DCCI chief Hossain Khaled suggests enough funds in budget to guarantee gas, power supplies to industries
Shaikh Abdullah, bdnews24.com
Published: 2015-06-04 01:13:38.0 BdST Updated: 2015-06-04 01:45:50.0 BdST
Anwar Group Managing Director Hossain Khaled has suggested making adequate budgetary allocation to provide industries with the required power and gas, which will help attract local and foreign investment.
He thinks ‘now’ is the best time for investment as prices of steel and oil in the international market and import expenditure of capital machinery are low.
Khaled, also the President of Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said: “Local entrepreneurs cannot invest due to internal problems. So foreign investors are not also coming.”
Anwar Group has businesses in steel, textiles, dyeing, printing, weaving, jute, cement, pipe and fittings, information technology, automobile, furniture, housing and financial sectors.
He spoke to bdnews24.com on Wednesday, a day before the national budget for 2015-16 is to be placed in Parliament.
The chief of the conglomerate said investment in industries would grow if the infrastructure were developed, and law and order improved.
Explaining the reasons, he said: “The government is not guaranteeing power and gas supplies.
“Even private sector entrepreneurs are not being provided power and gas for generation of electricity on their own. It is being said that gas would be given only for production of goods.”
Khaled said the power and gas crises were also impacting bank credit to industries.
“Banks are approving projects on condition of availability of power and gas. Banks are saying 'your loan has been approved. But you will get disbursement only when you will get power and gas connection’,” he said.
The Anwar Group chief said entrepreneurs could not go for new investment in such a situation.
“There is no certainty that the entrepreneurs will get the utilities on demand in next one or one and a half years. Employment will not be created and GDP growth not attained without growth in investment.”
Khaled thinks the budget should have provisions for energy security as a strategy to boost investment.
He said a strategy was also needed for emergence of new entrepreneurs and help them sustain.
Calling for tough measures to stop extortion, Khaled said: “Law and order has to be improved… The government has to give special attention to it.”
He urged the government to focus on new industry. “The government has to find out next billion-dollar industry for the country. That sector has to be given patronisation.
“It can be automobile industry as the country every year imports 25,000-30,000 cars, of which 80 percent are old.
“The size of car spares business is Tk 120 billion to Tk 150 billion,” he added.
The entrepreneur said the government could offer policy support to the industry. “Assembling can be chosen first instead of import. That (assembling) has to be considered manufacturing.
“A timeframe has to be set to go for real manufacturing. Skilled manpower will be employed there.”
“The government is offering assistance to ICT sector. Software technology parks have to be developed in the private sector. High-tech parks need to be developed.”
About the budget, he said it was being said the size of the budget would be 20 percent larger than the previous one. “What will be the sources (of fund) for this huge budget?” he questioned.
Khaled advised the government to think of new areas for increasing revenue collection.
He also suggested programmes to encourage businessmen and citizens to pay taxes.
The Anwar Group chief highlighted the need for ensuring quality higher education.
“The quality is low at higher education level. Those who are passing out from private universities cannot be engaged in quality work,” he said.
He demanded concrete action to stop corruption.
“The government has repealed the provision for whitening black money. But the avenues to make black money have not been shut,” he said.
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