Tk 300cr industrial park in the making
The government is developing the country’s first industrial park for electrical and light engineering product manufacturers at a cost of Tk 300 crore in Munshiganj, which could herald a beginning to bring the highly scattered and unorganised industries under a single platform. Already 83 per cent of the project work has been completed, and the Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation (BSCIC). The light engineering sector makes products worth Tk 10,000 crore, meeting a third of the local demand of Tk 30,000 crore annually, according to the Bangladesh Light Engineering Industry Owners Association.Electrical products makers say the local market for electrical items is Tk 20,000 crore to Tk 25,000 crore, and they cater to a portion of the gigantic market.The number of plots is 362 in the industrial park. Half of them will go to the electrical products’ makers and the rest to the light engineering makers.The project was approved by the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council in June 2016. Initially, the cost was estimated at Tk 213.26 crore. The cost was later revised up to Tk 309.59 crore, according to project documents.Electrical products’ manufacturers employ 5 lakh people, and the sector is growing at 20 per cent annually. Entrepreneurs say if the project is implemented, there will be a facility for waste disposal, and the environment will not be polluted.
BD Finance eyes $2b US investment
Bangladesh Finance and Investment Company Ltd (BD Finance) has signed a deal with US-based Sovereign Infrastructure Group (SIG) to attract $2 billion worth of investment in infrastructure projects in the next two years. BD Finance, a concern of Anwar Group, inked the agreement in Washington on Thursday. With a project pipeline of more than $2 billion, BD Finance has mandated SIG on the initial financing of a direct loan of $40 million to be used for on-lending to SMEs, green energy projects, women entrepreneurs, social housing, economic empowerment initiatives for transgender individuals, and the refinancing of existing BD Finance obligations.SIG is a global structured financing company that works with project sponsors and development finance institutions, and national and local governments in originating and structuring infrastructure investments in growth markets. If SIG maintains at least 4 per cent shares in BD Finance during the term of the memorandum, the US company will be guaranteed a seat on the board of the Bangladeshi firm. BD Finance and SIG will give priority to the projects that are supported by the government of Bangladesh, projects in economic zones and export processing zones.Bangladesh is currently on track to investing an impressive $417 billion in infrastructure by 2040. Shares of BD Finance closed 0.65 per cent higher at Tk 30.90 on the Dhaka Stock Exchange.
Ease stimulus conditions for SMEs
The repayment period for loans from the stimulus package aimed at cottage, micro, small and medium enterprises (CMSMEs) should be extended by two years as those firms have been severely impacted by the pandemic, according to speakers at a virtual discussion. In its budget proposal for fiscal 2021-22, the Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) yesterday demanded that the government ease the terms for the CMSMEs to avail stimulus funds.So far, around 68 per cent, or Tk 13,600 crore of the Tk 23,000 crore allocated for the CMSMEs, has been disbursed. The rate of disbursement in the sector has been slow compared to other stimulus packages, said Masudur Rahman, chairman of SME Foundation.The global average of corporate tax is 23.8 per cent while it is 21.13 per cent in Asian nations, the DCCI said in its budget proposal, which was previously submitted to the National Board of Revenue. The chamber also demanded a gradual reduction of income tax for listed and non-listed companies. For instance, the chamber asked for income tax to be reduced to 30 per cent from 32.5 per cent in the budget for 2021-22, 27.5 per cent in fiscal 2022-23, and 25 per cent in fiscal 2023-24. The DCCI also demanded that VAT registration be made mandatory only for firms with turnovers of over Tk 4 crore.