Khulna entrepreneurs face hurdles, harassment

Khulna Correspondent
Published : 04:00, Sep 12, 2019 | Updated : 09:41, Sep 12, 2019

JOYEETA FOUNDATION/File PhotoNew entrepreneurs in Khulna are facing harassment due to the lack of assistance from government officials. Budding entrepreneurs are facing hurdles at every step in getting licence or registration and nothing is happening without bribe. As a result, businessmen are losing interest in investment.
Robiul Islam, a businessman, says: “I had the desire to open a plastic factory and the idea was to cut plastic bottles and export overseas; I also got some orders but the Kafkaesque layers of the government system plus the shenanigans of the officials are too much.”
I got the income tax certificate in one day but have been running for seven days to get VAT registration, said Robiul.
Taslima Khatun, a rising entrepreneur, says: “To get licence the procedure is to apply online and when someone goes to the office with the online application’s main copy, officials become more eager to find mistakes in them; but, if an additional fee is paid then all flaws are overlooked.”
Khulna division director of Bangladesh Investment Development Corporation, Pranab Kumar Roy, says: “The government has a special initiative to minimise harassment of new entrepreneurs and once this is implemented, situation will get better.”
Between 25 August and 31 August, registration booths were established at 12 points in the city and 10 districts. From these points, 15879 entrepreneurs got registration, added Pranab.
“All departments will be issued letters to help new entrepreneurs which will facilitate the future process of getting licences.”
Khulna VAT commissioner, Md. Mostaba Ali, observes: “If someone makes a mistake while applying for a VAT registration then s/he has to come to us; if the online application is correct then VAT registration is provided within 3 working days.”
The office once had a help desk but that is not there anymore and sometimes, the mistakes in the papers cannot be rectified, said Ali.
Khulna tax commissioner, Prashanta Kumar Roy, adds: “anyone can get TIN within 5 minutes by applying on-line; for new entrepreneurs, tax certificate is given within a day. If we get complaints of irregularities then steps will be taken immediately.”
For an industry, a new entrepreneur has to take trade licence followed by TIN, income tax certificate, VAT registration, certificate from chamber of commerce, import-export certificate, investment board registration, fire licence and clearance from the department of environment.”
All the formalities take 3 to 6 months to complete; often, bribes need to be paid to accelerate the process along with lobbying.