Bangladesh has attracted record breaking foreign direct investment (FDI) in 2018.
According to the Bangladesh Bank, a total of $3.6133 billion in foreign investment was recorded in 2018 while the amount was $2.15 billion in 2017. That means the FDI was heighted by 68 per cent in one year.
Bangladesh Investment Development Authority says this is the highest amount of foreign investment since the independence of the country.
The FDI trends between 2009 and 2016 shows projects were increased by 23 per cent while the investment was raised by 389 per cent. But the alarming thing is that employment proposals in investment were reduced by 17 per cent in the same period of time.
Experts on the issue said employment is not increasing at the same pace as the number of projects due to technological development. Skilled manpower is not available against the job offers.
The education system does not meet the demands of the country's job market, they added.
BIDA executive chairman Kazi M Aminul Islam said the entrepreneurs want to produce quality product at lower costs. That’s why they are using new technology. There are a lot of job offers in the market, but a scarcity of skilled manpower.”
“Now, we should emphasise on generating skilled manpower.”
This is for the first time the foreign direct investment in the country has crossed Tk 3 billion. The investment of the 2018 ($3.6133 billion) increased by $1.46 billion than of 2017 ($2.15 billion).
The FDI was much lower in the past years than the other countries. As per the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development’s global investment report 2018, the FDI was $4.3 billion in Myanmar, $3.60 billion in Ethiopia, even $2.80 billion in Cambodia in the year of 2017. But, at the same time, the amount of foreign investment in Bangladesh was $2.15 billion.
The BIDA executive chairman, Kazi M Aminul Islam, on Thursday told the media that the highest amount of FDI came from China in 2018.
"The investors had no clear perception about Bangladesh and its economy. Efforts are on in this regard. The multnational companies are doing well in the country. BIDA is working to ease the business," he told Prothom Alo earlier.
Meanwhile, he added, Japan Tobacco International acquired Akij Group's tobacco business last year.
The BIDA EC also said 2018's investment was basically registered in 2016 and 2017. A lot of foreign investment has been recorded in the last two years. The real investment will rise in the future.
Bangladesh Bank's data shows in 2018, $1.1241 billion out of $3.6133 billion as capital investment while $1.31 billion as reinvestment of profit and $1.18 billion as intra-company debt.
*This report, originally published in Prothom Alo print edition, has been rewritten in English by Toriqul Islam