Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi on Friday said neighbouring India is very interested to use the Chattogram port.
"India has urged Bangladesh to make the port usable immediately," the commerce minister said while inaugurating the 13th International Women's SME Expo-2019, being organised by the Chittagong Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
India will use the Chattogram and Mongla seaports to transport goods to its North-Eastern states. The two countries signed a deal in this regard during Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's recent visit to Delhi.
"They want to import and export a large number of goods through the port. Currently, India is using the Kolkata port – 1,200 kilometres away – for transporting goods to the North-Eastern states. Using the Chattogram port will slash the distance in half," the minister explained.
If India uses the seaport, Bangladesh will also earn huge amounts of revenue, Tipu Munshi added.
Businessmen can now transport a maximum of 13 tonnes of goods only via the Dhaka-Chattogram highway. Chittagong Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Mahbubul Alam requested the minister to raise the limit.
"You will hopefully get good news," replied Tipu Munshi, adding the government has decided to reconsider the decision.
He said that Chattogram is the "lifeline" of trade and commerce in Bangladesh, adding that every policy of the government prioritises the port city.
Praising the women entrepreneurs, the commerce minister said, "If 100 men and 100 women get loans, the women entrepreneurs will always perform better in repaying those. Because they have unique thoughts, honesty and capacity of leadership.
"More women in business is positive, which will enable the country to progress faster. If they can maintain the pace towards entrepreneurship, women will lead the country's trade and commerce in the future," added the minister.
Among others, Indonesian Ambassador to Bangladesh Rina Soemarno, Head of Vision and Development of the Malaysian Chamber of Commerce Datin Malliga Subramaniam, President of the Indian Economic Trade Organization Asif Iqbal and Chittagong Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Monowara Hakim Ali, also spoke at the event.
Over 300 stalls have been set up in the month-long fair being held at Polo Ground, Chattogram.