Prime Minister's Private Industry and Investment Adviser Salman Fazlur Rahman recently attended and spoken at the launching event of the diagnostic report titled "Agile Regulatory Delivery for Improved Investment Competitiveness: Current State and Policy Options" in the capital.
Highlighting the World Bank's recent recognition of Bangladesh as one of the top-20 performers in its upcoming Ease of Doing Business Ranking, the Adviser hoped for better performance in the next year's ranking.
He said, "Despite the fact that we made considerable improvements, the survey of the potential beneficiaries revealed that they did not experience the expected benefits. That is why we now focus on how the public and potential beneficiaries get the advantage in real."
Salman F Rahman also said that the government was extremely serious when it comes to ensuring ease of doing business in the country. "Although the senior officials are perfectly on board, getting the mid and low-level employees to comply with the reforms is the challenge," he said, adding that IFC and the government were planning to hold workshops for mid and low-level bureaucrats to make them adapt to the change.
Rahman revealed that the government was working to the change the Company Act Law and the Bankruptcy Law in order to ensure compatibility with the global standards, thus, making significant improvement in the ease of doing business ranking.
"While amending laws is time-consuming process, we aim to get it done by April 2020, the cut-off date for the next year's ranking," he said. "We hope to make significant improvements after amending the laws" he added.
In response to a question from the audience, Rahman trashed the idea that the investment target set by the government was ambitious. "If ten years ago somebody had told me that we would progress thus far-we would quadruple our budget, triple the GDP, and increase the growth rate to 8.1-I wouldn't have believed it. I also would have called it ambitious."
As for export diversification, Rahman called for bonded warehouse and back-to-back LC facilities to be provided to other sectors. The facilities were responsible for the growth in the garment sector.
He said, "We haven't been able to offer the same facilities, which gave us a tremendous garment sector, to other export-oriented sectors. However, when the government decided to grant tax cuts to the garment sector as per their demands, it also subsequently provided the same facility to other export sectors as well," he said. "So the change is coming."
Senior Secretary of LPAD Mohammad Shahidul Haque, Executive Chairman of BIDA Md Sirazul Islam, Practice Manager of World Bank Roff Behrndt, Head of DFID Bangladesh Ms Judith Herberston, also spoke at the event. Executive Director of PRI Dr Ahsan H Mansur made the welcome remarks while Country Manager of IFC Ms Wendy Werner made the opening remarks.
The authors of the report- Senior Economist of IFC Dr M Mansur Reaz and Senior Private Sector Specialist of IFC Miah Rahmat Ali made the presentation on the report.