GPH Ispat, one of the country's leading steel makers, began export of MS billet as the company's first shipment of 25,000 tonnes of the rod-making raw material is going to China. The company said the shipment of MS billet worth more than $1 crore.
Industries Minister Nurul Majid Mahmud Humayun and Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi virtually inaugurated the export Wednesday.
During the inauguration, the industries minister called upon the steel industry entrepreneurs to make an effective contribution to the national economy by increasing production of export-oriented MS billets and its exports to the world market.
He has said although the production capacity of the country's steel industry is higher than the domestic demand, it is not being fully utilised.
He advised the entrepreneurs concerned to boost MS billet production throughout the year and find out new markets for exports, following the example of GPH Steel Limited.
The minister said Bangladesh is now an emerging economic power on the world map. Under the wise leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Bangladesh has already arisen as the fastest growing economy in South Asia.
In the last 12 years, Bangladesh achieved an unprecedented success in all sectors, including industrialisation, employment, poverty alleviation, creation of skilled manpower, economic empowerment of women, GDP growth, per capita income, export of industrial products, remittance inflows, foreign exchange reserves, infrastructure development and uninterrupted services.
The industries sector has been playing a leading role in the development journey of Bangladesh. The industry has also made a significant contribution to the country's steady GDP growth, he said.
Citing the example of Bangladesh's economic dynamism during the Covid-19 pandemic period, the industries minister further said, despite the crisis, Bangladesh has achieved 5.24% GDP growth in fiscal year 2019-20 whereas the GDP growth of industrialised countries is negative.
"Private sector industrial entrepreneurs are the key players behind the country's economic progress. As a result of their talent, creative thinking, hard work, and timely and courageous decisions, the industries sector of Bangladesh is moving forward on the path of success."
Although the Bengalis did not have any steel mill before independence, the country now has about 400 steel mills at present. These factories have an annual production capacity of about 8 million tonnes. The country's internal steel consumption is 7.5 million tonnes, Humayun remarked.
He said the industries ministry is working sincerely to remove the existing barriers on the path to development of the steel industry.
To make the raw material of this industry easily available, the ministry has already declared shipbreaking as an industry. A shipbreaking industrial zone has been set up in Sitakunda upazila of Chattogram. Under the Bangladesh Ship Recycling Act 2018, an initiative has been taken to make Sitakunda's shipbreaking industries environment-friendly, he continued.
A Yard Ship Recycling Facility is being set up in these industries as per the Hong Kong Convention 2009. As a result, relevant entrepreneurs are benefiting and quality raw materials of the steel industry are becoming easily available in the country, he further said.
The industries ministry will extend its full support if the commerce ministry takes steps to remove tariff barriers, including double freight charges on imports of scraps and exports of finished goods.
Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi was present at the programme as an honourable guest.
Among others, President of Chattogram Chamber of Commerce and Industry Mahbubul Alam, Chairman of GPH Ispat Md Alamgir Kabir, GPH Group Chairman Mohammed Jahangir Alam and Additional Managing Director Mohammed Almas Shimul took part in the discussion.