Businesses demand quick end to industrial land crisis

March 31, 2014

They also urge govt to ensure political stability, power, gas supply
Businesses on Sunday urged the government to remove the industrial land crisis through a speedy completion of the special economic zones and to ensure electricity and gas supply to the manufacturing units to facilitate local and foreign investments in the country.
At a meeting with finance minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith, commerce minister Tofail Ahmed and industries minister Amir Hossain Amu, they also sought government intervention in cutting high interest rate of bank loans and in ensuring political stability in the country.
The Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry organised the meeting at its conference room in the capital.
Businesses also demanded a speedy completion of the construction work of the Dhaka-Chittagong four-lane project and initiatives for the implementation of Dhaka-Chittagong, Dhaka-Sylhet and Dhaka-Mymensingh economic corridors and deep sea port at Sonadia to attract more local and overseas investments.
‘Special economic zones and industrial lands should be developed to accommodate industries in a planned manner,’ said Rokia Afzal Rahman, president of the MCCI.
She said the government should also seriously consider reducing high interest rate of bank loans and ensuring continuous gas supply to the manufacturing plants.
Dependency on expensive rental power plants should be reduced quickly through developing strategic infrastructures in areas of power and energy, she said.
Muhith said that the crisis of lands for industrial purpose would be removed soon as the government was implementing five SEZs in the country.
‘The government is also working to hand over lands remained idle under the state-owned enterprises to private entrepreneurs for establishing factories,’ he said.
The finance minister said that energy and power crisis would go within two years and the problems related to rental power plants would be automatically removed as the government had taken some measures to increase the supply of energy and power.
Regarding interest rate of bank loans, Muhith said that the government took step in the last fiscal year through reducing interest rates of savings instruments but nothing fruitful happened.
‘We are receiving opinions from the stakeholders and based on their suggestions we will take decisions in the next budget in this regard,’ he said.
Tofail said that though all the economic indicators were moving towards positive direction, political stability was required for achieving a strong economic base in the country.
Amu said that the government was looking for suitable lands for industrial purpose in the district level so there would be no crisis of industrial lands in future.
The industries minister also stressed the need for the diversification of products to remain competitive in the global market.
Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry president Kazi Akram Uddin Ahmed suggested that the government should utilise properly the industrial plots under the Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation.
He also urged the government to consider making the source of funds cheap for investment.
International Chamber of Commerce-Bangladesh president Mahbubur Rahman suggested that the scope of the commerce and industries ministries should be widened and Board of Investment should be revived for expansion of investment and trade.
Apex Group chairman Syed Manzur Elahi emphasised on industrial zoning to save arable land and environment.
He also stressed the establishment of the central effluent treatment plant at Savar Leather estate and relocation of tanneries from the Dhaka city to keep safe Bangladesh exports to the European Union.
Former FBCCI president AK Azad said that a message should be given to foreign investors that there would be no political unrest in the country in future to ensure foreign investment.
Chittagong Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Mahbubul Alam demanded immediate gas connections to the industrial units in the Chittagong region and development of the Chittagong port.
Foreign Investors’ Chambers of Commerce and Industry president Rupali Chowdhury, Bangladesh Tea Association representative Laila Rahman Kabir, Exporters Association of Bangladesh president Salam Murshedy, Bangladesh Frozen Foods Exporters Association president Amin Ullah, Bangladesh Finished Leather, Leather Goods and Footwear Exporters’ Association chairman Abu Taher, Bangladesh Jute Spinners Association representative Humayun Kabir spoke, among others, at the meeting.

-Input from New Age

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