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Govt focuses on investment to fast-track economic growth: official document

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The government is focusing on bigger investment, both local and foreign, to generate jobs and fast-track development to help the economy offset the adverse impact of Covid-19 pandemic.

"The government will take effective steps to build infrastructures and provide other policy supports to improve the investment-friendly environment,” according to an official document.

To increase investment and generate employment, it said, steps have been taken to establish 100 Economic Zones across the country, which will provide employment opportunity.

Approval has already been issued for the establishment of 97 Economic Zones.

It said that production has already been begun in 9 Economic Zones and the development work in 28 Economic Zones is in progress, which can offer employment to around 40,000 employment seekers.

“In addition, employment opportunities for another 0.8 million people will be created,” the document added.

Till date, investment proposal worth US$ 27.07 billion from a total of 210 investors has been received in 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 planned and modern industrial zone.

Seminars-workshops, road-shows and trade shows are being organised and sponsored at home and abroad to attract investment.

Through these arrangements, as per the document, Bangladesh can identify new investors, which will help augment investment.

On the other hand, the government is laying special emphasis on the implementation of projects under Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) 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 6 more projects are under implementation, reports UNB.

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 procurement of relevant solutions and software for automation has been completed.

 “It is expected that this will bring dynamism in the production and exports of all types of export-oriented industries.”

Meanwhile, the government has taken massive reforms 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 case of getting new electricity connection and improved access to credit information helped the country to level up by 8 notches.

The World Bank's Ease of Doing Business Index is used to indicate how well the business environment of a country performs.

 “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 mentioned.

The Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) is working to improve further Bangladesh's position in the index within double digits, i.e. below 100.

To this end, BIDA has set up a specialised team to accelerate implementation of various reform activities, the document added.

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 document expressed its hope.

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