The country’s automobile sector leaders on Tuesday said that the sector had incurred revenue losses worth Tk 6,000 crore in the last three months as both sales and production had come to a halt due to the coronavirus pandemic.
At an online press briefing, the sector leaders demanded duty free spare part import facility for the next one year as the pandemic had affected the sector severely.
The Bangladesh Automobiles Assemblers and Manufacturers Association organised the press conference on ‘Role of Automobiles Sector in Bangladesh’.
BAAMA president Abdul Matlub Ahmad said that the automobile sector had incurred Tk 6,000 crore in losses in the last three months and policy support from the government was important to fight the coronavirus fallout.
He said that if the government allowed duty free import of automobile components and spares, it would be possible to run the existing buses, trucks and three-wheelers for one year with the help of low-cost repairs which would reduce the import cost of vehicles during the pandemic.
‘The corona pandemic has hit our export earnings and it will be difficult for the country to spend dollars to import vehicles at this moment and only duty-free import of spares can be the appropriate alternative for the sector to save foreign currency,’ Matlub said.
He said that they demanded duty free import facilities for the sake of the country and the sector would be able to produce automobile components in the country within the year.
He also demanded that the government should not allow the import and registration of mini trucks as pick-ups in the country.
Matlub said that the prime minister had declared 2020 as the Light Engineering Year and there had been huge potential for both local and foreign investment in the sector but the pandemic had caused all development to come to a standstill.
The BAAMA president expressed his hope that Bangladesh would be able to make cars as the country had a special potential in producing and exporting electric cars if the government formulated a policy in this regard.
Runner Group managing director Hafizur Rahman Khan demanded a policy for the registration of three-wheelers, saying that the vehicles were not allowed to ply on the roads but the contribution of threewheelers was huge in the economy.
He said that the livelihoods of at least 20 lakh people depended on threewheelers.
He said that the country’s motorcycle manufacturing sector became selfsufficient with the policy support of the government and more than six lakh people depended on the sector directly or indirectly.
Hafizur also demanded policy support for the automobile sector, saying that the sector had been incurring revenue losses worth Tk 2,000 crore each month due to COVID-19.
Rangs Group managing director Sohana Rouf Chowdhury said that they were trying to ensure comfortable public transport in the city and all over the country.
She said that the Bangladesh Road Transport Authority should implement a standard fitness checking procedure for public transport to reduce the incidence of accidents.
Ifad Autos Limited managing director Taskeen Ahmed said that there were four lakh registered commercial trucks in the country and around 30 lakh people worked in the sector.
Commercial trucks ensured uninterrupted supply of essential commodities and also helped to earn foreign currency through transportation of 100 per cent of the export goods, he said.
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