Seminar on Bangladesh’s Export Readiness: post LDC graduation perspective

We do not have much time for export readiness as Bangladesh is going to graduate from LDC status in 2026 which is knocking at the door. It is true that Government is firmly committed to support the business community by all means to create a commendable position in the international market but the private sector needs a sustainable policy reforms in the days to come, said Ashraf Ahmed, President, Dhaka Chamber of Commerce & Industry (DCCI) at a seminar on “Bangladesh’s Export Readiness: post LDC graduation perspective” organized by DCCI on 17 February, 2024. Ashraf Ahmed also said that the more conducive business environment we will be able to create, the faster we can achieve the ‘strategic bets approach’ to have more products on our basket. He also reiterated the need for easy access to finance for export oriented industries and reliable exchange rate.

Dr. Selim Raihan, Executive Director, SANEM made a power point presentation and said that LDC graduation will create many opportunities for us but to grab those we need to do massive pragmatic policy reforms. He also said that our export basket is still RMG oriented but we have to have export diversification. For export readiness after LDC graduation he suggested for harmonization of monetary policy and fiscal policy, regulatory efficiency and regulatory quality, reducing NPL, ensuring long term financing from capital market. Moreover, we are lagging behind in trade logistics, he added. He also underscored importance on labour productivity by skill development. And for that public expenditure in education sector is important, he further said. He also highlighted that private sector investment is stagnant as well as FDI inflow is low. Right at this moment, we have to make our economic zones fully ready as soon as possible, he added.

Asif Ashraf, Director, BGMEA said that the special incentives to the RMG sector has been scaled down recently. He raised a question to the authority that why this decision is taken before 2026. Still our export is dominated by the RMG sector, however, he termed non-cotton market as the most potential sector which is still untapped by the Bangladeshi manufacturers. He also demanded for a conducive exchange rate for being competitive in the international market.

Mohammed Mahbubur Rahman Patwary, Managing Director, Sonali Aansh Industry Ltd. said that we have to incentivize the other non-RMG but potential products to grow. After graduation most of incentives will not be effective in that case we may examine the examples of those countries who are already graduated that how they are managing their main export basket. He also urged for policy consistency, bond facility and reducing cost of doing business.

In his welcome remarks, DCCI’s Senior Vice President Malik Talha Ismail Bari said Bangladesh needs to diversify its industries by establishing new sectors like FMCG, Plastic goods, Light-engineering, IT&ITES, and Halal products, while simultaneously maximizing the potential of high-priority Billion-Dollar frontier industries like Leather and Footwear, Agro-processing, Jute and jute products, Pharmaceuticals, and home-textile, replicating the successful RMG model. Banks need to provide sector specific tailored export financing, like credit insurance, export development fund, and working-capital loan to address export-related financial challenges, he added.

In the open discussion session, speakers demanded for subsidy on utility services and development of backward linkage industry. They also said that large conglomerates should come up with investment in high-end industry. Moreover, they proposed for arranging more international trade fairs. They also termed agro-processing industry, the most potential billion dollar industry for Bangladesh in future.

DCCI Vice President Md. Junaed Ibna Ali and members of the Board of Directors were also present during the seminar.

Published on: 2024-02-17

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