June 16, 2021, 10:20 pm

Business Reporter

2021-05-09 06:57:24 BdST

Bangladesh needs export diversification: Experts

Experts of readymade garment sector, stakeholder of different export-oriented businesses and regulatory bodies concerned emphasised the need for diversification of exports.

The experts and stakeholders said this at an Institute of Chartered Accountants of Bangladesh virtual webinar titled by ‘Diversification of Bangladesh’s Export Basket: Opportunities and Challenges’ on Saturday.

Tipu Munshi, Minister of the Ministry of Commerce, delivered his speech as the chief guest while the programme was chaired by Adeeb Hossain Khan, Member Council and former President of the ICAB.

Shubhashish Bose, former Senior Secretary of the Ministry of Commerce and Chief Executive Officer of the ICAB presented the keynote paper.

Tipu Munshi said, “There is no alternative to expansion of export basket, don't just depend on RMG sector. The government is working on 19 potential export products of the country. To give more importance to export products, the prime minister is declaring a potential export product every year as 'Product of the Year'.”

The minister stated, the Ministry of Commerce is already working to develop four export sectors — leather goods, plastics, information technology and light engineering — through a project with the support of the World Bank.

“After LDC graduation, Bangladesh will have to face several challenges. The government is working on this and we have helped develop as many as 100 special economic zones,” he added.

BGMEA President Faruque Hassan said, “Out of 8.15 per cent GDP growth in FY2018-19, interestingly the growth in industrial sector was 12.67 per cent and particularly manufacturing sector’s growth was 14.20 per cent. So, the economy is already on an industry-led economic growth trend, but the question is ‘how far is our industrial sector diversified?’ If we look at our export basket, we can see that RMG sector is still dominating.”

Though we have progressed a lot in the area of safety and sustainability in past 40 years, diversification has not gained that much traction up till now,” he added.

BGMEA President also said, “There is a huge market for textile articles in Bangladesh, but we are still dependent on imports. The capacity of fabric designing, dying and processing is much less in Bangladesh where more investments are required not only to meet the need for basic apparel items, but also to support the transformation to higher value segments.

Golam Ahsan, President of the Bangladesh Handicraft and Manufactures Association said, “Why our exports or any others data would not be the same. We people, who are doing some analysis or facing some foreign agencies, had to face some odds that is very unacceptable also. Who will take care of Export Promotion Bureau and Bangladesh Bank? We don't know rather we have to overcome it very quickly.”

Syed Almas Kabir, President of the Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services, said the Covid-19 has accelerated the fourth industrial revolution. Bangladesh should have prepared its young generation.

“A total number of 10 crore people are using Internet, but our wi-fi facility is not good. We have to ensure proper wi-fi facility across the country for upskilling,” he demanded.

Other sector leaders recommended to government to solve some others challenges including FTA, DTA, CEPA and called on the government to appoint potential person to the embassy as commercial councilor.

Among others, Jafar Uddin, Senior Secretary of the Ministry of Commerce, Mahmudul Hasan Khusru, President of the ICAB spoke on the occasion.

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