ASIA PACIFIC BUSINESS FORUM
Role of private sector in SDGs implementation
- Businesses can play a significant role in implementing SDGs that should go beyond just creating decent jobs and towards enhancing resource and energy efficiency, generating income and reducing inequality.
- Socially responsible business is good business and will be economically viable and more profitable in the long run. Corporate values as well as self-interests can be aligned with SDGs. CSR activities can be linked to contribute to attainment of a number of SDGs.
- In order to assure that the private sector contributes to the SDGs attainment, it will be important to promote FDI, improve infrastructure, and facilitate cross border trade.
- More Public-Private Partnerships will be required to attain SDGs. There are many investment opportunities but right policies and institutions must be put in place to realise those.
- Addressing “leave no one behind” as part of attainment of SDGs would require ethical commitments from the private sector. There should be a tri-partnership with participants of businesses, government and the civil society towards implementing SDGs and to ensure that “no one is left behind”.
Role of Business in Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation
- To address the task of disaster risk reductions and to simplify the complexities caused due to disasters in businesses, a broad based network can be established in Bangladesh where businessmen will share their practical experiences. This could be a very useful repository of reform and knowledge.
- Pioneering regional integration and conducting need assessment for climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction are very important.
- Space needs to be created for public and private sectors and academicians and civil society actors to foster ideas with innovative solutions in the knowledge eco-system for climate change adaptation (e.g. Asia P3 Hub in Singapore).
- Private sector should come forward to invest in water purification in salinity remains an endemic challenge.
- All key actors including the Private sector, government, civil societies, and development partners will need to work together for the improvement of quality of life, as envisaged in the SDGs.
New Energy Realities
- To meet energy demand, Bangladesh needs to optimise production of energy. A balance of various sources including solar energy, wind energy, coal-based energy and development of hydropower will be required. Hydro-power generation at regional level with Nepal, India and Bhutan. Bhutan, Nepal and India possess huge potential. Bangladesh can have access to hydro power by allowing those countries to use Bangladesh’s territory to transport hydro power. As is known, Hydropower is the jewel of Bhutan’s economy where it contributes 15 per cent of the GDP. This form of energy employs a lot of people and enables Bhutan to export considerable amount of renewable and clean energy.
- Significant amount of investment is needed to develop renewable and alternative sources of energy. To induce investors to invest in renewable energy generation, an enabling regulatory framework is needed and investors should be protected by the government so that they are able to obtain decent returns on their investment.
- Cross-border energy trade in which neighbouring countries engage in export and importing energy from each other can boost energy access to those countries.
- Nuclear energy emits least amount of carbon among all sources of energy and is less costly than generating solar energy or wind energy. However, nuclear waste can cause harm to mankind. Bangladesh needs to develop the needed expertise in managing nuclear waste.
Supporting trade and transport facilitation for regional integration
- Sensitive list must be reduced to zero under regional trade agreements. Schemes such as Everything but Arms (EBA) should be the reference point.
- Allow authorized economic operators to work as a third party agent to facilitate customs related procedural issues.
- Single window facility must be established as the border points. It is to be ensured that all the regulatory procedures will be completed within one day.
- Create a ‘customs clearing facilitating body’. The body will arrange dialogues among market and non-market economic agents and try to come with actionable solutions.
- Effective implementation of the proposed MVA agreements like BBIN, BCIM Economic Corridor and BIMSTEC initiatives will be critical for deepening regional connectivity. The point of reference for regional integration should no longer be limited be to SAFTA and South Asia. Trade and transportation integration of Southern Asia should be the way to go forward in the 21st century.
- Global challenges require global solutions. The weaknesses of the current process of globalization need to be addressed collectively through appropriate global initiatives.
Supporting SDGs through Financial Models by Inclusive Business
- Digital financial inclusion must be seen as the needed game changer. It is suitable for addressing customers’ needs, easy to use and affordable.
- Financing start-ups may not be easy to set up but a digital bank could change that by mobilising money from consumers to finance businesses.
- Major reasons for reluctance towards cashless economy include regulatory lax, anonymous nature of cash transactions and tax evasion through appropriate steps; and a natural resistance to change from cash economy to digital economy and e-commerce. These need to be addressed appropriate steps.
- A grand alliance of government, regulators, mobile network operators, mobile payment services, banks and users is required to incorporate digital financial models in the economy.
Supporting and empowering disadvantaged MSMEs
- SMEs in LDCs need to be integrated with international value and supply chains.
- The rate of repayment is significantly high in MSMEs sector. Considering these regional financial schemes may be initiated specific to the MSMEs.
- Arrange collateral-free credit financing. In this regard, big data analysis may be helpful to improve the collateral.
- Easing of regulations of customs and trade facilitation and facilitating e-payment and credit transfer for MSMEs enterprises are important.
- Government should come forward to assist MSMEs with supportive innovative macroeconomic policies.
Economic Outlook and Key Policy Challenges in Emerging Asia
- Structural and policy reforms need to be strengthened in areas of quality of education, governance and infrastructure.
- Regional integration and quality infrastructure are very critically important for sustainable growth. Required investment should be made towards these.
- Tax system should be more transparent. Tax avoidance and tax evasion should be addressed. With appropriate policy and regulatory measures. This is essential towards higher domestic resource mobilisation which is needed for undertaking the needed developmental investments.