Deepen business ties with BD

Bangladesh Bank (BB) Governor Dr Atiur Rahman has advised the foreign banks to enhance their business engagement in the growing economy here.

Citing different attractive opportunities for the foreign banks, Dr Rahman, at a programme on Friday, also assured them of providing necessary support and assistance in this connection.

Bangladesh Representative Office of Habib Bank AG Zurich, incorporated in Switzerland in 1967, arranged the annual dinner meeting at a city hotel.

Dr Rahman was the guest speaker at the meeting, attended, among others, by Sibel Sanus, Group Head, GFI, Habib Bank AG Zurich and Md. Nazrul Huda, its country chief representative, as well as senior officials of different banks.

The BB governor made a presentation on “Business and Investment Opportunities in the Bangladesh Economy in Robust Growth Spell”.

In his presentation, Dr Rahman said there are ample scopes for the foreign banks to deepen their engagements here, such as in financing the growing international trade, raising the longer-term external financing in corporate sector and helping develop the domestic bond market.

Being engaged with the government in fund raising abroad and enhancing their domestic presence from representative office to branch office status are also among the opportunities for the foreign banks, he added.

Highlighting the major existing and new facilities for investment, the BB governor also welcomed the domestic and foreign investors to reap full advantage of all these facilities, and bring about a major new upturn in trade and investment relationships.

He also said major areas for foreign investments in manufacturing and service sector include textiles, ceramics and leather, in infrastructure sector gas and electricity generation, toll bridges, shipbuilding, light engineering, hotels and other tourism facilities, tertiary healthcare hospitals, and land-port, seaport and airport facilities.

“World Bank ranked Bangladesh ahead of India, China and Vietnam in protecting investors’ interest,” Mr Rahman said, while citing some key investment prospects in Bangladesh.

“The middle-class consumer group in Bangladesh is larger than the total population of Malaysia or Singapore and the combined population of Sweden, Norway and Denmark.”

“Bangladesh is the second favoured investment destination in South Asia after India according to the World Bank Investment Report 2013, released by UNCTAD,” he added.

Among other opportunities for the investors, he said the foreign enterprises will no longer require permission from the central bank to set up their branch, representative or liaison office in Bangladesh as per the proposed amendment to the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act (FERA), 1947.

“They will need permission only from Board of Investment (BoI),” under the new provisions of FERA, Dr Rahman said.

Bangladesh is open for foreign direct investment (FDI) in all industrial sectors, except four reserve sectors, mentioned in the industrial policy. The public private partnership (PPP) initiative in infrastructure investment offers attractive long-term investment opportunities for foreign investors, the BB governor also said.

The stock market is also fully open to foreign portfolio investment by the non-resident individuals and institutions. Besides, the fully-serviced new industrial parks or SEZs are being developed here to accommodate foreign investors.