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BD attracts $21.17b investment proposals during COVID pandemic

Staff Correspondent:

Bangladesh has attracted more than US$21.17 billion worth of investment proposals in the last two years since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in January 2020, according to statistics released by the various investment promotion agencies of Bangladesh.
Bangladesh has received $2.5 billion Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in 2020-2021 financial year while the country received $2.37 billion FDI in 2019-2020, according to Bangladesh Bank.
These investment proposals were received by the four government-run investment promotion agencies (IPAs) despite multiple lock-downs due to repeated COVID-19 waves those reflects the growing investor appetite for investment into the Bangladesh economy.
Of these, Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA), the apex investment promotion agency of Bangladesh, has recorded $14.77 billion investment proposals since the beginning of the pandemic.
Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (BEZA) has attracted $5 billion while Bangladesh Export Processing Zones Authority (BEPZA) has attracted $1.35 billion worth of investment proposals.
BIDA attracted $7.12 billion investment in 2020, of which $4.85 billion worth of proposals came from local Bangladeshi investors while foreign investors and joint venture proposals were worth $2.26 billion.
In 2021 (up to 20th December), the total amount of investment proposals reached $7.65 billion including $6.85 billion local investment and $806.27 million worth of foreign/joint venture proposals, according to BIDA statistics.
“These are extra-ordinary successes of our collective efforts to attract investment into Bangladesh – a land of opportunities – and comes as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of our independence,” said Mohammad Sirazul Islam, Executive Chairman of BIDA.
“We have achieved this in an unprecedented and challenging time when COVID-19 pandemic has reversed economic gains in most parts of the world,” he added.
He mentioned that this is the result of the dynamic leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, whose government has provided political, economic and social stability – the pre-requisite for attracting foreign investment.
This also reflects growing investor interest among foreign and local investors to invest in Bangladesh where economic growth will accelerate to one of the highest in the world, he added.
Islam, who is leading a delegation of Bangladeshi entrepreneurs to Dubai Expo 2020, said, Bangladesh remains a very attractive investment destination to foreign investors – even during these challenging times.
“With the increasing buying power of the growing middle class in Bangladesh, investors can bank on the 166 million potential consumers that provide the greatest opportunities and higher return on investment,” he mentioned.
He said the share of the middle class in total population is likely to reach 25 percent by 2025 and 33 percent by 2030 that will create more than 62 million affluent consumers in the country.
BIDA has integrated its investment services into a single-window facility that offers 56 e-payment enabled investor services of 18 government agencies through BIDA’s One Stop-Service (OSS) platform. This is aimed at offering a hassle-free and seamless service to investors in setting up their businesses and industries and the services range from securing government approvals, land acquisition, power and utility connections, etc.
According to a latest report by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Bangladesh’s gross domestic product (GDP) will accelerate to more than 6.6 percent in this financial year ending June 30, 2022.
Rahul Anand, Head of IMF team that assessed Bangladesh Economy last week, said, “Despite being hit by multiple waves of the COVID-19 pandemic, quick and decisive actions by the authorities, supported by the external environment, led to a much quicker rebound than Bangladesh’s regional peers. Growth is expected to pick up to 6.6 percent in FY22 as the impact of COVID-19 abates and policies remain accommodative.”
The Bangladesh Export Processing Zones Authority (BEPA) plans to set up 539 industrial plots on 1,150 acres of land at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Shilpa Nagar in Mirsharai, Chattogram.
It has already prepared 140 plots for factories to be set up there.
Meanwhile, 78 companies from home and abroad have applied for more than 250 plots. Of them, Japan alone has sought 50 plots. The companies together have proposed to invest over $1.35 billion in the ninth economic zone set up by BEPZA.
Major General AKM Ziaur Rahman, Executive Chairman of BEPZA, said, “We are developing three more export processing zones and one economic zone in addition to the existing eight EPZs, where investors can receive one-stop services for all their investment needs.”
“Bangladesh offers the most cost-effective investment solution including lower investment requirement, cost-effective human resources, an investment-friendly regime and higher return on investment,” he added.
He urged UAE investors to invest in Bangladesh economy and benefit from a high-growth market economy.

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