Bangladesh's progress in business competition is quite commendable. Exports and economic growth have turned out to be enviable in the last ten years.
Over the period, the country has advanced a lot in the infrastructure sector. However, a lack of coordination among government agencies is now quite acute. On the other hand, there is also a shortage of skills.
Bangladesh is not in many regional agreements including D-8 and Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), nor even in the world's most recently signed mega business platform – Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership – (RCEP) which includes two-thirds of the world economies, including China.
Talks on forming such an alliance started in 2012 and reached the culmination last month.
It is a matter of initiative and awareness. The country could be involved in these protocols if it wanted to. If one joins such an agreement, one can stay ahead in competition.
On the other hand, competitors including Vietnam and Cambodia will be ahead of Bangladesh as they are involved in such treaties.
Speaking of the country's internal business environment, there are a lot of good policies here formulated by the bureaucrats.
But implementation is the main problem. However, for the lack of coordination, traders, especially small ones, are being harassed.
Since the pandemic hit, the authorities concerned issued a directive not to realise demurrage from traders at the port, but to no avail.
For two years, the Ministry of Commerce has been taking initiative to control the onion market, but problems remain unsolved even after initiatives are taken.
These are all proof of lack of coordination. This is happening in every field of business.
The regulatory body releases business files, but subordinate officials hold it back. Even if everything is okayed by Bida or Bepza, files remain stuck in NBR.
If these works are done under a single authority, Bangladesh will go ahead in terms of business competition.
Shams Mahmud spoke to Abbas Uddin Noyon over the phone.