Investment flow to go up despite hartal: Muhith

Finance Minister AMA Muhith on Thursday hoped that the investment flow into the country would be a bit higher this fiscal despite various difficulties and attempts to create awkward situations.

“So far, the trend in the nine-month period indicates the investment flow will be a bit higher this year,” he said.

The Finance Minister was addressing a seminar, titled “Need for rearranging the tariff structure towards flourishing industrialization” held at city hotel organised by the Board of Investment (BoI).

Chaired by BoI executive chairman Dr SA Samad, PM’s Power and Energy Adviser Dr Towfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury spoke on the occasion as a special guest. Former member of the National Board of Revenue (NBR) Mohammad Shahabuddin presented the keynote paper while BoI executive member Dr Nabhash Chandra Mandol gave the address of welcome.

Mentioning that ill-attempts are being made to create some sort of difficulties in the country, Muhith said, “We’ll resist these through economic measures and try to keep up the growth momentum.”

Referring to the recent countrywide hartals enforced by the opposition, the Finance Minister said, “I want to make it clear that those who want to cause harm to the country won’t succeed in their attempts because, I think, their attempts will be foiled.”

He also hoped that the country’s people, including the business community, would support the government to this end.

Noting that hartal is very unpopular and no one wants to observe it Muhith said, “But, subversive activities are being carried out to establish an idea that hartal is being successful. That’s why to me those called hartals are the leaders of terrorist activities and it’s very much necessary to resist these people.”

The Finance Minister hinted that there might not be such new steps in the budget of the next fiscal year, but rationalisation of tariffs would go on.

Considering the booming market of motor vehicles, Muhith said the government might have a policy for ultimately producing motor vehicles stage by stage, but not overnight.

PM’s Power and Energy Adviser Dr Towfiq-E Elahi said that the present government has been working tirelessly to support infrastructural development through necessary supply of power and gas.

He noted that some US$ 8 billion either been committed or realised in the power sector during the last four years due to the able leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

Referring to frequent shutdowns, Dr Towfiq-e-Elahi opined that it is not a programme of a responsible opposition. “We can only be disappointed, nothing else, because hartals cause harm to the country’s economy.”

BoI executive chairman Dr SA Samad said it is a false approach not to allow the Tariff Commission to play its due role. He also hoped that the country is expected to witness foreign investment of US$ 1.7 billion in 2012.

General Economics Division (GED) member of the Planning Commission Prof Dr Shamsul Alam, chief executive officer of the Foreign Trade Institute Dr Mujibur Rahman, Bangladesh Tariff Commission chairman Md Shahab Ullah, among others, took part in the discussion. UNB

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