Twenty-three per cent of the companies observed no policy reform despite expanding their investments by Tk17 lakh on an average, the survey found.
Compared to India and Vietnam, Bangladesh’s performance in cross-border trading, time to export-border and documentary compliance, cost of export, time to import, cost to import, enabling trade index, trade freedom and openness is remarkably poor, according to a study conducted by Dhaka-based Policy Research Institution (PRI) late last year.
Small-scale exporters in Bangladesh raised their investments by around 50 per cent, or Tk1.2 crore on an average, and hired 79 new employees because of government measures targeted at facilitating trade, it found.
The measures primarily include simplified trade and customs procedure, reduced trade regulatory cost and digitalisation and online services, said the study, which found a strong positive correlation with trade facilitation and investment.
At a recent roundtable in Dhaka, however, many businessmen said the field levels in many cases are not reflecting enough on the trade facilitation by top policymakers.
Fazlul Hoque, a former president of the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA), blamed Dhaka Customs House for frequently missing foreign orders.
Asif Ibrahim, a readymade garment exporter and former president of the Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI), said customs officials often do not clear imported raw materials due to bonded warehouse HS code issues, and as a result, the shipment deadline are missed or costlier air cargo is opted for, according to a report in a Bangladesh English-language daily.
Agreeing to some of the hassles businessmen are facing, private industry and investment adviser to the prime minister Salman F Rahman said at a time when the fashion industry is rapidly changing, if a new kind of raw material or accessory sample arrives at the port, customs officials refuse to clear it as it is not on the bond licence list.
Fibre2Fashion News Desk (DS)