Bangladesh

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Inaugurates second edition of BLLISS 2018

The prime minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated of the Bangladesh Leather Footwear and Leather Goods International Sourcing Show 2018, held at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in Dhaka.

She said her government had created scope so that businesspersons can do businesses. “We are not businesspersons. So, I always believe that businesspersons will do business. “We do work to create opportunities for businesspersons through exploring market abroad as well as enhancing the purchase capacity of the local people through improving their economic condition,” she added.   She also asked the authorities of newly established Special Economic Zones (SEZs) to keep an area in every zone for leather industries.  Prime Minister said government , will build modern tanneries in Chittagong and Rajshahi, as well as an exclusive leather industrial zone with all modern facilities. She added that the government has already asked the officials concerned to find a suitable place for the industrial zone.

Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed, Senior Secretary of the Commerce Ministry Shubashish Basu, and FBCCI President Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin were present at the inauguration as special guests, while Leather Goods and Footwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association of Bangladesh (LFMEAB) President Safiul Islam delivered the welcome address.

Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh’s leather industry has immense scope for growth abroad, as the country is already producing leather goods for many global brands.“Our workers can manufacture high quality products if they get a little bit of training. Our women in particular are skilled in the crafting of leather goods,” she said. “We want more foreign brands to come to Bangladesh with investment. This will help them get manpower at a low cost, while helping create employment opportunities.” She added that there were significant market opportunities for foreign investors in Bangladesh, due to the country’s geographical location and multi-modal communication.

The prime minister mentioned steps taken by her government for the development of the international airport in Cox’s Bazar, with the aim of making it feasible for operation of wide-bodied flights and attracting foreign tourists and investors. She also said her government was working to attract more investment from local and foreign sources, with the goal of ensuring full engagement of youths who were of working age. “One hundred Special Economic Zones are being established in this regard,” she added. “No industry can flourish without government incentives,” she said, urging LFMEAB leaders to explore markets abroad to avail incentives on the export of leather goods.

After the inauguration, Hasina also visited the pavilions at the sourcing show along with government officials and leather industry leaders.

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Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina announced to establish two more leather industrial estates in Chittagong and Rajshahi divisions for further flourishing the leather sector. “We will set up two new leather industry estates — one in Chittagong division and other in Rajshahi division — for further promoting the country’s leather sector. Establishing such a zone only in Dhaka is not right, it will have to spread all over Bangladesh,” she said. Sheikh Hasina also said the government has taken a decision to keep the issue of continuing 15% cash incentive for the next five years under active consideration on a priority basis. The move was taken to boost local and foreign investment in the leather sector and make it sustainable, she said.

The prime minister said this while inaugurating Bangladesh Leather Footwear and Leathergoods International Sourcing Show (BLLISS) 2017. Sheikh Hasina opened the three-day show at the ICCB through videoconferencing from her official Ganabhaban residence.

The premier urged the foreign investors and buyers to invest more in Bangladesh’s leather sector for further strengthening the country’s economy. “I call upon the foreign investors and buyers for investing in a larger volume in Bangladesh’s leather sector and sourcing more in leather goods for further strengthening the country’s economy,” she said.

The premier expressed her hope to attain $5bn export earnings from the leather, leather goods and footwear sector out of the estimated overall export earning of $60bn as per the Vision 2021. In this connection, she sought expansion of business of local and foreign entrepreneurs engaged in leather and leather goods sector to achieve the goal.

Stressing the need for bringing diversification in leather goods to increase export, Sheikh Hasina said the entrepreneurs will have to develop the products and find out new export markets. “I think our products will have to be international standard,” she said and assured of providing necessary help from the government in this regard.

Elaborating various steps of her government for expansion of the export markets of the leather and footwear products, Sheikh Hasina said the ministry of commerce is actively working to formulate and implement annual action plan in this regard. “Steps have also been taken to set up a testing and calibrating centre to maintain international quality and standard of leather goods and footwear products,” she said. The premier said such initiatives would play a very significant role for the development and diversification of exportable products as well as expansion of the export markets.

Sheikh Hasina said her government is providing tax rebate, 100% Export Performance License, 10% cash assistance for exporting finished leather goods from the leather industry park and 15% cash incentive in the case of exporting leather goods and footwear products. The premier said an environment-friendly leather industrial estate has been set up in Savar for flourishing the leather sector and saving the Buriganga. Steps are being taken so that mills and factories could be built in surrounding areas in Savar Leather Industrial Estate, she said.

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