The Financial Express

Post-Covid business: Govt updating laws to snare foreign investors

| Updated: July 31, 2020 09:48:04

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The government is streamlining five laws as part of its efforts to attract foreign direct investment or FDI, which may shift in the post-pandemic era, officials have said.

The laws are the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act, 1947, the Bank Company Act, 1991, the Negotiable Instrument Act, 1881, the Bankruptcy Act, 1997, and the Artha Rin Adalat Ain, 2003.

A senior official at the financial institutions division or FID said global corporations are considering shifting their investments from China as soon as the Covid-19 goes away.

"As part of the efforts to remove obstacles to foreign investments in Bangladesh, we are updating the relevant laws," said the official.

The division, instructed by the Prime Minister's Office, has already asked the central bank to eliminate barriers to repatriation of funds by foreign investors in a bid to expediting the relocation of industries in Bangladesh.

Additional secretary of the division ABM Ruhul Azad is heading an inter-ministerial committee, which is looking after the matter to create a foreign investment-friendly environment to attract investors in the post-pandemic period.

He told a recent meeting of the committee that India, Vietnam, and Indonesia have already eased foreign investment-related laws, rules, taxation, and banking systems to entice FDI.

Mr Azad said Bangladesh also need to bring required changes in easing banking rules and regulations to provide better services to foreign investors to grow their confidence.

He also said opinions on the proposed changes in the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act, 1947 have been sought from the stakeholders through uploading a draft on the website of the financial institutions division.

Opening of foreign currency account needs to be simplified, and the existing circulars of Bangladesh Bank related to the banking services need to be made easy, he said.

Joint director of Bangladesh Bank Amirul Islam said to attract foreign investment, the central bank has made the current account convertible, the foreign currency exchange rate was made floating, external capital account was also made convertible so that foreign investors can bring foreign currency and capital machinery.

He said the repatriation of dividend and other returns were permitted without the approval of central bank or submitting any documents.

Deputy secretary of the ministry of commerce Nargis Murshida told the meeting as part of the effort to ease doing business, the Company Act and some other relevant laws have been simplified, and the registration fees for opening new company have been lowered.

The meeting has decided the central bank will ease the opening of foreign current account under the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act, 1947.

The ministries, divisions and departments concerned will send proposals to the committees, the measures need to be taken to simplify the banking service-related laws, acts, and regulations to attract foreign direct investments.

It also asked Bangladesh Bank to make banking service to foreign investors time-bound to successfully compete with the countries, which are trying vigorously to attract foreign investments.


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