Muhith miffed with hartal; urges all to think about it
He inaugurates 3-day furniture & interior decor expo
Reported on: April 26, 2012 16:00 PM
Reported in: National
Dhaka, Apr 26 (UNB) – Finance Minister AMA Muhith on Thursday made a fervent call to all concerned to seriously think about the alternative to hartal for the sake of the country’s economy.
“No government likes hartal …now we’ve reached a position where we’ve to think seriously about hartal (issue) as the country’s economy is now much better than 7-10 years ago,” he told the inaugural ceremony of a three-day Bangladesh Furniture & Interior Decor Expo-2012 at Hotel Ruposhi Bangla in the capital.
Additional Secretary to the Ministry of Commerce ATM Murtoza Reza Chowdhury and the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FBCCI) president AK Azad spoke on the occasion as special guests.
Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) vice chairman Shubhashish Bose delivered the address of welcome.
Bangladesh Handicrafts Manufacturers and Exporters Association (Banglacraft) president SU Haider, Bangladesh Jute Diversified Product Manufactures and Exporters Association president Shahedul Islam Helal and
Jute Diversification Promotion Centre (JDPC) executive director Khandaker Mokhlesur Rahman, among others, spoke on the occasion.
The Finance Minister said Bangladesh’s economy is now 60 percent integrated with the global economy and it is not fully dependent on its domestic market.
He called upon all, including the think tanks and media, to try to perceive the present situation as the current economy is not the same as it was in the past. “It’s an incredible economy.”
Referring to a request from the FBCCI president to reduce bank borrowings, Muhith said government’s budget deficit usually does not exceed its fiscal target of five percent.
He, however, said it would not be possible for the government to refrain from bank borrowings as budget deficit is met with it and foreign aid.
The Finance Minister said although the furniture and décor industry is still at the nascent stage, it has huge potentials. He assured the entrepreneurs of considering their demands, including reducing import duty on furniture raw materials.
Terming the pressure of subsidy as ‘cancer for the economy’, FBCCI president AK Azad urged the government to address the issue with due importance.
He also suggested the government to raise duty on all luxurious items like cars and discourage bank borrowings by the government.
Citing negative export growth of the jute sector in the current fiscal year, the FBCCI president urged the government to set up an institution to impart training to jute entrepreneurs.
Bangladesh Furniture Exporters Association (Bfea) president KM Akhtaruzzaman said around 22 lakh people are involved with the furniture industry having an export earning of Tk 200 crore in the last fiscal.
He said if this industry could get some incentives like waiver of duty and cash incentives, it could go a long way.
The objective of this exposition is to attract foreign buyers and expand the existing market of these products. EPB, Bfea, Bangladesh Handicrafts Manufacturers and Exporters Association (Banglacraft), Bangladesh Jute Diversified Product Manufactures and Exporters Association in collaboration with Jute Diversification Promotion Centre (JDPC) and Katalyst jointly organised the exposition.
Over 50 participants from furniture, jute and handicraft sectors are showcasing their best quality products and will have the opportunity to attract foreign buyers.
The Finance Minister later visited different stalls at the exposition.