Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday announced 'Light Engineering' as the product of the year to give special attention to this sector for earning more foreign currencies by exporting various products.
"I think we’ll be able to earn more foreign currencies by exporting various types of products under the Light Engineering section," she said.
The Prime Minister was speaking while inaugurating the month-long 25th Dhaka International Trade Fair (DITF) 2020 from Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC) at its usual venue at Sher-e-Bangla Nagar in the capital.
She said Bangladesh can produce more bicycle, motorcycle, automobile, auto parts, electric and electronic items, accumulator battery, solar photo-vaulting module and toys under the Light Engineering section.
"We’ve scope to invite more investment and we have a huge market for the light engineering products," she said.
Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi presided over the programme where chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Commerce Ministry Tofail Ahmed, Commerce Secretary Dr Jafar Uddin, Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) President Sheikh Fazle Fahim and Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) Vice-Chairman Fatima Yasmin also spoke at the programme.
A total of 483 stalls and pavilions will showcase quality products from home and abroad at the fair this year. Of them, 112 are pavilions, 128 mini pavilions and 243 are stalls.
Different companies from 21 countries, including the USA, the UK, Italy, Australia, Germany, China, South Africa, Turkey, the UAE, Malaysia, Thailand, India, Pakistan and Brunei will take part in DITF.
The fair will remain open from 10am to 9:30pm every day till January 31. Entry fee has been fixed at Tk 40 for the adults and Tk 20 for children, an increase of Tk 10 from last year.
The export earnings from the fair were $ 19.46 million last year. It was $ 35.5 million in 2018, according to the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB).
The traditional month-long fair, starting on the first day of the New Year of the Gregorian calendar, has been jointly organised by the EPB and the Commerce Ministry since 1995.
Sheikh Hasina said that from next year the DITF will be held at Purbachal where the government is setting up a modern infrastructure. Later, she visited various stalls on the DITF premises.
Increasing export items, expanding market
The Prime Minister again put emphasis on increasing the number of products in the export basket as well as searching for new markets for Bangladeshi products.
"We want to export to more destinations. We want to emphasise our neighbouring countries (for this). We’ve improved our communication and signed memorandums of understanding in this regard," she said.
The government is paying special attention on increasing the number of export items through producing the demandable items in the world market, she said.
"We want to export more items and we’re giving special attention to produce more products for local markets and the markets in neighbouring countries," she said.
Sheikh Hasina said the Commerce Ministry under the Export Competitiveness for Jobs Project will be able to include modern technology in the leather and leather goods, footwear industry, light engineering and plastic industry.
The Prime Minister briefly described various development programmes of the government to improve the business and industrial sectors of the country.
She said steps have been taken to improve ease of doing business. "We’ve given special attention so that more investment comes to the country," she said.
In this connection, she said steps taken to reform the doing business in the country by reducing expenditure, introducing one stop service, improving infrastructure and establishing economic zones across the country, among others.
Sheikh Hasina said 100 economic zones are being set up to mitigate land crisis for setting up industries.
"When anyone comes to invest, that person faces land crisis for setting up any industry. To remove that hurdle, we’re setting up economic zones across the county and developing those to ensure that when anyone comes to invest, that person can get land at once," she said.
ICT sector in focus
The Prime Minister said the government is giving highest importance to the ICT sector as the current world is tech-based.
"It’s urgently needed to use technology, specially the digital device. The more digital device we’ll be able to produce, use and export, the more it’ll contribute to our economy," she said.
She said the ICT sector will emerge as the biggest sector in coming days and the country will be able to earn huge amount of money by exporting this item.
In this connection, she said the government is training children for that while it has taken various steps to create more workforce for this purpose.