Bangladesh as a developing country needs a robust yet pragmatic industrial policy to see its economic activities bringing the coveted results. The present government is providing the needed guidelines to attain holistic economic development in all the sectors. The task is no doubt daunting as the government faces resource constraints and many other debilitating factors including political turmoil. And yet, considering the importance of the private sector, an all-out support is being provided to the private entrepreneurs - big, medium and small. This support has brought dynamism in both the public and private sectors. Against this backdrop, it is essential to examine various aspects of industrialisation and its impacts on overall economic activities.
Against the background of intense global competition, the private sector is playing an important role in the industrialisation of the country. Therefore, the Ministry of Industries has taken the role of a facilitator. Faced with the challenges of the free market economy and globalisation, the government has accepted private ownership and management of industrial enterprises as one of the major guiding forces in achieving economic growth. Besides this, the government has also brought about many constructive and timely reforms in the running of businesses, and liberalized trade so that private entrepreneurs can seize opportunities of establishing and running industrial enterprises profitably and freely.
To reduce poverty and generate employment opportunities, more efforts are needed to establish agro-based industries as well as to raise agricultural production. This will ensure the protection and fair price of agricultural products and employment of a huge number of unemployed people. In order to create further employment opportunities beyond the agricultural sector, initiatives should be taken to set up small, medium and large industries across the country. If these types of industries are set up in a planned way, then unemployment rates will decline and poverty alleviation will be accelerated. With these objectives in mind, the Industrial Policy has been radically reshaped.
In order to provide administrative, institutional and infrastructure facilities in the country's industrialisation, there are organisations such as the Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution (BSTI), Bangladesh Industrial Technical Assistance Center (BIT AC), Bangladesh Institute of Management (BIM), Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation (BSCIC), National Productivity Organization (NPO) and Small and Cottage Industries Training Institute (SCITI) under the Ministry of Industries, and the National Institute of Textile Training, Research and Design (NITTRED), Textile Vocational Institutes, Textile Diploma Institute and Bangladesh Silk Research and Training Institutes under the Ministry of Textiles and Jute. For the leather industry, the Bangladesh College of Leather Technology and different district level polytechnic institutes provide technical education. These institutes also provide assistance for industrialisation by providing training on management and quality control of goods, safeguarding consumers' interests, producing and repairing import-substitute spare-parts used in industries, manufacturing new tools necessary for the production of industrial goods that are in demand, and by improving efficiency and overall productivity. However, many industrial entrepreneurs are not fully aware of the necessary technical and other assistance available for the industrial sector through these institutes. Therefore, extensive publicity is necessary for the proper use of these important institutes and the facilities available there.
In order to further strengthen the country's industrialisation process, the present government has identified the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) as a priority sector and as the driving force for industrialisation. A national taskforce led by the Principal Secretary of the Prime Minister's Office has been formed so that proper policies and planning are followed in establishing SMEs. At the same time, with a view to providing entrepreneurs with assistance in the establishment of SMEs, a cell has been created under the supervision of the Ministry of Industries comprising officials experienced in SMEs from the Ministry of Industries, BSCIC, NPO, Asian Development Bank (ADB), The Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI), National Association of Small and Cottage Industries, Bangladesh (NASCIB) and women entrepreneurs.
The provisions of all facilities for attracting foreign investments have been envisaged in the Industrial Policy. The government has taken an initiative to formulate a separate SME policy to provide entrepreneurs with necessary guidance and strategic support in respect of the establishment of SME industries all over the country. These strategic guidelines will be followed in establishing SMEs across the country.
Far-reaching changes have occurred in the past decade in economic and social activities across the globe, especially with regard to the participation, contributions and successes of women in industrial activities. Therefore, the creation of women entrepreneurs and their participation in industrialisation have been given considerable prominence in the present Industrial Policy.
Necessary steps have been taken to hygienically preserve and market agricultural products of Bangladesh. With this end in view, measures will be taken for the preservation of frozen, pasteurised, canned and dry foods in a modern and hygienic way in order to sell them in local and overseas markets throughout the year.
Steps will be taken to properly utilize the natural and mineral resources of the country such as gas, coal, hard rock, limestone, silicon, monazite, zircon, rutile, oyster, pearl, coral1 fossil, seaweeds, etc, available in the country's sea-beach so that new profitable industries can be set up. Steps will also be taken at the same time to use solar power and municipal refuse to generate electric power in order to minimize power shortage in running small and cottage industries.
This is an age of information and communication technology (ICT). The application of ICT in running industrial enterprises efficiently and profitably can ensure quality development of goods, make production cost-effective and ensure faster customer services. So, providing further importance and incentives to the use of ICT in a number of sectors is one of the notable features of the present Industrial Policy.
The industrial sector is likely to grow rapidly over the next decade raising its contribution to the country's GDP to 30 to 35 percent, and the workforce in this sector is expected to increase to 35 percent of national employment need. In order to attain this growth in this sector, special importance has been given in the Industrial Policy on agro-based and agro processing industries and on steps to overcome possible adverse conditions in the export oriented garment sector. Importance has also been given on considering the SMEs and cottage industries as one of the major driving forces, providing assistance to women entrepreneurs on a priority basis, setting up special economic zones in different parts of the country, improving the quality of industrial products to world standard, marketing of goods at competitive prices, and enhancing productivity in the industrial sector.
The Industrial Policy-2010 aims at achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and, reducing unemployment and the proportion of the population afflicted by poverty and hunger to less than half by 2017 through the adoption of short, medium and long-term programmes to help build a modern and vibrant industrial sector. Industrial Policy-2010 also pledges that no effort will be spared in raising the growth rate of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to 8 percent by 2013, further to 10 percent between 2017 and 2021, and thereby to elevate
Bangladesh to the cherished rank of 'middle-income country'.
Achieving the recently-announced Digital Bangladesh goal by 2021, and creating employment opportunity for at least one person from each household in order to reduce poverty and unemployment loom large among the central policy objectives of the government.
Source: EPB& Ministry of Industries