BIDA’s services are available for both domestic and foreign investments at any location outside the jurisdiction of other investment authorities (BEZA, BEPZA, PPPA, BHTPA, BSCIC). BIDA also provides policy advocacy for national investment development.
There are five (5) other investment promotion agencies in Bangladesh, namely:
BIDA’s functions are broadly categorized into:
BIDA provides the following services to investors:
BIDA is the apex investment promotion agency of Bangladesh and was formed in 2016 under the BIDA Act, 2016 to promote and facilitate local and foreign private sector investment.
Bangladesh, in general, is open to foreign investment, following non-discrimination principle, where 100% foreign ownership is permitted in the majority of sectors. However, local ownership is required for limited cases including freight/ cargo forwarding agent, airline/ railway/ general or pre-shipment service cargo agent, shipping agent, courier services agent, buying house and indenting agent, advertising agent and for profit/ commercial education institution.
National Industry Policy (NIP) (2016) defines the controlled and reserved industries.
For Controlled Industries: A proposed investor has to obtain ‘No Objection Certificate (NOC)’ from concerned ministry/division prior to register with BIDA/BEZA/Hi-Tech Park/BEPZA.
For Restricted/Reserved Industries : Private industries are not allowed to invest in reserved/restricted industry. Controlled industry 1) Deep sea fishing, 2) Bank/ finance, 3) Insurance, 4) Generation, supply and distribution of power, 5) Exploration, extraction and supply of natural gas/ oil, 6) Exploration, extraction and supply of coal, 7) Exploration, extraction and supply of other mineral resources, 8) Large- scale infrastructure (e.g. flyover, expressway, monorail, economic zone), 9) Crude oil refinery (recycling/ refining of lube oil as fuel), 10) Medium and large industries using natural gas/ condescend and other minerals as raw material, 11) Telecommunication (mobile/ cellular and land phone), 12) Satellite channel, 13) Cargo/ passenger aviation, 14) Sea bound ship transport, 15) Sea-port/ deep sea-port, 16) VOIP/ IP telephony, 17) Industries using heavy minerals accumulated from sea beach, 18) Explosive production, 19) Acid production, 20) Chemicals, 21) All kinds of sludge and fertilizer made from sludge, 22) Stone crashing. Reserved industry 1) Arms, ammunitions, and other military equipment/ machinery, 2) Nuclear power, 3) Security printing and minting, 4) Forestation and mechanized extraction within the reserved forest.
The National Industry Policy (NIP) (2016) designates the priority industries as follow: High priority sectors 1. Agriculture, food processing and agricultural tool, 2) Ready-made garment, 3) ICT/ software, 4) Pharmaceuticals, 5) Leather and leather product, 6) Light engineering, 7) Jute and jute product. Priority sectors 1) Plastic, 2) Overseas employment (manpower export), 3) Shipbuilding, 4) Environment-friendly ship recycling, 5) Tourism, 6) Frozen fish, 7) Home textiles, 8) Renewable energy (solar power, windmill), 9) Active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) and radio pharmaceuticals, 10) Herbal medicine, 11) Radio-active (diffusion) application industry (e.g. developing quality/ decaying polymer, preservation of food, disinfecting medicinal equipment), 12) Polymer product, 13) Hospital and clinic, 14) Automobile manufacturing and servicing, 15) Handicraft and cottage industries, 16) Energy efficient appliances, electronic goods, electronic materials, 17) Tea, 18) Seeds, 19) Jewelry, 20) Toys, 21) Cosmetics and toiletries, 22) Agar, 23) Furniture, 24) Cement.
The following formalities has to be performed after getting BIDA’s registration:
Step 1: Notification to Bangladesh Bank after registration with BIDA.
Step 2: Registration with NBR (an income tax authority).
Step 3: Registration with the Registrar of Joint Stock Companies and Firms (RJSC&F).
Step 4: Application for trade license.
The registration of branch, liaison and representative office is processed through OSS portal.
Information of documents required for registration are easily available in the portal.
An inter-ministerial committee examines all applications received and gives approval to open office if all information and documents are submitted according to BIDA’s requirement. This committee sits twice a month to give approval to open office in Bangladesh.
Detail information will be available in the Guideline for granting permission for establishing/opening of branch, liaison and representative office for foreign companies and issuing work permit of foreign nationals.
A fee is applicable for the registration of commercial office along with 15% VAT imposed by Government of Bangladesh.
Registration of commercial office (branch, representative/ liaison office) requires the following documents:
Investors can amend information mentioned in the registration letter (such as machinery to be used, board of director/ shareholder, office/ factory address, company name, or their amalgamation).
Currently a manual application signed by the chairperson/ managing director of the company along with supporting documents has to be submitted to BIDA.
A fixed amount of fee of BDT 1000.00 is charged for each amendment. 15% VAT is also applicable on this fee.
Following documents have to be submitted with the application for registration of local, foreign and joint venture industry:
Registration is given in 1 (one) day if all information and documents have been submitted as per BIDA’s requirement.
Registration fee for local, foreign and joint venture industry is same.
Registration fee varies from BDT 5,000 to 100,000 depending on the amount of proposed investment (as indicated below). Amount of fee Up to BTD 100 million BDT 5,000/- BDT 100 million - 250 million BDT 10,000/- BDT 250 million - 500 million BDT 25,000/- BDT 500 million - 1,000 million BDT 50,000/- Over BDT 1,000 million BDT 100,000/- 15% VAT is applicable on the amount of fee.
The registration process is same for local, foreign and joint venture industry.
Any applications for investment registration are to be made online through BIDA’s One- Stop Service (OSS) portal (https://bidaquickserv.org/).
List of documents required for local and foreign investment (including joint venture) projects is mentioned in the portal.
Yes. BIDA can register the investment projects that are located anywhere in Bangladesh, except those located in the zones or areas managed by BEZA, BEPZA, BHTPA, Hi- Tech Park, and BSCIC.
Yes, possible. BIDA’s Divisional Offices are authorized to receive applications to award registration regardless of the project status. However, the registration of branch, liaison/ representative is only processed from BIDA’s Headquarter in the capital Dhaka.
Following industries need to be registered with BIDA outside the jurisdiction of BIDA/BEZA/Hi-Tech Park/BEPZA:
1) local investment, 2) 100% foreign investment, and 3) joint-venture investment of
BIDA Act, 2016 requires all investors for industrial undertakings (those located outside the jurisdiction of BEZA, BEPZA, BHTPA, BSCIC) to register their investments with BIDA. BIDA registration is not necessarily required for commercial and trading activities, buying houses and service-oriented institutions.
Registration is necessary for the concerned investors to be eligible: i) for incentives of income tax exemption, import duty and other tax exemptions ii) for privileges and facilities declared by the government iii) to apply for investment-related licensing and permits such as expatriate work permit, foreign borrowings, import permit/ registration certificate for industrial use, and iv) to access to any other facilitation services provided by BIDA.
The branch, liaison and representative offices of a foreign company must obtain registration from BIDA.
Application of trade license has to be submitted in the local government office where the company will be established.
The application form is available in the websites of local government offices. Following documents has to be submitted along with the application:
If the company office/plant/factory has operation in more than one location the applicant is required to obtain trade licenses from every local government authority (ward commissioner/union parishad).
A trade license is issued for a year and to be renewed every fiscal year.
Trade license is manually/digitally issued by the relevant local government offices such as City Corporation, Municipality or Union Parishad.
A trade license from Dhaka South City Corporation is currently serviced through BIDA’s OSS Portal (https://bidaquickserv.org/).
Any form of company (trade organization, society, partnership firm) needs to be registered with the Registrar of Joint Stock Companies & Firms (RJSC&F) according to the Companies Act 1994.
Arrangement has been introduced to obtain incorporation certificate from BIDA’s OSS Platform in addition to RJSC&F (www.rjsc.gov.bd).
Foreign investors can incorporate a fully owned company, subsidiary or have a jointly owned company in Bangladesh. Most common types of incorporation include public or private limited company. Incorporated company has to comply with the Companies Act 1994 and can undertake any legally permissible business and set up operations in any places in Bangladesh. Company incorporation in Bangladesh requires following steps:
Step 1: Getting name clearance from RJSC&F.
Step 2: Opening a temporary bank account for capital deposit. Investors can open temporary accounts through online arrangement for FDI in Bangladesh as per Circular no 11 of Foreign Exchange Policy Department of Bangladesh Bank issued on May 17, 2021.
Step 3: Preparation of Articles and Memorandum of Association and submission of application for incorporation with RSJC&F.
It usually takes five weeks to complete the above steps.
Foreign investor can open a temporary bank account (Non-resident Taka Account: NRTA) without prior permission of Bangladesh Bank to receive the capital remittance from abroad for encashment certificate. Investors can open temporary accounts through online arrangement for FDI in Bangladesh as per Circular no 11 of Foreign Exchange Policy Department of Bangladesh Bank issued on May 17, 2021.
When the company of the investor registered with the Registrar of Joint Stock Companies and Firms (RJSC&F), a new bank account can be opened to transfer the capital from the temporary account.
Following services are not provided to companies that are not registered with BIDA:
BIDA is not in a position to assist to access domestic and/or overseas commercial or policy-based loans.
No. BIDA is not a financing institution or provide any type of loan/grant to the registered investors. However, BIDA may introduce the policy-based financing scheme (including a loan scheme such as Export Development Fund).
• Inputs imported by export-oriented industries are exempted from duty via duty drawback facility or exempt from duty and other import taxes altogether through the bonded warehouse (BWH) facility. • Alternatively, exporters may receive cashback (of 10-15% of FOB value) as a method of offsetting input tariffs, if they use neither duty drawback nor BWH.
• Duty drawback refunds duties/ taxes paid on imported inputs (used in the export processing) to exporters. Eligible exporters (manufacturers exporting over 80% of their production, located within and outside EPZs) can claim drawback by filing their cases to the Duty Exemption and Drawback Office under NBR. • BWH is licensed by NBR for deposit and storage of imported goods/ inputs subject to renewal in every two years. Eligible exporters can import required materials and process them without paying import duty/ VAT. • BWH in Bangladesh basically consists of the following two categories:
i) Special bonded warehouse: applicable to export-oriented readymade garment industries, which include woven garments, knitwear, and sweater manufacturing industries, ii) General bonded warehouse: applied to other export-oriented industries.
• As per the Customs Act, 1969, the National Board of Revenue (NBR)/ the Customs Bond Commissionerate regulates bonded warehouses. To avail BWH facility, the applicants shall apply to the authority with following documents:
Application in accordance with the prescribed format,
BIDA (and other authorities or zones) registration certificate,
TIN and certified copy of wealth statement issued by Income Tax Department (IT-10B) for all directors/ owners,
Value Added Tax (VAT) registration certificate (with Business Identification Number: BIN),
Recommendation by concerned trade body (if applicable),
Name, designation, present and permanent address, signature, and photo (on non-judicial stamp of value BDT 300.00 of owners/ directors, duly notarized by the competent authority and be attested by the lien bank),
Boiler certificate (if applicable),
Original copy of Memorandum and Article of Association and Certificate of Incorporation issued by RJSC&F,
Purchase document for machinery (invoice, Bills of Entry for import, and VAT invoice for local purchase),
Deed of land/ space ownership, or duly notarized rental deed (if rented),
Affidavit to follow the law, rules, and procedures on non-judicial stamp of value BDT 300.00 by managing director/proprietor/ sole partner (duly notarized by the competent authority),
Certificate from lien bank that demonstrate financial affordability to submit general bond
Treasury receipt for deposited license fee (BDT 10,000).
A. Following types of software development and information technology enabled services companies are eligible for corporate income tax exemption:
1) Software development, 2) Software or application customization, 3) NTTN, 4) Digital animation dev., 5) Website development, 6) Website service, 7) Web listing, 8) Website hosting, 9) IT process outsourcing, 10) Digital graphics design, 11) Digital data entry & processing, 12) Digital data analysis, 13) Geographic Information Service, 14) IT support & software maintenance service, 15) Software test lab service, 16) Call center service, 17) Overseas medical transcription, 18) Search engine optimization service, 19) Document conversion, imaging and digital archiving, 20) Robotic process outsourcing, 21) Cyber security service. B. Businesses of software development and information technology enabled services (ITES) are entitled for 100% CIT exemption up to Jun. 2024.
Aside from the “incentives” to registered investors, investors in general can benefit from various privileges and facilities. Some of the major privileges are:
Private sector power generation company (other than coal-based and starting after 1 Jul. 2016) is entitled for income tax exemption in the following manner:
No, only following PPP projects are entitled to corporate income tax exemption:
1) National highways or expressways and related service roads, 2) Flyovers, 3) Elevated and at-grade expressways, 4) River bridges, 5) Tunnels, 6) River port, 7) Sea port, 8) Airport, 9) Subway, 10) Monorail, 11) Railway, 12) Bus terminals, 13) Bus depots, 14) Elderly care home.
Public Private Partnership (PPP) projects for the designated facilities are entitled for income tax exemption in the following manner:
No, only following physical infrastructure undertakings are eligible for corporate income tax exemption:
1) Deep sea port, 2) Elevated expressway, 3) EPZ, 4) Flyover, 5) Gas pipeline, 6) Hi- Tech Park, 7) ICT village or software technology zone, 8) IT park, 9) Large water treatment plant and supply through pipeline, 10) LNG terminal and transmission line, 11) Mobile phone tower or tower sharing infrastructure, 12) Monorail, 13) Rapid transit, 14) Renewable energy, 15) Sea or river port, 16) Toll Road or bridge, 17) Underground rail, 18) Waste treatment plant.
A. No. The newly established investment projects who manufacture following products are eligible for corporate income tax exemption under Section 46BB of the Income Tax Ordinance, 1984:
Active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) and radio-pharmaceuticals, 2) Agricultural machinery, 3) Aircraft maintenance services including parts manufacturing, 4) Artificial intelligence (AI)-based system design and/or manufacturing, 5) Artificial or manmade fiber, 6) Automatic bricks, 7) Automation and robotics design and/or manufacturing including parts/ components thereof, 8) Automobile, 9) Automobile parts/ components, 10) Barrier contraceptive and rubber latex, 11) Basic components of electronics (resister, capacitor, transistor, integral circuit, multilayer PCB, etc.), 12) Bi-cycle including parts thereof, 13) Bio-fertilizer, 14) Biotechnology-based agro-products, 15) Boiler including parts and equipment thereof, 16) Compressor including parts thereof, 17) Computer hardware, 18) Electric transformer, 19) Furniture, 20) home appliances (blender, rice cooker, microwave/ electric oven, washing machine, induction cooker, water filter, etc.), 21) Insecticides and pesticides, 22) Leather/ leather goods, 23) LED TV, 24) Locally produced fruits and vegetables processing, 25) Mobile phone, 26) Nanotechnology- based products, 27) Petro-chemicals, 28) Pharmaceuticals, 29) Plastic recycling, 30) Textile machinery, 31) Tissue grafting, 32) Toys, 33) Tire. B. Conditions are applicable to be eligible for corporate income tax exemption. Which are:
New physical infrastructure undertakings (physical undertakings) established between 1 Jul. 2019 and 30 Jun. 2024 (and going into commercial operation within those dates) for the designated categories are entitled for income tax exemption in the following manner: Phased exemption for ten years with
-90% of income for the initial two years,
-80% for the third year,
-70% for the fourth year,
-60% for the fifth year
-40% for the seventh year,
-30% for the eighth year,
-10% for the last tenth year.
New investment projects (industrial undertakings) established between 1 Jul. 2019 and 30 Jun. 2024 (and going into commercial operation within those dates) in the designated categories are entitled for CIT exemption in the following manner:
The projects registered with BIDA can avail following tax related fiscal incentives: Import duty exemption - 1% on capital machinery/ spares for export-oriented industries and allowed to import spare parts free of duty for up to 10% of the machinery value every two years.
Income tax exemption shall be granted to the following types of investment proj- ects (registered with BIDA), namely:
Newly established investment project (industrial undertakings),
Newly established physical infrastructure (physical undertakings),
Public Private Partnership (PPP) project,
Private sector power generation (other than coal-based),
Businesses of software development and information technology enabled services. Income tax exemptions are tied with condition, which are: i) Must registered with BIDA ii) Obtained certificate from NBR
The newly established companies are eligible for incentives offered by the Government of Bangladesh. But reinvestment or expanded industries are not eligible for such incentives. The incentives are as follows:
But following conditions have to be met for enjoying those incentives:
How the investors can access to the short-term foreign loans? • Previously interest-free short-term borrowing from parent/affiliate companies are al- lowed. • Manufacturing industries are still allowed to avail the interest-free loans (one year) from overseas parent/ affiliate companies if urgently necessary.
Foreign owned industrial enterprises (engaged in manufacturing activities) are allowed to avail short-term foreign loans to fund working capital from overseas parent/ affiliate companies for maximum three years from the date of inception of manufacturing operation on conditions:
• Prior approval by Bangladesh Bank is not required neither for receipt nor to repay the loan. But borrowing companies have to report about obtaining and repaying the loan.
Borrowing companies have to keep debt: equity ratio at 70:30 except power generating companies. Power generating companies are allowed to keep debt: equity ratio at 80:20.
Same as the procedure mentioned above for application of foreign borrowing in general
Yes, companies must be registered with BIDA or competent authority to avail long term foreign loan.
Prior permission has to be obtained from BIDA to avail foreign/overseas loan.
What are the procedures to be performed to obtain the prior permission of BIDA to avail foreign loan? • Prior approval of BIDA is required for borrowing from abroad in foreign currency (commercial loan, buyer’s and supplier’s credit, etc.) to import capital goods for new project, replacement or expansion of the existing production facilities. • No permission is granted to avail foreign loan to use as working capital .
• The Scrutiny Committee on Foreign Loan/Supplier’s Credit award approval to avail foreign loan. The application for foreign loan has to be submitted to BIDA in the prescribed form with following supporting documents:
Board’s resolution related to the proposed borrowing,
BIDA issued a new guideline on 3 Mar. 2021 for outward remittance/ repatriation of royalty, franchise, technical license/ know-how/ assistance fees (see the link for detailed information- https://www.bb.org.bd/mediaroom/circulars/fepd/apr112021fepdl07e.pdf). The new guideline stipulates the permissible amount of such fees (including O&M service fees) as follows:
i) Royalty, technical license/ know-how/ assistance fees:
• Prior approval of BIDA must be obtained for outward remittance of more than 6% for any given year for royalty, franchise, and technical license/ know-how/ assistance fee. • Application for endorsement of the agreement can be made manually for the time being but will be serviced soon through BIDA’s OSS portal.
• Bangladesh Bank (BB) regulates outward remittance. The following outward remittances can be made with prior approval of BB;
Specific foreign exchange regulations are in force for the particular businesses including shipping agents, freight forwarding agents, courier companies and airline companies.
• Dividend income (both final and interim) can be remitted through an authorized dealer of the non-resident shareholders. The application has to made in the prescribed form certified by an auditor. • Remittable dividend can be credited to foreign currency accounts maintained by the non- resident shareholders as per FE Circular No.29 (Jul. 2020) of Bangladesh Bank. Profits:
• Branches of foreign companies, banking and insurances institutions incorporated in Bangladesh can remit post-tax profits to the head offices through an authorized dealer.
• However, branch offices other than banks and insurances need permission from BIDA and Bangladesh Bank for remitting profits. Repatriation of saving, retirement benefit and salary of expatriate employee:
Foreigners employed in Bangladesh can remit 75% of monthly salary after deducting all admissible expenses, saving and admissible retirement benefit through an authorized dealer.
• Recommendation for visa is processed online.
• Upon request BIDA issues recommendation for visa based on the following documents attested by the Managing Director/ Partner/ Proprietor of the company submitted through BIDA’s OSS portal: For PI VISA:
Business persons, who come to Bangladesh for business purpose (not as an employee) for a short period, may apply for ‘B (business)’ type VISA.• BIDA issues recommendation letter in favor of the citizens of the aforementioned countries and also to the citizens of the countries where there is no establishment of Bangladesh Embassy to visit Bangladesh for the purpose of investment, technology transfer, business expansion and/or trading. • The recommendation letter shall be presented at the immigration desk at the airport or at land port.
• Foreign investors and business persons who visit Bangladesh for a short period could avail VISA on Arrival (VoA) at the airport for maximum 30 days. • According to the Security Services Division, the following countries are eligible for VoA (as of March 2019) are- USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Russia, China, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, South Korea, Nepal, UAE, Saudi Arab, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain, Egypt, Turkey, Brunei, Brazil, UK and EU countries.
• Foreign investors and employees must hold PI (private investor) or E2/ E3 (employment) type VISA for applying for work permit.
• Recommendation letter is issued by BIDA to obtain PI and E2/E3 VISA.
• VoA can be converted to E2, E3, and PI types of VISAs upon submission of all required documents. Eligibility for getting E2, E3 and PI visa as per revised VISA Policy 2019 (effective from July 2021):
• Yes. It is necessary to amend the existing work permit in case of changes or corrections in the employment agreement and for any changes in the work permit approval letter. • Application with supporting documents has to be submitted to BIDA.
• The fee of BDT 1000.00 is charged for every amendment. 15% VAT on the fee has to be deposited in the government exchequer. • Work permit will be cancelled automatically on the expiry date.
• The employer company must submit tax clearance certificate and ensure that the expatriate must depart Bangladesh after the expiry of the work permit.
• If any employer wants to cancel the work permit before the term, shall apply to BIDA to cancel the same with supporting documents. • BIDA also reserves the right to cancel the permit any time if any of the terms and conditions of the permit is violated.
• Generally industrial projects registered with BIDA can employ foreign workers at a ratio of 10:1 local worker: foreign worke at the initial stage and then 20:1 during the operational stage. • Commercial (branch, representative/ liaison) offices registered with BIDA and educational institutes can employ foreign workers at a ratio of 5:1 (local worker: foreign worker).
• Work permit of foreign workers for industrial projects registered with BIDA is issued with- in three days if all information and documents are accurately provided, • Work permit of foreign workers for commercial offices (branch, liaison/ representative offices registered with BIDA is issued within 16 days if all information and documents are accurately provided.
Yes. If any foreign employee wants to change employer in Bangladesh, then s/he must cancel the existing work permit and immediately leave Bangladesh. Then enter Bangladesh again with proper visa and get work permit for the new employment.
Work permit are issued by economic Zones (EZ), Export Processing Zone (EPZ), High- Tech Park and NGO Affairs Bureau for foreign workers working in their jurisdiction,
But VISA can only be issued form Bangladesh missions abroad.
Primarily, foreign national is awarded work permit for one year. Extension of the work permit is normally allowed for maximum five years.
• Permission for work permit is process through BIDA’s OSS portal (https://bidaquickserv. org/), • An inter-ministerial committee award work permit,
• Details for getting work permit can be found in the Guideline 2011 for granting permission for establishing/opening of branch/liaison/representative office of foreign companies in Bangladesh and issuing work permit to foreign nationals, • Expatriate must submit application for work permit to BIDA within 15 days after arrival,
• Companies/commercial offices must have registration issued by BIDA to appoint foreign nationals.
The following documents must be submitted with the application of work permit:
The Labor Act, 2006 (revised in 2013) and the Labor Rule, 2015 establish a regulatory framework for labors with an exception for labors in EPZ (stipulated by the separate guidelines, instructions and the EPZ Workers Welfare Association and Industrial Relations Act).
BIDA is assigned to recommend to the Chief Controller of Imports & Exports (CCI&E) to issue Import Permit (an entitlement for importing capital machinery and availing duty exemption) and ad-hoc IRC (an entitlement for importing materials, semi-finished products for processing usage) for industrial establishments.
After receiving the application for ad-hoc IRC recommendation with necessary documents, BIDA arranges site inspection of the applicant’s factory or plant (to confirm whether the applicant is ready to properly consume or use material and machinery to be imported), and sends a recommendation to CCI&E for issuance of ad-hoc IRC.
Ad-hoc IRC would be regularized as per the recommendation by the sponsoring authority such as BIDA.
BIDA can facilitate ad-hoc industrial importers to regularize their certificate through a recommendation letter to CCI&F, when 70% of the entitled import value mentioned in the ad-hoc IRC is utilized.
The Labor Rules stipulates the provisions concerning occupational health and hygiene in section 51 to 60. These provisions address the regulations on cleanliness, ventilation and temperature, dust and fume, disposal of wastes and effluents, overcrowding, lighting, drinking water, latrines and urinals, and dustbin and spittoon. Safety related provisions are also stipulated in the section 61 to 78, addressing fire safety, fencing of machinery, work on or near machinery in motion, handling of cranes and lifting machinery, hoist, and lifts etc.
The Constitution guarantees the right to form associations or trade unions. In turn, the Labor Act (and EPZ Workers Welfare Association and Industrial Relations Act in case of EPZs) defines a framework under which trade unions may be formed. Trade unions are mostly formed at company level and required to have a membership of at least 30% of total workers. Labor disputes are regulated in a strict manner. A number of steps must be followed from the time a dispute is raised, through initial attempt for reaching an agreement between parties, to conciliation or conclusion either by arbitration or in court (if conciliation fails). Strikes or lockouts can be legally called only within a period of 15 days after a certificate of failure in conciliation. Fully or partially foreign-owned industrial establishments are legally sheltered against strikes for a period of three years from the commencement of production. The Labor Rules also includes progressive provisions that require companies to offer participation in profits to their employees. The companies with fixed asset value of over BDT 20 million must make a tax-deductible contribution of 4% of net profits to the participation/ worker’s fund with an additional 1% contribution to a welfare fund (partly for the Labor Welfare Foundation Fund operated by the Ministry of Labor and Employment).
All employers of the establishment, where a certain number of labors are employed, shall initiate group insurance policy for each worker. Group insurance policy shall be applicable in case of the death of labors and their permanent disabilities. The employer can have agreement with insurance companies approved by the government to introduce insurance policy.
Regulatory framework provides a high degree of flexibility in firing. Employers are allowed to make workers redundant without prior approval of a third party and upon a notification to the labor inspector and a trade union in the company. A notice period of minimum one month is required, and redundant workers are entitled to minimum one month of wage as severance payment (if they work one year at least).
The Labor Rules requires employers to present employment contract which describes the working rules, wage and allowances, tasks, and maintain a “service book” for all employees. The service book contains not only employment history of worker, but also wages, leave taken, etc. Wages are set freely on a contractual basis but are subject to minimum wage requirements.
The Labor Rules prohibits employment of children below the age of 14, and 18 for hazardous works.
Retirement age in Bangladesh is set at 59 years.
Ad-hoc IRC (at the initial/ second/ third occasions):
Normally it takes 10 days, if all information and documents are accurately submitted. It is to be noted that recommendation for IRC requires the site inspection of the applicant’s factory or plant
BIDA can facilitate the investors for accessing lands for industrial use. BIDA provide facilitation to introduce the investor with the agencies such as BEZA, BEPZA, BHTPA, BSCIC, or city development authorities including RAJUK in Dhaka, CDA in Chittagong, KDA in Khulna, RDA in Rajashahi, etc., for getting information of land.
Bangladesh adopts a progressive taxation rate on personal income (for resident with presence in Bangladesh: i) for 182 days or more in one fiscal year or ii) for 90 days or more in one fiscal year iii) 365 days or more in preceding 4 years), which ranges from 0% to 25% (surcharge is payable by wealthy individuals). Personal income tax rate is to be determined by the Finance Act every fiscal year. Following is the existing rates of personal income tax:
First BDT 300,000 = Nil Next BDT 100,000 = 5% Next BDT 300,000 = 10% Next BDT 400,000 = 15% Next BDT 500,000 = 20% On balance = 25% Individuals can be entitled to investment tax rebates if they make eligible investments. Foreign nationals can also take benefits of double taxation avoidance treaties.
The budget FY 2021-2022 has proposed to keep existing rate for individual taxpayers unchanged. However, a special provision for the third gender community is introduced and a proposal to fix the tax-free ceiling of this community at Taka 350,000/.
Customs Duty (CD) presents tariff rates of 2 to 5% for basic raw materials and capital goods, 10% for intermediate goods, and the top rate of 25% for final goods (mostly on products that are produced domestically) in general. Apart from CD, other duties and taxes including Regulatory Duty (RD), Supplementary Duty (SD), Value Added Tax (VAT), Advance Income Tax (AIT), Advance Trade VAT (ATV) may be imposed depending on the nature of goods for importation in Bangladesh.
Income tax regime is governed by the Income Tax Ordinance, 1984 (amended annually by the Finance Act) and a number of Statutory Regulatory Orders (SROs). The government has progressively lowered general Corporate Income Tax (CIT) rate (currently, 30% for unlisted company and 25% for listed companies except some specific sectors) over the past decades. Capital gains are taxed separately at a general rate of 15%. CIT regime is regarded as standard based on usual determination of taxable income and deductible expenses, but shows differences from other countries in the application of: i) differentiated tax rates (whether limited liability company or proprietorship business, publicly-listed or not, and depending on sector), ii) advance/ presumptive payments. Bangladesh applies a presumptive taxation to certain types of incomes. Proceeds of goods export are to be withheld at source against FOB value, for example. Withholding practices also apply to proceeds of services, payments of goods import, royalty/ technical license fees, dividend, interest for loan and other fees. These withheld taxes are advanced payment in nature, thus become credited against final tax assessment. Turnover tax (0.6% of gross receipts except for particular sectors) exists as well, that can be levied on all companies, irrespective of taxable income and potential loss, constituting a minimum obligation. Any companies in Bangladesh are mandated to register and obtain Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) from the National Board of Revenue (NBR) for the purpose of income tax reporting/ filing.
A new VAT and Supplementary Duty Act was approved by the parliament in 2012 and came into effect in Jul. 2019. The general rate of VAT remains at 15%. Although VAT is imposed on goods/ services at each stage of import, manufacturing, delivery or trading, Bangladesh makes an extensive use of truncated base tax assessment, where the businesses with annual sales over BDT 8 million shall pay a turnover tax of 15% in lieu of VAT.
The rules regulating VAT refunds are defined more precisely in the new act. Excess payment of input VAT over output VAT is to be carried forward for the subsequent six tax periods. If the excess payment cannot be exhausted over the periods, taxpayer is eligible for a refund, to be paid within three months of application.
All companies are mandated to obtain VAT registration certificate, that is followed by acquisition of Business Identification Number (BIN) for tax filling. Application for VAT registration shall be submitted to a (deputy) VAT commissioner. After proper scrutiny, a registration certificate addressing BIN (or turnover tax enlistment certificate) would be then issued via the VAT system within three working days.
The National Board of Revenue (NBR) is the tax authority in the country. Following acts and regulations regulate the tax regime: On direct tax: Income Tax Ordinance, 1984 On indirect tax: VAT (Value-added Tax) and Supplementary Duty Act, 2012, Customs Act, 1969, Stamp Act, 1899 Statutory Regulatory Orders (SROs) with clarifications and interpretations are issued from time to time to support the above legislations.
Taxpayers maintain accounting year (income year) from Jul. 1 to Jun. 30 each year. However, foreign companies and those with significant foreign equities are allowed to have different accounting year. Companies have to submit tax return before next Jan. 15 (for accounting year ending Jun. 30) or Jul. 15 (for accounting year ending Dec. 31).
As of April 2021, Bangladesh enters into the double taxation treaties (DTTs) with 34 countries such as: Belarus, Belgium, Canada, China, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Malaysia, Mauritius, Myanmar, Netherlands, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Philippines, Poland, Republic of Korea, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States of America, Vietnam To avail the DTTs, investors need to register their investments with BIDA and then apply to NBR for double taxation relief.
BIDA launched online OSS portal in February, 2019 (accessible through https:// bidaquickserv.org, or www.bida.gov.bd), which delivers IT-enabled services to every investor. OSS portal currently provides following services necessary for the start-up of any industrial project:
Company name clearance,
Tax Identification Number (TIN) registration,
Company incorporation (registration),
Investment project registration (including amendment),
Branch and liaison/ representative office registration (including amendment, extension, cancellation),
Recommendation for employment/ private investor VISA (including amendment)
VISA on arrival (including amendment),
Expatriate work permit (including amendment, extension, cancellation),
Overseas remittance of royalty, franchise, technical license/ know-how/ assistance fees,
Approval of the long-term foreign loans,
Bank account opening,
Online payment of application fees. BIDA has been proceeding with the second phase development to provide the following services online:
Security clearance certificate (associated with E-VISA/ expatriate work permit) = Security Services Division,
Import/ Export Registration Certificate (including renewal) = CCI&E,
Land use clearance/ Plan approval/ Special project approval/ Occupancy Certificate = CDA/ RAJUK,
Electricity connection = Six electricity distributors.
Report of title/ Ownership record changes = Ministry of Land,
Factory license/ Factory machinery-layout plan approval = Dept. of Inspection for Factories and Establishment,
Site clearance/ Environmental impact assessment (EIA) approval/ ECC and their renewal = Dept. of Environment,
Fire license/ No-objection Certificate (NOC) for multi-stories buildings = Bangladesh Fire Service & Civil Defense,
Certificate of origin/ Membership certificate = Dhaka Chamber of Commerce & Industry.
The investors do not have to be registered with BIDA before accessing to the OSS portal.
Any investors are able to hold their OSS account with entry of their profile data, that can be prepared within an hour.
Aside from preferential market (duty-free) access to many developed economies such as “Everything but Arms” program with EU, the generalized system of preference (GSP) with Japan and USA (but USA suspended GSP since June 2013), Bangladesh is a party to a few regional trade and economic cooperation agreements. The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) was established in 1997 but has made little progress in integrating the markets of its seven member countries. Further, trade integration as a result of the South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA) and Asian-Pacific Trade Agreement (APTA) initiatives remains limited as well.
Bangladesh has concluded Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs) with 29 countries (Austria, Belgium-Luxembourg Economic Union, Cambodia, China, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Islamic Republic of Iran, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Netherland, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Pakistan, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Singapore, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States of America, Uzbekistan, Vietnam).
All BITs signed by the Bangladesh government offer protection against expropriation and typically include non-discrimination, prompt, adequate and effective compensation. The principles of most-favored nation (MFN) and national treatment (for post-establishment, not for entry) are also granted
BIDA on-demand basis helps (potential) foreign investors to identify and connect to potential joint-venture partners and technical collaborators, and match with local industries interested in forming collaboration in the form of joint-venture, technical assistance, technology transfer, etc.
For local industries: Director, Registration and Incentive-Local Industries, BIDA Email: firstname.lastname@example.org For foreign and joint ventures: Director, Registration and Incentive-Foreign Industries, BIDA Email: email@example.com For commercial offices: Director, Registration and Incentive-Foreign Commercial, BIDA Email: firstname.lastname@example.org