With the pandemic hitting the economy hard as an external shock, the government gives immense importance to investments, both local and foreign ones, for ensuring balanced development and improving the business environment in the country.
"The government will take effective steps to build infrastructures and provide other policy supports to improve the investment-friendly environment," says an official document obtained by UNB.
To increase investments and create jobs, it says, steps have been taken to establish 100 Economic Zones across the country, which will provide employment opportunities for nearly 10 million people. Approval has already been given for the establishment of 97 Economic Zones.
The document says production has already begun in nine economic zones and the development work on 28 economic zones is underway, creating jobs for around 40,000 people. "Employment opportunities will be created for another 800,000 people," it says.
As of now, investment proposals, worth US$ 27.07 billion, from 210 investors have been submitted for these economic zones. "Of the total amount, about US$ 1.60 billion is foreign investment."
The largest Economic Zone in the public sector 'Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Industrial City' is being developed in Mirsarai, Sonagazi and Sitakunda upazilas on 30,000 acres of land as a modern industrial zone.
To woo investors, seminars, workshops, roadshows and tradeshows are being organised and sponsored both at home and abroad.
Through these arrangements, as per the document, Bangladesh can identify new investors, which will help augment the investment.
More importantly, the document says, the government is laying special emphasis on the implementation of projects under Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) to attract investment required for the implementation of the government's development plans.
At present, as many as 76 projects are scheduled to be implemented under the PPP, against which the investment worth US$ 27.76 billion has been mobilised.
One project under PPP has already been implemented and six more projects are under implementation.
The process of bringing Customs Bond Management under automation is underway so that the manufacturing activities of export-oriented industries like the readymade garments industry also come under the Customs Bonded System.
As per the official paper, the tender process for the procurement of relevant solutions and software for automation has been completed. "It's expected that this will bring dynamism in the production and exports of all types of export-oriented industries."
Meanwhile, the government has taken massive reform programmes to improve its position in the World Bank's Ease of Doing Business Index.
According to the latest World Bank annual ratings, Bangladesh rose to a rank of 168th among 190 economies in the global ease of doing business index in 2020 from 176th in 2019.
As per the World Bank Report, reduced registration fees, improvement in the case of getting new electricity connections and improved access to credit information helped the country level up by eight notches.
The World Bank's Ease of Doing Business Index is used to indicate how well the business environment of a country is. "Bangladesh's position in that index has improved from 176th to 168th in 2019 and it has been included in the top 20 countries that have undertaken massive reform activities to improve the Ease of Doing Business Index," the document mentions.
The Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) is working to improve further Bangladesh's position in the index within double digits -- below 100.
To this end, BIDA has set up a specialised team to accelerate implementation of various reform activities, the document adds.
The One Stop Service (OSS) portal system has been in place since 2019 to provide all investment-related services from a single platform.
Services of various companies related to investment are being added to the portal in phases.
A total of 42 services of 12 companies are being provided online in the current financial year with the target of providing 154 investment services of 35 companies through One Stop Service (OSS) portal.
The remaining services will be added to the portal in the next financial year.
It is expected that Bangladesh's position will improve significantly, the government hopes.