Bangladesh offers its large domestic markets, strategic location, high profitability, demographic dividend and attractive incentive policies and consistent reforms for better business climate that rendered the country as one of the best investment destinations in the world. Inspired by the vision of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the government led by the Honorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has built a solid foundation to support the growth of economic activities in Bangladesh. Under her strong leadership, Bangladesh is poised to diversify its economy and emerge as a developed country by 2041. Asian Development Bank has estimated Bangladesh's GDP growth by 5.2% in 2020 even amidst global pandemic and 6.8% in 2021. Bangladesh is also the world's 29th largest economy by purchasing power.
Bangladesh offers the most liberal FDI regime in South Asia, allowing 100% foreign equity ownership with unrestricted exit policy. Almost all the sectors are open for foreign investment without any quantitative restrictions. The country offers generous tax holiday, reduced tax rate for specific sectors, bond facility, export incentives, and other fiscal incentives. The country offers the most generous incentive Packages in the South Asian region which include the followings:
Corporate Tax Holiday from 5 to 10 years in certain areas and sectors
Accelerated Depreciation on cost of machinery for new industries in lieu of tax holiday
Bonded warehousing facility for export-oriented industries
Domestic market sales up to 20% allowed to export-oriented companies outside EPZ
Cash incentives and export subsidies granted on the FOB values ranging from 5% to 20% on selected products
Tariff concessions on import of raw materials of the export-oriented industries
Duty free market access to EU & most developed countries
100% foreign equity is allowed
Full repatriation of dividends and capital is allowed
Tax exemption of remittance of royalty, technical know-how and
Accordingly, in such circumstances, Bangladesh has created within itself an unparalleled investment climate in recent years compared to other South Asian economies. A good investment climate is of fundamental importance for the private sector to be able to contribute to the global sustainable development agenda in the support of the following facilities prevailing for the investors.
The Foreign Private Investment (Promotion and Protection) Act 1980 ensures full protection to foreign investors.
The geographic location of the country is ideal for global trade with Strategic Location, Regional Connectivity and Worldwide Access.
The One-Stop Service (OSS) puts all investment facilitation mechanisms under a single window
Highly adaptive and industrious workforce with the competitive wages and salaries are available in Bangladesh. About 57.3% of the population is under 25, providing a youthful group for engagement to meet global standards.
No restrictions on issuance of work permits to project related foreign nationals and employees.
Bangladesh is endowed with abundant supply of natural gas; water and its soil is very fertile.
Bilateral investment treaties with 33 countries for promotion and protection of investment:
Avoidance of Double Taxation Treaty (DTT) with 28 countries
Bangladesh has also signed multilateral and regional treaties such as MIGA, ICSID, WIPO, WAIPA, OPIC, APTA, BIMSTEC, IORA, SAPTA, SAFTA, SAFAS, COMCEC, TPS-OIC.
In addition, Bangladesh has signed trade agreements with 45 countries for trade facilities among the countries.
It is observed that Bangladesh offers significant competitive cost in case of skilled labour, industrial estate rent, low-cost energy, in terms of doing business, which is more than the other major countries like China, Bangkok, Vietnam, Indonesia and India. A steady macroeconomic environment, resilient domestic market, and export-oriented industry-led growth have positioned Bangladesh among the fastest growing economies of the world. Being the prime contact point for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Bangladesh, the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) welcomes private sector investors to visit Bangladesh to see, explore, and be acquainted with the investment opportunities.
The writer is Law Officer, Bangladesh Investment Development Authority under Prime Minister's office.