Law asks four government agencies to bring 150 types of services for investors under one roof
The Bangladesh Economic Zone Authority (Beza), at its second board meeting in 2015, decided to provide more than 150 services to investors through a one-stop service centre, on behalf of different ministries and divisions. But the centre is yet to start a full-fledged operation, even after five years.
Other three bodies, the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (Bida), the Bangladesh Export Processing Zone Authority (Bepza) and the Bangladesh Hi-Tech Park Authority (BHTPA) also failed to introduce a complete one-stop service centre within 20 months of the making of the law.
One-Stop Service Act of 2018 allowed government agencies to immediately introduce one-stop service centres. But Beza introduced one-stop service centre on a trial basis, while the other three agencies started providing some services online.
One-stop service centre remains issues of discussion of the responsible bodies.
Starting and doing businesses are now, in large measure, cost-consuming. Plus, the investors need to get several documents approved from different ministries, divisions and agencies, said entrepreneurs and investors.
Md Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin, the former president of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industries, told The Business Standard that the four agencies failed to implement government's plan on one-stop service centres.
Cost of doing business will never go down without having proper one-stop service centres, and inflow of foreign direct investment will not rise as a result, Shafiul explained.
To start and do businesses in economic zones, investors require 150 types of services of different agencies, where Beza can provide only 37 of them, said the officials of the agency.
Beza also provides 11 services like project registration and clearance, visa assistance and recommendation, import and export permit, permission for local sale and purchase, import and export of sample; and work permit for foreign workers.
Despite making several announcements, Beza failed to launch its one-stop service centre.
The centre was supposed to open on September 29, when prime minister's Private Investment Adviser Salman F Rahman was invited as the chief guest of the opening ceremony.
Complete one-stop service centre could save time and cost of the entrepreneurs, said Beza Executive Chairman Paban Chowdhury.
Beza's pilot basis one-stop service centre will soon start complete operation, Paban informed.
The BHTPA identified 148 services for its one-stop service centre, but only seven services are being provided online now after the introduction of One Stop Service Rules (BHTPA) 2019.
The agency is now providing project registration, project clearance, land allotment, space allotment, work permit, visa support and recommendation service for investors, informed the BHTPA officials.
Bida is providing 18 types of services online with the support of a private firm, while it is giving 14 services on its own.
Now one-stop service centre of the agency is providing four services on the National Board of Revenue and the Registrar of Joint Stock of Companies' behalf, said Assistant Director (OSS) to Bida Abu Zer Gifary
Tamal Gifary adding that three more services will be included after an agreement with three city corporations of Dhaka and Chattogram is reached.
30 more services will also be added to the centre at the second -phase and another 50 at the third-phase, Gifary elaborated.