After apparels ‘Made in Bangladesh’ took the world by storm, it could now soon be electronic gadgets and cell phones.
After chartering a success story in the ready-made garment (RMG) industry that created four million jobs and boosted exports, Bangladesh, which is now set to move out of the United Nations Least Developed Countries (LDC) list, is shifting gears.
As the country gears up for the next phase of growth with an eye on employment generation the Sheikh Hasina government is laying the red carpert for foreign investors wishing to set up manufacturing facilities in the country
Hit by the pandemic, foreign direct investment (FDI) into the country slowed down by 10.8 per cent in 2020. The country’s total FDI inflow stood at $2.56 billion in 2020 compared to $2.87 billion a year ago, according to Bangladesh Bank data. However, two industry sources India Narrative spoke to said that the government is now “extremely proactive” in assisting companies wishing to set up manufacturing facilities in the country.
“As the world gears up for post Covid phase with altered economic and political considerations, companies and investors are looking for fresh investment destinations. Bangladesh with a proactive government features in the top list,” a senior executive engaged with a multinational company told India Narrative.
A Nikkei Asia report said that international mobile phone brands Nokia, Samsung, Vivo and others are increasingly choosing to set up manufacturing ventures in Bangladesh.
While the report said that this allows companies to escape the South Asian country's high import tariffs and get direct access to its large and growing population, the executive also noted the move helps firms in diversifying the supply chain network in the post Covid world. “The government has been providing all assistance to companies wishing to invest there,” he added.
The Nikkei Asia report also noted that Dhaka has taken steps to attract foreign investment and increase local production and consumption through its "Made in Bangladesh"
programme, nudging phone brands to enter the country by raising tariffs on imported handsets, collecting lower duties on component imports and exempting consumer purchases from the country's value-added tax.
A recent World Bank report said that improving the manufacturing sector’s productivity will be crucial for Bangladesh not only to boost export growth but help in the overall revival of the economy hit by the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The report, ‘Gearing up for the Future of Manufacturing in Bangladesh,’ also said that by strengthening innovation and technology adoption in firms, the manufacturing sector can improve productivity.
“In recent years, job creation in the RMG sector slowed due to automation and the trend will likely accelerate in the post-pandemic world,” said Mercy Tembon, World Bank Country Director for Bangladesh and Bhutan. “This creates the urgent need for Bangladeshi manufacturers to shift gears from competing on low labor-intensive productivity to competing on higher productivity. For this to happen, firms will need to adopt better technologies across business functions and production processes,” Tembon said in a statement.