Vol. 5 Num 1022 Tue. April 17, 2007  

Free admin from graft to boost private sector business
Finance adviser tells workshop

The finance adviser has emphasised keeping the administrative machinery free from corruption to create an environment conducive to business of the private sector.

"The administration should emerge as the service provider of the people," A B Mirza Azizul Islam told a workshop in Dhaka yesterday addressing its opening session in the morning as the chief guest.

The Local Consultative Group's Private Sector Development (PSD) organised the workshop on Private Sector Development: Partnerships for the Future. The workshop also marked the launching reports on 'private sector development donor mapping 2006'.

Mirza Aziz said partnership is a role to be played by the state, rather than a regulatory and monitoring role.

The adviser reminded the private sector entrepreneurs of some responsibilities that include reaping benefits from globalisation through innovative ways, discharging corporate social responsibilities and making themselves aware of basic corporate ethics.

He, however, said, "Maintaining law and order situation, providing time bound incentives, ensuring macro economic stability are the areas which the government should look into."

Manoj Basnyat, UNDP country director, Elizabeth Carriere, head of Agency, DFID, and Richard Boulter of DFID attended the inaugural session.

Echoing the finance adviser's content, Energy Adviser Tapan Chowdhury, who spoke in the concluding session, said corruption still remains an obstacle to the development of the private sector.

Japanese Ambassador in Dhaka Masayuki Inoue and German Ambassador Frank Meyke also spoke.

The energy adviser also identified inadequate quality services, poor infrastructure and less access to financing as the major challenges being faced by the private sector.

German Ambassador Frank Meyke made an assurance that the EU and Germany would help hold the next general election here.

The workshop followed five separate break-out group sessions where participants summed up a set of recommendations which included ensuring good governance and enabling business environment through elimination of corruption.

In the first session titled 'Business Enabling Environment' chaired by Syed Akhtar Mahmood of IFC, Latifur Rahman, president, Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Hossain Khaled, president, Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Nazrul Islam, executive chairman, Board of Investment, were the key discussants.

The group also suggested enhancement of administrative capacity, ensuring an enabling environment for workers and more rural investment.

The group recommended reduction in discretionary power of the tax officials, removal of anomalies and developing infrastructures such as port and electricity and streamlining the government decision-making process.

The small and medium enterprises group led by Rokia Afzal Rahman, president of Women Entrepreneurs Association, Bangladesh, suggested harmonisation of the SME definition and speedy implementation of the SME policy.

It also recommended for providing incentives to the SMEs.

Three others sessions on Corporate Social Responsibility, Trade and Finance were also held at the workshop.

Finance Adviser AB Mirza Azizul Islam speaks at the inaugural session of a workshop on 'Private Sector Development: Partnerships for the Future' in Dhaka yesterday. PHOTO: STAR