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Dr Khondaker Golam Moazzem on fuel and electricity

Published in New Age on Monday, 24 August 2015.

Businesses want fuel price, bank rate cuts

Staff Correspondent

Business leaders and trade experts on Sunday demanded that the government should reduce the cost of doing business through readjustment of fuel oil prices, reduction of interest rate on bank loans and other procedural costs such as trade license in a bid to make the businesses competitive in global market.

At a seminar on increasing cost of doing business organized by the Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry at its auditorium, they also urged the government for preventing illegal extortion on road and upgrading road and rail links between Dhaka and Chittagong, capacity building at Chittagong port and providing uninterrupted power supply to factories.

DCCI president Hossain Khaled said that the government should rationalize the cost of doing business by introducing low cost business licensing regime, single-digit cost of credit facility to businesses, ensuring uninterrupted power and energy supply to make the entrepreneurship cost effective.

Centre for Policy Dialogue additional research director Khondaker Golam Moazzam said that it was high time to readjust the prices of fuel oil as well as electricity in line with the global trend of oil price.

Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation is now making profit and consumers should not bear additional prices of the products as in international market oil price is now stand record low, he said.

He also said that there was scope of lowering the interest rate through reducing the spread rate to at least 3 per cent from the 5 per cent.

‘Efficiency of banks has increased significantly so the spread should not be at 5 per cent anymore,’ he said.

DCCI vice-president Shoaib Chowdhury presented a key note paper at the seminar.

He said that city corporations had recently increased the fees on an average 263 per cent for almost all the licenses for starting business.

Principal secretary to the Prime Minister’s Office Abul Kalam Azad suggested the business leaders to sort out the problems related to different ministries.

‘We will take initiatives to solve the problems,’ he said.

The National Board of Revenue chairman Md Nojibur Rahman sought cooperation from the businessmen to prevent tax evasion through misusing the bond licenses.

Importers bring goods under duty-free bond facility for producing products for export but they sell the imported products in local market evading taxes, he said.

‘We would be able to provide as much as revenue to build two padma bridges a year if we able to prevent misuses of bond lincenses,’ he said.

Commerce ministry senior secretary Hedayetullah Al Mamon, DCCI vice-president Humayun Rashid, IFIC Bank head of SME TIM Rawshan Zadeed, EU’s Bangladesh Inspired team leader Ali Sabet, among others, spoke at the meeting.

The price of green chilli increased by Tk 50-Tk 60 a kg on the day and the item was selling at Tk 200 a kg on Sunday.

Traders said that the prices of green chilli and some vegetables witnessed further rise in the city as rains took place in the northern districts of the country for last couple of days and many farms were damaged.

Saidur Rahman, a private security guard working at Mohammadpur in the city, alleged that there was no shortage of onion and green chilli in the market but traders were charging extra prices.

The prices of most of the vegetables increased by Tk 5-Tk 10 a kg in last two days.

Aubergine was selling at Tk 60-Tk 80 a kg, bitter gourd at Tk 60 a kg, okra at Tk 70 a kg, ribbed gourd at Tk 60 a kg, string bean at Tk 60 a kg, cucumber at Tk 60 a kg, tomato at Tk 80 a kg, papaya at Tk 40 a kg and potato was selling at Tk 25 a kg on Sunday.

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