Capacity building of government organisations will be a major challenge for Bangladesh after its LDC graduation, because these agencies do not have adequate capabilities to negotiate with global partners.
Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry’s (FBCCI) President Md Jashim Uddin made the remark at a discussion with the Newspapers Owners Association of Bangladesh on Tuesday, emphasising the pressing need to focus on capacity building and negotiation skills.
Addressing the event “Role of Media in Overall Economic Development and Progress of the Country: Problems and Prospects,” Jashim said, “We are set to achieve SDGs by 2030, and attain the status of a developed country by 2041.
“So, we have to focus on capacity building and negotiation skills now. We should think about much-needed trade facilities such as the GSP (Generalised System of Preferences), which will be lost after the county’s graduation.”
He continued, “We need to increase our existing 50 billion – 60 billion exports to $300 billion by 2041. The government should hold discussions with stakeholders before formulating any policies. Policies introduced without any discussion faces difficulties during implementation.
“The FBCCI, along with leading the business communities, has taken various initiatives to resolve all sorts of problems in the country’s industries. The private sector represents 85 per cent of trade in Bangladesh.”
Bangladesh might face challenges after the LDC graduation, but the country can also utlise the opportunities it presents, he added.
Revealing that the apex trade body has formed a committee with the country’s experts to carry out research development for the sake of Bangladesh’s economic progress, the FBCCI president said, “We need an innovation centre to provide training to stakeholders.
“This move will help improve the skills which will enhance the private sector and tackle future challenges. We should discuss how we can protect local industries. So, we need to work together.”
Adding that many products cannot be exported due to unavailability of ships, Jashim said, “It is now a big issue for us. The FBCCI is working to build capacity and conduct research development for promoting businesses. We need support from the media in this regard.”
Newspapers Owners Association of Bangladesh President AK Azad said the industry has been going through a rough patch due to a number of reasons, such as the recent increase in operational costs.
He continued, “Our operational costs have increased significantly as paper prices went up. Unpaid advertisement bills and lack of incentives amid the Covid-19 fallout also made the situation difficult for us.
“Different industries have been getting VAT and Tax facilities, but no aid came to the newspaper industry. Our journalists are now living in an inhumane situation. Though we had informed the authorities concerned about our situation, we are yet to receive any support.”
Azad further pointed out, “We have to spend Tk 20 – Tk 30 to publish one copy of a newspaper but we sell it at Tk 10 and give Tk 6.50 to the hawkers. So, we cannot provide salaries to journalists as per the eighth wage board.”
Azad then urged the FBCCI to allot permanent spaces for newspaper hawkers in municipality areas after discussing the matter with mayors.