What would you do if you become the president of the FBCCI?
The function of the apex trade body, the FBCCI is to create a conducive business environment along with the government to make sure there is proper research, capacity building training, advocacy, mitigating concerns of businesses and the public and to identify problems that can arise and address them before they become issues.
So if I am elected president I will work to increase the institutional capacity and strengthening the capacity building training based on the research data. We already have and make sure that we are able to identify things that could become problematic and address them immediately.
How can the FBCCI develop the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs)?
There is a lot of things to be done regarding SMEs. There are also a lot of opportunities provided for them, but because of a lack of awareness these opportunities are never seized.
SMEs are essentially the backbone of an economy, without them the economy does not move forward. For example during the Financial Crisis of 2008, almost all developed countries were in recession except for Germany. This was because Germany has a strong SME sector that kept the economy from sliding into a recession.
Without the proper attention to the sector, the country’s economy would not be able to march forward to its desired level. There are lots of opportunity for the SMEs but due to lack of awareness the entrepreneurs can not enjoy it.
We should have a central place and promramme for skill development and training for the SME sector. Things like need based training is vital because people should be prepared for the jobs they hold and understand what kind of skills will make them proficient.
I also think that we were able to offer some financial incentives to companies who send their managers abroad for training then we should a much better skilled workforce and companies more willing to train their employees.
Also create a good environment for young entrepreneurs especially women where they do not have to face any sort of discrimination.
These are the things I want to focus on doing as FBCCI president, building awareness and focusing on SME training programmes.
What should the FBCCI revitalize BSCIC land programme for small businesses?
The economy will be adversely affected when the land allocated for Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation (BSCIC) is being given out without proper verification and justification.
The FBCCI will do everything possible to make sure the BSCIC land is given to real entrepreneurs who will generate employment and contribute to the economy.
What are the challenges of attracting foreign and local investments?
Access to finance, higher cost of land, shortage of gas and electricity connection, higher prices utility services and frequent changes in fees are they key barriers to attracting investment.
Bangladesh has huge capacity and opportunity for business and to tap the untapped potential the government has to address these barriers.
Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) will come in the country, when the foreign investors will see the success of local investment.
According to latest data, Bangladesh had $2.33 billion in foreign investment in 2016. The figure was $2.23 billion in 2015.
What should the government do to keep the export sector competitive? How will you address this?
To attain and maintain export led economic growth, the Bangladesh government will have to think about the export sector separately. Otherwise, export oriented manufacturers will lose their competitive edge in the global market which will affect the GDP growth.
The government will have to focus on new and potential export sector such as ICT and leather, which would expand the export value as well as create new employment.
The FBCCI can help by doing research on finding prospects and problems of the export sector and recommending ways forward along with formulating policy on the matter.
The government should also offer incentives and policy support to the potential export oriented sectors.
What would be FBCCI’s stance on new VAT law implementation?
The FBCCI already has urged the government to do impact assessment on the implementation of the new VAT law to learn how it would impact the lives of people and increase inflation.
The existing tax payer are paying but there is no progress on widening the tax net as well as the number of tax payers.
My question is, does the National Board of Revenue (NBR) have capacity to deal with the new law implementation. If the NBR had enough capacity then why is it implementing the law now which enacted in 2012? Is the NBR unable to widen the tax net and to identify new tax payers and sectors?
Why did the FBCCI fail to realise demands of business people on VAT?
There is no visible reason to ignore the businesses demands regarding the VAT law implementation. But it could be that the business people are unable to make their demands understood or the government people are also unable to understand their demands.
Some Business people claimed FBCCI failed to protected the rights of the business community. Do you agree?
I disagree. It is not the duty of FBCCI to support vandals on the street or to support unethical demands or wrong doings of business people. But, we are fighting with the concerned organisation to materialize our demands.
The FBCCI has held 18 meeting with the NBR, finance minister and placed the demands but they did not pay any heed. We cannot be indignant with government organisation or behave in a way that will shut down the country’s economy.
What would you do to uphold the glory of FBCCI?
When there is a leader without an agenda they will not have to manipulate policy for their own interests. The voice of the leader will be raised to protect the interests of the business community.
With my team, I will do everything to realise logical demands of business people.
If I do not meet the business people, I cannot know about their problems. For the trade body to play an effective role the leader should know about the problems of all business and she/he should have regular communication with the associations and chambers.
As a former leader of the RMG sector, what would be your plans it?
Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry or the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) do not need FBCCI to realise their demands.
That is why, I will give my attention to the SMEs as the apex trade body, FBCCI represents all the association and chambers. Our only motto is to help the development of the country’s economy and to create a conducive environment for doing business.
I will work for those business people, who will suffer due to the withdrawal of VAT package, or those who cannot install ECR or unable to keep accounts.