Abrupt policy changes discourage foreign investors, FICCI warns

Foreign Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Zaved Akhter and its former president Rupali Chowdhury, along with others, attend a post-budget press conference held at a hotel in Dhaka on Monday.
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Business Report :
Sudden changes in government policies and taxes could discourage foreign investors who have invested in Bangladesh based on the commitment of certain facilities, the Foreign Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) warned on Monday.

During a press conference held at a hotel in the capital, Rupali Chowdhury, former president of FICCI, raised concerns over the sudden withdrawal of several benefits for investors in private economic zones in the proposed budget.

She said such abrupt shifts send wrong signals to the investors and would make it difficult to attract and retain foreign investments.

Rupali Chowdhury highlighted the incentives offered by the neighbouring countries to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) and said, “Bangladesh is not the only destination for investment. They [Foreign investors] consider the benefits available in other countries as well.”

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“There were some minimum facilities here [in Bangladesh], but now they too have been withdrawn,” she added.
Shehzad Munim, an advisor of FICCI and former managing director of British American Tobacco Bangladesh Limited, said, “I have invested here on the basis of promised benefits to investors. If there is a sudden policy change, it will be difficult to attract these investors again.”

FICCI President Zaved Akhter stressed the potential negative impact of withdrawing promised benefits to investors in privately established economic zones.

“This will raise questions in investors’ minds regarding the country’s credibility. They may not invest again, and those in the pipeline will also rethink,” he warned.

The press conference, titled “Press Meet on National Budget 2024-25,” was attended by senior leaders of FICCI and top officials from various foreign investment organisations. While the FICCI appreciated some positive initiatives proposed in the budget, the primary focus was on the risks posed by policy instability.

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