FBCCI calls for making law before formulating new industrial policy

FBCCIFile photo

The country’s apex business association FBCCI on Monday underlined the importance of having a legal basis for the upcoming industrial policy.

The suggestion came from speakers at the first meeting of the FBCCI Standing Committee on Industry and Industry Policy held at the FBCCI office.

It came as the government is going to formulate a new National Industrial Policy.

But due to lack of the legal entities, entrepreneurs are not able to take advantage of the many benefits of the current policy.

Members of the committee complained that there are controversies among different government policies, which deprive entrepreneurs to enjoy the policy benefits in many cases.

As a result, they said, local and foreign investment is being hampered, so is the Industrialization.

During the meeting, Mostofa Azad Chowdhury, senior vice-president of FBCCI and director-in-charge of the Standing Committee on Industry and Industrial Policy, said coordination among various ministries is essential for the implementation of industrial policy.

The ministries of finance, commerce and industry also need to be specialised, he noted.

He alleged that the entrepreneurs have to pay the high service charge even if they do not get any service in the BSCIC industrial city.

Sometimes the charge is hiked by 50 to 60 per cent without consulting the concerned industrialists. Industrialization is being hampered due to high land prices in various industrial cities of BSCIC, he added.

To protect their industry, many countries have imposed various restrictions on foreign products, including anti-dumping duties.

Mostofa Azad suggested taking the same measures to protect local ventures.

At the meeting, Shamim Ahmed, chairman of the standing committee and president of the Bangladesh Plastic Goods Manufacturers and Exporters Association, said the service sector contributes more than 50 per cent to the economy.

“But the draft industrial policy does not properly address this sector.”

Although public-private partnership plays an important role in the development of the economy, it is not mentioned in the industrial policy, he added.

He said foreign investors were being discouraged as there were many inconsistencies between the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) policies and industrial policy.

During the discussion on the draft of National Industrial Policy 2021, the members of the standing committee said that there is lack of coordination among different policies.

Industrial policy should be considered as the supreme policy. So the entrepreneurs can avail the benefits as per the provisions of the industrial policy.

Speakers at the meeting felt that the post- LDC challenges, diversification of export products, skilled manpower, ICT, SME sector should get priority in the upcoming policy.

Various countries are moving towards circular economies to ensure sustainable development and FBCCI is also working on this.

The speakers demanded that circular economy and logistics to be included in the forthcoming industrial policy.

Entrepreneurs also want to ensure easy availability of land and long-term credit for the industry.

BSTI's standard certificate is required to produce 227 products in the country. In contrast, only 55 products are required the same for import. Taking advantage of this inequality, many low-quality foreign products have taken over the domestic market, they complained.

To set up an industry, it takes 30 certificates and has to be renewed every year.

But in Vietnam this number is only five with no provision for renewal. In order to attract domestic and foreign investment, it was recommended to reduce the number of certificates to five and to cancel the provision for renewal.

Md Salim Ullah, senioraAssistant secretary (Policy), ministry of industries, highlighted various aspects of the draft industrial policy.

He said the next policy aims to increase the contribution of industry to 40 per cent in national income and the contribution of the labour sector to 40 per cent.

Among others, the meeting was attended by co-chairmen of the standing committee Md Abdur Razzak and Asif Ibrahim, directors of FBCCI Abul Kasem Khan, Nadia Binte Amin, former president of MCCI Dhaka Nihad Kabir, FBCCI advisor Monjur Rahman and CEO of BUILD Ferdous Ara Begum.