Bangladesh needs ample investment to fuel growth: Dr Mashiur Rahman


Prime Minister’s Economic Affairs Adviser Dr Mashiur Rahman on Monday said that Bangladesh needs ample investments to fuel growth.

“Bangladesh is at the juncture of a significant transformation of its economy which needs ample investments to fuel the growth. It also offers opportunity to the investors,” he said.

The Adviser was speaking at a session titled “Bangladesh: Discover Limitless Opportunities and Capital Market: The Rising Tiger” as the chief guest on the closing day of the two-day International Investment Summit 2021 held in a city hotel.

The Adviser also listed the economic development of the country in various sectors.

Dr. Shaikh Shamdsuddin Ahmed, Commissioner, Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission (BSEC), in his keynote speech, said the country’s capital market has been performing very well even in the pandemic and it demonstrates a long-term uptrend since 2000.

He said a diversified range of investment instruments have been introduced here including bonds, alternative investment funds, many mutual funds on top of equity shares of hundreds of companies.

The government offers tax incentives to the capital market investors, while the technology-dependent market infrastructure offers ease to invest in the market from any part of the world.

“These all together opened the avenues for non-resident Bangladeshi and foreign investors to get benefitted from investing in the high-return market”, he added.

Panel Speaker Tarique Amin Bhuiyan, Managing Director, Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE), said the premier bourse of the country has opened its international desk to serve the foreign investors and it is increasing partnerships with market intermediaries across the world to attract investors.

Christina Ongoma, Principal Investment Officer, Upstream Financial Institutions Group Asia, International Finance Corporation (IFC) virtually said his organisation has long been associated with the Bangladesh government and BSEC to support the modernization efforts of the capital market.

She stressed sustainable finance to be well embraced by the market.

Md. Rafiqul Islam, Managing Director & CEO, Green Delta Capital Limited, said that foreign booths of brokerage firms would facilitate inbound portfolio investments while Islamic instruments are the most potential ones.

Proper distribution internationally can help Bangladesh reach or even surpass Malaysia as an Islamic Financing hub in 5 years, he opined.

Maurits Pot, Founder & CIO, Dawn Global Management, UK, said ETF is the fastest growing industry globally and Bangladesh is the only frontier market in the region which is yet to have an ETF.

Foreign investors have been net sellers for the last five years in Bangladesh and he believes the funds would come back here, but in different ways—may be in ETFs, fixed income securities, or mutual funds, instead active investments in specific company shares.

He urged for more quality companies to be listed in the bourses, especially from the digital technology sectors, while the securities market liquidity also needs to be increased to attract foreign investors.

Adeeb H. Khan, Senior Partner, Rahman Rahman Huq, KPMG in Bangladesh, said Bangladesh embraced the international financial reporting standard so well that no other country in the region did.

Citing the progress in financial reporting and auditing here after the formation of the Financial Reporting Council, he said, “International investors should have the confidence on Bangladeshi financial statements.”

Arif Khan, Vice Chairman, Shanta Asset Management Limited said the process of foreign portfolio investors’ entry should be much easier.

He recommended for hassle-free online NITA account opening, e-KYC, and a more supportive role of the custodian banks to the foreign portfolio investors.

Arif is also optimistic that the capital market would grow a lot from its existing base of the GDP-market capitalization ratio of 15 percent.

He stressed for strengthening the institutional investors’ base, especially the mutual fund industry to avert the frequent market volatility amid the retail investors’ dominance.

Asif Ibrahim, Chairman, Chattogram Stock Exchange (CSE) moderated the session.