In order to do better in the ease of doing business (EODB) index, Bangladesh needs to reform commercial law, improve land border facilities and more efficient banking system, said discussants and stakeholders at a webinar on Saturday.
Pointed out that the central bank has made various reforms like foreign companies’ profit repatriation, introduction of international factoring, they said these steps may positively impact Bangladesh’s next review of EODB index.
The discussant also opined that there is still room for improvement in the VAT system, port capacity, bond capacity and customs procedures and existing documentation process.
The webinar titled “Country Competitiveness of Bangladesh: Key Reforms in Doing Business”, was organised by Dhaka Chamber of Commerce & Industry (DCCI), as per a press release.
Private Industry and Investment Adviser to the Prime Minister Salman Fazlur Rahman, MP joined the webinar as the Chief Guest, while Secretary, Law and Justice Division, Md. Golam Sarwar joined as the Special Guest.
DCCI president Rizwan Rahman gave the address of welcome, added the release.
Mr Salman Fazlur Rahman laid emphasis on using One Stop Service (OSS) efficiently.
At present, 45 services such services are being offered through the OSS, he said, adding that the country should have policy reforms throughout the taxation system.
He emphasised widening the tax net for generating more revenue.
Mr. Salman thanked the NBR for adding 55 thousand new tax payers to the tax net last year and suggested that if the tax net is enlarged, then tax rate can be slashed without keeping pressure on the existing tax payers.
Regarding port efficiency, he mentioned that our ports have improved more now.
“Bay terminal, Matarbari deep sea port, second international airport in Cox’s Bazar, railway connectivity with Cox’s Bazar will be operational in the near future”, added he.
In his welcome remark, DCCI President Rizwan Rahman said commercial dispute resolution in Bangladesh usually takes up to four years.
To improve the litigation system, various countries across the world made reforms like changes to the applicable civil procedure or enforcement rules, expanding court automation, electronic payment, automatic assignment of cases to judges, introducing specialised commercial court and expanding ADR framework, he added.
Mr Rahman informed that the Global Competitiveness Index (GCI) 2019 ranked Bangladesh 105 and the report also highlighted profound competitiveness deficit in LDCs.
He opined that concerned policy makers are to take necessary initiatives in association with the private sector for improving country competitiveness.
The DCCI president mentioned that commercial disputes can be resolved through mediation if encouraged by the regulators.
Moreover, to overcome the transition of economic graduation and achieve the rank of Bangladesh within 100 in EODB index, improvement of competitiveness is a pre-requisite, he added.
Rizwan also said that the improved competitiveness of Bangladesh will support our investment growth, export diversification and employment growth.
Secretary, Law and Justice Division Md. Golam Sarwar said for improvement in EODB index, the government has done various reforms already.
The country should rejuvenate the private sector with proper policy reforms in arbitration, contract enforcement and resolving insolvency related issues.
Stating Bangladesh is going to implement e-judiciary project to foster effective and speedy disposal of cases including commercial disputes, he said enforcing contracts and resolving insolvency are inter-dependent and to facilitate these the country need a pragmatic judicial system.
Barrister Md. Sameer Sattar, who presented the keynote paper, stressed arbitration, mediation and litigation for speedy dispute resolution.
He also urged for amending the existing Bankruptcy Act.
Asif Ibrahim, Chairman, Chittagong Stock Exchange Ltd said that the government, private sector and bureaucracy should positively and collectively work to do better in the EODB index.
He said the country needs to arrange more public-private dialogues.
General Manager of Foreign Exchange Investment Department, Bangladesh Bank, Jagannath Chandra Ghosh, Director of BIDA Jibon Krishna Saha Roy, Representative, JETRO Bangladesh Kazunori Yamada, Chairman and CEO of PRAN-RFL Group Ahsan Khan Chowdhury and Managing Director of Oryx Bio-Tech Limited David Bo also spoke on various pertinent issues, among others, as distinguished discussants.
N K A Mobin, FCS, FCA, Senior Vice President, DCCI gave the vote of thanks.