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FBCCI for legal basis of new industrial policy

The call comes as the government prepares a new industrial policy

  • Staff Correspondent
  • 18 January, 2022 12:00 AM
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FBCCI for legal basis of new industrial policy

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Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) sought a legal framework of the Industrial Policy 2021.

The entrepreneurs have not been able to reap benefits of the existing due to lack of a legal basis, the country’s apex trade body said.

It made the call at the first meeting of FBCCI's Standing Committee on Industry and Industrial Policy held at its office in Dhaka on Monday, said a press release.

FBCCI said there are controversies regarding different government policies, which deprive entrepreneurs of the policy benefits in many cases.  As a result, local and foreign investment is being hampered, so does the industrialization, it said.

FBCCI senior vice-president and director-in-charge of the standing committee Mostofa Azad Chowdhury Babu put stress on coordination among various ministries, saying it is “essential for the implementation of industrial policy.”

The finance, commerce and industry ministries also need to have specialised wings in the respective sectors, he said.

Babu alleged that the entrepreneurs have to pay high service charges even if they do not get any service in the BSCIC industrial city.

“Sometimes the charge is increased by 50 percent to 60 percent without consulting the concerned industrialists. Industrialisation is being hampered due to high land prices in various industrial cities of BSCIC.”

To protect industry, many other countries have imposed various restrictions on foreign products, including anti-dumping duties, the entrepreneur said.

Babuurged Bangladesh authorities to take the same measures to protect local ventures.

At the meeting, chairman of the standing committee and president of the Bangladesh Plastic Goods Manufacturers and Exporters Association Shamim Ahmed said the service sector contributes more than 50 per cent to the economy, but the draft industrial policy does not properly address this sector.

Although the public-private partnership plays an important role in the development of the economy, it is not mentioned in the industrial policy, he said.  He alleged that foreign investors are being discouraged as there were many inconsistencies between the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) policies and industrial policy. During the discussion on the draft of National Industrial Policy 2021, the members of the standing committee said that there is a lack of coordination among different policies.

Industrial policy should be considered as the supreme policy, they said.

So if any other policiesare in conflicts with the policy, the entrepreneurs can avail the benefits as per the provisions of the industrial policy, according to them.

Speakers felt that the post-LDC challenges, diversification of export products, skilled manpower, ICT, SME sector should get priority in the upcoming policy.

Various countries are moving towards circular economies to ensure sustainable development and FBCCI is also working on this, they said. The speakers demanded that circular economy and logistics be included in the industrial policy.

Entrepreneurs also want to ensure easy availability of land and long-term credit for the industry. Businessmen said BSTI's standard certificate is required to produce 227 products in the country. In contrast, only 55 products are required the same for import.

Taking advantage of this inequality, many low-quality foreign products have taken over the domestic market, they complained. Setting up an industry in Bangladesh requires 30 certificates, which also need to be every year. But in Vietnam, this number is only 5 with no provision for renewal.

In order to attract domestic and foreign investment, it was recommended to reduce the number of certificates to 5 and to cancel the provision for renewal.

Md Salim Ullah, Senior Assistant Secretary (Policy) at Ministry of Industries, highlighted different aspects of the draft industrial policy.

He said the next policy aims to increase the contribution of industry to 40 per cent in national income and the contribution of the labor sector to 40 per cent.

The meeting was attended also attended, among others, by co-chairmen of the Standing Committee Md Abdur Razzak and Asif Ibrahim, directors of FBCCI AbulKasem Khan, Dr. Nadia Binte Amin, former president of MCCI Dhaka Nihad Kabir, FBCCI Advisor Monjur Rahman and CEO of BUILD Ferdous Ara Begum.