Economists and business leaders on Sunday said that the country’s industrial policy should focus on policy and institutional coordination for better productivity.
In a webinar on ‘Constraints and Prospects of Industrial Policy’ arranged by the Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry, they also said that cottage, micro, small and medium enterprises should get priority in the industrial policy for inclusive and sustainable socio-economic development.
Palli Karma Sahayak Foundation chairman Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad said that the country’s industrial policy should focus on policy coordination and institutional coordination for better productivity.
He suggested that cottage and micro enterprises should be segregated from small and medium enterprises in the policy.
‘Sector specific planning needs to be reflected in the next industrial policy,’ Kholiquzzaman said.
He said that new entrepreneurs should also get incentives from the stimulus package for inclusive and sustainable development.
Former Bangladesh Bank governor Atiur Rahman suggested that policymakers should be realistic in framing a new industrial policy as the COVID-19-induced shocks had disrupted the pace of the country’s economic growth.
He said that demand had fallen due to the coronavirus outbreak and employment generation would be challenging.
‘Our industrial contribution to GDP is quite satisfactory but employment generation in terms of GDP is still hovering around 18 to 20 per cent,’ Atiur said.
He stressed the need for prioritising the SME and agriculture sectors in the industrial policy as one fourth of the GDP came from the SMEs.
Former DCCI president Abul Kasem Khan said that the industrial policy should also focus on logistic issues, import substitute backward linkage industry set up, infrastructure development and coordination among the government wings concerned.
CMSMEs should get special priority in the industrial policy, he said.
Kasem said that the next industrial policy needed to put emphasis on the post-COVID new normal situation, challenges of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, skills development and graduation from the least developed country status, including a road map.
Industries minister Nurul Majid Mahmud Humayun said that issues related to new entrepreneurship development, strengthening of the backward linkage industry, employment generation and reducing discrimination between urban and rural economies would get priority in the next industrial policy.
‘We need to increase the contribution of CMSMEs to GDP which stands at 25 per cent now as well as strengthen backward linkage industries to reduce import dependency,’ he said.
The minister said that the government was considering a separate threshold for cottage, micro and small enterprises from medium enterprises in the next industrial policy.
DCCI president Shams Mahmud urged the government to form a highlevel task force under the government consisting of private sector stakeholders like the SME Foundation, MCCI and DCCI to monitor the implementation of the industrial policy.
He sought two separate policies — one for cottage, micro and small enterprises and the other for medium enterprises.
The DCCI president also urged for the development of leather, jute, agroprocessing, ship-building, light engineering and pharmaceuticals sectors and non-traditional items for diversification of the industry. SME Foundation chairperson Md Masudur Rahman urged for redefining SMEs and including sales turnover in the definition in the next industrial policy.
He also suggested that discriminations in the tax and VAT policies should be resolved.
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