The government has made quality test mandatory for imported petroleum bitumen.
From now on, the traders must receive quality certification and approval from any of Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution (BSTI), Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET), and Eastern Refinery Limited, before releasing the product from the ports.
A gazette notification was issued in this regard on Wednesday, amending the Import Policy Order 2015-18.
There were allegations that low-quality bitumen was entering the country and consequently being used in road construction in absence of proper testing of imported bitumen.
Bangladesh is mostly dependent on imported bitumen. In the 2018-19 fiscal year, the demand for bitumen in the country was 5.10 lakh tonnes. Of those, state-owned Eastern Refinery alone produced 60,000 tonnes of bitumen, while the remaining 4.5 lakh tonnes was imported from different countries.
The demand for bitumen in Bangladesh is increasing at the rate of 10-15% each year thanks to infrastructural development projects.
But there had been no private investment in this sector since the country's independence.
Last year, Bashundhara Group took a groundbreaking initiative and launched the first bitumen plant in Dhaka's Keraniganj.
At the inaugural function, Bashundhara Group officials disclosed that the plant will produce 9 lakh tonnes of bitumen in 2021.
The group has also an aim to export bitumen abroad after meeting domestic demands.