Bangladesh is an excellent foreign investment destination with optimum returns, Sultana Afroz, secretary to the government of Bangladesh and chief executive officer (CEO) of Bangladesh’s Public Private Partnership Authority (PPPA) under the Prime Minister’s Office told Xinhua.
Afroz invited global investors including China to reap rich dividends by investing in the country’s infrastructure, health, tourism among many other sectors.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, she said Bangladesh achieved a growth rate of 5.2 percent in the last fiscal year 2019-20 (July 2019-June 2020). Bangladesh’s GDP growth averaged 7 percent for the last 10 years.
She commented on how Bangladesh has evolved into a lucrative investment destination, having the most liberal investment policies in South Asia, under the supreme and able leadership of Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
“We introduced a bunch of favorable policies for foreign investment, including setting up branch offices and independent companies, protection of foreign investment by law, generous tax holiday, unrestricted exit policy, to name a few,” said the CEO who earlier served as a diplomat (economic counselor) in the Bangladesh Embassy in Rome, Italy and was also alternate permanent representative of Bangladesh to the Rome based U.N. agencies.
She further mentioned the incentives the government of Bangladesh offers to the PPP projects in addition to the ones mentioned earlier, including the land for the projects, exemption from import duty of capital machinery, exemption for stamp duty and registration fee, Viability Gap Financing (VGF).
She also highlighted the extraordinary investment opportunities in the infrastructure industry in Bangladesh. “The need for local infrastructure development and a large population as the user group provide a win-win context for potential investors,” she said.
Currently, PPPA is supporting 79 PPP projects covering health, transport, IT, civil accommodation, shipping, social infrastructure, food and tourism sectors.
Afroz said the country has to be mindful of the bottlenecks arising in project implementation due to COVID-19.
As an important development partner of Bangladesh, the Chinese contractors can cover the designing, manufacturing and shipping aspects of the process while the implementation can be taken care of by the Bangladeshi local subcontractors under China’s guidance, she said.
She said the world was already heading towards an increased digitalization of communication and coordination, but the pandemic has cemented this new way. “Online communication and operational platforms have proved to be a solution, and we should take full advantage of such technology.”
With reference to her participation at the 11th International Infrastructure Investment and Construction Forum (IIICF) held in China recently, Afroz said the infrastructure industry in Bangladesh in the post-pandemic era is also attractive enough for foreign investors.