Bangladesh Investment Development Authority started its journey yesterday, in a bid to liven up the country's stagnant investment scenario.
The new body was formed by merging the Board of Investment and the Privatisation Commission, as per the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority Act 2016 passed in parliament in July.
Kazi Aminul Islam, former secretary to the Prime Minister's Office, will serve as the executive chairman of BIDA. SA Samad, executive chairman of BoI, and Molla Waheeduzzaman, chairman of Privatisation Commission, have already left their positions.
A 17-member governing board will be formed for BIDA and the board will be headed by the prime minister; the finance minister would act as the vice chairman and concerned ministers members.
Besides, there would be a six-member executive committee. The BIDA executive chairman would be the chief executive officer, who will also be a member of its governing board.
BIDA will conduct registration of the industrial units to be set up in the private sector; there will be foreign trade liaison branch offices as well.
Meanwhile, investment proposals under Bangladesh Export Processing Zones Authority, Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority, private EPZ, Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation, and hi-tech parks will remain outside BIDA's purview.
The BIDA can privatise loss-making state-owned enterprises worth up to Tk 100 crore, but if the value is more it will be sent to the cabinet committee on economic affairs for approval.
A cabinet division official said the government wants to ensure more efficient utilisation of unused lands and industries under the public sector.
BIDA will determine import settlement, issue no-objection certificates, and declare a certain area as industrial zone through gazette notification.
It will also help the authorities concerned in land acquisition, work for ensuring efficient use of land, make list of unused land and structures and frame a policy for its utilisation, and frame a guideline for allotting and transferring plots. In 1993, the Privatisation Board was formed for privatising the public sector loss-making enterprises and later in 2000 it was turned into a commission.
The BoI was formed in 1999 to attract local and foreign investment.
Both the institutions failed to achieve their expected goal, due to which the government decided to merge them into one. BIDA will be based at Agargaon in the capital, with the construction of a 14-storey new office building on way. Until the office is ready, the staff of the two former institutions will work in their former office premises.