Amid the surge in Covid infections and some restrictions imposed to curb the virus spread, the 26th Dhaka International Trade Fair ended on Monday fetching $16 million export orders.
According to the Export Promotion Bureau, the organiser of the fair, VAT worth Tk6.46 crore was collected in 2020 fair and the number of visitors was 25 lakh. In 2019, an export order worth Tk200 crore was received and 50 lakh people visited the fair.
While addressing the closing ceremony of the fair as the chief guest on Monday at the Bangabandhu Bangladesh-China Friendship Exhibition Centre in Purbachal, Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi said the country has the potential to attain the export target of $51 billion by making quality products and their diversification.
FBCCI President Md Jasim Uddin and Textile and Jute Minister Golam Dostagir Gazi were present at the ceremony as the special guests, while commerce secretary Tapan Kanti Ghosh presided over the function.
Golam Dastagir said this year's trade fair at the new venue has been very successful despite many adversities. If all goes well, many more visitors will come to the next fair.
Md Jashim Uddin said, "I urge the government to build three to four more buildings like the main building of the fair because our export target in 2041 is $300 billion. As our economy is growing, more businessmen will take part in this fair."
Around Tk40 crore was sold in the fair this year and the government earned Tk1.5 crore revenue as tax VAT in this fair. This year the commerce ministry did not extend the time for the fair due to rising Covid infections across the country. The trade fair was not held last year due to the pandemic.
The number of stalls at this year's fair was half that of other years. There were 23 pavilions, 27 mini pavilions, 162 stalls and 15 food stalls of different categories. The stalls at the Agargaon fair were more than double this year.
Saidur Rahman, operations manager of Mir Brothers, the leaseholder of the fair, told The Business Standard that the number of visitors was less than last time due to Covid and poor communication and he would incur a loss worth Tk40 lakh. This time 12 lakh visitors have come to the fair.
EPB said the number of stalls at the fair was reduced due to the epidemic. Besides, the number of foreign institutions was also less.
In 2020, there were 483 stalls and pavilions, which was reduced to 225, including 10 foreign ones this year.
Among participants, 42 were awarded medals in 12 categories, along with 10 officials of different departments and 27 organizations for their special contribution to the fair.
The last evening of the fair was filled to the brim with buyers and visitors. Vendors said home appliances, crockery items, leather goods, jute versatility products, handicrafts, biscuits and various food and clothing items were selling well.
However, most of them did not follow the social distance. Some of them wore a mask but not properly.