continuing dialogue between involved stakeholders: “There are clearly high ambitions when it comes to FDI, and it’s equally clear that there is a continued need for best practice sharing through an active dialogue procell not only within Bangladesh but also with other countries”, said Mr. Huq.
The discussion underlined that foreign investments do not happen in a vacuum, but as a result of various underlying factors. Honorable Norwegian Ambassador H.E. Sidsel Bleken who was a special guest at the event highlighted the importance of increasing female presentation in the formal labor market. as it is not only a shared challenge between policy makers and international investors to Bangladesh, but one that can bring great rewards for the country in the long term.
All the experts shared their reflections from a number of perspectives: in relation to the regulatory regime, the need for continuity, in relation to involved institutions, the need for good governance and zero-tolerance to corruption, and as regards concerned authorities such as Bangladesh Bank, BIDA and BEZA, the hope for more speedy implementation of the planned activities. There were a number of advantages that the speakers had mentioned including preferential market access accorded to Bangladesh’s exports, growing regional market, potential benefits of the demographic dividend, growing size of the domestic market and the rising purchasing power of the middle class. Professor Mustafizur Rahman wrapped up the session by cautioning that this is a window of opportunity and echoing H.E. the Norwegian Ambassador, he concluded that all involved stakeholders will need to do their part of the responsibilities to realize the emerging opportunities of attracting higher FDI to Bangladesh.