Industrial sector’s contribution to GDP exceeds 37 percent: PM



Staff Correspondent, Barta24.com
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina

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Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said that the contribution of the industrial sector to the GDP has already exceeded 37 percent. About 99% of Bangladesh's industries and businesses are covered by the cottage industry SME sector.

She said, this sector controls 70 percent of the country's economic activities, which is about 80 to 85 percent of the total industrial employment. The SME sector supplies 30 to 35 percent of the total domestic industrial product demand. Our government has declared this year as 'National Handicrafts Year'.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said all this in a speech given on the occasion of '11th National SME Product Fair-2024' to be held on May 19. Small and Medium Entrepreneurs Foundation (SME Foundation) is organizing the 11th National SME Product Fair 2024.

Referring to Bangabandhu's thoughts on industrial development, the Prime Minister said, the greatest Bengali of all time, Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's industrial development ideas blossomed in the Jukta Front’s election manifesto in 1954, which he prepared himself.

She said that four points of the 21-point declaration of the manifesto were his industrial development plan. In 1956, he was the Minister of Industry, Commerce, Labour, Anti-corruption and Rural Assistance of the then East Pakistan. During this time, he took the initiative to expand the industry in Bangladesh.

After independence, the Father of the Nation announced the country's first industrial and investment policy in 1973 and nationalized industrial establishments. He formed the necessary offices under the Ministry of Industry. In the light of the development philosophy of the Father of the Nation, we have implemented comprehensive programs for the development of the industrial sector in the last 15 years. As a result, the industrial sector of the country is gradually progressing towards prosperity.

Referring to the contribution of the industrial sector to the GDP, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said that the contribution of the industrial sector to the GDP has already exceeded 37 percent. Almost 99% of Bangladesh's industries and businesses are under the cottage industry SME sector. It controls 70 percent of the country's economic activity, accounting for about 80 to 85 percent of total industrial employment. The SME sector supplies 30 to 35 percent of the total domestic industrial product demand. Our government has declared this year as 'National Handicrafts Year'.

Referring to the contribution of her government in the proper development of small and medium industries, the Prime Minister said, we are formulating various business-friendly policies and implementing programs for the proper development of small and medium industries. In continuation of this, Industrial Policy-2022 and SME Policy-2019 have been formulated. We have given importance to the SME sector in SDG-2030, Rupkalpa-2041, Eighth Five Year Plan, and various policies and strategies.

To counter the impact of the Corona pandemic, we have provided financial incentives to SME industries and cash assistance to contribute to exports. Cluster-based industrial development at the grass-roots level has resulted in more manpower being engaged in the labor sector and increasing the number of women entrepreneurs and workers.

30,000 entrepreneurs have been created by SMEF through 150 programs on women entrepreneurship and startups. In the last 15 years, using the credit wholesaling model, loans of Tk. 716 crore have been distributed to 8286 entrepreneurs, of which 23 percent are women.

Referring to the contribution in the industrial sector, Sheikh Hasina said, our government has introduced the President's Industrial Development Award, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Industrial Award, CIP (Industrial) to recognize and encourage creativity of successful entrepreneurs/institutions in the industrial sector.

As a result, the highest production of 22.33 lakh metric tons of salt in the last 62 years, implementation of 112.24 percent of the annual development program and export earnings of 1.25 billion US dollars in the leather industry are notable, of which the contribution of the SME sector is 32 percent.

The Ministry of Industry and the SME Foundation are working to increase the contribution of the SME sector to 40 percent by 2031.

She said that the SME product fair plays an important role in the marketing of SME products. This fair will increase awareness and demand for domestic products made by micro, small and medium industrial entrepreneurs spread in different parts of the country. In order to build the foundation of a prosperous and sustainable economy, there is no alternative to creating labor-intensive and low-capital SME entrepreneurs in the country. Our government is determined to create a suitable environment for SME entrepreneurs to come forward with the expansion of business and trade.

The SME sector and the National SME Fair are playing a leading role in transforming the country's youth into skilled manpower and increasing their employment opportunities, and this is how the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's dream of hunger-poverty, happy-rich dream of golden Bangladesh will be developed, as well as knowledge-based smart Bangladesh with information technology. 

   

Achieving the target of hide collection in Posta, no hurry



Staff Correspondent, Barta24.com
Photo: Barta24

Photo: Barta24

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On the first day of Eid-ul-Azha, the rawhide traders in Lalbagh’s Posta have almost fulfilled the target of hide collection. 80% of the target of hide was bought and salted last night. As a result, on the second day of Eid, there is no busyness for the workers.

Aftab Khan, chairman of Bangladesh Hide and Skin Merchant Association (BAHAMA), an organization of traders who buy raw hides and salt them, confirmed to Barta24.com that the target of skin collection has been achieved on Tuesday (June 18) morning.

He said, the target of our Posta traders this time was to collect around one lakh skins. We accordingly prepared by buying salt. About 80% of our target skins were collected on the first day of Eid by our Postamen, traders and retailers. By 9 pm the purchase of leather is over. Even the salt was applied last night. 15 parcent will be collected today on the second day and 5 percent will be collected on the third day of Eid tomorrow, Wednesday.

Aftab Khan also said that most of the skins of Dhaka have come to us. Some hides are also salted at Hemayetpur. However, tannery owners salted most of the hides. As a result, skin was not damaged in Dhaka. Retail traders are still getting better price than the price of leather yesterday.

Based on the information provided by the president of the organization, it can be seen that there is no busyness of putting salt on the skin in any of the Postas. Almost every square is empty of people. Workers have been seen sleeping next to some hides.

In the past, on the second day of Eid, leather shopping was also busy, but this time it is the opposite. There is no preoccupation with the skin. Two trucks are still going through the skin.

Talking to the traders, it is known that leather is being sold at a better price on the second day than on the first day. Yesterday the leather was sold for Tk. 500 to Tk. 700. Today that leather is being sold for Tk. 50 to Tk. 100 more. If the quality of the leather is good, the traders are buying it at a better price.

On the second day of Eid, it has been found that there is no busyness at Posta, the businessmen are getting the opportunity to salt leather in Hazaribagh of the capital. Owing to the shortage of space in the Posta, the old tannery factories at Hazaribagh have been given the opportunity to salt leather.

When asked about this, the leader of raw leather traders said that there are no traders like before in Posta. Many businessmen are turning away from this sector due to various crises. Even the godowns that used to be in Posta area are no longer what they used to be. Because a leather trader used to pay Tk. 40,000 for the rent of the godown, now the same godown has been rented several times more by the plastic traders. As a result, many traders cannot buy leather now. As a result, we appealed to the government to allow leather salting in the old tannery factories in Hazaribagh. In view of the application, the BSCIC of the Ministry of Industry gave us that permission. As a result, many businessmen have now produced salt in Hazaribagh. This trader feels that the target has been easily achieved as many traders have been able to collect leather as per their demand due to the permission for a short period of time.

After talking to the Posta traders, it is known that after salting the collected skins, they will store it for a few days. From the fifth day of Eid they will start selling this salted leather to the tannery owners.

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"The country's economy is weaker than ever"



Special Correspondent, Barta24.com
"The country's economy is weaker than ever"

"The country's economy is weaker than ever"

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Barrister Anisul Islam Mahmud, deputy leader of the opposition party in the Jatiya Sangsad, has claimed that the country's economy is currently in the weakest position than at any time in the past.

He said, "As far as I know, having played a role in politics and as a member of parliament for a long time, there has never been a weaker situation in the past than this time."

Barrister Anisul Islam said all these things in an event titled 'Budget Dialogue 2024' organized at a hotel in the capital on Wednesday (June 12).

He said, on the eve of the transition from the list of least developed countries, the weakness was evident at the time when the country's economy needed to have the capacity to ensure a major adjustment.

Because of the crisis, the key question now is not whether macroeconomic stability will return or not. Rather, the question today is whether the economy will sustain under this pressure or not.

CPD's Board of Trustee Treasurer Syed Manzoor Elahi presided over the event, former Planning Minister MA Mannan, research institute Power and Participation Research Center (PPRC) Executive Chairman Economist Dr. Hossain Zillur Rahman, experts from politics, economy and private sector also spoke.

Executive Director of CPD Dr. Fahmida Khatun presented the keynote at the event. Dr. Fahmida Khatun claimed in the program that there is inconsistency in the target of macroeconomic indicators in the proposed budget.

Criticizing the decision to whiten black money with only 15 percent tax, Fahmida said it would encourage corrupt people. Honest taxpayers will be discouraged.

Identifying this opportunity to whiten black money as 'state sponsorship of cheating', Barrister Anisul Islam said that the money earned by theft, robbery and murder is also being given an opportunity to whiten.

Earlier, the ACC was given the opportunity to question the matter, but this power has been taken away. He asked in whose interest it was done.

Will the economy be strong by encouraging theft? Those who steal will bring money for the development of the country? In that case, I will take the opportunity to pay 15 percent tax next year instead of paying tax this time, he said.

Former Planning Minister MA Mannan commented that there is a need for a bold judgment analysis about how much this allocation is needed or how much benefit the people will get before allocating to various sectors in the budget.

He said that under the Annual Development Program (ADP) many projects had to be approved which I personally did not agree with. Again, I don't think these projects will be very useful.

Commenting that inflation in the country is mainly due to GDP growth, the former minister said that if growth is sacrificed, the standard of living of people will decrease. He also commented that many big economies have also followed the same path.

He said that at least 30 percent of the people are being helped through the government's social security program including providing food at an affordable price through cards, food in exchange for work, and if it were not for all these initiatives of the government, inflation could have been reduced by 15 percent.

But at the same time, the inequality in the country is also increasing, he said, historically, some sectors and groups have been fed and nourished since the British period and the Pakistan period. He also commented that there is a need to pay close attention to these aspects.

Dewan Hanif Mahmud, Editor of Banik Barta, believes that if efficiency can be ensured by controlling rent seeking, government expenditure, especially subsidy pressure, will be reduced.

He said that due to the efficiency of power management in India, the price of wholesale electricity per unit is a little more than five rupees. However, due to inefficiency, a large part of the subsidy in Bangladesh is going to this sector.

He also commented that the cost of implementing infrastructure sector projects is higher here than in many neighboring countries due to rent seeking.

Urging to determine the size of the unexibited part of the economy, he said, according to the estimate of the Ministry of Finance, 40 percent of the economy was unexhibited in 2012. He suggested that by redefining this size, it should be brought into the main channel of the economy as well as eliminates the inconsistencies of various agencies of the government.

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Economy stuck in inefficiency trap: Hussain Zillur



Special Correspondent, Barta24.com, Dhaka
Photo: Collected

Photo: Collected

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Economist Dr. Hossain Zillur Rahman, the Executive Chairman of the research institute Power and Participation Research Center (PPRC) believes that the potential of Bangladesh's economy and development is caught in the trap of inefficiency.

On Wednesday (June 12) at a hotel in the capital, he said in an event titled 'Budget Dialogue 2024', this trap is made by us. It is not imposed from outside.

While speaking on the key-note paper presented by Executive Director of CPD Dr. Famida Khatun, Hossain Zillur said that investment decisions in education and health in Bangladesh are not coming from integrated thinking, infrastructure and services are not being coordinated.

He said that a large part of the allocation in education is going to the infrastructure sector. Again 500 bed hospital is being built and service is being given to 50 bed hospital.

Claiming that the government's money is being wasted due to inefficiency in project selection, he said that many projects are being abandoned midway. He commented that this inefficiency is equivalent to an epidemic.

This economist also said that many ministries take large allocations at the beginning of the year and return the allocations at the end of the year due to inefficiency in implementation. He urged to address the problems of implementation efficiency, governance and development strategy to ensure freedom from such inefficiency trap.

Commenting that the country has been moving forward based on the garment industry and remittances for the last four to five decades, he said, new growth drivers should be searched for the future.

Dr. Hossain Zillur called the country's entrepreneurial class and workers as ducks that lay golden eggs, and said that they are trying to slaughter those golden ducks every year without nurturing them.

Urging to improve the investment environment to sustain growth, he said, entrepreneurs need business environment more than credit facilities. He said that bureaucratic complexity is still a big obstacle in business.

He said that 100 special economic zones have been formed, but in reality only four or five have been launched.

Claiming that there is no solution to all these problems in the economy, he further said that such problems should be solved through political economy.

Commenting that the entire potential of the country is stuck in the iron triangle of political economy, he said, this triangle of lack of accountability, lack of strategic skills and overall institutionalization of corruption should be broken.

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Chevron Bangladesh hosts Cattle and Product basket handover



Special Correspondent, Barta24.com-Dhaka
Photo-Collected

Photo-Collected

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Chevron Bangladesh, in collaboration with iDE as a part of the Uddokta Phase-II intervention, recently hosted a Cattle and Product Basket Handover event near the Bibiyana Gas Plant, Habiganj.

During the event, product baskets were handed over to 60 female sales agents, making relevant health and hygiene products available at their doorsteps.

In addition, 223 cattle were handed over to 22 VDO cooperatives, supporting the sustainability of these cooperatives under a new business model. The introduction of cattle insurance was a new addition to make this business model more effective and captivating for the long run.

Beneficiaries exhibited their stalls with products such as fresh vegetables, livestock, agriculture inputs, machineries and mini garments products. The private sector also showcased their services and products to facilitate market linkage and chain development.

The event was attended by Member of Parliament Amatul Kibria Keya Chowdhury (Habiganj-1), Dr. Md. Abdul Kader, District Livestock Officer and Sheikh Fazlul Haq Moni, Upazila Agriculture Officer.

They appreciated Chevron Bangladesh & iDE for such an impactful social investment project for the community. The event was attended by Director, Corporate Affairs Muhammad Imrul Kabir, Bibiyana Gasplant Superintendent Koyes Chowdhury, Community Engagement and Social Investment Manager Khondoker Tusherujjaman along with other Chevron team members.

In her speech, Amatul Kibria Keya Chowdhury, MP, mentioned how Chevron Bangladesh has contributed to the economy not only through providing affordable, reliable natural gas but also by being there for the community through various social investment initiatives.

Chevron is one of the world’s leading integrated energy companies, involved in virtually every aspect of the energy industry. Chevron Bangladesh Block Twelve, Ltd. and Chevron Bangladesh Blocks Thirteen & Fourteen, Ltd. (Chevron Bangladesh) is the largest producer of natural gas in Bangladesh, accounting for about 60% of total domestic natural gas production and over 80% of the domestic condensate production.

Chevron Bangladesh operates three gas fields in the northeast of the country. Chevron Bangladesh works with communities across its operations, building long-term partnerships that foster economic development and lasting benefits to them.

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