Shipbuilders ask for low interest rate, tax holiday
Shipbuilders yesterday called upon the government to bring down bank interest rate to a single digit for the booming industry.
They said the government should come forward to strengthen the industry and withdraw import duty on raw materials to help build ships locally, as the sector has much potential to contribute to the economy.
They also demanded "tax holiday".
The leaders of the shipbuilding industry were speaking at a meeting on "the role of shipbuilding industry in the country's economy" organised by Chittagong Press Club (CPC) at the CPC auditorium in the port city.
Engineer Md Sakhawat Hossain, managing director of Western Marine Shipyard Ltd, was the chief guest at the programme with CPC President Abu Sufian in the chair. CPC Secretary Rashed Rauf and Joint Secretary Asit Chowdhury also spoke.
Hossain said: "If we can build proper infrastructure, skilled manpower and quality management, the sector can easily earn Tk 7,500 crore a year and directly employ 50,000 people, only by using the three-kilometre stretch of the southern bank of the Karnaphuli river."
The industry has progressed much within a few years and already entered into several agreements with Denmark, Germany and some Middle East countries for supplying ships, he added.
Bangladesh has also bagged orders to build 42 new ships worth a total of $0.6 billion, Hossain said.
He hailed the recent government initiative of upgrading the Marine Academy as a full-fledged university.
The initiative will produce many skilled captains and marine engineers for the domestic and global markets.
"It is a potential sector for our economy, but without proper exposure and the help of the media, the sector can't flourish," Hossain said.