The government has decided to bring uniformity in its fiscal and other incentive packages for foreign investors to avoid any controversy in future.
Finance and Planning Minister Saifur Rahman Monday agreed to such proposal placed by the energy advisor and the board of investment executive chairman Mahmudur Rahman at a meeting.
The decision on maintaining uniformity was taken to avoid resorting to different methodologies and flexibility in offering incentives to the foreign investors during negotiations, meeting sources said.
Bangladesh drew huge foreign direct investment in the telecommunication and gas sectors over the past one decade. However, the single largest investment came in fartiliser sector through establishment of the Karnaphuli Fertiliser Company Limited (KAFCO) in the 1980s.
Finance secretary and communication secretary, who heads the secretary level committee to negotiate with the Tata Group, were present at the meeting.
Uniform approach was not followed in negotiations with foreign investors in the past, the meeting was told.
But it has now become imperative as the foreign investors often try to take advantage of the absence of uniform approach putting the government in difficult situation.
For instance, the sources said, the Tata Group has placed a list of some 'new' demands on fiscal incentives and infrastructural facilities for its coal mine project. But most of their fiscal demands fall outside of the government listed measures that are generally applicable for foreign investment, the sources said.
However, a uniform and integrated incentive package will help the local authorities face the ongoing and future negotiations on investment proposals.
Currently, three big investment proposals worth over US $ 15.5 billion, mainly in the country's energy, chemical, telecommunication and steel sectors are on the table.
The third round of talks between the Tata Group and the local authorities on Indian company's investment proposal of US $ 2.5 billion is being held in the capital.
The Indian conglomerate giant will set up power, steel and fertiliser plants.
The United Arab Emirates based Dhabi Group has signed a memorandum of understanding last month to invest more than $ 1.0 billion in the telecommunication and hospitality businesses.
The UK based Asia Energy Corporation submitted a feasibility study on its investment plan worth $ 12 billion in coal mining project in next 30 years last Sunday.
Besides, the country is expected to attract huge foreign investment in the pharmaceutical and textile sectors in future, experts said.
The high expectation of foreign direct investment in pharmaceuticals has been built by introduction of Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) rules on developed and developing countries in producing and exporting drugs.
However, the TRIPS rules have created a big opportunity for the least developed countries like Bangladesh to enjoy the benefit. The country has already approved contract manufacturing system to attract foreign investment in the sector.
On the other hand, foreign investors have shown interest in investing textile sector to utilise the country's generalised system of preference to export textile in European and other developed countries like the USA.