Indian conglomerate Adani Group is interested in investing $8 billion in Bangladesh's energy sector, Abdul Matlub Ahmad, president of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry, said yesterday.
Adani has already conveyed its plans for Bangladesh on different occasions over the last one year, and in the next 15 days will come with a formal proposal to the Board of Investment, he said.
Initially, the Indian conglomerate will invest $5 billion, Ahmad said at a view exchange meeting with journalists at the FBCCI headquarters in Dhaka.
The company plans to establish a gas pipeline from the Indian state of Orissa to Bangladesh, set up a liquefied natural gas-based power plant and invest in building the Payra deep-sea port in Patuakhali.
However, Ahmad, who is also a former president of the India-Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry, did not elaborate on when and how the power plant and deep-sea port will be set up.
Ahmad said another Indian industrial conglomerate, Reliance Group, is also coming to Bangladesh with an investment proposal of $3.5 billion.
The company intends to ship Rs 8,000 crore worth of equipment it had purchased for its stranded, gas-starved 2,250MW power plant in Andhra Pradesh and add more capacity to set up a 3,000MW plant here, according to Economic Times of India.
The Anil Ambani-led group has been lobbying hard with the government over the past one year to get the green light on this relocation.
“Bangladesh could hardly attract such big investment proposals before. If these two big Indian companies come, others will follow suit,” Ahmad said.
However, the country needs political stability, lower land prices, single digit interest rate and improved infrastructure to attract both domestic and foreign direct investment.
Ahmad, who is the chairman of Nitol-Niloy Group, is against the deployment of Rab personnel by the National Board of Revenue to realise value-added taxes.
“Deploying any third force for realising VAT is very illogical. Such steps by the government will create unnecessary panic among the businesses. Finally, peace will be hampered and the expected investment will not come.”
He urged the government to stop the harassment of businesses, as they willingly pay the indirect tax.
The government should create an environment of confidence in the business community by removing all kinds of harassment and bureaucratic tangles, he said.
Ahmad said once people did not want to invest in West Bengal of India for lengthy procedures.
The state now issues business certificates in just a day. “So, we should also introduce such quick execution of investment proposals.”
Regarding the piling up of the non-performing loans in the banking system, Ahmad said: “This is a very big challenge for the country's overall economic growth as some bad businessmen are not repaying their loans.”
At present, total NPL stands at Tk 60,000 crore.
On money laundering and NPL, Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin, vice-president of the FBCCI, said a few bad businessmen have looted the bank money.
“We want the government to strictly apply the laws against these borrowers and the money launderers.”
He also suggested the government lower the domestic prices of petroleum products in line with the world market.
If the oil prices are lowered, investors would be encouraged to put in more money as their cost of running the businesses will decline significantly.
Mohiuddin called for quick implementation of the 100 special economic zones: the country will be able to log in export receipts of $60 billion by the end of 2021 if the zones go into operations as soon as possible.