Shipbuilding industry can boost industrialisation: Minister
‘Bangladesh can earn US$ 2bn every year thru’ ship export’
Dhaka: Despite having an image crisis in some areas, Bangladesh's shipbuilding sector has taken the country to a different height creating a scope to earn US$ 2 billion a year, shipbuilders say.
The country has been doing excellent in the sector and can easily take the lead in the global market if the government and private sector can walk together with a pragmatic plan ensuring logistic and policy supports, they said.
Association of Export Oriented Shipbuilding Industries of Bangladesh and Export Promotion Bureau jointly arranged the seminar, 'Problems in Exporting Ship from Bangladesh and their Solutions', at city's Hotel Ruposhi Bangla. Industries Minister Dilip Barua attended the inaugural session of the seminar as the chief guest while Commerce Minister GM Quader as a special guest.
Vice-chairman of the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) Shubhashish Bose, president of Association of Export Oriented Shipbuilding Industries of Bangladesh and chairman of Ananda Shipyard & Slipways Ltd Dr Abdullahel Bari and Western Marine Shipyard Chairman Saiful Islam also spoke on the occasion with acting commerce secretary ATM Murtoza Reza Chowdhury in the chair. Speaking as the chief guest, GM Quader said, "In 2011, the world saw a shipbuilding business worth US$ 300 billion…so, we've a big market…the shipbuilding industry can give a big boost to overall industrialisation."
He said the government would provide policy support to help grow the sector but advised the entrepreneurs to stand on their own feet. "You've already achieved successes…don't depend on government too much…you've to stand on your own feet," he said adding that the country has a dashing business community which can utilise the potential of the sector for the country's development. The Commerce Minister considered the shipbuilding industry as a highly capital intensive one and said the industry has the potential to set up backward and forward linkage industries having the unique advantage of competitive workforce. The Industries Minister said, "We'll provide required policy and logistic supports for the development of the sector since the sector has a huge potential to grow."
He also said the Industries Ministry is formulating a Shipbuilding Policy to ensure its smooth growth.
Shubhashish Bose said the sector is marching forward securing a firm position in the global market. "Earlier, Bangladesh was only known as a ship-breaking country which didn't bring any reputation, but now Bangladesh is known as a shipbuilding nation." He said the sector can give a big boost to export earnings if it is taken care of properly.
Abdullahel Bari said, "We can earn US$ 2 billion easily every year if the spirit and enthusiasm that we have could be maintained. We just need a policy support."
He demanded a 10-percent incentive and government encouragement for the smooth growth of the sector.
Saiful Islam said Bangladeshi shipbuilders are in 'a bit trouble' due to American recession followed by Eurozone crisis. "Though 70 percent of Chinese orders have been cancelled, no Bangladeshi order faced such a fate but the orders that were in the pipeline are not getting mature." He said Bangladesh has a competitive edge with a competitive workforce and Bangladesh will emerge as global leader if the shipbuilding sector gets the required support.
"When we had been in image crisis, the shipbuilding industry took the country to a different height," he said.
The entrepreneur expressed dissatisfaction as the Shipping Minister did not take part in the seminar despite giving schedule and Industries Minister's quick exit from the programme. UNB