The country's apex trade body FBCCI has constructed a multi-storey building in Old Dhaka's Hatkhola without an approved design and that's why it could not use the high-rise for a long time.
"The Hatkhola building remains empty for three years. Because the design of the building was not approved. We recently had the design approved," said FBCCI President Sheikh Fazle Fahim.
He was addressing a virtual programme marking the inauguration of the trade body's new logo and renovated federation building, FBCCI Icon, in Motijheel.
Fahim said the ownership of the Motijheel building is not yet in the name of Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI). The process is underway to take over the ownership and it is expected to be completed soon, he added.
According to the trade organisation, former finance minister AMA Muhith had laid the foundation stone of the 13-storey FBCCI building on 14.43 katha land in Hatkhola on May 7, 2012. The construction cost of the building with a three-storey basement was Tk 36 crore. The National Development Engineering Limited (NDE) built the building.
Yesterday, Salman F Rahman, private industry and investment adviser to the prime minister, virtually inaugurated the FBCCI Icon building. Former presidents of the organisation Mahbubur Rahman, Mir Nasir Hossain, AK Azad, Abdul Matlub Ahmad and Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin joined the programme.
Speaking at the event, Mohiuddin said, "Being in power, there is a tendency to ignore the law. Constructing the building without having its design approved is negligence on our part."
He said they lost the BGMEA building in Hatirjheel even after buying a piece of land for Tk 4.15 crore. "While registering the land after buying it from Export Promotion Bureau, it was found that they were not the owners. The original owner Bangladesh Railway did not give the ownership of the land to EPB."
AK Azad said there are two main problems of FBCCI -- it has no income and businessmen cannot sit in a place to hold meetings. He observed that they should have a big piece of land allotted in Purbachal.
Salman said, "We are harming ourselves with our whims. We build a building without an approved design."
He said the size of the country's economy is growing and the FBCCI is also getting bigger. And that's why it needs structural reforms.
Fahim said the lobby, meeting room and auditorium of the FBCCI Icon building have been named after the former presidents of the organisation.
He said the FBCCI will have some profit and non-profit organisations.
Clearance for setting up a university has already been received. The FBCCI board in a meeting last month approved setting up a number of institutions, including bank, insurance company, hospital and medical college. These institutions will be run under a foundation which will be led by former leaders of the trade body, Fahim added.
The FBCCI chief said he was not in favor of bringing money from the government for the development of the organisation. "If necessary, we will give money to the government."
Admitting the construction of the FBCCI building without an approved design, its former president Abdul Matlub Ahmad told The Daily Star that there was no need to do anything without following rules and laws. This might harm the office bearers of the trade body, he said.
"Everybody wanted to say to follow the rules and regulations to avoid unnecessary hassles," he said.