Business Initiative Leading Development (BUILD) projected that the country's plastic sector will be the 40th largest exporter by 2030.
Tapan Kanti Ghosh, senior secretary at the commerce ministry, endorsed the projection at a workshop jointly organised by BUILD and the Ministry of Commerce. It aimed to finalise the Export Roadmaps on Plastic and Light Engineering Sectors on Tuesday.
Held in the Export Competitiveness for Jobs (EC4J) Project office, BUILD shared two presentations on Export Roadmaps on Plastic and Light Engineering Sectors respectively.
In order to meet the target, he asked the stakeholders regarding the needs to support since the Government is keen to see higher export growth through relevant policy interventions. He also directed relevant agencies to accomplish their tasks outlined in the action plan ahead of the deadline.
The secretary mentioned that Vietnam could enhance its light engineering and bicycle export because they secured significant FDI. 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. 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. With proper factor analysis, the projected target for 2030 can be upgraded.
He informed that MOF has commissioned a study to seek alternatives of subsidies considering the changed situation after LDC graduation, stakeholders can also suggest these aspects.
Referring to different projections of the light engineering sector, the secretary said that considering the global export of 700 trillion, the economic situation, supportive policies extended by the Govt and the target of the prospective plan to be a developed country, there is a need for alternative projections. He suggested BUILD to revisit the target considering the global issues and economic development.
BUILD CEO Ferdaus Ara Begum informed that plastic toys has got huge potential to be a significant export product along with automobile components, provided that the sector is supported with policies such bonded warehouse facilities and reduced lead time. She also urged to officiate the deemed export figures for calculating total export of the sector.
Hafizur Rahman, additional secretary (Export) at MOC, said, we have a target to reach export of $80 billion by the marginal year of Export Policy 2021-2024, sectoral targets in the roadmaps should be aligned with export policy targets.
Monsurul Alam, project director at EC4J Project, said that we have 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.
BPGMEA President Shamim Ahmed also spoke and put emphasis on the need for ease of doing business in import of raw materials and imposed duties and tax in that respect as the sector is heavily dependent on import of raw materials.
Light Engineering sector representatives mentioned that the main product for export is machinery and spare parts, toys, bicycles, batteries and so on. He stressed that the global market for light engineering goods is more than USD seven trillion. A key consideration for Bangladesh is ensuring land availability through creation of industrial parks and offering proper land use support for entrepreneurs, emulating best practices of countries like India or Vietnam.
BSCIC representative mentioned that the industrial park at Munshiganj (50 acre) is almost ready. Similar parks will also be established in Jashore, Narayanganj, Bogra and then at Dhamrai. BSCIC's activities are being expanded to upazila levels.
BUILD CEO mentioned that BSTI standards are often outdated or not updated. Standards have to be updated every six years. BSTI representatives responded that the standards for bicycle and motorcycle are updated. Motorcycle sector representative mentioned that the emission norms issue is not addressed.
The meeting primarily validated the export projection target, mission and vision and time –bound action plans for the roadmap.
Mohammad Arafat Ali, Joint Director, Bangladesh Bank, etc. put valuable data driven insights to finalize draft export roadmaps. Besides, representatives from the Ministry of Industries, Ministry of Labour and Employment, EPB, BSCIC, BITAC, BBPMEA, BSTI, BBS, DOE, BEIOA, etc including sectoral representatives joined the discussion.