# RMG sector started getting more orders
# Stress on expanding FTA footprints to boost trade
The business community is against any new lockdown for the sake of the country’s economy, which is recovering gradually from the disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
“We are against any fresh lockdown as companies are getting new export orders. The economy is recovering from the setback,” Jashim Uddin, president of Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FBCCI), told a Meet the Reporters programme on Wednesday.
Dhaka Reporters Unity organised the event at its auditorium.
Responding to a question, the FBCCI president said the present situation does not demand such shutdown measures.
“The government led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will surely take a time-befitting decision in this regard, he said, adding that all activities can continue following health guidelines.
He said that countries that initiated lockdowns became victims of negative growth.
The trade body chief claimed the country’s economy braved the pandemic as the businessmen kept the factories operational despite the pandemic.
“Several sectors including tourism and transports are the worst victims of the pandemic. However, the RMG sector is getting an increasing number of orders and continuing regular operations. The banks also made profits,” he added.
Highlighting the investment scenario of the country, Jashim Uddin said Bangladesh has emerged as an attractive destination for investors as the government is developing 100 economic zones and other mega projects.
The FBCCI leader urged the banks to come forward to provide soft loans to SMEs as they are the future of the country’s economy.
“Bangladesh may face challenges to protect local industries with different tax benefits after graduation from LDC status. The strength of the economy after 2026 will depend on the power of negotiation. For this, institutional capacity building is important.
Emphasizing expanding FTA footprints, the FBCCI chief said Bangladesh should focus on bilateral agreement for expanding free trade area as 90 per cent of global trade happen in six blocks across the world.
The six blocks as a regional comprehensive partnership, European Economic Union, USA, EU, UK and African continental free trade agreement.
The FTA or free trade agreement is a pact between two or more nations to reduce barriers to imports and exports among them.
He said the capacity building of commerce and industries ministries is important for international trade negotiation after LDC graduation.
Jashim, also the chairman of Bengal Commercial Bank, claimed the banks are always busy with corporate clients instead of the small entrepreneurs who are the future of the economy.
“SMEs generate 85 percent employments in the industries segment. However, they are mostly dependent on informal sources for raising capital. The conventional banks should come forward to support SMEs for keeping sustainable growth in the economy,” he said.
FBCCI covers 413 associations and sectors across the country, according to the leader.
“From FBCCI, we seek time from the government till March 31 to incorporate the recommendations from field level businesses. There is an initiative to make a law in Bangladesh for more inclusion in the tax net. We think the pressure on business can’t mitigate through widening the tax net coverage,” added Jashim Uddin.
In reply to a question from Daily Sun, the FBCCI president said the commerce ministry is working to introduce unique ID numbers for e-commerce businesses to bring good governance in the sector.
Dhaka Reporters Unity (DRU) President Nazrul Islam Mithu and general secretary Nurul Islam Hasib, among others, were also present at the programme.