Light engineering, plastic key for faster export growth now: senior commerce secretary
Bangladesh needs to shift its product concentration to sectors like light engineering and plastic so that it can gradually move upwards in its industrialisation pathway, Senior Commerce Secretary Tapan Kanti Ghosh said today.
As Bangladesh will upgrade from being the 43rd largest economy to 25-26th by 2030, greater foreign direct investment may be attracted and the ease of doing business may be gradually improved, he said.
With proper factor analysis, the projected target for 2030 can be upgraded, the secretary said.
After 2026 when Bangladesh will graduate from the least developed country (LDC) category, the government will not extend cash subsidy but provide support in the forms of research, knowledge, logistics and so on, he said.
He also informed that finance ministry has commissioned a study to seek alternatives of subsidies considering the changed situation after the LDC graduation.
Refering different projections of the light engineering sector, the secretary said there is a need for alternative projections considering the global export of $700 trillion, economic situation, supportive policies extended by the government and the target of perspective plan to be a developed country.
Ghosh spoke while addressing a workshop to finalise the export roadmaps for "plastic and light engineering sectors' jointly organised by Business Initiative Leading Development (BUILD) and the commerce ministry at the office of the Export Competitiveness for Jobs (EC4J) Project in Dhaka.
He said the plastic and light engineering sectors will be the drivers of export growth if they are provided with proper policy support.
He also wanted to know from the stakeholders about what kind of policy support they need as the government is keen to see higher export growth through relevant policy interventions.
The secretary also endorsed the projection of BUILD for the plastic sector roadmap to be the 40th largest exporter by 2030.
BUILD shared two presentations on the two sectors export roadmaps at the validation workshop.
Viet Nam was able to increase its light engineering and bicycle export because they secured significant amount of foreign direct investment, he said.
He suggested BUILD to revisit the target considering the global issues and economic development.
At the event, BUILD CEO Ferdaus Ara Begum said plastic toy has got huge potential to be a significant export product along with automobile components, provided that the sector is supported with policies such bonded warehouse facilities and reduced lead time.
Additional Commerce Secretary Hafizur Rahman said: "We have a target to reach export of $80 billion by the marginal year of export policy 2021-2024."
"We have roughly 300 plastic recycling factories across the country producing plastic flakes from scraps and exporting around 40,000 tonnes of flakes annually for making yearns," said Md Monsurul Alam, director of EC4J project.
"We need to stop it and figure out how we can produce yarns from flakes in Bangladesh."
Shamim Ahmed, president of Bangladesh Plastic Goods Manufacturers and Exporters Association, also spoke.