Multi stakeholders’ roundtable on strengthening business-agency collaboration

With a view to implement the vision of the Honourable Prime Minister’s SMART Bangladesh, Dhaka Chamber of Commerce & Industry (DCCI) organized a Multi stakeholders’ roundtable on strengthening business-agency collaboration at DCCI on August 23, 2023. Mayor of Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) Md. Atiqul Islam was present as the Chief Guest while Senior Secretary, Ministry of Commerce Tapan Kanti Ghosh was present as special guest. Pradip Ranjan Chakrobarty, Chairperson, Bangladesh Competition Commission and President, FBCCI Mahbubul Alam were present as Guest of Honour. DCCI President Barrister Md. Sameer Sattar chaired the roundtable dialogue.

DCCI President Barrister Md. Sameer Sattar in his presentation urged for full automation of VAT return and refund process. He pleaded for rational application of VAT to reduce cost of doing business. Regarding quality of products, he said that we need to address the issues of limited harmonization between local and international standards, increase testing facilities, increase expertise to enforce standards. To maintain price stability, he highlighted few challenges like interruption of complex customs procedures, multiple intermediaries within the supply chain, production of counterfeit products by unscrupulous businessmen. He later suggested to adopt appropriate and adequate protective laws and standards and strict monitoring. Customs clearance process needs to be faster to reduce cost of doing business, he added. BSTI’s capacity needs to be enhanced, he mentioned again. Later he put emphasis on coordination among Bangladesh Trade and Tariff Commission, Bangladesh Competition Commission and NBR. Strict monitoring is needed to minimize price variation for similar product. DCCI President stated that there should be strict coordination between businesses and government agencies, especially the Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments (DIFE) and Department of Labour who are on certain occasions, applying the provisions of labour law and labour rules in an arbitrary manner.

Mayor of Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) Md. Atiqul Islam said that government will give us policy support and we will just comply with that. Focused market monitoring should be strong, he added. We are proud of our RMG sector now; we have many compliance green factories in the country. Collaboration among the stakeholders is must, he emphasized. Government should hear the cry of businessmen without harassing them. He stressed on transparency and ensuring better public service to ensure a corruption free system. DNCC created an app titled “Sobar Dhaka”, he requested all to download it. He said that Trade License in the Dhaka North area went online and he requested the businessmen to avail this facility. We want to be cash-less and soon we will be able to make our markets cash-less. Traffic signals will be run by artificial intelligence (AI) in near future, he added. He requested the city dwellers to love the city. He invited private sector to bring modern electronic vehicles and city corporations will facilitate them to run.

Senior Secretary, Ministry of Commerce Tapan Kanti Ghosh said that government is never against the businessmen rather public sector always tries to facilitate the private sector to grow since the contribution of private sector to the GDP is the highest. He requested the business community to be compliant and comply with correct HS codes while importing products. He also said that due to few unscrupulous businessmen, sometimes products’ price goes high. He also stressed on cash-less payment system at the retail stage. Due to safeguard measures given to our local industries we cannot open import of all items but regarding this he requested the business community not to utilize this facility in a wrong manner. After LDC graduation we should not only focus on signing PTA or FTA but also we need to stress on capacity development.

FBCCI President Mahbubul Alam said that we need to upgrade our sea-ports to international standard with full automation and faster implementation of logistic policy. To create a smart Bangladesh, we have to go for free trade agreement, international business diversification, FDI attraction. Our tax-GDP ratio is 9.68% and pointing to this figure, he requested the NBR to widen the tax net across the country. He also said that due to global economic meltdown, energy crisis, price hike of raw materials and capital machineries, forex issue businessmen face various challenges in doing business. He later said that if anyone create artificial crisis and helps to inflate the price, he or she should be brought under punishment.

In the panel discussion session Treasurer of CAB Dr. Manjur-e Khoda Tarafdar said that to control inflation there may have an eco-friendly business environment. Deputy Inspector General of department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments (DIFE) Md. Mehedi Hassan said that if any businessman has any complain he can use the GRS system. He also stressed on arranging sector specific awareness build up session. Member, Bangladesh Trade and Tariff Commission Sheesh Haider Chowdhury said that to face the challenges of LDC graduation, Bangladesh has signed PTA with Bhutan and will soon sign FTA with Indonesia. An economic partnership agreement will also be signed with Japan soon, he added. AHM Shafiquzzaman , Additional Secretary, Directorate of National Consumers’ Protection wanted help from the honest businessmen to stand against the dishonest traders who try to create artificial crisis, hoarding or price hike in the market. If we talk from separate islands, nobody will hear us but if we work collaboratively then dishonest businessmen will get no chance to play against the market. Director General, BSTI Md. Absus Sattar said that as a government regulatory body we want to be accountable to the people. Amin Helaly, Senior Vice President, FBCCI said that the businessmen who do unscrupulous businesses, they are not at all businessmen rather they should be identified as wrong-doer and should be brought under the law. Bellal Hossain Seikh, Director, Department of Labour said we have labour law and labour rules according to ILO convention. To implement labour law there is no alternative but to maintain good relation with the industries, he said. But to avoid misunderstanding we need to work collaboratively.

Published on: 2023-08-23

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