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'We want to grow our exports as proud ambassadors of Made in Bangladesh'

On the occasion of 50 years of Bangladesh, how does Marico as an MNC see the local market and its growth?

While the entire world was reeling with the effects of the unprecedented Covid-19 pandemic crisis, Bangladesh yet again proved its resilience with a healthy economic recovery.

Today we are one of the top 20 countries in terms of Covid-19 recovery.

During this entire crisis we have seen the government push forward with its development priorities and take timely measures which helped ensure the critical balance between lives and livelihoods for Bangladesh.

The government announced a comprehensive stimulus package to prevent unemployment, address the new-poor and tide over the economic slump caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Bangladesh is projected to have the highest growth rate within the region in 2021.

Despite Covid-19 setbacks, we have seen FDI pouring into various manufacturing sectors and a shift of MNCs investment to Bangladesh.

Growth in GDP is accompanied by growth in income and consumption which is positive for the FMCG industry.

Even during the pandemic, Marico was able to deliver business growth and this demonstrates the positive outlook for the industry.

With the increasing exposure to social media consumer preferences are now even more fluid and aspirational.

Moreover, we are seeing an exponential growth in e-commerce with both sales and marketing going digital.

This will play a key role in shaping the industry in the days ahead. We believe digitization is also the key to unlocking our potential.

Bangladesh has a great strategic location, young population and consistent GDP growth.

All of these are key factors for attracting investment.

I believe Bangladesh has the potential to be an exporter of goods and services and with the right investments both locally and from foreign sources this potential can be realized.

Marico is already exporting to Nepal, India and the Middle-East and we are keen to grow our export operations as proud ambassadors of Made in Bangladesh.

We believe the local market in Bangladesh is set for bigger and better milestones as we develop, and the government’s policies will usher in new avenues for foreign investments.

What are some of the major local segmented markets that the FMCG is thinking of tapping?

Marico Bangladesh’s primary engagement is in the beauty and personal care categories, but our versatility is easily evidenced in our foray into newer categories with products like Parachute Naturale, Parachute Just for Baby and Saffola Honey. 

One of the reasons Marico Bangladesh stands out, in my opinion, is our ability to adapt quickly to changing market needs.

During the pandemic, we expanded into the hygiene category with our international brand Mediker SafeLife line, which includes a handwash, hand sanitizer and a vegetable wash.

Whatever the direction industry may move in, consumers will keep looking at trusted brands to care for their needs.

At Marico our flagship brand Parachute was recognized as one of the Top 5 household brands by Kantar Worldpanel.

Our hair oil brand Parachute Advansed was recognized as the “Most Consistent Brand of the Decade” by Nielsen and Bangladesh Brand Forum.

As a responsible corporate, Marico was recognized as one of the top CSR contributors from the FMCG sector by Social Responsibility (SR) Asia. Whether product brands or corporate brands, consumer and stakeholder, trust will be critical for success. 

At Marico, we are focusing on adapting to evolving consumer needs in the areas of health, immunity and hygiene, while focusing on agility, excellence in execution, aggressive cost management and financial discipline.

What are Marico’s expectations of the local market in the days to come?

Bangladesh has immense potential. Pre-Covid it was projected to be one of the fastest growing economies in the world and despite the pandemic Bangladesh is projected to have significant GDP increase.

While the global economy is feared to shrink more than 5% this year, Bangladesh economy is expected to grow 8+% this fiscal year. 

We’re seeing a lot of interest in the digital economy and the government has kept a strong focus on achieving the SDGs while also seriously tackling climate vulnerability.

Marico’s continuing success in the Bangladesh market is proof of an environment that is friendly to businesses.

There are of course challenges to overcome when it comes to growing in the local market.

With Bangladesh set to graduate from LDC status, it has become essential to develop the country's capacity for manufacturing, as well as the supply chain ecosystem.

We believe the country is doing really well and if time consuming physical procedures can be solved it will give Bangladesh a cutting edge advantage.

Digitalization can solve many of the procedural issues, such as obtaining various business licenses and releasing resources to be deployed in a more constructive manner.

How do MNCs play a role in the current development of Bangladesh?

Firstly, as corporations operating in Bangladesh, we are first and foremost committed to contribute to the ecosystem of this country.

Secondly, having originated in another country or operating in multiple geographies means that we are able to facilitate cross-insemination of learnings and transfer of skills, capabilities and technology.

The benefit of a multi-country operation is that we are able to track and adapt to global trends or global efficiencies and disseminate them in the country.

We are able to produce and offer world-class quality products to consumers in Bangladesh.

The other key benefit is the capability development of local talent and global exposure for local talent. Bangladesh is a powerhouse of talent.

As multinational companies we can also show-case Bangladesh talent and potential to the global community.

Can you please elaborate about the vision and progress of your EPZ project?

The Mirsarai SEZ, where we are investing for our third factory, is our latest effort in providing consumers best-in-class quality products made right here in Bangladesh.

We are constantly striving to be ambassadors of “Made in Bangladesh,” and our investment in manufacturing quality products in Bangladesh has been of utmost importance to us.

We are also grateful to the government of Bangladesh for building an investment-friendly environment through economic zones such as the one in Mirsarai.

The Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority is a very responsive, pro-active agency which functions with a high degree of agility and solution orientation.

We are committed to sustainability with our motto “Road to Zero”. 

With the Mirasarai SEZ we aim to ensure our operations will be completely green with a state-of-the-art factory.

This is in line with the government’s prioritization of building a sustainable, environmentally friendly manufacturing sector.

This project also demonstrates our commitment to invest further in Bangladesh as it is completely self-financed.

With Mirsarai being one of South Asia’s largest economic zones, it’s a great testament to potential for next generation industrialization in the country in our efforts to meet sustainable development goals.

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