Bangladesh must improve the environment of doing business to become a middle income country by 2021, said Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) Executive Chairman Md Sirazul Islam on Sunday.
He added that the country should take the World Bank's ease of doing business index ranking to double digits from the existing 168.
The index ranks economies from 1 to 190, with the top ranked country being the best. A higher rank, indicated by a lower numerical value, means that the regulatory environment in that country is favourable for businesses.
Addressing the second meeting of the Chattogram Divisional Investment and Business Development Assistance Committee, Sirazul Islam said, "BIDA has formed an 'ease of doing business team' to work on 11 indicators. We also formed three sub-teams over the matter.
"We have trained officers to help improve the ease of doing business ranking. They are now working on various technical issues in government agencies, ministries, Dhaka and Chattogram city corporations, RAJUK (Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha), and the Chattogram Development Authority."
Emphasising that these officers are trying to improve the 11 indicators, Sirazul Islam said, "We are giving high priority to improving the index ranking because it showcases the investment environment of doing business in a country.
"BIDA is trying to ease the process of starting up a business and providing related services within the shortest possible time. We are providing registrations to investors within one day."
The executive chairman also urged organisations such as the Chattogram port, Chattogram Development Authority and Chattogram City Corporation to streamline their services for businessmen and investors.
Sirazul Islam has asked the Chattogram port authority to figure out a way of reducing the lead time of container and cargo delivery from the port.
He said, "Foreign investors are serious about their time. So, if we manage to reduce the lead time in the port, Bangladesh will become more attractive to them. Which in turn will help the country improve its ease of doing business ranking."
Discussing the importance of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), the BIDA executive chairman said, "We are trying to provide a good environment for increasing FDI. Investors always seek monetary security while investing.
"But many of them lose interest because of various irregularities such as extortion. We are making an effort to resolve such issues."
Admitting that increasing foreign investments is a challenging job, Sirazul Islam said, "Some sections of the Companies Act and the Arbitration Act need amendment. The ease of doing business in Bangladesh will improve if such issues are resolved. However, the process is long and we need more time to work on it.
"Foreign investment is currently less than the local investment in Bangladesh. We will not be able to achieve the status of a middle income country by 2021 and a developed country by 2041 if we fail to bring in more FDI."
The Chattogram Divisional Investment and Business Development Assistance Committee was formed to attract local and foreign investment in the private sector, to assist in investment and to develop the environment of investment.
The meeting was presided over by Chattogram Divisional Commissioner Abdul Mannan, while Additional Divisional Commissioner (general) Shankar Ranjan Saha, Additional Divisional Commissioner (development) Nurul Alam Nizami and Bangladesh Shop Owners' Samity President Saleh Ahmed Suleiman were present, among many others.