Businessmen in Barishal continue to face problems due to an absence of customs, VAT and electricity offices in the city.
They said industrialisation as well as business activities are greatly hampered as they frequently have to rush to Khulna to settle issues concerning VAT, customs and power.
"We want all the services under one umbrella to grow our businesses," said Jalil Mahmud, deputy general manager of Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation (BSCIC), Barishal.
He said VAT and customs offices must be close to manufacturing hubs, otherwise businesses cannot run smoothly.
"I set up a shipyard on the bank of Kirtonkhola in Nalchity under Jhalokati. This requires steel sheets, which are imported via either Chattogram or Mongla Port – which hikes transportation costs," said Md Nijamuddin, owner of Nijam Shipping.
"If there were a customs office in Barishal, I could settle customs issues very easily and it would be cost-effective," he added.
Mizanur Rahman, chairman of Fortune Group, echoed Nijam.
"I go to Khulna on a regular basis to deal with a myriad of customs and VAT issues. If the office were here, I could easily avail myself of the required services," he said.
Barishal Chamber of Commerce and Industries president Saidur Rahman Rintu described VAT and customs as vital for businesses to grow – without which the economy could not flourish.
Further, the city's businessmen demanded that a regional electricity office be set up in Barishal to facilitate an uninterrupted power supply to factories.