Bangladesh needs massive policy reforms and more business-friendly rules and regulations to attract more foreign investors, said Kazi M Aminul Islam, the outgoing executive chairman of Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (Bida).
“Reforms and change in rules and policies should continue as per requirement,” Islam said in his last media briefing as Bida’s executive chairman at his office in the capital’s Agargaon.
He said Bida has been working for the last three years to create a business-friendly environment.
The country’s ranking will move into double-digit from last year’s 176th out of 190 countries in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business index, on the back of the Bida’s reform plan.
The agency was formed in September 2016 through the merger of two state-owned entities — the Privatisation Commission and the Board of Investment — in a bid to improve the business climate.
Accordingly, the Bida has prepared 88 reform proposals related to the ease of doing business.
“We have been able to implement 22 proposals in the last three years. If all the proposals are implemented, Bangladesh’s ranking will advance to top 50 countries.”
About the reforms, the former bureaucrat said the time needed to start a business came down to 11 days from 19.5 days, the approval for building construction for factory to 76 days from 281 days, power connection to 76 days from 148 days, tax payment to one week from 18 weeks and property registration to 56 days from 106 days.
The Bida has been able to inform the global community about the business opportunity in Bangladesh, Islam said. The agency is providing 22 services out of its 150 services to be provided to foreign investors through one stop services.
“Another 28 services will be added by this month and 100 by June 2020,” Islam said.
As per its strategic plan, the Bida is imparting training to youth to create new entrepreneurs. It plans to create 24,000 young entrepreneurs.
About the need for new entrepreneurs, Islam said knowledge and innovation-based startups and entrepreneurship will lead the business in the coming days.
He also emphasised more engagement of the country’s economy with the global economy and building business relationship globally.
Bangladesh received $6.6 billion in foreign direct investment in the last three years and $11.73 billion between 2009 and 2016, according to Islam.
During the three-year period, the Bida allowed 937 foreign companies to open offices in Bangladesh and issued 8,319 work permits.
Globally renowned investors such as Mitsubishi Motors, Suzuki, Toyota, Honda, Sumitomo, Reliance, Adani, Hitachi and JTI have either invested in the country or are set to invest.
Foreign investors are giving priority to telecom, banking, power, energy, food processing, trading and agriculture sectors for their investment, Islam said.