It takes on average eight days for a new company to get a registration from the Registrar of Joint Stock Companies and Firms, which is supposed to be finished in three days, according to a survey report published on Sunday.
Also, overall costs go up for the third-party involvement in the process, said the report by Business Initiative Leading Development (BUILD), a private think tank.
The report titled "Streamlining the Company Registration Process in Bangladesh" was unveiled through a digital platform.
In support of the USAID-funded Feed the Future Bangladesh Improving Trade & Business Enabling Environment Activity, BUILD conducted the survey during the March-April period of 2021 through questionnaires, focus group discussions and one-to-one interviews.
The survey has suggested improvement of the registration process, reductions in administrative costs and relevant hassles.
Experts suggested that to improve in the ease of doing business index, Bangladesh has to improve much in the company registration process and reduce costs like developed countries.
Conducted by BUILD Chairperson Abul Kasem Khan, Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi and Commerce Secretary Tapan Kanti Ghosh participated in the programme as chief and special guests.
Ferdaus Ara Begum, chief executive officer (CEO) of BUILD, presented the keynote paper on "Removing Time, Cost and Process related Bottlenecks in Company Registration in Bangladesh".
The survey looked into the time and total costs of each stage such as name clearance, company registration, company seal, opening a bank account, obtaining a trade licence and registering VAT.
It found in 89% of cases, RJSC registrations require third party engagements and thus cost shoots up by 49.22%. In the case of obtaining a trade licence, 67% of third party engagements are required, incurring an additional 32.33% of the cost.
She added the post-registration process is more difficult than the pre-registration one as more offline interaction is required.
Tapan Kanti Ghosh expressed hope that the RJSC and the commerce ministry will work together to make the registration process easier.
"We have done some reforms, but it is not satisfactory. Because the findings say it takes several days on average to get registration. I don't know why," he said.
Thanking the private sector think-tank BUILD and USAID, Tipu Munshi said, "We, the commerce ministry, are trying hard to improve the ease of doing business for our business people. RJSC has done some reforms but not much. The government is committed to implementing all the regulatory reforms in all areas."
"Some countries like Singapore and Malaysia have made remarkable success in terms of company registration by reducing the time to less than one hour. RJSC is the key player in promoting all reforms in this regard," he said.
Rejwan Rahman, president of Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI), said the cost of the company registration process in RJSC ranges from Tk6,000-10,000 which is nominal but for small businesses it is very costly.
"The third-party support is recognised all over the world. We may provide this third-party/consultancy system under institutional formation and bring them under tax bracket," he added.
Sheikh Shoebul Alam NDC, registrar (Additional Secretary) RJSC; Maleka Khayrunnessa, additional secretary of the commerce ministry; Igor Gutan, team leader of FtFBITBEE, Supreme Court lawyer Rajin Ahmed; Asifa Aziz, owner of Yoshi International; Dr Nadia Binte Amin, director of FBCCI; Rebecca Moanikeala Robinson, acting deputy office director of Feed the Future Office of Economic Growth USAID Bangladesh, Marc Shiman acting chief of Party FtFBITBE; were also present at the programme.