Experts at a seminar on Saturday stressed the need for more engagement of the private sector to attain the goals of Bangladesh Delta Plan 2100.
They came up with such opinion at a seminar on "Bangladesh Delta Plan 2100: Private Sector Involvement to achieve a Safe, Climate-Resilient and Prosperous Delta" organized by the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) in the capital Saturday.
State Minister for Planning Dr. Shamsul Alam while speaking as the chief guest said that the revenue structure should be development oriented rather than income oriented, said a press release.
Therefore, he called for a review of the import duty on dredgers. The government has only 30 dredgers, but more than 200 dredgers are needed for this work. Therefore, the entire dredging work should be left to the private sector, he opined.
Senior Secretary of the Ministry of Water Resources Kabir Bin Anwar while speaking as special guest stressed on good governance in Delta Plan implementation.
Md. Sayedul Islam, Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture urged the private sector to come forward in agriculture to build a self-sufficient agriculture.
Environment, Forest and Climate Change Ministry's Secretary Dr. Farhina Ahmed said that $230 billion private investment is needed to implement Delta Plan; therefore, more involvement of Private sector is a must.
Emeritus Professor of BRAC University Dr. Ainun Nishat opined that Private sector engagement can reclaim a large area of land. He also suggested for revising the Delta Plan in every five years.
FBCCI panel advisor and Founder Director of Channel i Shykh Seraj said that research activities are lesser considering climate change impacts.
FBCCI President Md. Jashim Uddin in his welcome speech called for direct involvement of the private sector in effective implementation of Delta Plan.
He said that the Delta Plan 2100 implementation will require the financing worth 2.5 percent of GDP per year, of which 20 percent is planned to come from the private sector.
Private sector engagement will boost up the pace and quality of river management, water supply in urban and rural areas, waste management, flood control and drainage management.
Mentioning the use of waterways and river navigation, the FBCCI President said potentials of waterways should be harnessed. "To do so, naval routes inside Dhaka and its districts and nearest areas should be introduced. Thus, achieving a safe and environment resilient Delta will be easier."
Jashim said dredgers and other heavy machinery used in the implementation of the projects undertaken to achieve the Delta goals are heavily import dependents.
Therefore, he urged the government to keep the tariff rate of these products at a reasonable level. He informed that the total duty on dredgers is 31 percent currently, which was earlier 1 percent.
The FBCCI president demanded to take back the duty structure to 1 per cent.
The keynote, presented by the former Additional Director General of Bangladesh Water Development Board Dr. Md. Mizanur Rahman, revealed that the scope for engaging private entrepreneurs with the Delta Plan is yet to be tapped.
"They have a huge potential of investing in dredging, land reclamation, ship building, inland waterways, water supply and sanitation, agriculture and irrigation, flood control and drainage. Private sector involvement will ease the financing needed to achieve the goals of Delta Plan 2100," he noted.
Assistant Professor of Dhaka University Aroni Barkat sought compensation from the carbon emitted countries whose activities put Bangladesh at the risk of climate change.
FBCCI Vice President Md. Amin Helaly urged the government to produce union and village centric development master plan.
Director Md. Naser called for the inclusion of FBCCI President in Delta Governance Council.
FBCCI senior vice president Mostofa Azad Chowdhury Babu, vice president Salahuddin Alamgir, Md. Habib Ullah Dawn, Directors, Chairmen of different standing committees and FBCCI secretary general Mohammad Mahfuzul Hoque were also present at the seminar.