Some 100 economic zones are in the making, yet there has been a lack of infrastructural development to support planned industrialisation in those areas, said FBCCI President Md Jashim Uddin on Monday, blaming bureaucratic tangles for it.
"Bangladesh is a riverine country. The transportation system could exploit the country's river networks instead of largely switching to roads," he told a reception in Chattogram.
"Dredging is a must for maintaining navigability of rivers, river training and irrigation. But the duty on dredgers has been raised to 27% from the previous 1%. The math doesn't add up," said the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce & Industries president.
Jashim said villages are now witnessing a huge development as large industries are being set up at upazila level. But the tax net is not reaching there as the revenue authorities continue harassing businessmen in cities only.
"For commission, revenue officials are filing cases against us with fines up to 200%-300%. VAT collection remains below the spending to ramp up the collection. The revenue board has installed e-fiscal devices in different markets, but 90% of shops are yet to be provided with the machine," said the FBCCI president.
The Chattogram Chamber of Commerce and Industry organised the reception for Jashim Uddin. Chattogram chamber President Mahbubul Alam presided over the function, which was also attended by local business leaders and entrepreneurs.
Mahbubul Alam said the excel load control centre on Dhaka-Chattogram highway has appeared to be a woe for Chattogram traders, as the centre does not allow trucks with more than 13 tonne cargo-load pushing up their product transportation cost Tk3-4 per kg.
"Chattogram traders are facing an unequal competition since there are no such centres anywhere in Bangladesh," he claimed. Mahbubul Alam also demanded the Chattogram Port Bay Terminal project be started without further delay.
Aameir Ali Hussain, managing director of industrial conglomerate BSRM, said they have to go to the capital for each and every decision since everything is Dhaka-centric. This excessive dependency on Dhaka causes harassment to businessmen.
Mohammed Almas Shimul, additional managing director of GPH Ispat, said expansion of Dhaka-Chattogram highway is urgent. Otherwise, the route will collapse due to increasing traffic in the next 5-6 years.
Chattogram Metropolitan Chamber President Khalilur Rahman, Chattogram Women's Chamber President Monwar Hakim Ali, BGMEA First Vice-President Syed Nazrul Islam, BSM Group Chairman Abul Bashar Chowdhury, Chattogram chamber vice-president Syed Mohammad Tanvir, Director AKM Akhter Hossain, Rakibur Rahman Tutul, former president of Chattogram Club MM Tayyab and former president of Chattogram chamber Ali Ahmed were also present at the programme.