“Let us forget saying it is not possible, let us work together to make it possible” said BIDA chairman in the seminar of International Business Forum of Bangladesh (IBFB) on Role of BIDA and Proposed One Stop Service (OSS) Act: Investment Climate in Bangladesh.
IBFB is a research and advocacy based business community platform between the stakeholders and the policy makers and has been striving to identify the common business and economic challenges and problems vis-à-vis its solutions.
Mr. Hafizur Rahman Khan, President of IBFB chaired the seminar held at IBFB seminar hall on Wednesday, March 8, 2017. Where the Keynote Paper is presented by Mr. M. S. Siddiqui legal economist and director of IBFB. Mr. Kazi M. Aminul Islam, Executive Chairman, BIDA was present as chief guest. Dr. Ahsan H. Mansur, Executive Director of PRI, and Prof Dr Shamsul Alam, Member, General Economic Division, Planning Commission presented as designated discussants in the seminar.
The president of IBFB said in this welcome speech that the Govt. aspires to transform Bangladesh into a middle-income country by 2021. If The Proposed One Stop Service Act is implemented successfully, the cost of doing business will be reduced remarkably and investment friendly atmosphere will be created in the country for both domestic and foreign investors. BIDA can play a commendable role to foster investment and rapid industrialization by engaging relevant govt. agencies effectively through One Stop Service Centre in Bangladesh.
Mr. M. S. Siddiqui, The Keynote speaker said all most all the countries have formal or informal one stop services to promote business and investment. In Bangladesh its demand of time to establish an effective one stop service center for the local and foreign investors. Long delay in providing utility services shrinking the investment image of the country and internal conflict among the utility service providers is the major challenge which is expected to be faced by BIDA. Mr. Siddiqui urged for institutional and legal reform for the success of OSS in Bangladesh.
Dr. Ahsan H. Mansur the Executive Director of PRI said OSS is a great opportunity for Bangladesh. He suggested for a harmless process for all the investors, strapping political leadership for effective OSS, and increase total factor productivity of the firms to enjoy higher return. Prof Dr Shamsul Alam, Member, Planning Commission concerned for the high transaction cost of the country arisen from lack of independent and transparent institutions. Dr. Alam also called the private sector to largely invest on research and development. He said domestic investors are coming in education, training, and energy sector but not much seriously engaging in R&D sector.
Among the domestic and foreign investors Mr. Jahangir Saadat, President of Korean EPZ said that there should be a strict timebound to deliver of service from OSS. He requested the BIDA chair to make the OSS act. like Singapore and Vietnam to attract rapid investment. Later, the Managing Director of Banglaphone said, I had to go different offices for the startup service and wait for a long time, while in USA and other developed country it takes one night to start a business. Mr. Humayun Rashid, Vice President Finance of IBFB uttered for employment generation in the remote Bangladesh, govt. should offer some incentive such as tax relief for the investors. Mr. Manzur Ahmed, Advisor of FBCCI emphasized the cooperation between BIDA and Economic Zones Authority. It is challenging but not impossible to provide all the utility service form one window. Later, Mr Matiur Rahman, Chairman & MD of Uttara Group of Companies underscored the necessity of tax and vat reform. Dr. Mozibur Rahman, former chair of the Bangladesh Tariff Commission and Director of IBFB opined that if BIDA should not keep the major influential parties such as Special Economic Zone authority out of loop. About 150 countries of the world initiated OSS, unfortunately most of them failed and success rate are scanty, he added.
BIDA chair said in this speech that, BIDA will not do investment promotion and branding it will only focus on industrial services and advocacy. If BIDA can successfully provide industrial services and conduct advocacy, investment promotion and branding will take place automatically. He also added that we have some unnecessary rules. Days are coming to ease up every bottlenecks. BIDA will deal with the systematic issues related to the investment. He prides that, Bangladesh is going to be a global player so we must have global face. We have no scope for the failure in OSS. Our OSS design is one of the best in the world.
The seminar was attended by eminent business leaders, academia, civil society members, dignitaries from different foreign missions and international agencies including Canadian High commission, Japan Embassy, JETRO, Youngone Corporation and Ministry of commerce, FBCCI, CIS-BCCI, DCCI. Among members of the Board of Directors of IBFB, Mr. Mahmudul Islam Chowdhury, Founding President, Md. Omar Shafayat Kauser, Vice President, and Director of IFB such as Ms. Lutfunnisa Saudia Khan, Ms. Priti Chakraborty, Mr. Iqbal Hussaiyn, Mr. Mohammad Ali Deen, were present in the seminar.