March 5, 2016
Honorable Chief Guest, Mr. M. A. Mannan, MP, State Minister, Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Planning,
Mr. Mohammad Shafiul Alam, Cabinet Secretary,
Mr. Md. Nojbur Rahman, Secretary, Internal Resources Division and Chairman, National Board of Revenue,
Mr. Abdul Matlub Ahmad, President, the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Assalam alaikum, Namaskar and Good Morning.
It is indeed a great pleasure for me to attend the first seminar of National Integrity Strategy (NIS) for the private sector, "The Role of Private Organizations in Promoting Integrity" jointly organized by the Cabinet Division, the National Board of Revenue (NBR) and JICA.
Recognizing NIS as a comprehensive good governance strategy to prevent corruption and promote integrity in the Government of Bangladesh as well as all strata of the society, including the private sector, JICA started its collaboration with the Cabinet Division through "NIS Support Project," right after the cabinet approval of NIS in October 2012. The Project aims at establishing a framework for effective implementation of NIS. In fact, the implementation of NIS is given special priority in the brand-new Seventh Five Year Plan as well.
The project has successfully completed the groundwork such as awareness building of corruption prevention among the Integrity Focal Points, formulation of NIS work plans by almost all ministries and institutions concerned, drafting a NIS Road map and formulation of NIS Monitoring Guidelines. It should be well acknowledged that NBR is one of the most proactive institutions in formulating its own NIS work plan in which, among others, updating acts, rules and regulations for income tax and Value-Added Tax (VAT) is highlighted as a core activity. It is also worth mentioning that online complaint system and one-stop help desk are being introduced in NBR to enhance its accountability and transparency that are exactly the core values of NIS.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Bangladesh has continued both steady economic growth and firm social development more than a decade. It advanced in the World Bank's income categories from a low-income country to a lower-middle-income country last year. The private sector, especially the ready-made garment industry, contributed a lot to the solid economic growth. In order for Bangladesh to make a leap forward to a higher growth trajectory of eight-percent plus, the private sector investment, including foreign direct investment, needs to be increased from the current level of 22% of GDP to much higher level. To attract investors who are by nature of long-term perspective, the host government has to demonstrate how well it governs, proving that it is predictable, transparent and accountable. Trust in government nurtured by integrity is really an intangible social asset necessary for vibrant economic activities.
On the other hand, as presented by the Cabinet Division, NIS covers not only the public sector but also the private sector. Though it is the role of the public sector to lead effective implementation of NIS, establishment of integrity in the society as a whole cannot be possible without joint undertaking of the private sector. For example, proper enforcement of laws and regulations of income tax and VAT, which NBR incorporated into its NIS work plan to pursue well-balanced economic growth, cannot be achieved without full compliance of the private sector.
Finally, witnessing a good start of collaboration with the private sector in NIS implementation, I sincerely hope the Cabinet Division and NBR together with the private sector will continue to try every possible means to produce transformational results in implementation of NIS, leading prosperous and harmonized development of Bangladesh, what we call "Sonar Bangla."
Apnader Shabaike Dhannabad. Thank you very much.