A Workshop on 'Challenges of Trading Across Borders Facing the Women Traders of Bangladesh: Recent Findings and Way Forward' organized by BUILD and IFC took place on January 19, 2020 at InterContinental Dhaka.
Ferdaus Ara Begum, CEO, BUILD presented the findings of the Baseline Survey on Challenges of Trading Across Borders Facing the Women Traders of Bangladesh which was conducted by BUILD in collaboration with IFC-WBG. She highlighted the major barriers faced by the women owned enterprises relating to time, cost and process in export and import.
She also highlighted several policy recommendations which are certified and qualified lawyers or professionals to provide services to WOE, capacity building of WOE, disaggregated data of women exporter, active help desk etc. Khondaker Muhammad Aminur Rahman, Member: Customs Audit, Modernization and International Trade, NBR was the Chief Guest of the program.
Expressing gratitude to BUILD and IFC-WBG for taking this initiative, he said that implementation of National Single Window within 2 or three years will reduce many problems related to time, cost and process related to export and import of the women traders. 39 departments of government will be connected under NSW which will expedite the simplification of trade related issues. Implementation of Pre Arrival Processing will reduce the unnecessary delay in trade process of women traders.
He highlighted that small and medium traders being not interested in e-payment is an obstacle for traders to avail more simplified trade related services.
Mushfiq Bin Akbar, Private Sector Advisor of DFID Bangladesh said that public private dialogues are necessary for specifying reinvigorating measures to be taken for easing the trade related process for traders. He also said that the standards and certification for the non traditional sectors need to be given more focus.
Sharifa Khan, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Commerce said that there is a need of formulating a dedicated service center which can provide all the trade related information to the traders.
Pranesh Ranjan Sutradhar, Chief Controller, CCI&E that there is no manual service under OLM system initiated from 1st July, 2019. This has resulted in little involvement of intermediaries, reduction in time requirements, decreasing of numbers and phases of documentation. Abdus Sattar Sheikh, Joint Secretary (Port), Ministry of Shipping said that Ministry of Shipping is willing to cooperate the traders regarding any issue on port handling. Kohinoor Yasmin, CEO, Taranga said that friendly approach from the customs officials is a dire need.
AAM Aminul Ehsan Khan, First Secretary, Customs Modernization and Project Management, International Trade & Agreements, NBR said that there is a tendency among traders to use manual services rather than using online services in trade processes. Nusrat Nahid Babi, Private Sector Specialist, IFC-WBG also spoke on the occasion. She said that major and specific policy related interventions are very necessary to reduce the trade related problems of women traders.
In the open discussion session, women traders urged to create a business friendly environment in the country. E-payment system and e-filing system need to be more utilized.