Ask an investor, or an aspiring entrepreneurs; s/he would tell you that making investment or starting a new business is no cakework in Bangladesh.
The Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) has emerged in 2016 after the Board of Investment (BoI) and the Privatization Commission were merged together to form this new platform to make Bangladesh an ‘investment-friendly” destination.
Since its formation BIDA has been working relentlessly to chalk-out and implement new ways to achieve its goal. A one stop service (OSS) is its latest initiative which it will launch from next month.
Kazi M Aminul Islam, executive chairman of the BIDA confirmed the launching of OSS in Augist and said “On February 5, Parliament passed the One Stop Service Bill, 2018. We have already prepared the rule and it will be formulated under the Act.”
After the formulation of the rule, the authority will able to implement the Act properly, which will draw the attention of local and foreign investors inside the country, he said.
“We are developing an automation-based business model, which is fully virtual-based. One Stop Service (OSS) is an investment mechanism solution where relevant government agencies are brought to a single location. OSS, therefore, is not a place that physically provides services to the people. It is a web-based portal that includes a cloud-based website, which an investor can access from anywhere in the world,” said Aminul Islam.
It is expected that the technology solution development will be completed within August, and after that, the system will be operated as a pilot for a couple of months, after which the investors will get one-stop investment services, he said.
At present, the BIDA is working with different ministries, the Supreme Court, Law Reform Commission, Anti-Corruption Commission and so on. “We will make sure laws, rules, processes and procedures are aligned in such a way that investors can do business with ease,” said Aminul Islam.
According to the BIDA, some 27 types of services, including 16 common ones like trade licences, visa assistance and electricity, gas, and water and telephone services, would be provided by the proposed body to reduce the problems faced by investors.
Initially, quite a few services will be provided, but eventually all services will be provided, he disclosed. To create a culture of entrepreneurship and a business climate, the BIDA is working to facilitate and develop an investment ecosystem, he said.
According to the BIDA, the services that OSS will provide include company registration, VAT registration, visa recommendations, letter issuance, work permit issuance, name clearance issuance, tax certificate and TIN, foreign borrowing request approval and environmental clearance.
Sohelur Rahman Chowdhury, general manager of the Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (BEZA) said “We have opened a welfare centre inside the BEZA headquarters so that investors can get all the necessary information from the centre.”
“We have prepared an investment tools graph that depicts the guidelines of how the projects are to be implemented in the near future,” said Chowdhury.
The distinguished fellow of the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), Prof. Mustafizur Rahman, said, “Undoubtedly, this has been a positive change to increase the investment attractiveness of Bangladesh and the first step of the investment process from the investor’s perspective.”
Explaining the benefits, he said, “Transaction costs would be much lower if all the 16 common services are provided at a single point.” All the government ministries and offices must work together, so that investors can get all 16 services effectively and efficiently, he felt.
Four authorities—the Bangladesh Export Processing Zone Authority (BEPZA), Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA), Bangladesh Economic Zone Authority (BEZA) and Bangladesh High-tech Park Authority—will coordinate among themselves.