Pran-RFL Group, one of the country's largest industrial conglomerates, is going to invest a staggering Tk154 crore in exports of personal protective equipment (PPE), medical devices and toys.
To this end, the group's subsidiary company Banga Plastic International, Wednesday, inked a deal with the Bangladesh Export Processing Zones Authority (Bepza) under the tax holiday facility at Adamjee Export Processing Zone.
Bepza sources said under the project, 850 tonnes of PPE–such as surgical face masks, KN95 masks, N95 masks, surgical gloves, shoe covers, mop caps, medical gowns, sanitary napkins, diapers, and hand sanitiser–would be produced annually.
The factory would also produce 4,857 tonnes of toys annually, including: baby toys, rider toys, slipper toys, sports toys, educational toys, building toys, alphabet toys, soft and hard animal toys, and more.
It will be the second famous brand in the country, who will invest to manufacturing of medical equipment. Pran-RFL sources said the project will create 1,900 jobs.
Rathendra Nath Paul, chairman of Banga Plastic and managing director of Pran-RFL Group, said it is a fully export-oriented investment outside the existing factory.
He said industrial production could begin within a year, and products worth about Tk20 crore medical equipment and 10 crore toy could be exported monthly.
"These products are made for the local market in our existing factory. At present, we are selling PPE worth Tk30 crore and toys worth Tk10 crore monthly. Once the new factory comes into operation, there will be some additions here deemed as exports," he added.
The conglomerate had been producing medical equipment, including surgical masks, even before the Covid-19 pandemic hit the country. It increased production capacity after the outbreak of the virus but has not hit the export market yet.
JMI Group, one of the leading and most diversified conglomerates in Bangladesh, has already begun exporting medical equipment to several countries.
Meanwhile, the demand for such goods is likely to continue to grow for as long as the pandemic continues. The market value of PPE products has already reached a few billion dollars, in just about six months since the pandemic began.
During this period, Bangladesh has become a frontrunner in supplying PPE products worldwide as local garment manufacturers continue to receive a considerable amount of work orders from international buyers.
As per the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, there are 33 companies who are making and preparing to export PPE to meet global demands.
The largest garment manufacturer of Bangladesh, Beximco Group, has exported PPE to the US, the European Union and Canada after selling products on the domestic market.
The government has waived VAT on the manufacturing of PPE products and their raw materials, altogether, in the national budget for fiscal year 2020-21.