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Bangladesh: Business Scenario

Updated on May 4, 2013
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Doing a business in Bangladesh is not that easy but highly rewarding as the profit margin is very large here. But there are scopes of improvement. The existing companies and newly groomed businessmen are quite dynamic and holds massive prospect. They just need the right guidelines, policies and stable situation to become big.

It is high time for the Bangladesh government to focus on improving the business and investment climate so that existing companies can expand and new companies can explore opportunities. Currently, the hostile investment climate is repelling both local and foreign investors from investing in various industries of the country. Even the speaker of the parliament has raised this issue in a recent parliamentary session.

It is the government’s responsibility to create a better business environment. The unstable political environment resulting in frequent hartals, garments workers striking every now and then, energy crisis and the bar on new electricity and gas connections in new industries are also making Bangladeshi businessmen and companies hesitant about investing in new ventures.

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Many local companies are now on a slow gear and are hesitant to invest in new projects. There are about 7.6 million Bangladeshi expatriates scattered across the world. Most of them have been looking for an opportunity to invest in the country. But many complain that they have not got any proper cooperation or guideline on how to start a business or invest in a business. Economists have suggested that a government agency should be established under the National Bureau of Revenue dedicated only for the non-resident Bangladeshis so that they can know how to invest in our industries. That agency can provide them with a proper guideline and inform them about the exact procedure on how to invest in Bangladesh.

The government and trade bodies have to ensure the followings in order to ensure more investment in the country:

1. Less if not nil number of strikes, shutdown in a year.
2. Proper gas and power connection.
3. Investment friendly regulations.

It is true that Bangladeshi businessmen have been facing these obstacles since the independence of the country. Event than many people emerged as great businessmen over the years. If the conditions were good throughout, many more could have been in the scene today.

Top five businessmen of Bangladesh

Jahurul Islam - Jahurul Islam is one of the pioneers of the business sector of Bangladesh. He was born in a financially solvent family on August 1st in the year 1928. He was the founder of Islam Group, one of the largest companies of Bangladesh. He has created the believe among early Bangladeshi entrepreneurs that they can achieve something big. With his innovativeness and dedication, he became number one business personality of the country. He created a company that was no match to others. His Islam Group was leading all the businesses of the country. Till today, Jahurul Islam is considered as one of the most hardworking, honest, caring, passionate and confident businessmen Bangladesh has ever seen.

Samson H Chowdhury- Samson H Chowdhury was one of the greatest entrepreneurs of Bangladesh. He was born in 1925 and died in 2012. This great man was just not known for his business skills but he was also renowned for his kind hearted charity work. He was the chairman of Astras Limited and Square Group. Samson H Chowdhury started Square Group with three of his friends back in 1958 and named the company Square because of having four founders. Currently, the company has employed over 28,000 people. Samson H Chowdhury was the vice president of the Baptist World Alliance and later, President of the same organization. He also served in other Baptists organizations as the leader. Mr. Samson H Chowdhury was also known for his undying patriotism.

Latifur Rahman - Latifur Rahman is the Chairman and Managing Director of one of the leading companies of Bangladesh named Transcom Group of Companies. He was born on 28th August, 1945. Transcom Group of Companies includes Transcom Beverage and Transcom Foods limited. This company introduced international food chains such as Kentucky Fried Chicken and Pizza Hut and the globally popular beverage Pepsi in Bangladesh. Latifur Rahman is the current vice president of International Chamber of Commerce-Bangladesh and one of the governing body members of the NGO- BRAC. He served as the president of Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industries. Latifur Rahman won the “Business Executive of the Year 2001” given by the American Chamber of Commerce in Bangladesh.

Abul Matlub Ahamed - Another great businessman of Bangladesh is Abul Matlub Ahamed. He is the Chairman of Nitol-Niloy Group of Companies. The company was established back in 1982 and currently the numbers of employees they have are over 1500. They are the sole distributor of TATA vehicles in Bangladesh. Abul Matlub Ahamed is a brilliant businessman which is why he has been a member of several government level business delegation teams. He accompanied the Prime Minister of Bangladesh several times on multiple international entourages. Abul Matlub Ahamed was born in 1952.

Salman F Rahman - Salman F Rahman remains one of the top entrepreneurs of Bangladesh. His dynamic visions and strategies has lifted the country’s trade and business by miles. Salman F Rahman is the co-owner of Beximco Group and Chairman of IFIC Bank Ltd. He is also Vice Chairman of Shinepukur Ceramics that is a leading company in its sector and Beximco Pharmaceuticals. His contribution in the economic growth of Bangladesh is uncountable. Apart from being a brilliant businessman, Salman F Rahman is also known for his social work and philanthropic approach. He is a sports enthusiast and he has worked a lot for the prosperity of sports in Bangladesh.

Few important questions on doing business in Bangladesh

What is the requirement to start an import-export business in Bangladesh?

According to the latest survey made by ‘Doing Business’, it requires 6 official documents, about 25 days and US$965 to export a standard size container of goods from Bangladesh. Importing requires 8 documents, almost a month and US$1370. ‘Doing Business’ said that considering the surrounding countries’ rankings, process of starting a business in Bangladesh is actually quite easy.

Is it possible to resolve commercial dispute by legal means?

Yes it is possible. Enforcing a contract needs 41 bureaucratic procedures and 1442 days.

How fast is the insolvency procedure in Bangladesh?

According to ‘Doing Business’, solving insolvency problems in Bangladesh takes about 2 years and the average recovery rate is 25.8 cent per dollar. Bangladesh holds the 107th place on the easiness of resolving insolvency. It shows that the insolvency procedure in Bangladesh is actually efficient enough compared to other developing countries.

How much do the companies pay in taxes?

A company pays 21% in taxes on average. Bangladesh is ranked as the 100th country when it comes to the easiness of paying taxes.

Potential sectors for investment

Cables

Frozen foods

Tea

ICT

Ship building

Textiles

Garments

Agribusiness

Electronics

investing in these sectors will surely means profit as Bangladesh is heading to become an economically strong country.


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