Seminar on “Bi-annual economic state and future outlook of Bangladesh economy: private sector perspective

Long term growth target of achieving a trillion dollar Smart economy requires concerted efforts to reduce cost of doing business, improved ease of doing business, improved regulatory efficiency, install appropriate infrastructure, ensure energy security, improve logistics and finally ensure access to finance for the private sector, told Ashraf Ahmed, President, Dhaka Chamber of Commerce & Industry (DCCI) at a seminar on “Bi-annual economic state and future outlook of Bangladesh economy: private sector perspective” organized by DCCI held on 18 February, 2024.

DCCI President Ashraf Ahmed presented the keynote paper in the seminar. He also highlighted that we need to put emphasis on product as well as market diversification. He also termed that private sector investment is targeted in FY2024 at 27.4% of GDP while it was 21.8% in FY2023. Required policies considering the LDC graduation will expedite the private sector investment, he added. To facilitate private sector more he requested lower corporate tax, complete automation of taxation system, increasing tax net, reform of SD and Vat act. As NPL has an impact on increasing some intermediary costs for the private sector, that is why, he suggested to reduce NPL. Reducing cost of doing business, uninterrupted energy supply at an affordable price, logistic sector development will help private sector for re-investment, he added. Regarding sudden withdrawal of incentive for the RMG makers, he said that if the entrepreneurs had favoured guidelines, they could have been planning accordingly. Later he said that CMSME sector needs not only access to finance but also access to technology to grow.

Chief Guest of the seminar Dr. Mashiur Rahman, Economic Affairs Adviser to the Prime Minister said that our economy has experienced fundamental changes during the last decade. During this period private sector has also flourished remarkably. He also said policies should be formed considering the problems and prospects of private sector. Consistent policies will expedite private sector investment as well as foster FDI, he added. He also stressed on export diversification and value addition to export products. The Adviser termed pharmaceutical and light engineering sectors as most potential sectors for Bangladesh. He later said that we have to functionalize the API Park as soon as possible. He also agreed that reforms are needed in the taxation system as still there are some problems and challenges. We should also tap the benefit the huge potentials of blue economy.

Chief Economist of Bangladesh Bank Dr. Md. Habibur Rahman said that due to global geo-political instability, price of essentials have increased and Central Bank has already taken necessary measures to tackle the situation. He informed that Bangladesh Bank will introduce Crawling Peg system to keep exchange rate under control. He also said that Central Bank has underscored a roadmap to bring NPL in the industrial sector down to 8% within next 2 years. Bangladesh Bank will maintain contractionary monetary policy until the inflation comes down point to point 6%.

DCCI former President Shams Mahmud said that for a sustainable future of RMG sector we will have to have proactive policies. He also said that for boosting more private sector investment in the country the government has to ensure energy at an affordable price and ensure uninterrupted gas supply to the industries. He later said that after LDC graduation, we must look into expediting our local import substitute industries to be self-sufficient. He also proposed for rationalized taxation system and continued special support for the CMSMEs.

Dr. Ashikur Rahman, Senior Economist, PRI said macroeconomic instability is not good for private sector. NPL always have a negative impact on businesses, so it is time to take serious decision against NPL, he said. He also said that our tax-GDP ratio is not up to the expected level while it is hovering around 10%. He also stressed on skill development and reforms of financial sector.

Dr. Mohammad Yunus, Research Director, PRI said sometimes extortion at the retail market becomes one of the main reasons behind raising inflation. He also said that there should be a better coordination among the BEZA, BEPZA and Economic Zones Authority to attract FDI. He said BSCIC’s industrial plots should be utilized as cluster basis.

Published on: 2024-02-18

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