DCCI webinar on “Country Competitiveness of Bangladesh: Key Reforms in Doing Business”

Dhaka Chamber of Commerce & Industry (DCCI) organized a webinar titled “Country Competitiveness of Bangladesh: Key Reforms in Doing Business” on April 3, 2021. Private Industry and Investment Adviser to the Prime Minister Salman Fazlur Rahman, MP joined the webinar as the Chief Guest, while Secretary, Law and Justice Division, Md. Golam Sarwar joined as the Special Guest.

In his welcome remark, DCCI President Rizwan Rahman said commercial dispute resolution in Bangladesh usually takes 4 years in Bangladesh. To improve the litigation system, various countries across the world made reforms like changes to the applicable civil procedure or enforcement rules, expanding court automation, electronic payment, automatic assignment of cases to judges, introducing specialized commercial court and expanding ADR framework, he added. He informed that the Global Competitiveness Index (GCI) 2019 ranked Bangladesh 105 and the report also highlighted profound competitiveness deficit in LDCs. He opined that concerned policy makers are to take necessary initiatives in association with private sector for improving country competitiveness. DCCI President mentioned that Commercial disputes can be resolved through mediation if encouraged by the regulators. Moreover, to overcome the transition of economic graduation and achieve the rank of Bangladesh within 100 in Doing business index, improvement of competitiveness is a pre-requisite, he added. Rizwan Rahman also said that the improved competitiveness of Bangladesh will support our investment growth, export diversification and employment growth.

Private Industry and Investment Adviser to the Prime Minister, Salman Fazlur Rahman, M P, said we have to use One Stop Service (OSS) efficiently. At present, 45 services are being offered through the OSS. He also said that we should have policy reforms throughout the taxation system. For more revenue generation, he emphasized on widening tax net. He thanked the NBR for adding 55 thousand new tax payers to the tax net last year and suggested that if the tax net be enlarged, tax rate can be slashed without keeping pressure on the existing tax payers. Regarding Port efficiency, he mentioned that our ports are now more improved. He said Bay terminal, Matarbari deep sea port, 2nd international airport in Cox’s Bazar, railway connectivity with Cox’s Bazar will be operational in the near future. Moreover, ICD Kamalapur will be shifted to Gazipur under PPP initiative, he said. Another bridge over Meghna is also under consideration, he added. Government plans to allocate a dedicated fund for research and development and skills development, said Salman F. Rahman. But, the entire judicial system needs major reforms, he said. We have to resolve the disputes in a faster manner. Still the Mediation and Arbitration system are not being used widely in the country due to not having a standard civil litigation management timeframe. Enforcing Contract is necessary for our improvement in the Doing business index, he also said. He also emphasized on reducing communication gap between stakeholders on legal reforms therefore requested banks, business community and all concerned to circulate the news of any reforms done by the government immediately among the relevant stakeholders.

Secretary, Law and Justice Division Md. Golam Sarwar said for improvement in the doing business index, government has done various reforms already. We should rejuvenate the private sector with proper policy reforms in arbitration, contract enforcement and resolving insolvency related issues. Enforcing contracts and Resolving Insolvency are inter-dependent and to facilitate these we need a pragmatic judicial system. We are going to implement e-judiciary project to foster effective and speedy disposal of cases including commercial disputes. Steps have been taken to amend the existing Insolvency Act 1997, he informed. For effective settlement of commercial disputes, government is planning to establish commercial courts in Dhaka and Chattogram.

Barrister Md. Sameer Sattar presented the keynote paper. He stressed on arbitration, mediation and litigation for speedy dispute resolution. He also urged for amending the Bankruptcy Act. He mentioned that, reducing the period of litigation related to commercial disputes between companies amendment of the Civil Procedure Code (CPC) is badly needed and e-filing of cases, e-payment of court fees, pre-trial electronic case management and cost penalty can be introduced. He also said that resolving insolvency or bankruptcy plays an integral role in the Ease of Doing Business index and we should emphasise on enhancing creditors’ rights and improving the provisions dealing with administration of the debtor’s assets during insolvency proceedings and establish a regulatory framework for professional insolvency practitioners.

General Manager of Foreign Exchange Investment Department, Bangladesh Bank Jagannath Chandra Ghosh, Director of BIDA Jibon Krishna Saha Roy, Representative, JETRO Bangladesh Kazunori Yamada, Chairman and CEO of PRAN-RFL Group Ahsan Khan Chowdhury and Managing Director of Oryx Bio-Tech Limited David Bo also spoke on various pertinent issues and reforms on the occasion as the distinguished discussants.

The discussants highlighte that Bangladesh Bank has done various reforms like profit repatriation of foreign companies, foreign investors of sales proceeds of share up to BDT 10 million, introduction of international factoring in Bangladesh. For these reasons, which may positively impact on next review of Doing Business index of Bangladesh. Still there are rooms for improvement in the VAT system, port capacity, bond capacity and customs procedures and existing documentation process. They also urged for reforms of Law, improving land border facilities, efficient banking system. Asif Ibrahim, Chairman, Chittagong Stock Exchange Ltd. said government, private sector and bureaucracy should positively and collectively work to do better in the doing business index. He said we need to arrange more public-private dialogues. Inter-ministerial collaboration is also important, he said.

Abul Kasem Khan, Chairman, BUILD said that reforms should be fast track. Bangladesh has now a window of opportunities to avail, and if we miss it, someone will grab it then. He also stressed to use our dynamic labour force as an added advantage. He also urged for tax and audit system related policy reforms. Terming SEZs could be a game changer, he urged for a comprehensive SEZ policy.

N K A Mobin, FCS, FCA, Senior Vice President, DCCI gave the vote of thanks

Published on: 2021-04-03

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