The Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (Bida) has added 14 new services to its One Stop Service (OSS) portal with an aim to ease the process of providing services to investors.
Inaugurated on Thursday afternoon, 12 of the new services are from the Department of Environment, one from the Registrar of Joint Stock Companies and Firms, and one from Bida.
"Addition of 12 new services of the Environment Department to the OSS portal will make it easier for investors to avail the services. The Environment Conservation Act 1997 mentions a fixed time frame for processing environmental clearance for an industrial enterprise or project," said Environment, Forest and Climate Change Minister Shahab Uddin after inaugurating the services virtually as the chief guest.
He said the existing timeframe for granting clearances to industrial organisations, or any development project, under the One Stop Service Centre and Ease of Doing Business has been shortened by the environment ministry as per a proposal of Bida.
The minister said in order to provide one stop service to the investors as well as to ease the process of issuing clearances, the Department of Environment, with its limited manpower, is continuing its activities in a timely manner.
"The department is in the process of amending the Environment Conservation Act by changing the classification of various industries and projects to facilitate the environmental clearance process. In order to ease service providing, LPG bottling plants, organic fertiliser, ice factories, solar power plants with generating capacity from 50KW to 1MW, CNG/auto gas filling stations have been included in the green category," he added.
The minister said considering warehouses as unclassified, the Ministry of Environment has issued a circular stating that environmental clearance is not needed for construction of warehouses. According to the circular, construction of commercial and industrial warehouses that are not multi-storey buildings, has already been exempted from obtaining environmental clearance.
"So far environmental impact assessment reports of 14 government and 13 private economic zone projects have been approved and no application of any economic zone project is pending with the Department of Environment. Focal points of the Environment Department have been fixed for Bida. At the same time, the focal point of the Environment Department for one-stop service has already been sent to Bida," he said.
"The Department of Environment is currently accepting applications for clearances of all kinds of industries and projects online and environmental clearances of industries under Green and Orange-Ka categories are being disposed of online on an experimental basis.
"Moreover, initiative has been undertaken to accept applications online for all types of sample tests at Environment Department's laboratory in the capital and also to provide the results of the sample tests online."
Bida Executive Chairman Sirajul Islam presided over the meeting while Secretary to Commerce Ministry Zafar Uddin and Secretary to Environment, Forests and Climate Change Ministry Ziaul Hasan attended as special guests.
Bida Executive Chairman Sirajul Islam said, "We are now hoping for something better in the future. Already our economy is enviable in the Asia Pacific region. But the public and private sectors have to work in coordination to make our economy more thriving."
Chattogram Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Mahbub Alam, Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Shams Mahmud, FBCCI Vice President Siddiqur Rahman, Country Manager of Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal of International Finance Corporation Wendy Warner, Registrar of Joint Stock Companies and Firms register Maqbool Hossain, Department of Environment Director General Dr AKM Rafiq Ahmed, among others, attended the programme.
Bida has been providing 21 services through the OSS so far. It is working to provide 154 services in the near future to 35 organisations.