Plastic, light engineering sectors

Export policy should reflect roadmaps, growth projections: Stakeholders

FE REPORT | Wednesday, 19 January 2022

Roadmaps for export oriented plastic and light engineering as well as their growth projections need to be aligned with upcoming export policy, said speakers at a workshop on Tuesday.

Business Initiative Leading Development (BUILD) and the Ministry of Commerce jointly organised the validation workshop to finalise export roadmaps on plastic and light engineering sectors, held at the Export Competitiveness for Jobs (EC4J) Project office in the city, a statement said.

The roadmaps have been prepared by BUILD in collaboration with IFC-WBG.

Senior Secretary to the Ministry of Commerce Tapan Kanti Ghosh attended the event as the chief guest.

BUILD shared two presentations on export roadmaps on plastic and light engineering sectors respectively.

Mr Ghosh endorsed the projection of BUILD for the Bangladesh plastic sector to be the 40th largest exporter by 2030.

In order to meet the target, he asked the stakeholders to support the government since it is keen to see higher export growth through relevant policy interventions.

He also directed the relevant agencies to accomplish their tasks outlined in the action plan ahead of the deadline.

After 2026, when Bangladesh will graduate from LDC status, the government will not extend cash subsidies but provide support in the forms of research, knowledge, logistics, and so on.

"Bangladesh needs to shift its product concentration to sectors like light engineering so that it can gradually move upwards in its industrialisation pathway," Mr Ghosh said.

As Bangladesh will upgrade from being the 43rd largest economy to 25-26th economy in 2030, greater FDI may be attracted and the ease of doing business may be gradually improved, said the secretary, adding that the projected target for 2030 could be upgraded with proper factor analysis.

He informed the event that the finance ministry had commissioned a study to seek alternatives of subsidies considering the changed situation after LDC graduation - stakeholders could also suggest in these aspects.

Considering the global export volume, economic situation, supportive policies extended by the government and the target of perspective plan to be a developed country, Mr Ghosh said there was a need for alternative projections for the light engineering sector.

He suggested that BUILD revisit the target considering the global issues and economic development.

BUILD CEO Ferdaus Ara Begum said plastic toys had huge potential to be a significant export product along with automobile components, provided that the sector was supported with policies such as bonded warehouse facilities and reduced lead time.

She also urged the government to officiate the deemed export figures for calculating total export of the sector.

Hafizur Rahman, additional secretary (Export) of the commerce ministry, said: "We have a target to reach export of 80 billion dollars by the marginal year of Export Policy 2021-2024, sectoral targets in the roadmaps should be aligned with the export policy target."

EC4J Project Director Md Monsurul Alam said Bangladesh had roughly 300 plastic recycling factories across the country producing plastic flakes from scraps and exporting around 40,000 tonnes of flakes annually for making yearns.

"We need to stop it and figure out how we can produce yarns from flakes in Bangladesh," he said.

The meeting primarily validated the export projection target, mission and vision and time-bound action plans for the roadmap.

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