It will be very difficult for Bangladesh to reach within 100 of the World Bank’s doing business ranking this year, according to Sirajul Islam, executive chairman of the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA).
He said still businesses complain about hassles and lack of adequate services, for which Bangladesh’s improvement in the ranking will be hampered.
Sirajul Islam made the comments in a webinar on “Ease of doing business” jointly organised by the International Business Forum of Bangladesh (IBFB) and the Bangladesh Enterprise Institute (BEI).
Bangladesh has set a target to reach the double digit ranking by 2021, from 168th in 2020.
He said unless the businesses acknowledge the improvement of facilities, the World Bank will not give points. However, he said businessmen are not well aware of the World Bank’s indicators.
Humayun Rashid, president of IBFB, said there are some sectors where it takes 28 licences to start a business.
“If an application needs one month for each licence, it will take 28 months to start a business. So, who will come to do business in such a situation?” he asked.
The businessmen claimed that to get the licence or any other necessary paper from the government authorities they have to experience under table transactions.
Lieutenant General Harun-Ar-Rashid (Retd), a poultry businessman, said to start a poultry business he needed nine licences from different authorities. And it is mandatory to renew the licences, which is another hassle, he added.
Addressing the corruption, the BIDA chairman shared an experience: a few days ago, a foreign investor complained to him that the investor had been asked for unjustified money. When he refused to give the money, the officials imposed tax in a non-taxable section.
BIDA Director Jiban K Saha Roy presented the keynote paper where he highlighted reforms of the BIDA.
stakeholders have demanded the amendment of some laws so that licensing procedure can be easier. They also asked for the inclusion of the SME sector in the policy.
Thengamara Mohila Sabuj Sangha founder Hosne Ara Begum said the regulatory bodies just control the businessmen instead of making the business easier.
Humayun Kabir, president of the Bangladesh Enterprise Institute (BEI), a private research institute, and a former ambassador, said, “We have ensured the rule of law rather than rule of person.”
Former chairman of the National Board of Revenue (NBR) Mohammad Abdul Majid and representatives of businessmen and former bureaucrats also spoke on the occasion.