Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen has said that rapid sustainable repatriation is the only solution for Rohingyas. Momen said this when the UN special envoy for Myanmar Noeleen Heyzer paid a courtesy call on him at his office on Wednesday. Both of them discussed ways for a fruitful solution for the displaced Rohingyas. The foreign minister informed the envoy that Bangladesh has given shelter to the 1.2 million Rohingyas considering humanity. But their long presence is creating various instabilities in the country including the socio-economic situation. He feared that delay in Rohingya repatriation can create disappointment among the Rohingya people and then they could be a threat to the security of this region. In response, Heyzer thanked Bangladesh for giving shelter to the Rohingyas. Read: Dhaka to reach out to global leaders at UNGA with Rohingya issue She expressed her firm commitment that she will work for Rohingya repatriation with the UN, the ASEAN and neighbouring countries. Heyzer, however, said the role of Myanmar’s government is very important in this case. Earlier on Tuesday, Heyzer visited the Rohingya refugee camp in Cox's Bazar. She arrived in Dhaka Monday on a four-day visit.
Prime Minister's Private Industry and Investment Affairs Adviser Salman F Rahman on Tuesday said like Accord and Alliance in the RMG sector, a body would be formed for the domestic industries to ensure that they strictly follow compliance standards while the government would extend long-term financing and loans for becoming compliant. He also said that the factories of those industries which fail to be complaint would not be able to sell their products in the domestic market in future. Salman said these at a webinar tilted ‘Reviving the Leather Sector in the Aftermath of COVID-19’ as the chief guest jointly organized by the Economic Reporters’ Forum (ERF), Research Policy Integration for Development (RAPID) and The Asia Foundation (TAF) held through Zoom platform. Speakers at the webinar stressed the need for ensuring compliance in the local industries, especially in the leather sector, to become more competitive. They also stressed the need for forming a task force to look at the recommendations from different stakeholders and work on the betterment of the leather sector as well as improving rawhide management in an integrated way. They also advocated for modernizing and making more functional the Central Effluent Treatment Plant (CETP) in the Savar Leather Village through addressing its loopholes, improving solid waste management, addressing the environmental and labour rights issues in this sector and thus manufacturing quality products and providing the same facilities to all other sectors that the RMG sector is now enjoying. Former Advisor to the Caretaker Government Syed Manzur Elahi joined the session as the guest of honor. Commerce Secretary Tapan Kanti Ghosh, Chairman, BFLLFEA Mohiuddin Ahmed Mahin and Chairman, BTA Md Shaheen Ahamed joined it as the special guests. Professor & Director, ILET, DU Dr. M Mizanur Rahman, Managing Director, DTIEWTPCL (TIED) Brig. Gen. M Zahid Hasan and The President, Tannery Workers’ Union Abul Kalam Azad attended the webinar as panel discussants. Managing Director of Apex Footwear LtdSyed Nasim Manzur, Chairman of RAPID Dr. Mohammad Abdur Razzaque and its Executive Director Dr. Abu Eusuf jointly presented the keynote paper. Country Representative, The Asia Foundation Kazi Faisal Bin Seraj delivered the welcome remarks. ERF President Sharmeen Rinvy chaired the event while ERF General Secretary S M Rashidul Islam moderated the event.
Speakers for tapping potential for FDI in agro processing, light engineering, blue economy, education sectors
Speakers at a webinar on Saturday stressed the need for reforming the taxation system alongside tapping the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) potentials in a wide range of sectors like agro processing, light engineering, non-cotton apparel, home textile, blue economy and education in Bangladesh to ensure export diversification and smooth LDC graduation. They also suggested extending the scope for whitening undisclosed money in the health infrastructure, economic zones, and in other infrastructure sectors alongside the existing sectors to create more employment opportunities. The participants also opined that all the concerned stakeholders need to extend their all-out cooperation to the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) to attract more FDI in the country. The webinar was organized as part of the Economic Reporters Forum (ERF) Webinar Series in partnership with the Asia Foundation and Research and Policy Integration for Development (RAPID). As the chief guest, Planning Minister MA Mannan spoke at the Webinar titled-“FDI for Export Diversification and Smooth LDC Graduation” while ERF Vice President Shafiqul Alam was chair. Chairman of RAPID and Director of Policy Research Institute (PRI) Dr Mohammad Abdur Razzaque made the key-note presentation and ERF general secretary SM Rashidul Islam moderated the function. MA Mannan said it is a fact that the country does not receive that level of FDI that it needs. “In this regard, all the concerned agencies need to accomplish their tasks in due time to attract more FDI,” he also said, suggesting overcoming the “cultural context” and thus move forward together with modern attitude. Also read: BIDA, BBF join hands to boost FDI BIDA Executive Chairman Md Sirazul Islam said BIDA needs to be empowered fully as it still needs to depend on others to facilitate the private sector. Noting that there is no lacking from BIDA to create enabling environment for attracting more FDI, he added that the Authority has made effective the One Stop Service (OSS) platform to ensure transparent and hassle free service delivery. Sirazul informed that some 47 services have so far been brought under online while the services of some 16 organizations including BIDA have already come under OSS platform. Listing various steps of the BIDA to further ease the doing business index, he informed that separate courts would be lunched in Dhaka and Chattogram to speedily resolve the commercial disputes. “We'll definitely try our best to face the challenges emerging before us. But for that the public and the private sector need to work together,” he said adding that the door of BIDA would always remain open for the private sector. Sirazul also opined that if the local Investment could be promoted further, there would be more FDI inflow. He suggested for providing COVID-19 vaccination facility to the legally employed foreigners in Bangladesh to show that Bangladesh values all lives equally and also to send a good signal to the outside world. Also read: FICCI roundtable upholds importance of FDI to Vision 2041 President of Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) Barrister Nihad Kabir said the now defunct Board of Investment (BOI) was earlier regarded as the “Dead Stop Service” or ‘Full Stop Service’, but now BIDA has somehow managed to overcome that bad name, but still there is a lot to do. Expressing her resentment over the treatment of the businessmen in the country, Nihad said if the businessmen are not treated with respect in the country, then the foreign investors would not come to a big extent. She said although Bangladesh has an extremely courageous leader to run the country, but others are not moving ahead with the same pace that the Prime Minister has. Nihad also suggested for targeting the potential sectors, adopting a coherent policy strategy by BIDA, signing more Preferential Trade Agreements with potential countries, and thus extending all-out support to BIDA to attract more FDI. The President of Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) Rizwan Rahman underscored the need for reforming the tax rate as it is still high compared to the global and Asian average. He also suggested extending the provision for whitening undisclosed money in the health infrastructure, tourism and in economic zones alongside the real estate and capital market, otherwise there would be bubbles in the economy. Rizwan said that there is much more scope for attracting more FDI in the Blue Economy and education sectors of the country. He said that if the non-RMG sectors could be nurtured properly apart from the RMG sector, then the country would be able to realize billions of dollars of export earnings. Also read: Bangladesh seeks increased FDI in economic zones Citing an example that the Bangladeshi exports earn $1,089 by exporting 1000KGs of tea shirts, whereas the Vietnamese exporters earn $2,157 by exporting the same volume, Syed Nasim Manzur, Managing Director of Apex Footwear Ltd, said “bargaining power’ makes the difference here which needs to be addressed. He said it is the high time to recapture the Japanese Investment from Myanmar to Bangladesh adding, “This is the chance we must not lose,” About the taxation system, the country's leading entrepreneur in the footwear sector alleged that taxation system in the country is totally taxpayer unfriendly adding that new entrepreneurs would not come while the existing businesses would not flourish unless the taxation system is reformed. He also suggested ensuring duty free and quota free access in markets like Japan, EU, India and China by not looking forward only to the market of USA. Manzur cited huge FDI and Investment potentials in the country's agro processed food, light engineering, non-cotton apparel and home textile sectors for which there is a need for necessary tax reforms. In his key-note address, Dr Abdur Razzaque said the tax-GDP ratio needs to be revamped in Bangladesh while FDI can create modern job opportunities and bring in new technology and management practices for Bangladesh. Mentioning that public health expenditure is one of the lowest in Bangladesh, he said this budget needs to be increased while more investment is needed in the education sector. Mentioning that countries like Vietnam and Indonesia are greatly benefitting from FDI, Razzaque said their good practices can be applied in Bangladesh. Executive Director of RAPID and Dhaka University Professor of Development Studies Dr M Abu Yusuf and Country Representative of the Asia Foundation Kazi Faisal Bin Seraj gave the welcome addresses.
Bangladesh should create more job opportunities for women abroad to increase their employment opportunities, speakers at a webinar said Thursday.
Commerce minister Tipu Munshi on Thursday hoped that the economy of the country will bounce back at the end of the year as some export products see good demand in the global market amid the COVID-19 pandemic.