VCPEAB Seeks Policy Support and Tax Incentive for the VC and Startup Ecosystem

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Tv24 correspondent : Venture Capital and Private Equity Association of Bangladesh (VCPEAB) urged tax exemptions for alternative fund managers and called to create a fund of funds by the central bank to foster investments and better access to finance for venture capitals and startups that can help them thrive post-pandemic. The association discussed this in a virtual roundtable session titled “Venture Capital and Startups for a Post-COVID Resilient Economy” on Thursday, May 6, 2021. The roundtable was in partnership with the Capital Market Journalists’ Forum (CMJF) in the backdrop of the national budget for the fiscal year 2021-22 to be proposed this June.

In the roundtable, M A Mannan MP, Honorable Minister, Ministry of Planning was present as the Chief Guest, while Prof. Shibli Rubayat-Ul-Islam, Chairman, Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission (BSEC); Prof. Dr. Shaikh Shamsuddin Ahmed, Commissioner, Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission (BSEC); and Abu Farah Md. Nasser, Deputy Governor, Bangladesh Bank were present as Special Guests. VCPEAB President, Shameem Ahsan chaired the session; Arif Khan, Vice Chairman, Shanta Asset Management Ltd. delivered the keynote presentation, and Munir Hossain, General Secretary, Capital Market Journalists’ Forum (CMJF) extended his vote of thanks to all attendees.

M A Mannan MP, Honorable Minister, Ministry of Planning said, “The government is here to support the VC and startup sector, and it has taken joint efforts with regulators, private financial institutions, and venture capitalists. Together we plan to create an environment where startups can truly sustain and create an impact in our country. Moreover, we aim to work on the policy level to allow entrepreneurs to sustain and operate their businesses with ease.”

Prof. Dr. Shibli Rubayat-Ul-Islam, Chairman, Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission (BSEC) said, “We have always been incorporating new rules and regulations to foster investments in startups and to assist in bringing startups to the capital market with proper due diligence. Startups use innovative business models to drive growth. We are here to support these businesses through capital market inclusion and investments; so that they can bring forth the latest innovations in our economy.”

Shameem Ahsan, President of VCPEAB and Chair of the session said, “In next 15 years, majority organizations in the world will initiate impact-driven businesses and the majority of the world population will consume products and services from impact-driven companies. It will also help us become less susceptible to pandemics like COVID-19 and build a resilient economy. Government departments and agencies such as ministry of finance, ministry of planning, ministry of ICT, central bank, securities and exchange commission, and national revenue board need to support this impact ecosystem with favorable policies and tax incentives to give it a massive boost.”

Prof. Dr. Shaikh Shamsuddin Ahmed, Commissioner, Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission (BSEC) said, “Venture capital can play a vital role to bring new startups to our economy. These startups should not be limited to only a few cities where everything is technology-driven, and where the services are only for the highly educated/privileged. Instead, we need to decentralize these businesses to bring diversity and provide the services to a greater population.”

Abu Farah Md. Nasser, Deputy Governor, Bangladesh Bank said, “Bangladesh Bank will give as much facility as possible under the current regulations. The market demand for credit is already there and the banking sector has to be efficient to be an important part of the VC and startup ecosystem.”

Arif Khan, Vice Chairman, Shanta Asset Management Ltd. said, “Today’s startups will be the building block of the next decades in Bangladesh. Appreciating the role of the Government of Bangladesh in the last five years, I would like to request all the regulators and stakeholders to remove the major obstacles as fast as possible for a robust startup ecosystem to unleash the opportunity in an undiscovered gem of Asia.”

Sujoy Mohajan, Business Editor, Prothom Alo, and Executive member of Capital Market Journalists’ Forum (CMJF) said, “Startups have difficulty raising capital from the local market, which points to the critical shortcomings of fund management in the country. Government and banks should formulate policies that give access of funds to venture capitals and the local startups, helping them overcome the financing challenges.”

Hasan Imam Rubel, President, Capital Market Journalists’ Forum; Shawkat Hossain, General secretary VCPEAB & Director, Light Castle Partners; Zaid Bakht, Chairman, Agrani Bank Ltd.; Monir Hossain, General Secretary, Capital Market Journalists’ Forum (CMJF); Asif Mahmood, Managing Director, SEAF Bangladesh Ventures LLC; A Hafiz, Managing Director, Maslin Capital Ltd; Anh Pham, Chief Partner Officer, SEA Emerging Region, Microsoft; Ms. Maliha Quadir, Managing Director, Shohoz; Waseem Alim, CEO, Chaldal; Shafique-Ul-Azam, Managing Director, BD Venture Ltd; Kh Asadul Islam Ripon, Managing Director, Alliance Capital; Mahbub H Mazumder, Managing Director, Athena Ventures; Javed Noor, General Manager, IDLC Finance Ltd; Mahadi Hasan, COO, Athena Ventures Ltd and Anowar Jahid from Bangladesh Venture Capital Ltd were present among others.

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