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Bangladesh Resources

Summary

The government of Bangladesh is actively encouraging foreign direct investment and international money flows, but the Central Bank of Bangladesh (Bangladesh Bank) does continue to impose some currency controls. Restrictions on international money transfers and foreign currency conversion are outlined under the Central Banks Foreign Exchange Guidelines. The taka (BDT, or Tk), the official currency of Bangladesh, is not currently pegged to any foreign currency, though the Bangladesh Bank does regulate its conversion.

Bangladesh’s money transfer regulations

All international money transfers into and out of Bangladesh are regulated by the Bangladesh Bank under its Foreign Exchange Guidelines. Bangladesh has streamlined its money transfer regulations in recent years in an effort to encourage foreign investment and remittance flows. Some money transfer restrictions remain, however. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) noted in October 2014 report that Bangladesh limited the amount of money that foreign nationals could convert from taka to a foreign currency and repatriate. However, the government since raised that threshold to allow foreign nationals to transfer up to 75% of their current savings abroad.

Bangladesh’s monetary and regulatory authority

The Bangladesh Bank monitors the financial system, oversees the countrys cash and electronic payments system and supervises all domestic banking. The Central Bank publishes and regularly updates its Foreign Exchange Guidelines, and is responsible for ensuring financial transactions are regulated and fall within these guidelines. The Central Bank clamped down on outgoing money transfers in 2011, after the countrys foreign exchange reserves dwindled, causing the taka to depreciate sharply. However, foreign exchange inflows improved in 2012, boosting the takas value.

Since late 2012, the government has eased many of the remaining restrictions on forex transfers. The Bangladesh Bank does not fix the takas foreign exchange rate, but stabilises the currencys value depending on its monetary targets, such as the level of foreign exchange reserves. The taka is fully convertible, and the central bank has dropped most of the controls on forex conversion that were applied in 2010-2011. However, conversion and transfer of taka can sometimes be a lengthy process.

Bangladesh’s economic background

Bangladeshs growing economy and thriving services and agricultural sectors are promising signs for the Southeast Asian economy. Bangladeshs economy has enjoyed an annual growth rate of 6% for the past two decades and has a relatively young, active workforce and a solid private sector. Recent performances in industries such as pharmaceuticals, power generation, telecoms, IT, energy and textiles have been encouraging. In 2013, the United States and Bangladesh signed the U.S.-Bangladesh Trade and Investment Cooperation Forum Agreement (TICFA) to support trade and investment opportunities between the two countries.

Foreign investment in Bangladesh

The government of Bangladesh continues to actively seek foreign investment. Its recent attempts to encourage investment flows have made some progress, though there are still challenges for foreign investors looking to enter the country. Bangladesh has been plagued by internal problems that hinder its progress as an investment hub. Challenges stemming from financial constraints, infrastructure shortcomings, slow judicial processes and heavy bureaucracy continue to pose obstacles to economic productivity and investment. According to the 2013 World Investment Report, Bangladesh received US$990m in foreign direct investment, a decrease of 13% from US$1.13bn received in 2012, and a small fraction of the US$38.9bn invested in the entire Southeast Asian region.

To begin to address these inadequacies, the Bangladesh government implemented aggressive plans to enhance and improve its infrastructure, vowing to double generation capacity in 2015. The government also began to implement a framework for developing coal-based power projects and coal-related resources to expand its energy sources.

The Board of Investment (BOI) and the Bangladesh Export Processing Zones Authority (BEPZA) are the main investment promotion agencies operating in Bangladesh. Companies operating in Bangladesh must register with the BOI to receive tax incentives, foreign loans and payments on behalf of the Bangladesh Bank. The BEPZA offers the same services to companies in the export processing zone lines of business. Unnecessary licenses and permits are often cited as the most common reasons for business and investment constraints.

The Foreign Investment Act

Bangladeshs Foreign Investment Act seeks to protect and promote foreign investment by guaranteeing the right of repatriations for all profits, post-tax dividends, capital gains, invested capital, and any approved fees related to business or royalties. Similar investment transfer guidelines exist under the U.S.-Bangladesh Bilateral Investment Treaty and the Bangladesh Banks exchange control regulations.

Currency

The taka is made up of 100 units (poisha), and consists of coins and printed banknotes. Coins are available in values of 1, 2, 5, 10, 25, and 50 poisha. Banknotes are printed in denominations of Tk2, Tk5, Tk10, Tk20, Tk50, Tk100, Tk500, and Tk1000. A series of commemorative banknotes is also in active circulation, in denominations of Tk40, Tk25, Tk60, and Tk100.

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