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Industrial policy should have legal basis: FBCCI

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The upcoming National Industrial Policy-2021 should have a legal basis to make it purposeful, as entrepreneurs cannot reap all benefits of the current policy for some loopholes.

Business leaders said this at a meeting of the country's apex trade body, the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FBCCI), on Monday.

They said some policy conflicts deprive entrepreneurs that result in the retardation to industrialisation.

The FBCCI Standing Committee on Industry and Industrial Policy made the observations at its maiden meeting at the FBCCI office at Motijheel, reads a statement.

FBCCI senior vice-president Mostofa Azad Chowdhury Babu, also director-in-charge of the committee, said coordination among ministries is the key to proper implementation of the industrial policy.

Finance, commerce and industries ministries also need to be specialised, he adds.

Entrepreneurs have to pay high service charge even if they do not get any service in the BSCIC industrial city, Mr Babu complains.

"Sometimes, the charge is increased by 50-60 per cent without consulting the industrialists concerned," he said, adding that industrialization is getting hampered for high land prices in some BSCIC areas.

The FBCCI said some countries have imposed restrictions, including anti-dumping duties, on foreign products to protect their local industries.

Mr Babu has suggested that Bangladesh take similar measures to protect its local ventures.

Shamim Ahmed, who chairs the committee, says the draft policy does not properly address the service sector, although it contributes over 50 per cent to economy.

"Although public-private partnership plays an important role in economic development, it's not mentioned in the industrial policy," said Mr Ahmed, also president of Bangladesh Plastic Goods Manufacturers and Exporters Association.

He said foreign investors are being discouraged, thanks to inconsistencies between BIDA (Bangladesh Investment Development Authority) policies and the industrial policy.

Committee members say industrial policy should be the supreme policy so that if any policy conflicts occur, entrepreneurs could benefit from its provisions.

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

Entrepreneurs need to obtain many certificates that come up for renewal every year, causing complications in doing business, according to them.

Md Salim Ullah, senior assistant secretary (policy) at industries ministry, highlights various aspects of the draft policy.

The next policy aims to increase the industry's contribution to 40 per cent in national income and that of the labour sector to 40 per cent.

Committee co-chairmen Md Abdur Razzak and Asif Ibrahim, FBCCI directors Abul Kasem Khan, Dr Nadia Binte Amin, former president of MCCI Dhaka Nihad Kabir, FBCCI adviser Monjur Rahman and BUILD CEO Ferdous Ara Begum, among others, attended the meeting.

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