Create friendly environment for doing business

Before the last December election, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had said that if elected to power her government would implement the policy of simplifying the procedures of setting up business ventures, especially for foreign investors.

The steps suggested would help remove the current bottlenecks that exist in every step to slow down efforts undertaken by the entrepreneurs in starting an enterprise.

 There are hundreds of big and small impediments one has to circumvent in order to obtain necessary permissions, from A to Z, before one can really go into production. Bureaucratic bottlenecks delay movement of files on the tables of the government offices and often they do not get cleared unless palms are greased sufficiently.   

 Bangladesh is considered by local and foreign experts as a land of untapped potentials. The awe inspiring multifaceted activities that are resulting in increased production in the food and related industries, power plants, agricultural and fishery farms, garment industries and many other non-formal sectors are making foreign experts praise the growth.  The hard work of the people engaged in businesses, facilitated by supportive government policies is the main factor behind the phenomenal acceleration. The private sector of the country needs all the praise for making this possible, notwithstanding in a resource-constrain country like Bangladesh.

Bangladesh is striving hard to reach the 

milestone of a Middle Income Country 

within the shortest possible time. 

But to reach that target, some obstacles 

that continue to thwart smooth 

navigation, need to be addressed 

without further loss of time

After the election, in a meeting with the prime minister, top business leaders of the country acknowledged her government’s support in this regard and unanimously hoped she would continue to support them through formulating more business-friendly policies. 

In this connection we may recall that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had inaugurated two-day Bangladesh Investment and Policy Summit 2016 on Sunday, 24 January that year, to showcase investment opportunities in various sectors in Bangladesh for the private entrepreneurs.

 A deputation of foreign investors including experts of foreign direct investment and industrial and international trade, policymakers and business entrepreneurs joined the Investment Summit. The main objective of the summit was to highlight the latest policy development for private sector growth and private sector investment opportunities in Bangladesh that would lead to country's sustained economic growth. 

The Investment Summit was a timely initiative to provide the business sector the required boost to take the economy a few notches up, especially because the flow of foreign direct investment (FDI) has not been as steady as we wanted it to be in the recent past.

 This remains to be said that Bangladesh is striving hard to reach the milestone of a Middle Income Country within the shortest possible time. But to reach that target, some obstacles that continue to thwart smooth navigation, need to be addressed without further loss of time.

 Some stringent regulatory terms and conditions need to be looked into in this regard, as because such rules and regulations are often frustrating possible investors.

 There are allegations that many foreign investors have gone back to their country after finding the obstacles, long waits and hassles of obtaining necessary clearance.

 Businessmen suggest a Green Channel or one-stop clearance for foreign investors; should allow manufacturers, exporters and importers to quickly fulfill their legal requirements with less harassment and difficulty.

 Last but not least, we have to reduce the cost of doing business in Bangladesh if we want to reach the middle income country target within the stipulated timeframe.

Shahnoor Wahid is Advisory Editor of Bangladesh Post.