Top 10 Challenges and Ways Forward to Invest in Bangladesh


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Md. Joynal Abdin*

Business Consultant & Digital Marketer

Co-Founder & CEO of Bangladesh Trade Center


Bangladesh, with its rapidly growing economy and abundant investment opportunities, has emerged as an attractive destination for both domestic and foreign investors. With a population exceeding 160 million and a strategic location in South Asia, the country offers a vast consumer market and a gateway to regional trade. Over the past few decades, Bangladesh has witnessed substantial economic growth, driven primarily by its thriving textile and apparel industry, remittances from the expatriate workforce, and a growing service sector. However, despite its promising prospects, investing in Bangladesh comes with its share of challenges. This article explores the major obstacles that investors face in Bangladesh and offers strategic ways forward to harness its investment potential.


Challenges to Invest in Bangladesh:

1. Long permissions / registrations and licenses requirement: About 37 permissions / registration / license from different government agencies are required to invest and operate business in Bangladesh [26]. List of required permissions / registrations and licenses are enlisted at the following table:

Table – 1: List of permissions / registrations and licenses requirement.

 Sl. Description Relevant Authority


Trade License Local government authority like UP, City Corporation etc.


TIN Registration Income tax authority (NBR)


VAT Registration VAT Authority (NBR)


Joint Stock Registration (for Limited company / Partnership) Office of the Registrar of Joint Stock Companies and Firms


Bank Account Schedule Bank


Import Registration Certificate (IRC) Office of the Chief Controller of Import & Export


Export Registration Certificate (ERC) Office of the Chief Controller of Import & Export


Mushak – 7 VAT Authority (NBR)


Registration for Turnover Tax (if applicable) NBR


Application for Tax Holiday (if applicable) NBR


Application for Duty Draw Back (if Applicable) Duty Exemption and Draw Back Office


Drug License (for pharmacy) Directorate General of Drug Administration (DGDA)


BSTI Certificate Bangladesh Standards & Testing Institute


Approval from Deputy Commissioners (For Diesel and Acid Business) DC Office


Certificate from PETRO Bangla (for Diesel and Octane business) PETRO Bangla Office


Insurance Insurance Company


Application for land in EPZ / BSCIC Estate authority (If applicable ) Bangladesh Export Processing Zone Authority / Bangladesh Small & Cottage Industries Corporation


Application for Gas Connection (if required) Local Gas Distribution Authority


Application for Electricity Connection Local Electricity Distribution Authority


Application for Water & Sanitation Connection Local water supply and Suarez authority.


Telephone and Fax Connection Telecom operators.


Environment Clearance Department of Environment


Fire License Fire Service and Civil Defense


Approval from RAJUK for Factory Establishment RAJUK / Other Municipal Corporations


Approval from Board of Investment Board of Investment


Registration from DIFE Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments


Registration from Inspector of Boilers Office of the Chief Inspector of Boilers


Construction Certificates RAJUK or other Municipal Authority


Registration as Readymade Garments Unit (for Garments factories only) Export Promotion Bureau (EPB)


Registration at BSCIC Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation (BSCIC)


Collecting GSP (For exporters) EPB


Trademark Registration Department of Patent Design and Trademark (DPDT)


Patent Registration DPDT


Design Registration DPDT


Bonded Warehouse License (for RMG Exporters) Customs Bond Commissionerate


Labor Inspection DIFE


Inspection by Consumer Rights Department National Consumer Rights Protection Department

Source: Compiled by the author from different investment relevant government documents.


2. Absence of good governance and corrupt bureaucracy: A corruption free bureaucracy could offer prompt delivery of government services to enhance investment in Bangladesh.


3. Lengthy Judicial System: Lengthy and cumbersome judicial process is discouraging foreign investors to enter into Bangladesh.


4. Limited capacity to supply adequate electricity and gas to industries: About 47.90% of people are covering under electrification in Bangladesh. Currently about 7200 – 7500 MW of electricity is generating in a day. It is not sufficient to provide electricity supply into newer industries as demanded.


5. Absence of efficient physical infrastructure: There are two Sea ports in Bangladesh. But only Chittagong port is active. On the other hand only one Dhaka – Chittagong Highway is not sufficient to support total import – export trade of Bangladesh. As a result traffic jam is destroying our valuable time during international trade through this port. We are in need of a Deep Sea Port to enhance our international trade capabilities.


6. Absence of investment promoting agency: We have regulators to provide permissions and operate inspections in industrial establishments but we do not have a government agency to promote investment in larger scale. The SME Foundation is working to promote Small and Medium Enterprises but they do not have mandate to promote foreign investment or large scale local investment.


7. Lack of professionals and sector specific trained man power: Bangladesh is lagging behind in terms of trained manpower to meet up the demands from a modern industry. It is in terms of operators, trouble shooters or engineers etc. Government has to take the lead to produce sector specific trained manpower to feed the industries as well as create employment of the young generations.


8. Differential treatment with the change of government: With the change of political parties in the government of Bangladesh priorities of private sector changes. As a result there is a threat of discontinuity of government special supports with the change of parties in the government.


9. Lack of coordination among different organs of the government: Lack of administrative coordination among different governmental bodies caused private sector sufferings in few cases.


10. Delay to get services from support organizations: Delay of getting investment relevant government services like; permissions and licenses, electricity-gas and other logistics connections etc. or non-cooperation of the government officials may cause of hues sufferings of an investor.

Top 10 Challenges and Ways Forward to Invest in Bangladesh
Most Prospective Sectors to Invest in Bangladesh

Ways Forward:

The government of Bangladesh could take following initiative to create and maintain an investment friendly business environment in Bangladesh:








Despite the challenges, Bangladesh offers immense potential for investors looking to tap into its growing economy and promising consumer market. By addressing infrastructure deficits, bureaucratic inefficiencies, and regulatory uncertainties, the government can foster a more conducive investment climate. Moreover, promoting education, skill development, and financial inclusion will strengthen the country’s human capital, making it an attractive destination for both domestic and foreign investors. As Bangladesh continues to embrace reforms and create a favorable business environment, the nation’s investment landscape is likely to flourish, benefiting the economy and investors alike.


Top 10 Challenges and Ways Forward to Invest in Bangladesh, this is the summary of two chapters of the book “Most Prospective Sectors to Invest in Bangladesh” of the Author. To purchase the book click here.


*Author’s Short Profile:

business consultant
Md. Joynal Abdin

Mr. Md. Joynal Abdin is a Business Consultant & Digital Marketer based in Dhaka, Bangladesh. He is also Co-Founder & CEO of Bangladesh Trade Center. Previously he served at Dhaka Chamber of Commerce & Industry (DCCI) as Executive Secretary; DCCI Business Institute (DBI) as Executive Director; SME Foundation as Deputy Manager; and the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FBCCI) as Assistant Secretary.


The list of services Mr. Abdin is offering includes but not limited to Business Research and Documentations like Feasibility Study, Project Proposal Preparation, Writing Business Manual, Standard Operating Procedures etc.; Export Market Selection and Product Positioning at Home and Abroad; Buyers-Sellers Matchmaking; Website Development; Search Engine Optimization (SEO); and Social Media Marketing etc.


Top 10 Challenges and Ways Forward to Invest in Bangladesh, this is the summary of two chapters of the book “Most Prospective Sectors to Invest in Bangladesh” of the Author. To purchase the book click here.  


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