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Poor FDI blamed on weak infrastructure, instability

Bangladesh has failed to attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) at a satisfactory level due to the absence of congenial political atmosphere and infrastructure, experts said.The barriers for the FDI also include high taxation, bureaucratic tangles, lack of easy access to port, non-availability of energy and indifferent attitude in different sectors.

BOI sources said so far telecom, exploration, energy, power, garments and textiles have attracted the FDI.

The recently published World FDI Report 2012 has shown that the FDI of Bangladesh decreased below one billion US dollar and its position stood in level of Nepal, Bhutan and Afghanistan. In the same time India attracted over $10 billion while Pakistan attracted $ 9.9 billion.

According to the BOI, Bangladesh’s FDI crossed $1.0 billion for the first time during 2011 due the collective efforts of the government, BOI and the country’s missions abroad.

The sources said in recent years, FDI has come only in telecommunication, energy and power sectors which need not require enough infrastructure development.

Meanwhile, many foreigners have visited the country and primarily registered within the BOI for investment, but finally they became shy to invest in Bangladesh, said professor Abu Ahmed of Dhaka University.

Despite advantage of cheaper wages and availability of labour, the country can not cross FDI one billion US dollar due to lack of skilled negotiation with the foreign investors, he said.

Investors from Japan have chosen Myanmar to build an industrial park there aiming to invest $10 billion in the next five years, a member of BOI told The New Nation on Tuesday.

The Japan’s delegation visited Bangladesh but they could not be satisfied during talking with the high officials of different ministries, he pointed out.

BOI Executive Chairman Dr SA Samad said despite having huge prospect for attracting FDI, its inflow has slowed down due to negative attitude towards foreign investment, bureaucratic tangles and lack of infrastructure and efficient supports of energy.

Quoting Unctad report on FDI, he said, Bangladesh could still attract a good volume of foreign investment.

A lot of investment still could be made in oil and gas exploration as this sector has failed to draw a large number of investors, he said.

The BOI chairman said, Bangladesh is offering attractive incentives to cent percent foreign ownership investment, which is not available in many countries of the world. Even in India, cent percent foreign investment is not allowed, he pointed out.

Foreign Investors’ Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Syed Ershad Ahmed said foreign investment in Bangladesh faces a serious hurdle as there is a bureaucratic tangles, lack of easy access to port and non-availability of energy.

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