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Bangladesh - March 2, 2024

GDP boosting with contribution of 46,000 industries

Farhad Chowdhury : As the saying goes, ‘Banijye Basti Lakshmi’. According to the truth of this proverb, the business and trade of the country has expanded through extensive industrialization. And the role of the industrial sector in the economic development of Bangladesh is immense. Increasing industrialization is essential to achieve sustainable economic development and social progress. The economic development of a country mainly depends on the industry and industrialization of that country. In the last 53 years of independence, the prosperity of Bangladesh has developed due to the welfare of this industrial sector.
Apart from playing a key role in the GDP, the industrial sector is now the main driving force in almost all indicators of the economy, including employment, earning foreign exchange, empowering women, alleviating poverty and ensuring social security.
After independence, there were hardly any industrial factories in the country. The industrial sector of war-torn Bangladesh started its journey with only 313 factories. However, due to the development of a large number of entrepreneurs and businessmen in the last five decades, the list of products in the export market has also increased in addition to meeting the needs of the domestic market. In the last 53 years, the industrial sector has developed tremendously. During this period, the number of production-oriented factories increased to more than 46,000. Among them, there are about 3,000 large factories. These are the backbone of the industrial sector today. The number of industrial factories has increased about one and a half hundred times.
During the War of Independence in 1971, the industrial sector suffered severely. The state-owned industrial sector started operations in 1972 with 72 jute mills, 44 textile mills, 15 sugar mills, two refineries, one steel mill, one diesel engine unit and one shipbuilding factory. The government finally formulated a new industrial policy in 1982 after making many adjustments and temporary changes in the state policy.
Apart from this, at the end of Pakistan’s pre-independence period in 1968-69, the total number of industrial factories registered in this country was 3,130. Among them maximum 791 establishments were in textile sector. There were also some unregistered factories. But the factories that were owned by Pakistanis. After independence, the state took ownership of those factories without finding them. Jute, textile and sugar mills in particular were brought under state ownership. The state ownership program for industrial plants was announced on 26 March 1972. This program was taken to help the industrial sector to turn around. Army Welfare Organization and Muktijoddha Welfare Foundation were entrusted with the management of some factories. Overall, the amount of immovable property of industrial factories under the supervision of the government at that time stood at Tk 517 crore.
According to the calculations of 30 June 1973, the journey of the country’s industrial sector began with 313 factories. It is only the number of factories owned by the government. There were not many industrial establishments in the private sector then.
Thus, the industrial sector did not develop much in Bangladesh until the nineties of the last century. That is why the contribution of the industrial sector to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was limited to 10 to 20 percent. In the 1990s, the policy of open economy and liberalization was adopted. The policy of providing various benefits to private entrepreneurs was launched. Mainly, the circulation of various benefits including tax holidays and cash incentives for exports and bank loans are made easier for setting up industries. As a result of providing such facilities, a large entrepreneurial class has developed in the country in the last three decades. Who have played a major role in the employment of millions of unskilled and semi-skilled men and women of the country.
About the country’s industrial sector, Federation of Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industries (FBCCI) President Mahbubul Alam said in the light of time, what was the position of the country’s industrial sector after independence, and where it is now, the change can be seen. Since independence, the government has consistently supported entrepreneurs through industrial policies.
Again, the entrepreneurs have also made themselves efficient. As a result, we have now become the world’s second largest producer of ready-made garments. Not only that, the industrial sector is currently playing the largest role in the country’s economy. The industrial sector is contributing more to the GDP starting from employment, earning foreign exchange. So, we can now be proud of the industrial sector of the country.
According to a World Bank report, the contribution of the agricultural sector to the Gross National Product (GNP) of Bangladesh at the time of independence was 59.4 percent. And the contribution of industry and service sector is 6.6 percent and 34 percent respectively. And currently, the private sector as one of the driving forces of the country’s economy is contributing significantly to growth through employment creation, investment attraction, productivity and trade expansion. At present, private sector contributes more than 80 percent to GDP, of which industry contributes 37 to 38 percent. And currently the contribution of agriculture sector has come down to 12.13 percent.
Regarding the development of the country’s industrial sector, Zahid Hossain, the former chief economist of the Dhaka office of the World Bank told that industrialization has increased in the country due to trade facilities in the international environment, availability of labor force, interest of the entrepreneurial class and government policies.
Industrial revolution in a country usually starts with the production of clothing. It happened in different countries of the world. The journey of the country’s garment industry began in the 1980s with international trade facilities (quota facilities). Then enough workers are also available for garment industry. Women who did not leave the house earlier came out to work as garment workers. By the hands of these women, Bangladesh has occupied the second place in the world in the export of manufactured garments. Similarly, pharmaceutical industry, leather and small and medium industries have also developed in the country.
Meanwhile, since independence, not only the jute, paper or sugar industry, but the participation of the private sector in all fields of trade and commerce is worth noting. The textile and apparel industry, developed by private enterprises, has emerged as the backbone of the economy in the last few decades. Besides ready-made garments, Bangladesh’s success in cement, medicine, leather, shipbuilding industry has gained recognition not only within the country but also internationally. Bangladesh is the second top source of total apparel supply in the world. Bangladesh’s success in the shipbuilding industry is truly something to be proud of. Ships manufactured in Bangladesh have been exported to European countries like Germany. Warships are being built in the country.
The leather industry of Bangladesh is able to dominate the developed countries as well. Plastic products of Bangladesh are exported to many countries of the world. Bangladesh’s rise in the pharmaceutical industry is like a fairy tale. A country that was almost 100% dependent on medicines at the time of independence, now exports its medicines to 127 countries in the world. Bangladesh drugs are exported to Europe and America, which are known to be uncompromising about the quality of drugs. In order to continue this progress of the industry, the private sector needs to be encouraged to go further. For this, besides maintaining the political stability of the country, easy supply of energy like electricity and gas must be ensured.
Economist and research director of CPD Khondkar Golam Moazzem Hossain said in the light of time about the contribution of the industrial sector to the country’s economy, the agriculture-based economy at the time of independence has now become an industrial-based economy. At that time the contribution of agriculture to GDP was more than 50 percent. Now it has come down to 12-13 percent. And now the contribution of industry and service sector in GDP is more than 80 percent. Out of this only contribution of industrial sector is like 37 percent. This means that there has been massive industrialization in the country since independence. And today’s prosperous Bangladesh is based on this industrialization.

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