Plastic goods manufacturers yesterday demanded establishment of a special industrial zone so that they can relocate the unplanned plastic factories that are based in Old Dhaka.
At present, there are about 1,200 plastic factories in the oldest part of the capital, most of which are unauthorised, according to industry insiders.
“We have long been demanding a separate zone for us,” said Md Jashim Uddin, president of Bangladesh Plastic Goods Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BPGMEA).
“If we get a special industrial zone, it will give a huge boost and we will be able to capture around 3 percent global market share in future.”
He spoke while addressing the inaugural ceremony of the 15th International Plastic Fair 2019 jointly organised by the BPGMEA and Trade & Marketing Service Co Ltd at Radisson Blu Dhaka Water Garden.
The global market size of plastic goods is about $570 billion and Bangladesh has only 0.06 percent market share.
In 2017-18, Bangladesh exported plastic items worth $600.89 million, which was 1.4 percent of the country's total export of $36.44 billion, according to the association.
In the previous fiscal year, plastic goods export was $607.15 million.
Some 480 companies from 19 countries are taking part in the four-day fair at International Convention City Bashundhara in Dhaka and displaying products at 780 stalls in 15 categories.
The major categories include packaging materials, plastic moulds, crockery, pharmaceuticals, households, toys, furniture, melamine, garment accessories and polypropylene woven bags.
Jashim Uddin also demanded formulation of a “standard packaging act” to safeguard the sector.
He urged the government to withdraw value-added tax on locally made toys to help flourish the segment as it is still at nascent stage.
Industries Minister Nurul Majid Mahmud Humayun assured the business community of solving the existing bottlenecks that the businesses face.
At the event, Salman F Rahman, private industry and investment adviser to the prime minister, pledged to take initiatives to establish the plastic industrial zone as soon as possible.
“I am committed to developing the backward linkage industry along with other sectors as the prime minister has given me the responsibility to work for the development of the private sector.”
He urged the plastics industry to put emphasis on recycling for reuse.
Rahman also vowed to improve the ease of doing business ranking of the country through creating a business-friendly atmosphere.
Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin, president of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry, emphasised the need for improvement of ease of doing business.
He called for allocating land to establish a plastic industrial zone.
Judy Wang, president of Yorkers Trade and Marketing Co Ltd, and Shamim Ahmed, co-chair of the fair, also spoke.