Bangladesh and Industrial Sector
Bangladesh will have within a decade a sizable industrial sector where manufacturing will account for at least 25 per cent of the GDP and at least 20 per cent of the employed workforce. This will mean a considerable rise from the figure of 10 per cent around which the sector's share in GDP and employed population have hovered for most of the past two decades.
A vibrant and dynamic private sector will be the principal actor in Bangladesh's industrial arena. The industrial sector of Bangladesh will be competitive in the liberalized internal market as well as in the external market. The industrial sector of Bangladesh shall have a dominant export orientation.
The goal of external competitiveness implies the pursuit of industrialization in accordance with the dynamic comparative advantage of the economy. Given Bangladesh's resource endowment, the principle of dynamic comparative advantage means production of labor intensive manufactures with skill up-gradation and productivity growth as its cutting edge. This however, does not preclude the possibility of Bangladesh having a niche high-tech industrial sub-sector that may be externally competitive.
Dispersal of small and medium industries will constitute an important element in the industrial policy approach. Industrial development will be sustainable from the point of view of environmental concerns and resource availability.
Industrial Policy 1999 aims at addressing these concerns building on earlier efforts and gains towards industrialization of Bangladesh economy.
INFRASTRUCTURAL FACILITIES AND UTILITY SERVICES IN BANGLADESH
The investors will, in general, find the infrastructural facilities and utility services available in Bangladesh to be adequate. Bangladesh is now trying to establish itself as the next rising star in South Asia as a location for foreign investment. The government has implemented a number of policy reforms designed to create a more open and competitive climate for private investment, both foreign and domestic. The issues relating to infrastructural facilities and utility services have been given high priorities in those policy reforms and implementations.
The transport sector of Bangladesh consists of a variety of modes. The country being a flat plain, all three modes of surface transport i.e. road, railway, and water are widely used in carrying both passengers and cargo.
More than half of Bangladesh has access to an all-weather hard surface road within three miles distance. There has been a dramatic expansion of road network in recent years. In 1997, the total length of paved road under the Roads and Highways Department stood at more than 20,000 kilometers. It is increasing over time. It is estimated that mechanized road transport carry about 70% of the country's total passenger and cargo volume. Ports and important business centers are well connected by roads and highways.
In recent years, construction of a number of bridges such as the Bangabandhu Jamuna Bridge, Meghna Bridge, Meghna-Gumti Bridge, Bangladesh-China Friendship Bridge, Shambhuganj Bridge and Mahananda Bridge have been completed. The 4.8 kilometer long Bangabandhu Bridge which has been opened to traffic in June, 1998, is the eleventh longest in the world. It has established a strategic link between the East and West of Bangladesh, has integrated the country, is generating multifaceted benefits to the people and promoting inter-regional trade. Apart from quick movement of goods and passenger traffic, it is facilitating transmission of electricity and natural gas and has integrated the telecommunication link.
About 32% of the total area of Bangladesh is effectively covered by the railways. It connects all the administrative and business points of the country. Railway container service from Chittagong port to Dhaka are available.
About two-thirds of Bangladesh is a wetland laced with a dense network of rivers, canals and creeks. The navigable waterways vary between 8372 kilometer during the monsoon to 5200 kilometer during the dry season. Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority has been established by the government for maintenance of navigability of ports and channels.
The entire coast along the Bay of Bengal is 710 Kilometer long. There are two major ports in the country. Chittagong Port, the oldest port, has been an entry point for at least 1000 years. The Mongla Port in Khula region serves the western part of Bangladesh. World’s reputed shipping lines are operating through these two ports.
There are now 11 operational airports in Bangladesh. Of these, the airports at Dhaka, Chittagong, and Sylhet serve international routes.
Water is supplied by the Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) in the metropolitan areas. Very high priority is attached regarding availability of water in industrial areas.
Natural gas supply is available in major industrial areas.
Comprehensive telecommunication services such as fully automatic telex, fax, e-mail, internet, telephone including international direct dialing are available.
In Bangladesh, electric power is generated in hydro, steam, gas-turbine, and diesel power plants. All the generating stations are interconnected through a national grid.
Once an industrial project is registered, the entrepreneur is eligible to apply for allotment of land to the government. Price of land in most of the industrial estates/ areas is relatively lower than the market rate. These estates are developed with necessary infrastructure facilities such as electricity, gas, water, sewerage, etc.
Industrial plots are allotted by Bangladesh Export Processing Zones Authority (BEPZA) and Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation (BSCIC) in industrial areas developed by them. Plots in other industrial estates/areas, owned by the government or owned/controlled by any local authority, are allotted on the recommendation of the Board of Investment (BOI).
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Bangladesh and Industrial Sector