The esteemed Government of Bangladesh, in a commendable display of progress, has enacted the One Stop Service Act 2018 (hereinafter referred to as “OSS”) with the noble objective of facilitating the establishment and operation of businesses within the borders of Bangladesh, thereby simplifying the process for potential investors.
What is one stop service :
Pursuant to the elucidation of One Stop Service as stipulated in Section 2 (2) of the aforementioned Act, it is duly noted that a comprehensive enumeration of approximately 37-38 services has been meticulously delineated within Schedule-B of the aforementioned legislative instrument.
The aforementioned services shall be rendered by either the Central or Regional OSS centres. According to the provisions of the law, it is stipulated that there exist four duly acknowledged entities that possess the requisite authority to furnish the services as delineated within the aforementioned act, thereby functioning as comprehensive service providers.
Who provides it for One Stop Service :
The aforementioned Central of Regional one stop services centres duly provide the aforementioned service. Pursuant to the delineation of the Central One Stop Service Centre, it is evident that there exist four duly qualified organizations that possess the requisite capacity to furnish all the services encompassed within the Schedule-B of said Centre.
The aforementioned entities consist of the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA), the Bangladesh Economic Zone Authority (BEZA), the Bangladesh Export Processing Zone Authority (BEPZA), and the Bangladesh Hi-Tech Park Authority.
It is hereby stipulated that both the Central and Regional OSS shall duly appoint an officer who shall bear the responsibility for the oversight and management of the respective OSS. In accordance with legal terminology, the aforementioned individual is commonly referred to as the ‘focal point’.
There have been established, at minimum, two Open Source Software (OSS) centers, specifically one at the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) and another at the Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (BEZA).
Central and Regional One Stop Service :
The Central Office of Strategic Services comprises the aforementioned quartet of organizations. The Regional Operational Support Structures (OSS), as stipulated, shall be duly established under the auspices of the four aforementioned organizations, primarily in strategic locales within the vicinity of Bangladesh, and exclusively in areas where the four organizations have already established their respective offices.
According to the available information, it appears that BEZA may have established multiple office locations throughout the country of Bangladesh, specifically in areas designated as economic zones. The aforementioned four organizations shall duly submit a proposal to the government, requesting the establishment of a Regional OSS.
Subsequently, the government shall undertake a thorough examination of said proposal and, upon due deliberation, proceed with the establishment of said Regional OSS by means of an official gazette publication.
Standard Operating Procedures of One Stop Service:
Pursuant to the provisions set forth in the OSS Act 2018, the Government has duly promulgated a comprehensive set of Rules, specifically denominated as the One Stop Service (Bangladesh Economic Zone Authority) Rules 2018.
The aforementioned regulations shall be deemed applicable to the submission of applications to the Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (BEZA), as well as to investors who are engaging in investments within any of the numerous economic zones established by the Government of Bangladesh, and further authorized by BEZA to operate within the private sector.
As per the provisions outlined in the Rules, it is mandated that all services rendered under the Open Source Software (OSS) shall be provided in strict accordance with the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). According to the explicit provisions outlined in Section 9 of the Rules.
it is unequivocally stated that the Focal Point is strictly obligated to adhere to the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). Furthermore, the Focal Point is required to diligently fulfill assigned tasks and deliver services within the specified timeframe as prescribed by the rules and as delineated in the schedule pertaining to each respective service.
This represents a significant advancement and a positive progression. This provision shall guarantee the methodical management of the application process, devoid of any human involvement or subjective judgment. Furthermore, it shall enable the investor to obtain permits, clearances, and similar authorizations promptly and efficiently.
The aforementioned circumstances shall have a substantial effect on the ease of doing business index, thereby propelling Bangladesh to a superior position relative to its counterparts. Furthermore, it shall serve as a notable relief for prospective investors.
In addition to BEZA, it is imperative that other organizations implement Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to effectively eradicate any potential for human discretion throughout the process. This is a crucial factor in establishing the necessary environment to successfully allure foreign investment.
Establishment of an Online Portal for OSS :
As per the stipulations set forth in the Rules, it is incumbent upon BEZA to duly establish an OSS portal within the prescribed timeframe, with the primary objective of expediting automation processes. Upon the establishment of the website, it shall be made possible for any investor to make an application for the services listed therein via the designated portal.
Said application shall be deemed complete upon the submission of pertinent documents directly onto the OSS portal. Notwithstanding, it is to be duly noted that BIDA currently maintains an operational online portal.
Applying for One Stop Service:
Pursuant to Section 6 of the aforementioned act, it is incumbent upon investors to submit an application to any one of the Central OSS in order to avail themselves of the OSS. The aforementioned application shall be subjected to thorough consideration during a duly convened committee meeting.
Subsequent to the approval thereof, it is imperative that the Open Source Software (OSS) be promptly furnished as per the prescribed timeline. Pursuant to the provisions of the law, it is stipulated that with the exception of the Central and Regional OSS, the investor is not required to submit applications to any other department for the acquisition of all necessary permits, licenses, clearances, and similar services.
Accountability of One Stop Service:
The legal framework encompasses a comprehensive mechanism for the supervision and regulation of the Open Source Software One Stop Service system. Pursuant to the legal provisions, a committee has been duly mandated, with the honorable Minister serving as its esteemed head. The Central and Regional Offices of the OSS are legally bound to furnish quarterly reports pertaining to the advancement made.
Pursuant to Section 9, it is stipulated that in the event that a Focal Point (hereinafter referred to as the “authorised person”) fails to render any service within the prescribed time frame, said authorised person shall be subject to referral back to the employing organization. Pursuant to the regulations of the aforementioned organization, expeditious measures shall be undertaken against the aforementioned official.
Overall Impact of One Stop Service:
In advance of the present enactment, each of the aforementioned four organizations solely engaged in the provision of liaison services, facilitating communication between the numerous government departments tasked with the issuance of permits, licenses, and clearances for international investors.
This legislation introduces a fundamental change in the approach by which businesses seeking to enter Bangladesh can efficiently and predictably commence operations in the country.
It establishes a streamlined process whereby businesses need only engage with one of the four designated entities, namely Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA), Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (BEZA), Bangladesh Export Processing Zone Authority (BEPZA), or Bangladesh Hi Tech Part Authority (BHPA). This action will contribute to the advancement of Bangladesh’s position in the ease of doing business ranking as well.