Weathering headwinds facing economy

Govt gets businesses' tips on trade boosting

SYFUL ISLAM and REZAUL KARIM | Saturday, 28 May 2022

Diversification of export destinations and pursuing a pragmatic export policy are among the dos in a contingency recipe the government has got from the business community for weathering headwinds facing the economy.

The other recommendations include extending all types of facilities to all sectors instead of prioritising a few, signing various currency-swap deals with all potential trading partners of Bangladesh Bank, and preparation of a time-bound plan to sign free-trade deals with various countries and blocs instead of only depending on existing trade facilities.

The Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) sent the recommendations recently to the ministry of commerce for placing before the 'National Committee on Export'.

In the package the apex trade body notes that the country's Import Policy Order is legally binding under section 3 (1) of the Imports and Exports (Control) Act 1950. However, the country's Export Policy Order is not binding, thus "it is not as effective as it should be".

As such, the federation of trade chambers suggests the formation of a legally bound export policy order as well ensuring long-term, dependable, and international business- friendly export-import system in the country.

The FBCCI also suggests streamlining policies for land acquisition and plot allocation in industrial estates and ensuring plot allocation to entrepreneurs within 30 days of submitting application and simplification of licensing systems.

Also recommended are the setting up of single windows and one-stop services by departments concerned and ensuring online registration of initiatives for setting up industrial units.

The FBCCI also seeks tax-free uninterrupted power and gas supply, development of required infrastructure in all industrial areas, and obtaining international accreditation by Bangladeshi laboratories and standards organisations.

Seeking export-and industrialisation-friendly financing the apex trade body further recommended launching grants and low-cost-loan facilities by obtaining funds from budgetary allocations, and development partners.

Also, the FBCCI wants budgetary allocation, special fund creation, and collateral-free and very low-cost loans for micro-and small industries and enterprises owned by women and youths.

Also sought are special tax benefit and easy financing facilities for investing in non-traditional and new-product sectors, similar facilities to local and foreign products in case of public procurement, the setting up of warehouses home and abroad to help products of small and medium enterprises to reach consumers' doorsteps.

While suggesting diversification of export definition the FBCCI recommended that any consumption by a foreigner inside Bangladesh using or in exchange for foreign currency, and supply of goods or services under local and international tender in exchange for foreign currency should be treated as export of products and services.

Furthermore, the apex trade body suggests treating Bangladeshi shipping lines as exporter as they deliver service in exchange for foreign currencies.

The FBCCI recommends signing bilateral deals with various corresponding global banks by opening direct accounts instead of costly bank guarantee of third-party banks.

Also recommend is using other alternative messaging systems of transactions alongside the US-governed SWIFT to avoid risks and sanctions.

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