FDI rebounds

Net foreign direct investment (FDI) has significantly increased last year due to time-befitting initiatives undertaken by the government. Experts opined a strong FDI inflow has contributed greatly to constant increase in foreign reserve, job opportunities and labour skills in recent times to keep up the current pace of economic development. In 2018, net FDI jumped to $3.61 billion, up by more than 67 per cent from $2.15 billion in 2017.

Although the FDI inflow declined in 2017, it has increased 219.47 per cent to $3.61 billion in the last 8 years. However, the inflow was $1.13 billion in 2011, $1.29 billion in 2012, $1.59 billion in 2013, $1.58 billion in 2014, $1.23 billion in 2015 and $2.33 billion in 2016. Adel Haque, former joint director of Bangladesh Bank, told Bangladesh Post that the FDI inflow increased over the period as the government has created an investment-friendly environment and skilled workforce for different sectors.

The country currently has no problem regarding electricity and gas supply, he said, adding that Bangladesh is now the best place to invest in. Economists said as FDI plays a crucial role for the economic development, special attention is needed to ensure better business facilities alongside market diversification to attract more investors. “Although FDI has been increasing over the years, which is good news for us, it is yet to reach a satisfactory level,” they said.

Business-friendly environment, taxation reforms and long-term policy are imperative to attract more FDI, economists said, suggesting that the government should address investors’ grievances and coordinate with other stakeholders. Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) Executive Chairman Kazi M Aminul Islam said, “Investment in Bangladesh is profitable as the government is providing all sorts of support to the investors for running their business smoothly.”

He said Bangladesh’s economy is expanding. The government is implementing different mega projects. “We need to work on image development across the world to attract foreign investors to inject more funds in the country,” he added. Eminent economist and former BB governor Salehuddin Ahmed told Bangladesh Post that the foreign direct investment is needed to achieve the sustainable economic growth. 

He said the government must focus on raising better business facilities, especially business friendly environment to attract foreign investments. Ahmed said the government should emphasise to improve in ease of doing business for ensuring business friendly environment.