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Finance Minister draws attention to domestic market

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August 23, 2000 


Gazipur (UNB) – Finance Minister Shah AMS Kibria yesterday suggested local entrepreneurs to give greater attention to domestic market in undertaking industrial ventures and assured all possible government help in this regard.

“You should not only rush for garment or other export-oriented sectors. Also come forward to invest in the sectors that have demand on our local market,” he said apparently moderating the focus of industrial policy.

So far, government leaders have given greater emphasis on export-led economic growth and setting up export-oriented industries.

The Finance Minister made his suggestions while inaugurating a new private-sector industrial unit, the Bone China Plant of Shinepukur Ceramics Ltd, at Saravo in Gazipur.

He asked the local manufacturers not to be worried about marketing of their products as the country offers a domestic market of 130 million people. “Go ahead and the banks as well as the government will provide the highest possible cooperation in this field.”

Chairman of Beximco Group SAF Rahman, Privatization Board Chairman Kazi Jafrullah, Deputy Chairman of Beximco Group Salman F Rahman and Managing Director of Shinepukur Ceramics Ltd Mahmudur Rahman were present on the occasion.

Chairman of Agrani Bank Abdul Hannan, Managing Directors of different commercial banks and entrepreneurs were also present.

Kibria justified recent devaluation of the taka against the dollar and raise in fuel prices, saying those were “right decisions in right time”.

“The country’s economy would have suffered a setback if the currency was not devalued against dollar and price of fuel not increased,” he said shrugging off vehement criticisms and protests.

Explaining the reasons for devaluation of taka he said, “Those who have the ABC of economics should understand that if the currency of any country becomes overvalued, it has to be adjusted through devaluation.”

About the price hike of fuel the Finance Minister said although it’s a “sensitive” sector, the government had no alternative to balance fuel prices with India and reduce the loss of Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation.

“We have huge trade, both formal and informal, although this informal trade `smuggling’ is not wanted by the government and it is trying to stop it, with India where the fuel prices are three taka more than Bangladesh’s.”

As a result, said Kibria, huge quantities of fuel are being smuggled to India inflicting huge loss on the country.

“To stop this and reduce the loss of BPC it is a right decision although it was due much earlier but could not be done considering the aftermath of the devastating floods of 1998.”

Criticising the bid of certain quarters to take political advantage out of the issues the Finance Minister said both the issues should be kept above politics. Kibria, however, urged all to be realistic and take it easy what is demand of the time. “Isn’t it the duty of a government to take realistic decision?” Kibria said throwing a question to the critics and also to the fair-minded people.

The Finance Minister laid emphasis on absorbing latest technologies, introducing skilled management and increase in production to face challenges on international market in the new economic order.

“We have to emerge as a rich country fighting all odds, not depending on the mercy of donors,” Kibria said, adding that drip-feeds of aid or grants can’t make one rich.

Spelling out a direction for the players in the country’s economic sectors, the Finance Minister said the key to becoming rich is the combination of hard work, skilled management and newer technologies.

“I, as well as the government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, have full support for adoption of newer technologies which we have proved during the last four years of our rule.”

About export industries he said the government had extended all possible help to the export-based industries with newer technologies which will continue in future.

He praised the Bone China Plant of Shinepukur Ceramics Ltd which assimilated the latest technologies for making world-class products.

Perhaps no ceramic industries in the country have introduced such modern technologies like Shinepukue Ceramics Ltd, Kibria said, adding this helped Shinepukur Ceramics produce better- quality products than that of England, USA and other developed countries.

“It’s a matter of hope and also of pride for us that the developed countries will use Bangladeshi products,” he noted, adding that it is the result of the use of state-of-the-art technologies.

“All the entrepreneurs should use the latest technologies to produce quality products and challenge both the global and local markets,” the Finance Minister said reaffirming his government’s support for these ventures.

Earlier, the Finance Minister visited the factories of Beximco Textiles and Shinepukur Ceramics Industry. Deputy Chairman of Beximco Group Salman F Rahman presented the crest of Shinepukur Ceramics Ltd to the minister.

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