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20 BUSINESS

SUNDAY, MAY 31, 2015

Budgetary steps under plan to expand livestock farming n Kayes Sohel The government plans comprehensive measures in the upcoming national budget to boost local red meat production amid soaring prices of the protein-rich food. Beef prices in Bangladesh have increased to Tk400 a kilogram now from Tk280 early this year as Indian authorities have tightened measures to stop smuggling of cattle. The livestock farming growth remained stagnant at 20% over the past six years but the demand has increased manifold, according to officials. “We must come out of this stagnancy of cattle farming,” said Finance Minister AMA Muhith at a recent meeting. He admitted the government had not put much importance on this sector. “This time we plan to take livestock farming to a new height and boost meat production.” Beef was sold at Tk380-400 a kg yesterday against last month’s Tk350. In early this year, consumers could buy the same quantity of beef for Tk280-Tk300, according to the staterun Trading Corporation of Bangladesh that monitors commodity prices. Throughout last year, beef was traded at Tk270-280 a kg. The recent supply chain disruption due to political unrest hit the beef traders hard, but the situation worsened after India’s home affairs minister Rajnath Singh directed border force to “intensify vigil” against cattle smuggling into Bangladesh. Addressing the Border Security Force personnel at a border outpost in West Bengal on April 1, Singh said: “I am told prices of beef in Bangladesh have already gone up by 30% recently due to heightened vigil by the BSF against cattle smuggling. “You further intensify the vigil so that the smuggling stops completely and price of beef in Bangladesh escalates 70-80% more. The people of Bangladesh would then give up eating beef.” India is a big source of cattle for Bangladesh market. But allegations are there that a large amount of the Indian cattle are smuggled into the neighbouring country through the porous border. India does not export cows as they are con-

German ambassador lauds Walton Hi-Tech Industries n Tribune Report German Ambassador to Bangladesh Thomas Prinz said Walton has set an example of being modern entrepreneurs of Bangladesh in terms workers’ safety, training, social welfare and use of green technology in production of home appliances. The envoy came up with the observation after a visit to Walton Hi-Tech Industries Limited (WHIL) at Chandra in Gazipur on Thursday. He made this comment after witnessing the firsthand experience at the factory producing refrigerator, air conditioner, television and motorcycle. “Walton is a modern factory equipped with the latest world class technology, where the

‘Walton is setting the Asia’s first ultra-modern techno processor-based compressor plant in Bangladesh’

A butcher is seen busy selling meat at a kitchen market in the city sidered sacred in the Hindu-majority nation. According to reports by Indian media, around 2.5m cattle, on an average, are smuggled into Bangladesh every year. The figure was 1.7 last year. The Economic Times in a report said much of the smuggling trade happens allegedly in connivance with the border guards, a charge denied by the BSF. However, sources said the sheer economics of the trade make it near impossible to stop. Of the total beef production in the country, around 25% comes from Indian imported cows, according to Department of Livestock Services. According to it, the annual meat production is currently 3.6m tonnes, a large portion of which is covered by poultry. Although Bangladesh has the seventh larg-

RAJIB DHAR

est cattle population in the world, it has one of the lowest per capita meat consumption, according to World Health Organisation (WHO). The protein intake is already far below in Bangladesh compared to global average. The per capita annual demand for meat is around 80 kg in the world, while it is only 7.3 kg in Bangladesh. However, the per hectare density of cattle head in Bangladesh was higher than any other countries in the world. In Bangladesh, the number of cattle head per hectare is 2.49 while it is 1.12 in India. If the BSF could stop cattle smuggling into Bangladesh, India would also be burdened with an additional expenditure in excess of Rs31,000 crore (Tk38,769 crore) annually, according to The Economic Times. l

safety rules and regulations are implemented to ensure workers’ safety,” said Prinz. It is investing in ensuring workers’ training, safety and social welfare, he added. During his visit the envoy laid the foundation stone of refrigerator expansion project-4, funded by the KFW Development Bank, at the park. The expansion is aimed at producing new models of refrigerators using green technology for the local market as well as for the Asian market. “We observed that the production processes at the Walton factory are a very complex procedure. It was really impressive to see how everything goes together, said Lisa Steinacher, director, special programme (health and social security) of KFW, a German government-owned Development Bank. “We are setting up the new refrigerator factory with German technology, and the manufactured products will be exported to the developed countries like America and the European Union,” said Managing Director of Walton SM Ashraful Alam. “Walton is setting the Asia’s first ultra-modern techno processor-based compressor plant in Bangladesh,” said Operative Director of Walton Uday Hakim. l

‘More investment needed to become middle-income country’ n Tribune Report Speakers at a meeting yesterday have underscored the need for more investment to become middle-income country by 2021. Terming Bangladesh a preferred destination for investment, they made the call at the meeting styled “Bangladesh 2030: Next Billion Dollar Opportunities” organised by Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) in the capital. “Bangladesh needs to accelerate its investment to GDP at least 38% from the existing 28% to achieve the middle-income country status,” said DCCI President Hossain Khaled. Urging the foreign investors to invest in Bangladesh, Khaled said: “The country has

skilled and easily trainable workforce, access to global market, Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)-friendly economic zones and attractive incentive packages to allure more investment.” To become the 30th largest economies in the world by the year 2030 and achieve double-digit growth, the emerging Bangladesh needs additional 14% Investment of GDP, he added. “Though the global leather market is worth of US$215bn, Bangladesh’s market share is only 0.5%, which contributes 2.19% to GDP,” said Syed NasimManzur, president of Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI). Manzur urged the foreign investors to in-

vest in the leather sector as the government identified it as a thrust sector and they could enjoy tariff and quota-free access to European Union (EU) markets. “Bangladesh will achieve at least US$32bn against its export target of $33.2bn set for the current fiscal year,” said Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed while addressing the meeting as chief guest. Considering the land shortage, the government has decided to establish 17 economic zones across the country, he said. Bangladesh will be able to reach the export target of $52bn by 2021, if it can increase its global market share to 8% ($650bn) from the existing 5.11%, said Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin, newly- elected first vice president of FBCCI.

“Bangladesh can gain 10% share of $400bn global ship building market,” said KM Mahmood Ur Rahman, president of Bangladesh Ship Builders’ Association. He also noted that inadequate bank financing, lack of IT technology, inadequate power and energy, shipbuilding yard Infrastructures are some of the major challenges, which need to be addressed. BASIS President Shamim Ahsan on his presentation on IT said, “The IT sector is a booming one as 65% of Bangladesh’s population is young (18-35 years).” He also called for more foreign direct investment in IT sector as the government offers investment-friendly tax regime in this sector. l


31 May, 2015