Islamic Finance

Bangladesh commerce and industry federation seeks further Qatari investment

Published 22 Aug,2020 via The Financial Express - The Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FBCCI) has urged Qatari entrepreneurs to invest in Bangladesh reaping the benefits of the two brotherly countries.

FBCCI president Sheikh Fazle Fahim made the call during a webinar styled 'Bilateral and Synergistic Opportunities between Qatar and Bangladesh' co-hosted by Bangladesh Forum Qatar and Doha Bank on Wednesday.

"We hope potential investors from Qatar would consider Bangladesh's investment potential in energy, power, infrastructure, technology, halal ecosystem, green renewable energy, start-ups, innovation knowledge and resource share for complimentary cooperation."

Mr Fahim said investment here will enhance bilateral trade opportunities with Qatar, adding that Bangladesh has a vibrant domestic market of 160 million people.

"We've market access through multilateral South Asia Free Trade Agreement of 1.8-billion population in South Asian countries, duty-free and quota-free market access to European Union (everything but arms)."

The president of the country's apex trade body said Bangladesh also enjoys preferential access to a number of international markets including India, China, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

The Japan External Trade Organisation study finds Bangladesh as a top destination for Japanese investments in the Asia-Pacific region, he mentioned.

Mr Fahim cited the two countries' long-standing bilateral ties, especially their engagements in service, energy and human development sectors.

He opined that there is room for a reasonable balance of trade expansion for diversifying trade such as export of FMCG goods (like milk powder, beverage, soft drinks and energy drinks), agro-processed goods, leather, footwear, pharmaceuticals, ceramics and ICT.

Emphasising investment prospects here, Mr Fahim said despite the pandemic, Bangladesh managed 5.2-per cent GDP growth, 5.4-per cent remittance and 10-per cent foreign reserve growth in fiscal year 2020-21.

"This year, as the second level of intervention, all income taxes were reduced in the national budget, including corporate tax reduction of 2.5 per cent."

"A combination of these measures spearheaded by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will allow us to sustain the rest of this year and recover in 2021 and 2022," added Mr Fahim.

Standard Chartered Bank Bangladesh chief executive officer Naser Ezaz Bijoy said the investment potential in Bangladesh is the best-kept secret of Asia.

He highlighted six drivers of the country's economic growth: apparel industry, commerce, remittance, power generation, infrastructure and digital space.

"Bangladesh government has been providing excellent facilities and incentives for prospective investors from various countries, and Qatar can look into Bangladesh," said Bangladesh envoy in Doha Ashud Ahmed.

"Bangladesh itself is a big market and the bridge between South Asia and South-East Asia."

"We've an investment profile in terms of exchange and refunds… We're also going to explore now liquid investments in Bangladesh," said Doha Bank chief executive officer Dr R Seetharaman.

The webinar sought Qatar sovereign fund management knowledge transfer, project financing, trade financing, FDI in diverse sectors, innovation, academia, institutional engagement with FBCCI.

All these things may be explored as a bilateral value chain initiative for Bangladesh market, export to Qatar, GCC and beyond, it observed.

Ajay Kumar Sarker, chief representative of Doha Bank Bangladesh representative office, passed the closing remarks of the event chaired by Bangladesh Forum Qatar vice-president Jafar Ali Al-Saraf.

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