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PM Sheikh Hasina presides over a cabinet meeting.

BoI, Privatisation Comm merger bill gets cabinet nod

WT24 Desk
The process to merge the Board of Investment and the Privatisation Commission by setting up a new authority has gathered pace as the Cabinet on Monday approved the draft of the ‘Bangladesh Investment Development Authority Bill 2015’ in this regard.
The approval was given at the regular weekly meeting of the Cabinet held at Bangladesh Secretariat with prime minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair, reports United News of Bnagladesh.
Briefing reporters after the meeting, cabinet secretary M Musharraf Hossain Bhuiyan said once the proposed law comes into effect, a new authority, titled ‘Bangladesh Investment Development Authority’, will be set up abolishing together the BoI and the privatization commission.
According to the draft law, all the officials and employees working under BoI and privatisation commission would be posted under the investment authority as they will not lose their jobs, he said.
Besides, all the assets and liabilities of the BoI and the privatization commission would also be owned by the Bangladesh investment development authority or BIDA.
About the structure of the new Authority, the cabinet secretary said the 17-member governing board of the Bangladesh investment development authority would be headed by the prime minister with finance minister as its vice chairman. Ministers of the ministries concerned like commerce, industries, energy, power and mineral resources, textiles and jute and planning will be members of the board.
The BIDA chief executive officer will be its executive chairman who will also be a member of its governing board. Under the executive committee of the authority, there will be maximum six members apart from the executive chairman to be appointed by the government.
Under the proposed law, the authority will conduct registration of the industries to be set up in the private sector and the foreign trade liaison branch offices for making investment in the country.
Meanwhile, investment proposals under BEPZA, BEZA, private EPZ, BSCIC, Hi Tech parks will remain outside BIDA’s purview.
Musharraf Hossain said the government wants to ensure more efficient use of unused lands and industries under the public sector since selling those in private sector were not such profitable due to unavailability of fair price and some other matters.
He said BIDA will determine import settlement and issue NOC, could declare a certain area as industrial zone through gazette notification and help the authorities concerned in land acquisition, work for ensuring efficient use of land, would make list of unused land and structures and thus frame a policy for its utilization, frame a guideline for allotting and transferring plots, form one-stop service ensuring committee for making more effective the one-stop service delivery.
The cabinet secretary said the BoI has been functioning under the BoI Act of 1989 with a current manpower of 293, while the privatisation commission formed earlier as a board in 1993 and later turned into a commission in 2000 through the privatization Act, 2000 has a current manpower of 70.
Since its inception, the performance of the privatization commission is not up to the mark as so far some 58 non-profit state owner enterprises (SoEs) have been privatized while some 23 SoEs have offloaded their shares, the cabinet secretary said.
In the last four years, the commission has been able to privatise one SoE, while one SoE offloaded its shares.
Replying to a question, Musharraf said investment is rising in the country despite various allegations against the BoI but this Authority is going to be formed to further expedite investment.
He said this BIDA will be an improved version of the BoI with nearly 363.
The cabinet also approved a proposal for transferring fund allocated by the government for meeting salaries, allowances and other related expenditures of the officers and employees of the offices transferred to upazila parishad under the Upazila Parishad Act 1998.
The cabinet secretary said the initiative has been taken as part of the government’s efforts to further ensure accountability in the offices as it believes in empowerment of people.
He said the move will also enhance the accountability of the public servants of the transferred offices to upazila parishad.
Ministers and state ministers, and secretaries were present at the meeting.

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