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Staff Correspondent
Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed on Sunday said the government is laying special emphasize on mainstreaming non-traditional commodities side by side the traditional ones in a bid to boost the country’s export earnings.
“Especially the highly potential sectors like IT, pharmaceutical, furniture, agriculture products and leather goods are being given special attention in line with the government’s 7th Five Year Plan,” he added.
The minister was addressing a ceremony of awarding the national export trophy for the year 2014-15 at the Osmani Memorial Hall in Dhaka, organised jointly by the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) and the Ministry of Commerce.

“Export trophy is awarded every year for special contribution to the country’s export sector. Earlier the exporters from the EPZs were deprived from this honour but from the next year the exporters from the EPZs will also be included for the prestigious trophy”, the minister added.

He mentioned that the businessmen are playing very important and praiseworthy role for the economic success of the country. Today Bangladesh earns $37 billion a year by exporting a total of 772 products to 199 countries, and the earning will cross $60 billion mark by the year 2021.

“Only RMG sector will earn $50 billion in the future. Last year, the export target of RMG products was $30 billion but finally the sector earned $ 33.6 billion. Now the government has taken up an all-out effort to rapidly increase the export earning and exporters are being given necessary policy supports, cash incentives and also ensuring healthy working environment and occupational safety of the workers,” the minister pointed out.

Commerce Secretary, Shubhashish Bose, President of the Federation of Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industries (FBCCI), Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin, Chairman of Parliamentary Standing Committee on Ministry of Commerce, Tajul Islam Chowdhury MP, EPB Vice Chairman Bijoy Bhattachariya also spoke on the occasion.

While speaking, FBCCI President expressed his fear that the volume of defaulted loan will go up if the newly decided single digit rate of bank loan interest is not implemented immediately.

“Although it’s a government decision but many commercial banks are yet to implement the decision. If the rate is not brought down to the single digit level then NPL will keep increasing”, FBCCI leader added.

A total of 63 organisations were awarded with national export trophy 2014-15 in the ceremony for their special contributions to export. The organisations were honored with gold, silver and bronze trophies.

Mohiuddin pointed out that last year the export sector saw growth mainly depending on the RMG sector. The sectors like leather, plastic etc are lagging behind. Now time has come to look into why the sectors are lagging behind and the government needs to provide necessary supports to these industries so that they can attain growth, he added.

For the year 2014-15, a total of 29 gold, 20 silver and 14 bronze trophies and certificates were distributed among a total of 63 exporters.