Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Dhaka (MCCI) organized a networking lunch for the members of the print and electronic media from different media houses on Saturday (Feb 25) at its Motijheel office. Under the leadership of the MCCI President, Md. Saiful Islam, MCCI Vice-President, Habibullah N. Karim and representatives of the MCCI Board of Directors and MCCI Secretary-General Farooq Ahmed discussed with the journalists the current and relevant issues concerning Bangladesh’s business and its growth, and MCCI’s role as a responsible business organization.
The journalists were warmly received by the MCCI team. The President highlighted the importance of the private sector and journalists working together for the development of the country and being partners in its journey and progress. The MCCI President appreciated the crucial role performed by the media in publicizing the successes of the country and doing good branding. In his speech, he referred to the MCCI's Bangladesh Business Climate Index, which tracks the country's business climate. The index's most recent version was produced this year, and the MCCI believed that spreading knowledge about the country's favorable business environment both within and beyond the country would inspire people to take action accordingly. The MCCI President expressed his concern with the length of time it took to renew all of the licenses required to conduct business in the country. He stated that the MCCI engaged with the government to discuss this issue and proposed that business licenses be renewed for five years to facilitate doing business. He also thanked the Ministry of Commerce for taking some positive role in this regard.
The MCCI President also addressed the present international circumstances, particularly the onset of the Ukraine-Russia war following the Covid-19 pandemic, which had resulted in a limited supply of numerous imported products, including fuel. Many commodities' prices had risen multiple times as a result of these circumstances. The MCCI President further discussed the MCCI's budget proposal, which he believed would enhance the country's business environment. Together with Digital Bangladesh, he requested the digitization of comprehensive tax management and the convenience of doing business online. In addition, he proposed revamping all tax rates in anticipation of Bangladesh's transfer from LDC (Least Developed Country) status in 2026.
Several topics were highlighted by the fellow journalists during the open discussion session, including the revision of energy prices, challenges related to the Least Developed Country (LDC) graduation, the importance of export diversification, revenue generation, and difficulties concerning internal and external pressures mainly due to economic reasons, among others.
In response to the aforementioned issues, MCCI had urged the government of Bangladesh to remain more vigil for proactive engagement to face any uncertainties. The MCCI mentioned that the pressure on foreign currency is likely to be eased soon since the balance of payments was narrowing due to improving reserves and exports.
The MCCI President also expected that that the fuel prices would be adjusted every three months or so in line with the global market. Upon a query from the journalists, MCCI President also urged to keep the prices of local natural gas at a discounted rate.
It was also discussed that Bangladesh would have to pay an additional 9-17% tariff after LDC graduation in 2026. However, the President added that with good governance, productivity, export and market diversification, Bangladesh's competitiveness can increase by up to 15-17%. Therefore, the MCCI believed that it would be possible to tackle the challenges of LDC transition.
The President also mentioned that still some difficulties were being faced related to opening import letters of credit (LC). He said that according to the central bank, there was no embargo on opening LCs, but in reality, banks were not willing to open "immediate" LCs. The logistical weaknesses and the discretionary power of the officials of the NBR were also discussed during the session.
The MCCI Vice-President, Habibullah N. Karim concluded by reiterating the importance of a good relationship between businessmen and journalists. He hoped that journalists would work with business community in all their tasks to explain their purpose to the people and avoid misunderstandings. He hoped to continue working together to welcome a business-friendly new world in Bangladesh.
The event ended with a vote of thanks from the MCCI Vice-President.
– Press release