Live Correspondent: The cabinet today approved the draft of the ‘Export Policy 2018-21’ with a view to infusing dynamism into export operations, enhance competitiveness in trade and commerce and thus strengthen the position of Bangladesh in the competitive world.
The approval was given at the weekly meeting of the cabinet held at the Prime Minister’s Office today with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair.
Briefing the reporters after the meeting at Bangladesh Secretariat today, Cabinet Secretary Mohammad Shafiul Alam said that the new export policy has been framed by updating the existing export policy of 2015-18.
He said that a separate and a new chapter on definitions has been incorporated in the new export policy by integrating the existing definitions in various chapters while new definitions like sample, aromatic rice and indirect export have been included.
Besides, Alam informed that three new sectors like Denim, Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API) and Re-agent (shoes made from leather, non-leather and synthetic) have been added to the highest priority receiving sectors raising the total number of such sectors to 15.
The cabinet secretary said that five new products like light engineering products (motor cycle, battery), photovoltaic module (solar energy), cashew nuts (raw and processed), live and processed crabs and toys have been added to the special development-oriented sectors. Besides, byproduct from the wet-blue leather like wet-blue split leather has been declared as an exportable item.
He said that the new export policy also keeps a provision for lowering the value added tax (VAT) on providing stimulus to export at 30 percent from the existing 40 percent.
The day’s cabinet meeting also approved in principle the draft of the ‘Bangladesh Sugarcrop Research Institute Act, 2018’ updating the existing law of 1996.
Alam said earlier sugar was used to produce from sugarcane, but now, sugar is being produced from various other sugar crops. He said under the proposed law, sugar crop would be known as sugarcane, sugar beet, dates, stevia, palm and other sweet crops.
The draft law also reorganized the management of its Board with the Director General as the head of the institute while the board will meet three times in a year.
The cabinet meeting also gave nod to the draft of the ‘Bangladesh Road Transport Corporation Act, 2018’ updating the law of 1961.
The cabinet secretary said the authorized capital of the corporation under the existing law is only Taka 6 crore, but in the proposed law, the authorized capital has been fixed at Taka 1,000 crore divided into some 100 crore shares having a face value of Taka 10 for per share.
Besides, he said that an annual report on the activities of the various ministries and divisions for the fiscal year 2017-18 was placed before the cabinet meeting.
Quoting the report briefs, the cabinet secretary said Bangladesh attained all criteria for graduating from the LDC status in the last fiscal while the positive advancement in the macroeconomic indexes as well as the growth momentum also continued in the last fiscal.
He said in the FY18, Bangladesh attained a GDP growth rate of 7.86 percent with the per capita income rising to $1,751 from the previous $1,602 registered in FY17.
Besides, the export earnings totaled $41.01 billion with a growth of 7.75 percent in the last fiscal year side by side the inward remittance inflow totaled $14.98 billion. The development budget spending in FY 18 also witnessed Taka 40,947 crore higher expenditure amounting to Taka 1,48,176 crore.
The cabinet secretary said the poverty rate in 2018 came down to 21.8 percent from the previous 23.1 percent in 2017 while the extreme poverty rate came down to 11.3 percent from the previous 12.1 percent.
Answering to a question, Alam said in case of any polls-time government, the cabinet meeting will continue to be held as there is no bar in this regard.
At the very outset of the meeting, the cabinet adopted a felicitation motion congratulating the Bangladesh team which emerged as the champion of the Saff U-15 Championship beating Pakistan 3-2 in the penalty shootout in the final at ANFA Complex in Kathmandu.
Besides, a copy of the publication on PM’s 10 initiatives was handed over to the Prime Minister and other cabinet members at the meeting.
Ministers and state ministers attended the meeting while secretaries concerned were present.
Dhaka, 6 November (Campuslive24.Com)//IH