The Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) has sought the intervention of the prime minister to control the rampant rise in the cost of construction materials.
The apex trade body in the country told the media on Sunday that it had recently sent a letter, signed by its President Md Jashim Uddin, to the PM's office to this end.
It said, in recent months, the cost of basic raw materials in the infrastructure sector has gone up 20-25%, making it impossible for contractors to complete the infrastructure development projects undertaken by the government, on time.
This uncontrolled rise in costs is not only adversely affecting the construction and housing industries, but also severely hampers the various development activities of the government as a whole, it added.
The FBCCI has sincerely wanted Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to intervene in the ongoing instability in the construction sector.
It has also made some short-term and long-term recommendations to protect the interests of the construction sector and local construction companies.
The letter said, over the last five to six months, particularly in the last one month, the cost of basic raw materials like rods, cement, stone, bitumen, copper, and aluminium, has gone up 20-25%, which is having an unimaginably adverse effect on the construction industry.
Currently, the cost of construction in Bangladesh has reached such a level that it has become almost impossible for contractors to complete the work of their ongoing and upcoming projects at the prices stipulated in contracts, while also maintaining proper standards.
The trade body believes that any company should consider the profit and loss of other businesses that use their products before raising prices.
"It is to be noted that our domestic rod manufacturing companies are already getting various benefits from the government. Nevertheless, they continue to raise the price of rods with every passing day without the slightest concern about the consequences of their unreasonable price hike," it said.
The FBCCI has recommended that the permission for import of MS Rods from any foreign country be expedited in order to ensure timely completion of existing and upcoming government projects.
It wants the import tariff and duty structure to be set in such a way that the price per ton of rods remains below Tk60,000 when it reaches the project site.
If the cost of a project increases due to a legal change after the tender for a construction project has been submitted, the contractor must be paid the equivalent of that increased cost, added the recommendations.
It has also strongly recommended that the participation of foreign bidders in government-funded (GoB-funded) projects should be strongly discouraged.
The letter said that under the strong leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Bangladesh has already evolved from a least developed country to a developing country and is successfully advancing on the development highway.
With the government's business-friendly policy in place and maintaining a conducive business environment, businesspeople have the opportunity to conduct business successfully, but the unreasonable price hike of construction materials has created the possibility of hampering development work.