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$320b needed in infrastructure to be world’s 30th economy

5Staff Correspondent:  Bangladesh needs US$ 320 billion investment only in infrastructure if it wants to become the world’s 30th largest economy by 2030, said a leading chamber president yesterday. “Bangladesh has achieved 7 percent growth. Now, we have to increase our pace to attain 8 percent. By the year of 2030, we need 10 percent GDP growth,” said President of Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) Abul Kasem Khan. Addressing a roundtable discussion on ‘Road to 2030: Strategic Priorities’ at the DCCI auditorium, he said it is essential to make the PPP functional and Bangladesh needs foreign direct investment (FDI) with quality investment in infrastructure.
The DCCI and Economic Reporters’ Forum (ERF) jointly organised the event. State Minister for Finance and Planning MA Mannan was present as the chief guest.
Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (BEZA) Executive Chairman Paban Chowdhury, distinguished Fellow of Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) Prof Mustafizur Rahman, former DCCI President Asif Ibrahim, Editor of The Financial Express Moazzem Hossain and General Secretary of ERF Ziaur Rahman were present as panel discussants.Mannan said Bangladesh is on the right path of development and the government is firmly committed to accelerate industrialisation.
In the South Asian region, Bangladesh has better opportunities to grow and if all work together Bangladesh will be the 30th largest economy by 2030.
Paban Chowdhury said the government has taken an initiative to establish 100 economic zones in the country.
He said the BEZA has taken a move to establish a Land Bank of 100,000 acres of land for economic zones.
DCCI President made a PowerPoint presentation and mentioned some challenges like energy crisis, land crisis, lack of infrastructure, higher tax rate, shortage of skilled manpower for economy which needs to be addressed.
Abul Kasem underscored the need for a coal policy soon and called for utilising own extracted coal to be more competitive. “We need to take some actions ahead of 2030 like decentralisation of Dhaka, policy reforms, tax policy, reducing cost of doing business, more gas exploration, reducing cost of energy and skill development.”
Prof Mustafizur Rahman said the cost of doing business is increasing day by day.
He said, “We have to be engaged with BCIM economic corridor, BBIN motor vehicle agreement and Asian highway for this regional integration.”
Former DCCI President Asif Ibrahim said Bangladesh needs investment in every sector which is true but in line with that Bangladesh needs an investment-friendly environment.
Editor of The Financial Express Moazzem Hossain said investment is now one of the main challenges for Bangladesh. “The government is the facilitator of private sector and it should create the enabling environment for investment,” he said.
ERF President Saif Islam Dilal said Bangladesh needs to turn its human resources into human capital, stressing the need for coordinated efforts to bring changes in the economy and infrastructure development.

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