Govt improving ease of doing business index: Salman
DHAKA, Aug 22, 2020 (BSS) – Prime Minister’s Private Industry and Investment Affairs Adviser Salman F Rahman today said that the government is working hard to improve the ease of doing business index as it is eying to reach the double digit mark by the next year.
The PM’s adviser made the remarks while addressing a webinar organized by Dhaka Chamber of Commerce & Industry (DCCI) on “Implications of COVID-19 on FDI inflow to Bangladesh: Challenges and Way Forward” as the chief guest.
Executive Chairman of Bangladesh Export Zones Authority (BEZA) Paban Chowdhury joined it as special guest.
Ambassador of Japan to Bangladesh ITO Naoki joined the function as guest of honour.
Chairman of Policy Exchange Dr. M Masrur Reaz presented the keynote paper. DCCI President Shams Mahmud moderated the webinar.
DCCI Director and former Senior Vice President Waqar Ahmed Choudhury also spoke on the occasion while Senior Vice President NKA Mobin gave the vote of thanks.
Salman said that reduction of tax to the investors will allow more investment, but on the other hand the tax to GDP ratio is lowest in this region.
“We need to widen our tax net to ease burden on the existing tax payers. Government is working on policy reforms and this initiative will attract more FDI,” he added.
Salman said almost in all top level of the government, the realization has come that there is a need to change the mindset through reforms. “Now the mindset of the field-level officers needs to be changed as they will actually play the role at the implementation level.
BIDA has done tremendous progress in One Stop Service and it is true that automation will ensure transparency and stop corruption,” he added.
He informed that the government will reform the bankruptcy law and companies act soon while the tax regime will also be re-designed soon comparing with other countries.
Salman termed agro-processing sector as the most potential sector to invest adding that the government wants to make a level playing field for all investors. “Deep sea port will open a new horizon and improve our competitiveness,” he added.
Ambassador of Japan to Bangladesh ITO Naoki said Japanese are interested to invest in Bangladesh as in 2019, Japanese FDI to Asia was $57 billion, but Bangladesh’s share was just 0.09 percent.
“In the regional connectivity and under Big B initiative, Japan’s collaboration will continue. Simplification of taxation, customs clearance and foreign exchange reforms are the critical issues to woo FDI,” he added.
The Japanese Ambassador said once the existing companies feel convenient business environment, it will lead to further investments as well as to new investments.
“The Araihazar Economic Zone in Bangladesh established by Japan will be the best in Asia,” he informed.
Executive Chairman of BEZA, Paban Chowdhury said foreign investors as well as joint ventures in agro-processing food sector in EZs will get 20 percent cash incentives.
“We are discussing with NBR about the bond license and hopefully its tenure may be extended for at least 3 years instead of 1 year,” he said adding that motorcycle registration fees will also significantly be reduced to less than 10 percent.
He said, for better regulatory reforms, BEZA, BEPZA, BIDA and High-tech park authority should be empowered more.
The speakers at the webinar stressed the need for regional cooperation aligning with ASEAN, BIG-B, and One Belt One Road initiatives to boost FDI and multilateral economic interest.
DCCI President Shams Mahmud in his welcome remarks suggested strengthening local backward linkage, adopting timely policy reforms and inter-agency coordination.
He also invited the US and Japanese investors to invest in conventional manufacturing, service sectors and diverse infrastructure works.
Dr. M Masrur Reaz, Chairman of Policy Exchange, in his keynote presentation said to woo more FDI, compliance, skilled labour force, easy cross-border movement of goods, coherence between trade and investment policies, domestic and FDI linkage are some of the critical areas to be focused on.
To improve investment climate he suggested for policy actions and reforms like access to finance, regulatory reforms, faster pace of mega infrastructure development, simplification of tax regime, developing FDI policy and export diversification.
Managing Director of Samsung-Fair Distribution Ltd. Ruhul Alam Al Mahbub, Deputy Managing Director of Abdul Monem Limited ASM Mainuddin Monem, President of AmCham Syed Ershad Ahmed, Chairperson of BUILD & former President of DCCI Abul Kasem Khan, Chairman of Chittagong Stock Exchange & former DCCI President Asif Ibrahim, JETRO Country Representative & President, JBCCI Yuji Ando, Deputy Chief of Mission of US Embassy in Dhaka JoAnne Wagner, spoke, among others, at the webinar.