Published in The Independent on Monday, 25 September 2017
Attracting local, foreign investment
One stop service on cards
The ‘One-Stop Services Bill, 2017’, which has already been placed in Parliament, is expected to attract local and foreign investment in a big way after its enactment.
The executive chairman of the Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (BEZA), Paban Chowdhury, told The Independent that the government agencies concerned would have to offer mandatory services to make investments easier.
The rules will be framed and sent to the law ministry after the enactment of the law, he said. “We’ve prepared an investment tool graph to show how projects are to be implemented in future,” he added.
On the coordination of all departments, Chowdhury said “Before formation of this service an entrepreneur had to get approval from the different ministries before making an investment. The one stop service will cover all the services provided by 17 ministries”
The focal points and institutional arrangements should be made by integrating services of all 17 ministries, he added.
According to the BEZA officials, the One-Stop Services initiative would house 17 ministries/government departments under a single umbrella to ease foreign investments in the country and boost economic development.
Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) research director Dr Khondaker Golam Moazzem told The Independent that the move was a “positive change” to increase investment in Bangladesh. It was the first step being taken by keeping the investor’s perspective in mind, he said.
Explaining the benefits of the move, Moazzem said transaction costs would be much lower if all the 16 common services are provided at one point. All the ministries and government offices must work together to offer investors all the 16 services effectively and efficiently, he added.
CPD research fellow Towfiqul Islam Khan said a strong institutional framework would be required to implement this law by keeping the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) at the core.
According to the BEZA, some 27 types of services, including 16 common ones like trade license, visa assistance, electricity, gas, and water and telephone services, would be provided by the proposed body to reduce the problems investors face.
“We need an automation business model, which is fully virtual-based. One-Stop Service (OSS) is an investment mechanism solution where relevant government agencies are brought to a single location. Therefore, OSS is not a place that physically provides services to the people. It is a web-based portal that includes a cloud-based website, which an investor can access from anywhere in the world,” said a BEZA official.
According to the World Bank, the OSS Virtual Model 2 was the best business model in the world at present. It shortens and simplifies administrative procedures and guidelines for issuance of business approvals, permits and licenses, thereby removing bottlenecks faced by investors in establishing and running businesses.
BEZA officials said the OSS initiative would house 17 ministries/government departments under a single umbrella to ease foreign investments in the country and boost economic development.
Under the proposed law, a central One-Stop Service authority will consist of the Bangladesh Export Processing Zone Authority (BEPZA), Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA), Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (BEZA) and Bangladesh High-tech Park authority, which will function by coordinating among themselves.