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22 April, 2017 00:00 00 AM
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Govt mulls ‘One-Stop Service Act’ to attract foreign investment

The draft law is now in the PMO awaiting the Prime Minister’s approval
DEEPAK ACHARJEE
Govt mulls ‘One-Stop Service Act’ to attract foreign investment

The authorities have drafted a new piece of legislation, titled the ‘One-Stop Service Act’, to attract foreign investors by providing quick services from a single window, sources said. The Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) has forwarded the draft Act to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) for approval. The initiative to enact a law to attract foreign investments was taken by the Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (BEZA), at a board meeting on February 28, 2015.
On July 27, 2016, the fourth BEZA board meeting had decided to enact the law, since no foreign investor was available as a result of various complexities in getting clearance from different government offices, the sources said.
Talking to The Independent, BIDA executive chairman Kazi M Aminul Islam said the proposed law was designed on the lines of similar laws in Singapore and Indonesia.
“The draft law is now in the PMO awaiting the Prime Minister’s approval. After her approval, it would be sent to the Cabinet meeting,” Aminul Islam said. “We are hoping that the draft law would be placed in the next pre-budgetary session of Parliament for passing it,” he added. “Under the proposed law, we will give a time-frame to the offices concerned to give their clearance to the applicants (investors),” he said. “The investors will need to fill only one application to the BIDA to get clearances and approvals from the offices concerned to be eligible to do business in Bangladesh,” he added.
The BIDA chairman disclosed: “It will take one year to get applications from the foreign investors to invest in the country as we are completing all the processes to ensure business facilities for them.”
“After getting permission for making an investment here, a company will need one to two years to complete construction work of its project to go into production,” Aminul said, adding: “It will take a maximum of two years to provide gas connections to the industries as the two liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals are going to be operational by the end of 2018 and 2019 respectively.” “At present, we are providing electricity connections within 28 days of application,” he claimed.
“An amount of USD 4 billion was invested as foreign direct investment (FDI) in the country during the last financial year (2015–16). We are expecting more FDI during the current fiscal year,” he said.
Sources, however, said an FDI of USD 3.3 billion in Bangladesh as of 2015 was lower than those in other emerging markets such as Vietnam (USD 11.8 billion) and the Philippines (USD 5.8 billion). Among 189 countries, Bangladesh’s position in terms of investment rating climate is now 176.
The investors want reforms in 10 areas to ensure a favourable investment climate in the country. These areas include: business registrations and gas and electricity connections within a short span of time, resolution of insolvencies, protection of minor investments, permissions for construction of buildings, land registration, loan disbursement and information on credit, and proper enforcement of contracts. The BIDA was formed in September last year through the merger of the Privatisation Commission and Board of Investment (BoI).

 

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Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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