Govt to reopen some closed public units

The government is mulling to reopen some closed state-owned industries including the newsprint and the hardboard mills in Khulna, in partnership with foreign or local investors, Industries Minister Amir Hossain Amu said on Saturday.

“The government is now discussing with foreign investors to make them invest here to reopen some closed industries utilising new technologies as those units are not in state of running by using local raw materials,” the minister added, reports the Daily Sun.

jamunaoil1Besides restarting newsprint and hardboard mills, initiatives are on to revive Chittagong Chemical Complex and Dhaka Leather factory as well, he informed journalists.

The minister was briefing reporters at his office on the success of the Awami League-led grand alliance government in boosting industrial sector during the first year of its present tenure.

The minister also said the under-construction Shahjalal Fertilizer Factory will go into production this year, which has a capacity of producing 5.80 lakh tonnes fertiliser a year.

“Shipment of heavy machineries from Mongla Port was not possible because of navigability problem that slowed the pace of the construction work of the factory. Now, nearly 93 percent work has been completed and the remaining work is expected to be finished by June next,” he said.

Amu said the government was able to raise the industrial sector’s contribution to the national economy to 32 percent and increase the sector’s workforce by 20 percent during the period that saw global economic downturn and domestic political violence.

The industries minister informed, nearly Tk 1,673.88 crore has been invested in small and cottage industries across the country last year with the help of BSCIC.

Following the investment, a total of 89,375 jobs were generated in small and cottage industry sector, of which 23,000 jobs are in BSCIC industrial parks.

At present, the private entrepreneurs have an investment of Tk 18,897 crore in 74 industrial parks across the country, which has produced the goods of Tk 42,509 crore last year and out of it, products of Tk 23,746 crore were exported. About the relocation of the tannery factories to Savar from the capital, Amu said a total of 60 percent construction of CETP in the Leather Industrial Estate has been completed and the remaining work will be done by June this year.

“A total of 152 tanneries among the allotted 155 factories have submitted lay-out plans so far, which have already been approved and 145 tanneries has started construction work at the allotted plots in line with the master plan,” he added.

The government has taken a number of initiatives including hike in sugar price, undertaken projects to generate power in sugar mills, and sugar refining, to make the losing sugar mills profitable, Amu claimed.

The minister also said there would not be any crisis in fertiliser management in the ongoing Irri-Boro season. “When the government took charge last year, Irri-Boro season was going on in full-swing, but there was no problem in transporting, selling and distributing of fertiliser. So, I hope, no crisis would be created this year,”he added.

Mentioning that the country saw the highest-ever salt production of 17.53 lakh tonnes in fiscal 2013-14 against the target of 15.80 lakh tonnes, the minister said, “the government has banned salt import in 2014 to provide the salt farmers with value assistance that has inspired the farmers.”

He also informed that the government is going to announce Industry Policy soon with the view to attaining the goal of middle income country status by the year 2021, which would require nearly 40 per cent contribution of the industrial sector to the national economy.