Press Release

Meeting Between BUILD and JICA

The Chief Representative of JICA Bangladesh, Hayakawa Yuho, paid a courtesy visit to the BUILD office on 30 May 2021. The CEO of BUILD, Ferdaus Ara Begum, provided a rundown on how two organisations might begin working together on projects and explore opportunities with the private sector.

Mr Yuho informed that a new phase of the JICA technical cooperation project will be implemented for supporting BEZA, which will assist the development of BEZA and further development of OSS (One Stop Services) for specific Special Economic Zones (SEZs).

Chief Representative of JICA Bangladesh pointed out the vast potential of the Bangladesh market and assured the audience that JICA would provide all the necessary support for the development. Further, he expressed a keen interest in receiving support from BUILD to connect with the private sector of the country in order to understand the pulse of the private sector.

BUILD and JICA will make a joint collaboration in the days coming ahead, and the meeting highlighted investment and the overall business climates of the country.

Seto Shoha, Representative, MIDI Economic Zone Development, Port and Private Sector Development; Asif Hasan, Program Officer, JICA; Syed Azim, Consultant, BUILD; Saquib Quereshi, Technical Expert; and BUILD team members attended the meeting.

Enclosed is the press release (in English) for your kind consideration. Please feel free to contact us for any queries.

Capacity Building of Women Tenderers Underscored at Public Procurement and the e-GP System Seminar

A seminar titled” Public Procurement and the e-GP system” was held on 26th May to make aware the details of tender participation procedures for women entrepreneurs and how to be a successful tenderer to increase participation of women-owned businesses (WoB) in public procurement. Government procures a vast amount of goods, works, and services every year through public tenders, but the participation of WoB in that respect is very insignificant.

A presentation on public procurement and e-GP system issues was made by Mr Md. Faruque Hossain, Former Secretary and Procurement Policy Consultant, World Bank. He majorly covered public procurement procedures, e-GP system, Tenderer Criteria, Tender Security and validity, Tender Submission, Brief on Standard Document requirements, responsive document preparation etc.

In Bangladesh, about 45% of the budget is spent on public procurement, and the participation of MSMEs is very insignificant. BUILD is working closely with CPTU to bring in some reforms in the Public Procurement Act and Rules so that women entrepreneurs’ involvement increases in the future. It is worth mentioning that the Ministry of Industries will enact a Subcontracting Act 2022, which will ensure open tender and an earmarked amount from the CMSME.

In the open floor session, WEs voiced constraints they face in participating in public procurement, and the e-GP system and Mr Hossain responded to them. He referred to SDG 12 on sustainable production and consumption, in which indicator 12.7 mentioned sustainable public procurement and its implementation, so we would need to talk in this respect.

Mr Shish Haider Chowdhury, Director (Joint Secretary), appreciated the joint endeavour of BUILD for organizing such an important program and ensuring future support.

Ferdaus Ara Begum, CEO of BUILD, moderated the session and informed the participants that in some countries, they simplified PPR policies to increase participation of WE. Citing the example of Chile, she mentioned that women’s participation had been raised by 36.5% with the simplification of policies. She added that WoB could be hired directly for procurement under $600. A similar threshold can also be announced in Bangladesh, she said. Referring to SDG5, she mentioned that we need to adopt and strengthen sound policies and enforceable legislation to promote gender equality and empowerment of all women and girls at all levels.

In total, 54 participants attended the seminar, including representatives from concerned government officials such as MOI, MOWCA, CPTU, etc., and women tenderers and representatives from regional women’s chambers. The participants shared their views and insights regarding increasing the participation of WOB in public procurement.

Enclosed are the press releases (in English and Bangla) for your kind consideration. Please feel free to contact us for any queries.

Consultation Session on Harmonising Terminology of Women’s Entrepreneurship in Bangladesh

Business Initiative Leading Development (BUILD) and International Trade Centre (ITC)–SheTrades Programme, in collaboration with Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution (BSTI), decided to work together in order to develop and adopt the globally recognised ISO standard definition of Women Entrepreneurship (ISO IWA 34:2021) in Bangladesh. In this context, a virtual discussion programme was arranged on 19 April 2022 to discuss a clear and universally agreed-upon definition of women-owned and women-led businesses in the country — different institutions are using multiple terminologies.

Along with Selima Ahmad MP and BWCCI President, Representatives of the Ministry of Industries, several Chamber Presidents, and women entrepreneurs joined the virtual programme to share their views on the subject issue.

In the keynote presentation, Ferdaus Ara Begum, CEO of BUILD, mentioned that despite the contribution of women entrepreneurs to the economy, today, they are deprived of fair opportunities and scope. One of the main reasons for this is the lack of gender-disaggregated data in our country. Adopting a global definition can allow Women entrepreneurs (WEs) to be integrated with the international business and exploit the benefits of policies announced by the government. She highlighted the importance of adopting the ISO standard global definition. She illuminated that collecting sex-disaggregated data at the national level could help evidence-based policymaking and international comparison. WEs could also get access to public procurement. She also shared examples of several countries accepting ISO definition and what benefits they have received.

In his speech, Edison Yap, Associate Economic Affairs Officer, SheTrades Initiative, International Trade Centre, informed that the sector has been suffering from policy support because of the non-existence of harmonised global definition of women entrepreneurs. ITC, ISO and others have prepared four WE definitions to ensure institutional recognition of their economic activities. Adopting and integrating the ISO IWA 34:2021 standard of WEs definition in Bangladesh will make the segmented entrepreneurs eligible to avail of policy and monetary assistance. Countries should set the definition by considering the nation’s business environment and the demand of the women entrepreneurs’ community.

Selima Ahmad MP informed that the Bangladesh Bank and the Ministry of Industries had provided definitions of women entrepreneurs in Bangladesh. We need to consider the term women-owned business and the percentage of ownership while setting up the definition. She assured to provide every possible support from the end of Parliament to formulate a globally recognised and harmonised definition of WEs.

Enclosed is the press release (in English) for your kind consideration. Please feel free to contact us for any queries.

BSTI-BUILD Dialogue Emphasised Quality Management of Rooftop Solar Equipment

Bangladesh Standard and Testing Institution (BSTI) is working with other government institutions as well as the private sector to upgrade the country’s testing, certification and quality compliance regime in the area of rooftop solar power, said Dr Md Nazrul Anwar, Director General of BSTI. He informed that 69 new labs are going to be established of which 21 for physical testing targeting 2041. He added there are 229 products for which compulsory certification is required. The dialogue was organised by Business Initiative Leading Development (BUILD) with IFC’s Partnership for Cleaner Textile (PaCT) project. He mentioned that BSTI has already introduced the Bangladesh Standards (BDS) for four critical equipment of rooftop solar power and has made it compulsory to get certification from BSTI for the sale or marketing of these products.

Ferdaus Ara Begum, Chief Executive Officer of BUILD, welcomed the audience and thanked BSTI for its reforms. She stressed that for complying with the emerging challenges and upcoming targets for the renewable energy sector, the quality and regulatory issues must be addressed for rooftop solar plants. It would, for example, be essential to get the manufacturers, importers and businesses involved in rooftop solar equipment supply registered with a relevant government agency such as the Sustainable and Renewable Energy Development Authority (SREDA).

In a presentation on quality management issues in rooftop solar power, Md Tahmid Zami, Additional Research Director (ARD) of BUILD, mentioned that the existing laboratories that test rooftop solar equipment every so often lacks the technology and capacity for testing specific components, especially the ones that have higher capacity.

Enclosed are the press releases (in English and Bangla) for your kind consideration. Please feel free to contact us for any queries.

Nihad Kabir Joins BUILD as Chairperson for 2022–23

Nihad Kabir, Barrister-at-Law, Senior Advocate, former President of Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, has taken over as the Chairperson of the Trustee Board of Business Initiative Leading Development (BUILD) for the year 2022-23. She succeeds Abul Kasem Khan, former President of Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI), who was the Chairperson of BUILD for 2020-21.

Nihad Kabir is a Senior Advocate of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh. She is a Senior Partner of Syed Ishtiaq Ahmad and Associates, one of the country’s most prominent law firms. Aside from her role as an independent director on the board of Square Textiles Limited, Kabir also serves as a director of the Infrastructure Development Company Limited (IDCOL). She has previously chaired the Boards of BRAC EPL Stock Brokerage Limited and BRAC EPL Investment Limited and has been a board member of Bkash, BRAC Bank and several other listed companies. She is a Senior Fellow and Board member of BIDS, a member of the Board of Governors of the Bangladesh Public Administration Training Centre, and Chairperson of Ain o Salish Kendra, a legal aid institution.

Kabir has been a member of the National Pay and Services Commission and the National Education Policy Committee, Government of Bangladesh. She was also the Chairperson of BUILD for 2017.

Abul Kasem Khan, former Chairperson, BUILD, will continue as a nominated Trustee Board Member from DCCI, while Syed Mohammad Tanvir, Director, CCCI is a nominated Trustee Board Member from CCCI for the years 2022-2023.

Enclosed are the press releases (in English and Bangla) for your kind consideration. Please feel free to contact us for any queries.

Export Sector Roadmaps for Plastic and Light Engineering Growth Projections Needs Alignment With Upcoming Export Policy

Business Initiative Leading Development (BUILD) and the Ministry of Commerce jointly organized a validation workshop to finalize the Export Roadmaps on Plastic and Light Engineering Sectors on January 18, 2022. Mr Tapan Kanti Ghosh, Senior Secretary, Ministry of Commerce, attended the meeting as the Chief Guest.

Held in Export Competitiveness for Jobs (EC4J) project office, BUILD shared two presentations on Export Roadmaps on Plastic and Light Engineering Sectors, respectively.

Senior Secretary, Ministry of Commerce endorsed the projection of BUILD for the plastic sector roadmap to be the 40th largest exporter by 2030. In order to meet the target, he asked the stakeholders regarding the need to support since the government is keen to see higher export growth through relevant policy interventions. He also directed relevant agencies to accomplish their tasks outlined in the action plan ahead of the deadline.

Tapan Kanti Ghosh, Senior Secretary of Commerce, mentioned that Viet Nam could enhance its light engineering and bicycle export because they secured significant FDI. After 2026 when Bangladesh graduates from LDC status, the government will not extend cash subsidy but provide support in the forms of research, knowledge, logistics, and so on. Bangladesh needs to shift its product concentration to sectors like light engineering to move upwards in its industrialization pathway gradually. As Bangladesh will upgrade from being the 43rd largest economy to the 25-26th economy in 2030, greater FDI may be attracted, and the ease of doing business may be gradually improved. With proper factor analysis, the projected target for 2030 can be upgraded.

Enclosed are the press releases (in English and Bangla) for your kind consideration. Please feel free to contact us for any queries.

BUILD Webinar on Exploring Growth Opportunities: Production and Export of Medical and Personal Protective Equipment (MPPE)

The Government of Bangladesh is committed to providing all-out support to promote the Medical and Personal Protective Equipment (MPPE) industry in Bangladesh as an important sector for attaining export diversification and deeper industrialisation, said Mr Tipu Munshi MP, Hon’ble Minister, Ministry of Commerce in his speech as the Chief Guest of a webinar titled “Exploring Growth Opportunities: Production and Export of Medical and Personal Protective Equipment”. The event was organised by Business Initiative Leading Development (BUILD) on 13 December 2021 to share the findings of the studies and gather ideas and insights from the stakeholders.

The Commerce Minister added that the Ministry of Commerce would take necessary steps to ensure that enabling policies and regulations are put in place for the sector. While the COVID-19 has posed a significant challenge to the development dynamic of Bangladesh, the country has weathered the challenges and is now set to resume its accelerated growth pathway towards its transition to a developed economy.

Bangladesh needs to develop the MPPE industry strategically, set targets, extend the right incentives, ensure public-private cooperation, and follow up closely on the progress and constraints, emphasised Tapan Kanti Ghosh, Secretary, Ministry of Commerce.

Recognising export diversification is a major challenge for the Bangladesh economy as the country seeks to alleviate its heavy dependence on the RMG sector; BUILD Chairperson Abul Kasem Khan mentioned that the best strategy to begin diversification is to build on our strength. He stated five key areas to focus on to develop the sector: right products, proper incentives, appropriate policies, knowledge and skills, as well as proper technology and logistical system.

Ms Nuzhat Anwar, Acting Country Manager, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal, International Finance Corporation (IFC), said that businesses need to find innovative and sustainable ways to boost their production and export revenue to recover from the impacts of COVID19. IFC is providing the necessary support to bridge knowledge gaps in the Medical and Personal Protective Equipment (MPPE) sector in order to enhance private sector growth and support economic recovery.”

Enclosed are the press releases (in English and Bangla) for your kind consideration. Please feel free to contact us for any queries.

National Logistics Strategy Underscored at BUILD’s Logistics Infrastructure Development Working With PMO

Business Initiative Leading Development (BUILD) and Prime Minister’s Office jointly organised the Logistics Infrastructure Development Working Committee meeting on 13 November 2021. The virtual meeting was co-chaired by Md. Tofazzel Hossain Miah, Secretary of Prime Minister’s Office, and Abul Kasem Khan, Chairperson of BUILD.

Md. Tofazzel Hossain Miah started by attesting that Bangladesh cannot move forward without supporting the private sector during this worldwide economic transition period. He added, “Private Sector is the engine of growth for Bangladesh,” He said logistics needs more investment, and the existing policy needs reforms so that more investment is made. He recommended that the sector should be based on technology and skill. Adding that the private sector should also assist with value-backed data, he emphasised advocacy for logistics. He maintained that the most apposite in these times policy-wise would be to have a structured policy framework that may steer regulatory reforms as well as policy interventions, paving the way for a “logistics environment”.

Abul Kasem Khan, Chairperson of BUILD, informed that developing countries invest 9-10% of their GDP in improving their logistics environment. Success stories of China, India, and Vietnam stand out as best practices in logistics. The return on investment is one of the highest in the world. Structural reform is required to mitigate key bottlenecks of the logistics system in Bangladesh. The logistics sector should be declared as a thrust sector besides a high priority sector, and proper incentives should be declared to attract local and foreign investment.

Enclosed are the press releases (in English and Bangla) for your kind consideration. Please feel free to contact us for any queries.

Vulnerable Less-Skilled In-Country Returnee Migrants and MSMEs Need More Support

In-country returnee migrants are among the most vulnerable communities amid COVID-19 in the country, observed Ferdaus Ara Begum, CEO, BUILD. She said that around 4.5 lacs external migrants have returned to the country amid the pandemic, somehow might have some savings. In contrast, in-country migrants are more vulnerable and almost jobless. She was speaking in a virtual dialogue on Enhancing Opportunities for In-country Returnee Migrants and MSMEs: A Case of Southwest Bangladesh on 20 September 2021 organised by Business Initiative Leading Development (BUILD) in collaboration with PROKAS, British Council and Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), UK. While there are programs for overseas returnee migrants, in-country migrants are often under the radar for dedicated stimulus support. She also shed light on the BUILD study on the domestic in-country returnee migrants in the Mongla-Bagerhat region.

The objectives of the dialogue were to share the findings of the BUILD’s survey about in-country returnee migrants from Southwest Bangladesh with relevant stakeholders, understand their views, and discuss and deliberate on potential courses of action for improving the situation.

Sharifa Khan, Secretary (Industry and Energy Division), Planning Commission as the Chief Guest of the dialogue, said that new employment opportunity is a major factor of in-country migration in the country. She referred to the Reintegration of Returnee Migrants program of the government of BDT 427 crore to provide skill-based training and financial support to the returnee migrants in FY 2020-21. She said that the vulnerable in-returnee migrants could be included in the program. She also referred to the rigorous countrywide training programs under Bangladesh Industrial Technical Assistance Centre (BITAC), which can facilitate the unemployed male and female people in the country. She said that the government had announced several programs under financial support and skill development programs for the marginal inhabitants and other targeted groups. She noted that the internal and external affected migrants could communicate with the Wage Earners’ Welfare Board (WEWB) to receive support. She also raised the aspect of migration opportunities and requested to produce specific proposals so that they could be adequately reached.

Enclosed are the press releases (in English and Bangla) for your kind consideration. Please feel free to contact us for any queries.

Redesigned 2nd Round Stimulus Package Addressing Demand and New Employment Creation

The bank-client relationship is not the only criteria for the stimulus package; instead, the loan can be given based on books of accounts as per the circular observed by Abu Farah Md. Nasser, Deputy Governor, Bangladesh Bank. He spoke at the 9th Financial Sector Development Working Committee (FSDWC) Meeting organised virtually by Business Initiative Leading Development (BUILD) on September 22, 2021. Abu Farah Md. Nasser, Deputy Governor, Bangladesh Bank (BB), and N. K. A. Mobin, Acting President of Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI), co-chaired the meeting.

The Deputy Governor of Bangladesh Bank also observed that currently, banks like Brac Bank are improving the modalities of SME banking. CGS has been implemented for the collateral-free loan. In each division of the country, collateral-free loan lending has been prioritised. 10% collateral-free loan has been directed to provide to the women entrepreneurs. 8% of the total loan has to be gone to the women entrepreneurs at 5% interest. 1% incentive has been announced for both women entrepreneurs and banks for recognising good borrowers. Abu Farah Md. Nasser informed the meeting that the Ministry of Industries has already been requested to bring alternatives for trade licenses for the cottage, micro, and small enterprises to resolve the trade license issue in lending. He informed that Bangladesh Bank had introduced a new BDT 500 crore collateral-free loan scheme through agent banking, MFS, and bank sub-branch to finance rural and ultra-poor individuals and businesses. The scheme would follow the model of Leno financing to process loan applications in the shortest possible time and funding at the grassroots level. He further added that the central bank had implemented policies to ensure banks’ liquidity support and reduce the burden of the cost of funds for the private sector, especially CMSMEs. He also mentioned the initiative of Central Bank and World Bank in setting up an independent entity for payment gateway for CMSMEs. He emphasised the proactive initiatives of Bangladesh Bank and the country’s scheduled banks that up to June 2020, BDT 2,43,000 crore disbursement has been made to the SMEs by Banks.

Enclosed are the press releases (in English and Bangla) for your kind consideration. Please feel free to contact us for any queries.