Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) will recruit half of its manpower from the private sector to become more business-friendly, its chief said yesterday.
Private sector businesspersons are unhappy with the services of the business and investment promotion body, which is currently run by public servants, and have been urging BIDA to incorporate private sector professionals to expedite service delivery.
“BIDA started its journey a year ago. We will launch one-stop service to help the businessmen,” said Kazi M Aminul Islam, executive chairman of BIDA, at a meeting of bilateral chambers at a city hotel.
Canada-Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CanCham) organised the the meet-up, which was attended by chamber leaders, government high-ups, businesspeople, exporters, manufacturers, importers and entrepreneurs.
“Running business in this country is not simple. We have to be pragmatic. We need roads and ports. Special economic zones will help businesses,” said Stéphane Nordé, managing director of Nestlé Bangladesh Ltd.
Nuria Lopez, president of Spain-Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said: “Bangladesh is not really following the open policy like Singapore. Doing business in Bangladesh is very difficult. It costs $4,000 to send a container of goods to the EU from Bangladesh whereas the cost is $2,000 from Myanmar.”
“The supply situation of gas did not improve. However, the government has been imposing more taxes on a small bunch of compliant companies without expanding the base of taxation,” said Shadab Ahmed Khan, managing director of Coca-Cola Bangladesh.
“We need stable regulatory and policy support from the government for the growth of business,” said Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin, president of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry.
The main challenges of business in Bangladesh are a shortage of quality power supply at affordable prices, infrastructure bottlenecks, traffic congestion in cities, inefficient ports and airports, a shortage of need-based educated, trained and technical manpower and effective regulatory reforms, said Masud Rahman, president of CanCham.
He suggested introduction of one-stop service at BIDA, quick implementation of SEZ projects, reduction of the dependency on quick rental power plants, efficient operation of the Chittagong port and airport in Dhaka and development of the tourism industry.
While presenting a paper on “the secrets of Singapore's amazing success and lessons for Bangladesh”, Sazzadul Hassan, managing director of Syngenta Bangladesh, stressed the need for strengthening the institutional capacity of BIDA. He also called for good governance and private sector-friendly policies.
The government should put priority on sectors like textiles and garment, ICT and software, pharmaceuticals, agro-processing, leather and leather goods, tourism, fisheries, power and renewable energy, he said. Salahuddin Kasem Khan, president of Japan-Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry, moderated the function.