Planning for local investment buoyant | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, December 06, 2008 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, December 06, 2008

Editorial

Planning for local investment buoyant

The challenge is to translate this into reality

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THE figures for local investment proposals in the first ten months of the current calendar year showed an upward trend, according to statistics released by the Board of Investment (BoI). Even though all the schemes submitted before the BoI would not likely hit the ground; yet, the forward looking intent to industrialise through local capital somehow stands out. Indeed, it's a healthy departure from the cold feet local enterprise got for a good length of time since the anti-corruption-cum-accountability drive was launched by the interim caretaker government on assumption of power.
Also, this reflects the strength of local enterprise in the way it has felt undeterred by any perceived knock-on effect of the global financial meltdown on our export prospects, which admittedly though, would take time to sink in. In any case, the first few months since the onset of recession in the West has seen no dearth of investment proposals as reflected by the overall figures of the first ten months.
Significantly, most of the proposed projects are concentrated in the textile and apparel-based sectors but with a positive bias towards backward and forward linkages. This is indicative of Bangladesh receiving 'more response from international buyers to outsource clothing'. The more backward linkages we have to garment manufacturing, the more competitive our exporters become with a greater local value addition.
Even so, the concentration of industries in one or two sectors only could mean putting the eggs in one basket which might not prove prudential in the light of the still unpredictable impact of the world financial meltdown on our economy. So, local entrepreneurs should move into newer areas of investment to expand the export base. Three sectors that immediately come to mind are information technology, agro-processing and handicraft.
BoI chief has cited formation of Better Business Forum and Regulatory Reforms Commission and trade facilitation at customs and port points as having brought the country's business back on track. While agreeing with him, we would like to add that business confidence has been long in coming back and, this has to be consolidated and strengthened from here on by the elected government.
The biggest challenge is nagging energy and power crisis that must be overcome if we are to provide impetus to the industrialisation process.

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