The draft of the National Industrial Policy 2015 has been prepared with an aim to increase the contribution to the national economy of the industrial sector to 40 per cent from 28 per cent by 2021.
In the 2013-14 fiscal, the contribution was about 32 per cent.
The draft comprises reports of three sub-committees constituted by the Ministry of Industries to formulate the policy. It would soon be finalised in consultation with all concerned.
A meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Council of Industrial development was held in this connection with Industries Minister Amir Hossain Amu in the chair, according to a press release.
The work-plan of the Small and Medium Enterprise Foundation on the development of the SME sector was presented in the meeting. The meeting was informed that in next three years a total of 100 SME clusters would be developed in the country. To increase efficiency in exports, training would be imparted to 100 SME entrepreneurs along with extending loan support to them.
The draft industrial policy has laid emphasis on developing women entrepreneurship and setting up of industries outside Dhaka.
The five-year policy, which is likely to be announced in February in 2015, aims to increase productivity and a balanced industrial development countrywide, according to officials of the ministry.
The tenure of the present industrial policy will end in June next year.
The ministry has requested various other ministries to make recommendations on the upcoming policy. Business organizations will also put forward their suggestions with regard to the policy to make it more pragmatic and dynamic.
The policy formulation bodies will examine the pros and cons of the incumbent policy and finalise the new one after incorporating the recommendations coming from the stakeholders.
The committees have suggested extension of the sub-sectors for industrialisation beyond the present 32 sub-sectors. Besides herbal pharmaceutical industries, active pharmaceutical ingredient industry is a priority sub-sector in the present policy.
The pharmaceutical industry will get priority in the next industrial policy, according to the committee officials. Also, the sub-contract programmes will be encouraged in the industrial policy for the 2015-20 period, they said.
The new policy will give incentives for women entrepreneurs. The committees recommended incorporation of a provision in the policy which would allow allocation of plots for women entrepreneurs in a separate industrial belt or economic zone on a priority basis. The committees expect that the apex trade body, the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI), make recommendations in this regard. However, the women entrepreneurs insist on easier financing for them.
"Many educated women now prefer establishing business houses to pursuing jobs. These business women face obstacles in getting easier finance to start a business. We need a proper guideline on such financing in the new policy, "Selima Ahmad, the founder-president of Bangladesh Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Vice Chairman of Nitol-Noloy Group, told The Daily Observer.
Incentives for the export-oriented industries, which the present policy envisages, will also be allowed in the next policy. In addition, other facilities are now being examined by the policy formulators. The non-resident Bangladeshis (NRBs) will also get priority in setting up industrial units in Bangladesh, as it is incorporated in the present policy.
An executive of the FBCCI, however, said the local entrepreneurs should get more incentives than the NRBs
"They should be allowed more facilities than a foreign or NRB investor enjoys," said Md Helaluddin, the vice president of the apex trade body.
The new policy will attach importance to application of technology in the industrial sector, especially SMEs. The SME Foundation will have a special guideline in the policy in this regard.
Another main feature of the new policy is discouragement of divestment of the state-owned enterprises (SoEs). Officials said instead of divesting the SoEs, those will be run by the state. However, such divestment will be allowed under special circumstances, they said.