The premier said leather goods have become the second most exported item in the country over the last decade
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has assured the country’s businesspeople of extending all-out cooperation to their production of diversified products and exporting those to new markets across the world.
"Our government is always active in promoting new products and exploring new markets across the world, in order to expand the export basket. You will get an all-out support from us in this connection. We can give you this assurance," she said.
The prime minister said this while addressing the Bangladesh Leather Footwear & Leather Goods International Sourcing Show (BLLISS) at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC) on Wednesday.
Leather Goods and Footwear Manufacturers & Exporters Association of Bangladesh (LFMEAB), together with the Ministry of Commerce, organized the 3rd edition of BLLISS 2019 to be held from October 31–November 2 at the International Convention City, Bashundhara in Dhaka, reports UNB.
Over 300 exhibitors from nearly 20 countries, including India, China and Pakistan, will exhibit their products at the event.
The prime minister said the Awami League government is not involved in business; it rather creates scopes for the businesspeople to do their own businesses.
"We've given importance to economic diplomacy to help introduce importers of the outside world to our producers of leather goods. As a result, leather goods have become the second highest export items in the country, overtaking the jute items, over the last decade," she said.
The prime minister said equal opportunities and policy support will be ensured for all the export sectors. "Any discriminatory barriers that are in place will be removed."
A priority sector
As part of export diversification, Hasina said, the leather and leather goods sector has been defined as a priority sector in Bangladesh's economy and in the national industrial development strategy.
"For this, various initiatives have been taken to develop the leather and leather footwear industries," she added.
Barely a decade back, she mentioned, most of the country's export earnings in this sector came mainly from exports of leather as raw materials.
The prime minister said footwear and leather goods factories have expanded, since the Awami League government has provided incentives and laid out business-friendly policies during the last 10 years.
She said the government has taken effective steps to resolve the environmental hazards of Hazaribagh, and has shifted the tanneries to a modern industrial city in Savar.
Hasina urged foreign buyers and investors to invest in various industries in Bangladesh, especially the leather and leather products sector.
"If you invest here, you will get better profits than any other country… that is what I can say because we have given various types of benefits for foreign investors, which no one else can provide. Other than that, we have relatively low cost labour here in Bangladesh."
She said financial incentives will remain on offer, at least for the next five years, in order to help achieve the target of export earnings from the leather goods and footwear industry.
"There will be an allocation of at least 150 acres of land for the extended project of Leather Industry City in Savar. This project will help produce composite leather products and set up footwear factories following the international standards and Leather Working Group (LWG) certification," she said.
Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi, Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Commerce Ministry Tofail Ahmed, PM's Private Industry and Investment Adviser Salman Fazlur Rahman, Commerce Secretary Dr Mohammad Jafar Uddin, LFMEAB President Saiful Islam also spoke on the occasion.
A video describing the expansion of the leather industry of the country was shown at the program.