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Providing policy support to woo investment

Shahiduzzaman Khan | Published: April 17, 2019 21:04:53


The country's investment development authorities have sought adequate policy support from the National Board of Revenue (NBR) in order to attract more investment. They maintain that such policy support from the NBR would help generate more employments and transform the country's existing trade-based economy into a production-based one.

There are a number of investment promotion agencies in the country that include: Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA),  Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (BEZA), Bangladesh Export Processing Zones Authority (BEPZA) etc. Such agencies are assigned by the government to take steps to gear up the country's industrialisation process. The investment development agencies are of the opinion that the government needs to incorporate required policies in the next budget for investment promotion to give momentum to industrialisation process. The national budget needs to address the employment situation seriously, as technological advancement is eroding employment opportunities despite commendable economic growth.

The government has so far offered many incentives to woo the investors. But investment proposals largely depend on government policy support. No investment initiative can be fully successful without it.

The NBR needs to take liberal attitude towards investors in a bid to improve the investment scenario. There should be automation for the bonded warehouse licensing process to reduce NBR officials' involvement.

In recent days, the revenue authority offered a good number of incentive package for investors of the hi-tech park. Some of the aggrieved investors, who earlier left the park, have returned to the site with their investment following the board's support. The government should organise workshops with the investors and the investment development authorities to resolve confusion on tax matters.

According to a study, some 408 industries have been getting tax holiday facility uninterruptedly for the last 15-16 years in the country. Due to a dearth of policy guidelines, some of the potential sectors are not getting such facility, while some sectors have been enjoying the same for the last 10 years.

Some think-tanks have proposed to the NBR to cut high tariff protection to the local industries to make the market competitive. The revenue authority is reportedly looking into the issue to see to what extent it can offer protective tariff.

A special secretariat should take the lead in promoting coordination among the relevant organisations, agencies and ministries to implement the government's industrialisation agenda. A strong monitoring and evaluation team can be there to ensure transparency in implementing each component of the laws by the organisations concerned following pre-determined timeframes.

Most enterprises should demonstrate that they have adequate skills to interpret and analyse financial indicators especially in areas of cost accounting and auditing, and recruitment of qualified staff. Enabling environment is also needed to facilitate effective governance including operational autonomy, accountability, corporate culture and incentive-based compensation system. 

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