The government's decision to hike oil prices due to price increase in the global market was not right, said Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) President Md Jashim Uddin.
"It was not right to increase oil prices. This will lead to added cost for government contracts," he said on Thursday and suggested adjusting oil prices in line with recent global market prices.
He made the remarks while addressing a press conference on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's visit to the United Kingdom and France, where the FBCCI president accompanied the trade delegation.
During the press brief at the FBCCI offices in the capital, the apex trade body chief also commented that the LDC graduation presents more opportunities for Bangladesh than challenges.
He also informed newsmen that FBCCI plans to celebrate the golden jubilee of independence through a festival that will be held at Hatirjheel from 1-18 December under the slogan 'Lal Sobujer Mohotshob'.
The visit of the country's trade delegation to the United Kingdom and France would play a positive role in expanding trade and investment between Bangladesh and the two countries, Jashim Uddin told the press brief
Six MoUs have been signed with the top trade organizations and institutions of these countries to strengthen mutual cooperation and partnership in expanding trade and investment. One of the MoU is about conducting a study on the promotion of Bangladeshi products in the UK.
Similar studies will be conducted in other countries in the future, he said.
'Oil price adjustment with international market'
In response to a question, Jasim Uddin said that the government hiked oil prices when it increased in the world market. However, the price of oil in the global market has started falling and prices should be reduced in the country as well.
He also added that once the price of something goes up in our country, it usually never goes down.
Demanding that the price of oil be adjusted to that of the dollar, he said, "If the price was increased by adjusting with the dollar, it would not have increased by Tk 15 per liter."
He said that as a result of the increase in oil prices, cost in already awarded government contracts will increase.
Terming this as a "big problem" he asked the government to properly coordinate with international prices before hiking the price of anything in the future.
'Increase of default loans is not unusual'
Speaking on the increase of default loans, he said, "It's only natural that default loans have increased as people were in survival mode during the Covid-19 pandemic."
He also commented that 99% of businessmen in the country want to return money, only 1% do not and they have been identified.
On Covid-19 pandemic's effects on businesses, Jashim Uddin said, "We will be able to recover the covid-induced effects on businesses by 2022."
He further added that the pandemic was a blow for the whole world and Bangladesh has been able to handle it very well.
"Many big economies have declined. But compared to that, our GDP growth was 5.47%," he said.
'Branding Bangladesh, it's about time'
The FBCCI president said, "It is about time Bangladesh moves towards branding. Although Bangladesh is known in the international market due to the readymade garment industry, we are also exporting leather, ships, ceramics and other products."
Stressing on the need to expand markets, he said, "Otherwise, it will be difficult to deal with future trade challenges."
He said, 'Foreign traders have started considering Bangladesh as their market. We need to increase our trade in the UK and France markets in the future. I am trying to involve Bangladeshi business people living abroad."
Jasim Uddin said, "At present, our export trade is $50 billion. We need to take it to $300 billion to deal with trade risks."