The government should give more focus to improve the business environment and reduce the cost of doing business to achieve further export growth, FBCCI President Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin said yesterday.
“Many foreigners say that it is a matter of great regret that Bangladesh ranks 176th among 190 nations in the ease of doing business index,” said the chief of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI).
“They also say that the condition of our port is still the same as it was during Bangladesh's independence in 1971.” The higher profit in Bangladesh compared to any country in the world is helping the local businesses to survive, although they are burdened with a lot of problems, he said.
Mohiuddin was addressing a programme at TCB building auditorium in Dhaka where the government distributed CIP (commercially important person) cards.
The commerce ministry and the Export Promotion Bureau jointly honoured 178 business persons with the CIP status for 2016.
Of the recipients, 137 persons received the CIP card in export category while 41 ex-officio members or the directors of the FBCCI were awarded in the trade category.
“Officials of many regulatory bodies in Bangladesh even do not know what happens in the industries when the gas is not supplied with adequate pressure,” Mohiuddin said.
The regulatory bodies are oblivious of the fact that the whole lot of dyes in a spinning mill can get wasted if an adequate gas pressure is not maintained, Mohiuddin said.
However, the domestic entrepreneurs are very resilient and they are continuing business in this anti-business friendly environment.
The government should ensure accountability to make the one stop service centres effective in different Bangladeshi embassies abroad along with assigning them with time-bound activities and export targets, he said.
“We want quality supply of electricity and gas in the industries. No fluctuation in the supply can take place there.”
At the event, Commerce Secretary Md Mofizul Islam said the government has taken different short and long-term projects to boost gas and power supply, improve ports’ efficiency and establish new economic zones.
Projects have also been taken to provide cash incentives and low-cost bank loans to expand the trade opportunities in the country, he said.
In 1972, Bangladesh exported 25 types of products to 65 countries worth $348 million, which hit $36.66 billion last fiscal year, Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed said.
The export target for the current fiscal year has been fixed at $44 billion, he said.
However, the target will be exceeded at the end of this year as the shipment value of goods has already touched $17.73 billion in the first five months of the current fiscal year, registering a 17.24 percent year-on-year growth, he said.
The export target for the five-month period was set at $15.23 billion and the export will exceed $46 billion at the end of the year, he said.
The country’s merchandise export will reach $60 billion by 2021 and $100 billion by 2030, he said.
Bangladesh has already fulfilled all three criteria to be eligible to be a developing country by 2024, he said.
Last year, earnings from the garment export stood at $30.61 billion and this year the target has been set at $32 billion.
Last year, export to the European Union stood at $21.33 billion and it will grow further, he said.
Bangladesh will be benefited from the US-China trade war, Ahmed said.
The minister said the prices of Bangladeshi garment items did not increase although he himself lobbied different international groups and local apparel units spent billions of US dollars to strengthen workplace safety.
“We do not need the Accord anymore as the number of green factories has been growing here. Out of the top 10 greenest factories in the world, seven are in Bangladesh and 270 factories are waiting to be certified as green.”
The CIPs will enjoy some benefits like entry to the secretariat with the cards and receive invitation letters on a priority basis in different national and municipal events.
The CIPs will also enjoy priority in reservation of seats in airlines, rail and waterway transports.
The CIPs will also be given the letter of introduction from the foreign ministry for visa purposes. They can use the VIP lounges at the airports.