& Finance News
Compiled by SDNP
Seeks Tk 300 Crore for Flood-affected RMGs
Staff Reporter, The New Nation
Jul 31, 2004, 13:54
Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and
Exporters Association (BGMEA) has requested the Finance Minister to give
a long-term block allocation of Tk 250-300 crore at a rate of simple
interest for the rehabilitation of export-oriented garment industries
affected by the flood.
The request was made to the Finance Minister when a delegation of BGMEA
led by its president Annisul Huq called on him at his secretariat office
During the meeting, members of the BGMEA delegation told the Finance
Minister that about 60 per cent of the ready-made garment factories in
Dhaka city and its suburbs had become affected by the current
Besides, transportation of ready-made garment consignments is being
seriously hampered due to flood waters and production is also being
affected substantially for the absence of workers. "As a result many
shipments would fail," the BGMEA delegation told.
Expressing the apprehension, the delegation told that 25% to 30% of the
consignments might subsequently be required air-shipment. Moreover, many
garment factories might become the victims of forced loans for the
payment of imported fabrics. In such a situation, it would be difficult
for the garment exporters to pay the loans as well as salary of the
The BGMEA delegation also mentioned that the BGMEA and EPB (Export
Promotion Bureau) have already launched a joint survey to assess the
damages of the ready-made garment factories caused by the flood, which
would be placed before the Finance Minister shortly.
BGMEA president Annisul Huq also told the Finance Minister that they
made some proposals for inclusion in the current year's budget for
making the ready-made garment industry more competitive in the
quota-free world trade regime ahead of the 2005. Those proposals were
yet to be fulfilled.
The proposals were: (i) Withdrawal of VAT from different sectors of the
export-oriented RMG industry; (ii) Lifting of duty and VAT from the
import of spare parts for machinery used in the RMG sector; and (iii)
Raising the time-limit of bonding for RMG industry to three years.
Huq also urged the Finance Minister to reconsider those three proposals
for the greater interest of RMG industry.
In an instant response, the Finance Minister announced to withdraw VAT
on gas and electricity used by the RMG sector. He also announced to
withdraw duty and VAT on spare parts of the garment machinery.
Regarding the enhancement of time-limit for bonding, he said it would be
done on case to case basis and the Bond Commissioner, instead of the
National Board of Revenue would be authorised to look into the matter.
During the meeting, the BGMEA delegation apprised the Finance Minister
of central bonded warehouse and rules of origin. The delegation
requested the Finance Minister to give final endorsement to the central
bonded warehouse which now awaits the cabinet approval.
The delegation also sought the cooperation of the minister to send
necessary papers to the European Union by the Ministry of Commerce for
receiving the derogation facilities for the expansion of RMG market in
About setting up the central bonded warehouse, the Finance Minister told
that a decision would be taken considering the logic behind setting up
The Finance Minister highly appreciated the contributions of the RMG
sector to the national economy. He said the sector deserved the
appreciation for generating employment opportunities for a large number
of workers. "The government does not want that this sector is affected
in any way," he said.
The delegation included BGMEA's First Vice-President Abdus Salam, Second
Vice-President Alamgir Rahman, Vice-President M Golam Faruque and
Vice-President (Finance) Anwar-ul-Alam Chowdhury.
Besides, Zainal Abedin Faruque, MP, Ataur Rahman, MP, MA Jinnah, MP,
Finance Secretary Zakir Ahmed Khan and NBR Chairman Khairuzzaman
Chowdhury were present.
The BGMEA delegation also made a courtesy call on Law, Justice and
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Barrister Moudud Ahmed on the same day
and requested him to amend some labour related laws for the necessity of
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urged to help solve flood problem
The New Nation,
By BSS, Dhaka, Aug 2,
Minister Begum Khaleda Zia on
Monday expressed her optimism that the Dutch government would come up
with assistance to help Bangladesh develop a lasting flood control
system and its post-flood rehabilitation.
She was speaking to the outgoing Dutch
Ambassador to Bangladesh Sjef Ijzermans who made a farewell call on her
at the Prime Minister’s Office.
Ijzermans said the Netherlands, that developed an expertise in water
management, is now working in different fields including water, health,
education and rural electrification in Bangladesh.
Reciprocating to the Prime Minister gesture, the Dutch Ambassador said
that after his return to the Netherlands he would make efforts to extend
cooperation to Bangladesh’s desire for developing a permanent and
lasting flood management system. He also showed his government’s
intention to participate in post-flood rehabilitation programmes in
Ijzermmans, who spent about four years in Bangladesh, commended the
people of this country as friendly, likeable and hospitable.
The Prime Minister urged the Dutch entrepreneurs to come up with
investment and joint ventures in Bangladesh and also to enhance trade
relations between the two countries and said balance of trade is now in
favour of Bangladesh. The Dutch Ambassador praised the quality of a
number of Bangladeshi products including ceramics, leather, garments and
He also appreciated the successes of Bangladesh in the field of
education especially female education and women empowerment
Begum Zia recalled her visit to the Netherlands with Shaheed President
Ziaur Rahman in 1979.
During the meeting, they described the relations between Bangladesh and
the Netherlands as very cordial and expressed her optimism that it would
further enhance in the years to come.
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Flood-affected weavers seek interest-free
The Daily Star, Star Business
Hit hard by the current flood, country's handloom entrepreneurs have
sought cash subsidy and interest-free bank loans for recovering their
The flood has affected
about 80 percent handlooms across the country throwing thousands of
weavers and their families into great miseries, they said.
The weavers who run
their business with small amount of capital do not have the financial
strength to recuperate the loss caused by the flooding.
"If the government does
not take initiative for rehabilitating the weavers, I think 30 percent
of them will be forced to close their looms," said Khondaker Jainal
Abedin, owner of Jainal Silk Industries, Mirpur talking to The Daily
Jainal along with 45
handloom owners from different parts of the country took part in a
handloom fair that ended Sunday at the Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy
Board organised the seven-week fair to popularise the traditional
handloom products and protect the manufacturers. Board officials said
the participants have sold products worth about Tk 4.50 crore during the
Jainal said the demand
for handloom products in the world market is increasing day by day. "So
the government should take initiative to promote the sector."
At present, handloom
products are exported to India and some Middle East countries, said MR
Mostak, proprietor of Muslin Jamdani Weaving Factory.
"Within short time
we'll export handloom products to Canada and UK as the buyers have shown
their interest to import our products", he added.
Talking to The Daily
Star, the participants said high price of yarn is a big problem for the
weavers. They demanded reduction of import duty especially on silk yarn.
"If the government
reduces the duty, we'll be able to expand the export market competing
with other handloom producing countries," said Jainal.
Speaking at the closing
function of the fair, Textiles and Jute Minister Shajahan Siraj said
government has taken a Tk 50 crore programme for promoting the handloom
"Under this programme
we have already disbursed Tk 30 crore among 22,000 handloom
entrepreneurs" he said. "We have decided to increase the allocation to
Tk 100 crore."
About the plot
allocation problem in the Mirpur Benarasi Palli in Dhaka, the minister
assured the entrepreneurs of allocating 906 plots within next three
Azizul Islam, secretary
in-charge of Textiles and Jute Ministry, Abu Solaiman Chowdhury,
secretary in-charge of Cultural Affairs Ministry, and Abdus Salam,
chairman of Bangladesh Handloom Board, also spoke at the function.
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WTO faces daunting task to deliver on trade promises
The Daily Star,
The World Trade Organisation (WTO), with its credibility restored and
the Doha Round back on track, still faces a huge task to deliver on
promises of freer global trade, officials said Sunday.
A last-ditch deal
between the WTO's 147 members, setting out key guidelines for more work,
prevented a potentially fatal failure for the round with its offer of
deep cuts in rich power farm subsidies and more open markets to boost
trading system is alive after a period of doubt," said European Union
Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy, whose pledge to eliminate the bloc's
hugely controversial farm export subsidies helped pave the way to the
The Doha Round,
launched in late 2001 with the world still reeling from the suicide
plane attacks in the United States, aims to lower barriers to commerce
across the global economy.
Its conclusion, the
World Bank says, could lift hundreds of millions of people out of
poverty and inject billions of dollars into a still fragile
But the round was
derailed 10 months ago when bitter rows between rich and poor nations,
particularly over the farmer's lavish farm subsidies, triggered the
collapse of a ministerial conference in Cancun, Mexico, raising fears
negotiations would never resume.
In Geneva, the WTO did
what it failed to do in Mexico.
"I said in Cancun it
(the multilateral system) was in intensive care ... today not only is it
out of hospital, it is up and running," Lamy told reporters.
The round was due to
conclude by the end of 2004, although few ever took that deadline
seriously. But after the latest accord, Lamy said it could be done by
the time ministers meet again in December, 2005, in Hong Kong.
But while analysts and
business organisations applauded the Geneva deal, which came only after
five days of almost round-the-clock wrangling, they warned that the
framework accord was short on detail and put off many of the hardest
"It is clear from the
ambiguity ... that important and difficult decisions have been
deferred," the National Foreign Trade Council, a US business lobby, said
in a statement.
British based advocacy
group Oxfam, which campaigns on behalf of poor nations, was equally
cautious about how far it went towards achieving the round's supposed
main goal of promoting development.
"We are three years
into negotiations, yet the results of this meeting fall far short of
what is needed to reform world trade rules so that they work for the
poor," said Celine Charveriat, head of its Geneva office.
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