The import of raw materials for the pre-fabricated steel building industry has been closed since December last year due to the global outbreak of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) and the industry has suffered a significant financial loss.
Observations indicate that from December to next June, about 30 pre-fabricated steel building industry organisations under the Steel Building Manufacturers Association of Bangladesh (SBMA) and about 200 others outside the association will be at a loss of about Tk10,000 crore.
General Secretary of the association Md Rashed Khan shared the information last Sunday.
The pre-fabricated steel building is affordable, earthquake tolerant and, while maintaining quality standards, complies with accord-alliance at a minimal cost. But 95 percent of the industrial raw materials are imported from China. As China experienced the Covid-19 outbreak last December, the domestic importers have been suffering.
Md Rashed Khan said about 2 lakh people are directly and another 8 lakh are indirectly associated with the industry. Due to the current situation, more than 1 lakh workers and employees will lose their jobs.
"In order to overcome this situation, the direct intervention of the prime minister and cooperation of the ministers of finance, commerce and industries is sought for the grant of special funds from the prime minister," he said.
He asked for a monthly grant of Tk20,000 for the salaries of the workers of the industry till December. He also asked for exemption of the monthly electricity, water and gas bills till December and tax exemptions on employees' salaries and a Tk5,000 crore loan from the government as a working capital on 2 percent profit.
Rashed Khan also urged the finance minister to waive the 5 percent advance tax imposed on the import tariff for the industry.