Importers and exporters will get accelerated port customs clearance by 2021, when formalities will be completed four times faster than they are now.
The government will reduce the time needed for completing customs formalities for imported goods from the existing eight days to two days, and that for export goods from five days to one day.
The government has taken up a project titled 'National Single Window' to be implemented by the National Board of Revenue (NBR) to facilitate faster trade.
Project Director Khondaker Mohammad Aminur Rahman, who is also an NBR member for customs audit and international trade, made the announcement on Sunday at a workshop in Habiganj.
The International Finance Corporation (IFC) organised the programme titled "Visioning Workshop" at a district hotel.
The NBR is implementing the project with the support of the Bangladesh Investment Climate Fund.
The project, which will cost around $74.1 million, was scheduled to be completed by December 2020, but will be extended to 2021.
The NBR says that 3.19 lakh importers and exporters are expected to benefit from the reduced time and costs once the system becomes operational.
Project Director Aminur Rahman said Bangladesh will be a lucrative destination for investors if the cost and time of doing business is reduced.
"A study found that the time required to complete customs formalities at ports is unsatisfactory," he said.
"If such a situation continues, Bangladesh will lose the race in the global market," he added.
The government plans to bring down the 'ease of doing business' indicators to two digits, he said.
Relevant laws will be enacted so that other entities can deliver their respective services to the National Single Window, he added.
Speaking at the workshop through videoconference, Md Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan, the chairman of the National Board of Revenue, said all services related to export and import will be provided from an online platform.
He said all trade portals will be interconnected through the National Single Window.
He also said that a guideline will be prepared to implement the system. "A trader can use it as a single platform."
Thirty-nine agencies, both public and private, will be interconnected through the portal to deliver speedy services to exporters and importers.
The NBR signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the agencies in August 2018.
Exporters and importers will have to submit relevant documents only once to the National Single Window platform instead of submitting sets of the same to various agencies, including the prime minister's office, different ministries, Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry and the like.
National Board of Revenue member for VAT audit and intelligence Masud Sadiq and the IFC private sector specialist Nusrat Nahid Babi also spoke at the programme.