Business leaders have demanded removing the existing bottlenecks in the business environment related to customs and tax, in order to help boost both domestic and foreign investment in the country.
The bottlenecks not only impact the domestic investment environment but also discourage foreign investment in the country as the foreign investors always query about the domestic business environment before taking their decision, they observed.
The demand and observation were made during a luncheon meeting of American Chamber of Commerce in Bangladesh (AmCham) at a city hotel on Sunday.
Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) Executive Chairman Lokman Hossain Miah attended the event as the guest of honour.
AmCham President Syed Ershad Ahmed and Vice President Syed Mohammad Kamal spoke on the occasion when executive committee members, executive director, former presidents, foreign dignitaries and business leaders, among others, were present.
The business leaders sought intervention of BIDA to remove these longstanding bottlenecks by giving special focus on customs and tax related issues.
It takes six months to settle down business-related issues here in Bangladesh whereas it takes only a few weeks in other developing countries, including Vietnam, they added.
However, BIDA executive chairman claimed that despite some limitations, the business environment in the country has improved.
Commitment of investment worth US$ 4-6 billion has been waiting, he said, adding that the government, however, gives first priority to the old businesses.
Good governance and positive attitude are important for improving the business environment, said the BIDA executive chairman, putting emphasis on much-needed research for finding and recognising important issues to create a better environment.
Economist M Masrur Reaz highlighted the BIDA's upcoming global event in March saying that more than 200 foreign businesses are expected to attend the international summit.
The event would create opportunities for the government, policy makers, political and business leaders to discuss various issues on the business atmosphere and to find ways on how to improve it, he added. AmCham president said the government has formulated various favourable policies and business-friendly rules for attracting the FDI.
He, however, alleged that the execution of those policies and rules is still on paper due to a gap in various stages.
"Good policies on paper and verbal assurance of support by the policymaker will not allure foreign investors," he added, urging the government to simplify the process of setting up an ideal business climate by reducing bureaucracy, providing stable and predictable regulatory environment, and ensuring hassle-free automated revenue collection process.
He also focused on maintaining political stability and increasing easy access to finance for a business-friendly environment.Former NBR Chairman Dr Mohammad Abdul Mazid urged the BIDA to put emphasis on the fundamental states of domestic investment.
Enabling environment for FDIs deserves addressing issues like human resources development, share market, industry, malnutrition stage of population, etc., he added.
Mainuddin Momen, managing director of Abdul Momen Limited, highlighted the complexity in getting land for establishing businesses in the country.
He underscored the need for simplifying the land management system in the country. Former president of BASIS Almas Kabir also spoke on the occasion.