Dhaka Chamber of Commerce & Industry (DCCI) president Rizwan Rahman urged the government to redefine cottage, micro, small and medium enterprise (CMSME) and formulate a SME Act (rather than an SME Policy) to make it more effective.
Rizwan Rahman made the statement when the DCCI board of directors, led by him, called on Industries Minister Nurul Majid Mahmud Humayun at his ministry on Monday.
"75% entrepreneurs in Bangladesh are from small and medium enterprises. But since the cottage, micro and small enterprises are not as fiscally strong as the medium enterprises, and have less workers, they are deprived of loans under stimulus and other non-fiscal policy support, when compared to their medium enterprise counterparts," he said.
The DCCI president also proposed a project to create a sector specific database of CMSMEs in order to bring them under policy assistance.
He also spoke in favour of ensuring an investment-friendly environment for the development of the export-oriented manufacturing sector and to increase the investment-GDP ratio to 36.99%, according to the 8th five-year plan.
The industries minister said the government is working hard to use technological advancement to modernize the state-owned industries nationwide.
Regarding policy support, he gave assurances that the government would provide all possible assistance to facilitate the private sector.
The minister also emphasised the importance of nationwide equal industrialization through cluster development, allowing every corner of the country to come under rapid industrialisation process.
Nurul Majid Mahmud Humayun also requested the private sector to come up with local investment opportunities to incentivize Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).
The DCCI president advocated for the establishment of agro-based economic zones in agriculture-based areas like Jashore, Rangpur, Mymensingh and Sylhet regions.
He also urged the minister to grant industry status to the printing and publishing sector, taking into consideration its wide-ranging contribution to the economy.
Rizwan Rahman also said industries under the PPP model could be established on unused lands of state-owned industrial units across the country.
The DCCI President also proposed the inclusion of DCCI in the "National Industrial Development Board".
He suggested a road map to fulfill 27 conventions of the EU, with which Bangladesh will have to comply after graduation from Least Developed Country (LDC) status.
For export diversification and market expansion, he urged the minister to provide back-to-back LC facilities to other lucrative sectors – similar to what the RMG sector presently receives.
He also requested a bonded warehouse facility for leather product manufacturers, and tax holiday facility to enable the use of modern technology in the ship building, jute and jute goods, agro-processing and light engineering sectors.
The future digital economy will be controlled by Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), internet of things (IOT), Block Chain, Big Data and Cloud Computing, Artificial Intelligence and Robotics. Therefore, fiscal, and non-fiscal incentives should be provided in order to engage the public and private sector to develop a skilled younger generation, he added.
Industries Secretary K M Ali Azam said the 8th Five Year Plan and the fourth industrial revolution will be prioritized in the upcoming Industrial Policy.
To face the FIR's unique challenges, both public and private sectors should come forward to reskill and up-skill the existing workforce, he added.
He said the government is now mainly focusing on achieving the vision 2041, for which the government will work hand-in-hand with the private sector.
DCCI senior vice president NKA Mobin, vice president Monowar Hossain and members of the board of directors were also present.