Dhaka, Oct 30 (UNB) - Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday assured the country’s businesspeople of extending all-out cooperation to them in producing diversified products and exporting those to new markets across the world.
"Our government is always active to produce new products and explore new markets across the world for expanding the export basket. You’ll get all-out support from us in this connection. We can give you this assurance," she said.
The Prime Minister said this while addressing the Bangladesh Leather Footwear & Leather Goods International Sourcing Show (BLLISS) at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC).
LFMEAB together with the Ministry of Commerce organised the 3rd edition of BLLISS 2019 to be held from October 31–November 2 at the International Convention City, Bashundhara in the city.
Over 300 exhibitors from nearly 20 countries, including India, China and Pakistan, will exhibit their products at the event.
The Prime Minister said Awami League, as a government, is not involved in business. It rather creates scopes for the businesspeople to do their own businesses.
"We've given importance to economic diplomacy to introduce importers with the outside world with our leather goods producers. As a result, leather goods have become the second export items in the country overtaking the jute items over the last one decade," she said.
The Prime Minister said equal opportunities and policy supports will be ensured for all the export sectors. "Any discriminatory barriers that are in place will be removed."
As part of export diversification, Hasina said, the leather and leather goods sector has been defined as a priority sector in Bangladesh's economy and national industrial development strategy. "For this, various initiatives have been taken to develop the leather and leather footwear industries."
Barely a decade back, she mentioned, most of the country's export earnings in this sector came mainly from exports of leather as raw materials.
The Prime Minister said footwear and leather goods factories have been expanded during the last 10 years of the Awami League government for providing incentives and laying out business-friendly policies.
She said the government has taken effective steps to resolve the environmental hazards of Hazaribagh and has shifted the tanneries to a modern industrial city in Savar.
Hasina urged foreign buyers and investors to invest in various industries in Bangladesh, especially the leather and leather product sector.
"If you invest here, you’ll get better profits than any other country… that's what I can say because we’ve given various types of benefits for foreign investors what no one else can afford. Other than that, we’ve relatively cheap workers here in Bangladesh."
She said financial incentives will remain on offer for the next five years at least to achieve the target of export earnings from the leather goods and footwear industry.
"There’ll be allocation of at least 150 acres of land in the extended project of Leather Industry City in Savar for setting up composite leather products and footwear factories following the international standards and Leather Working Group (LWG) certification," she said.
Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi, Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Commerce Ministry Tofail Ahmed, PM's Private Industry and Investment Adviser Salman Fazlur Rahman, Commerce Secretary Dr Mohammad Jafar Uddin, Leather Goods and Footwear Manufacturers & Exporters Association of Bangladesh (LFMEAB) President Saiful Islam also spoke on the occasion.
A video was shown at the programme describing the expansion of the leather industry of the country.