B’desh hopes to net $10.5b FDI

Dhaka, August 9 :

Bangladesh hopes to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) to the tune of $10.5 billion in the next five years, says the executive chairman of its Board of Investment, Mahmudur Rahman.

“Big investors especially from the Middle East are coming to Bangladesh with a view to investing here,” he said while addressing members of the Economic Reporters Forum (ERF). Rahman said big business groups were continuing their negotiations with the government for investment in different sectors of Bangladesh, the Daily Star reported.

About the FDI prospects, he said Dhabi Group will invest $1 billion, India’s Tata Group $3 billion, Asia Energy $1.5 billion, South Korea-based Luxon Group $1 billion, Saudi-based Kingdom Group $500 million and Pakistan-based Dawood Group $300 million.

Rahman, who heads the official group that evaluates foreign investment offers, reiterated that the investment deal with the India’s Tata Group would be signed during the tenure of the next government. Bangla-desh last month conveyed to Tata that it was ‘suspending’ the proposal in view of the volatile political situation, this being the ‘election year’. Tata has since said it would ‘wait and watch’.

Dhaka’s decision in this regard has been criticised by foreign financial institutions, including Asian Development Bank (ADB). Hua Du of ADB said, “People expect political leadership to take crucial economic decisions”.

Rahman noted that while Bangladesh received a total of $878 million FDI during the 1972-2000 period, $1,705 million was received in the last five years (2001-2006).

The Board of Investment (BoI) chief claimed that the country had a sustainable growth in the manufacturing sector. The contribution of the manufacturing sector to the gross domestic product (GDP) is the highest, pushing behind the agriculture sector, whose share came down to 16.91 per cent. Citing UNCTAD ratings, Rahman said Bangladesh was ninth among the least developed countries in respect of FDI inflow, with a 150 per cent growth in the foreign investment in 2004.