Speakers at a webinar on Tuesday demanded amending the Public Procurement Rules (PPR) in favour of domestic industries to give priorities to locally-made products in government procurement process.
Speakers made the suggestions at a webinar titled ‘Bangladesh in Industrialization’. Bangladesh Electrical, Electronics and Home Appliance Manufacturing and Exporters Association (BEEMEA) organised the webinar.
They said Bangladesh is self-sufficient in manufacturing of electronics and technology products. After meeting local demand, the ‘Made in Bangladesh’ labelled products are being exported to different countries. But the homemade products are being neglected in government procurement.
Economic development of the country will be accelerated through the fourth industrial revolution only if the domestic industrial favourable policy is formulated, they argured.
Planning Minister MA Mannan was present as chief guest at the webinar while Additional Secretary of the Ministry of Planning, also the Director General of CPTU, Shoheler Rahman Chowdhury was present as the special guest.
BEEMEA Secretary General Mohammad Sirajul Islam presented the keynote paper.
BUET Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Satya Prasad Majumder, Distinguished Fellow at the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) Prof Dr Mustafizur Rahman, President of Bangladesh Engineering Industry Owners Association (BEIOA) Abdur Razzak, Chairman of Minister Hi-Tech Industrial Park, also the Vice-President of Bangladesh TV Manufacturing Association, Abdur Razzak Khan and Additional Managing Director of Walton Hi-Tech Industries Limited Abul Bashar Howlader were panel speakers at the webinar moderated by journalist Mridul Islam.
In the keynote paper, Islam mentioned that Bangladeshi industrialists manufacture their products maintaining the suitability of local weather and electrical infrastructure with huge investment in research and development. The BSTI standard certificate is mandatory for domestic products.
However, this certificate is not mandatory for similar kind of foreign products imported to the country. As a result, low-quality foreign products enter the country while domestic products are being neglected. BSTI certificate should make mandatory for imported foreign goods. The domestic made products should also be given priorities in government procurement as well, he said.
Planning Minister Mannan said it is very encouraging that there are about 5,000 institutions involved in the electronics sector employing about 1.2 million people. The government is providing all kinds of assistance to the domestic industries and will continue supporting them.
Dr Mustafizur said industrial companies in the electronics and light engineering sectors are the brand ambassadors of new innovative economy and the future of the country’s economy and employment. This sector is contributing to local market value addition, import substitution and export earnings. So, this sector should be given priority in terms of industrialisation and trade policy.
“It’s very sad if they face discrimination. This sector will assist heavily to achieve the goal of developed Bangladesh by 2041,” he said.
Prof Satya opined that all kinds of policy support are must for domestic electronics and technology products which are related to the fourth industrial revolution. In addition to tax benefits and tax holidays for the domestic industry, a new section needs to be added to the PPR rules.
Industry-university collaboration is essential for the local high-tech industry and the involvement of local experts is also essential, he noted.
Shoheler Rahman Chowdhury said the purpose of the PPR rules is to create equal opportunities for all local and foreign organisations so that they can take part in the competition.
“We are planning to issue a circular with instructions so that there is no deviation from this policy as many bidders break the PPR law. He also assured to give priority to the domestic industries in the PPR policy amendment,” he said.