Stakeholders in the industrial sector have demanded a business-friendly and modern industrial policy that prioritises sectors with potential.
They insisted on an increase in the use of technology and skilled manpower for higher growth and productivity.
The observations came on Sunday at a virtual participatory consultation workshop organised by the Ministry of Industries, in association with PRISM Programme, on the proposed national Industrial Policy 2021.
The participants suggested prioritising environmentally-friendly industrialisation, growth-dependent planning, the creation of skilled human resources, and employment generation in the policy.
Md Jashim Uddin, president of the Bangladesh Plastic Goods Manufacturers and Exporters Association, said the policy should be friendly towards the manufacturing of recyclable products.
"Plastic goods have a high possibility of being recycled. We have to formulate a policy, keeping up the pace with the world," he said.
Referring to the automobile sector, Hafizur Rahman Khan, chairman of the Runner Group, said all sectors that have great potential – including the automobile sector – should get priority in the policy. There should be far-reaching plans as the government makes the policy, he added.
Secretary of the Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry Joynal Abdin said focus should be placed on ensuring that products manufactured by local industries conform to international standards.
The ready-made garment sector accounts for 63% of the country's total export earnings. So, the policy should encourage inclusion of new products on the list of export items, he added.
Chief Executive Officer of Business Initiative Leading Development Ferdaus-Ara-Begum said Bangladesh's graduation from the status of least-developed country by 2026 and the plan for 2021-2041 should be kept in mind as well.
Speaking as the chief guest, Industries Minister Nurul Majid Mahmud Humayun said there was no alternative to creating skilled manpower to build a developed country. Improving efficiency should be given the highest importance to reap the benefits of the fourth industrial revolution.
Environmentally-friendly industrialisation is the key to sustainable economic development and the government is highlighting that, the minister said.
The 2021 policy is aimed at achieving the target of gross domestic product and generating employment through coordination between private and public efforts.
The government also looks to reduce poverty and unemployment by taking the advantages of the information technology-based fourth industrial revolution.
State Minister for Industries Kamal Ahmed Majumder said, "The interests of workers and entrepreneurial development will be given the utmost importance in formulating the new national industrial policy. There is a shortage of skilled workers in the industrial sector. The new policy will stress the need for training."
The first Industrial and Investment Policy was formulated in 1973 and then it was amended in 1975. An industrial policy was formulated in 1982, removing the word "investment" from its title. Since then, industrial policies have been formulated seven times, including amendments.
At present, the 2016 policy is in force.