May 14, 2024
Entrepreneurs in the country’s furniture sector have demanded bonded warehouse facilities, similar to those in the textile sector, to increase furniture exports.
They highlighted this issue at the opening ceremony of the 18th National Furniture Fair on Tuesday, mentioning that the global furniture market is worth about $557 billion, but Bangladesh exports furniture worth only $110 million.
The chief guest at the programme, Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi, said that the government is working to provide this facility.
He also pledged to provide all kinds of assistance to identify and solve the obstacles to furniture exports.
The 18th National Furniture Fair, organised by the Bangladesh Furniture Industry Owners Association (BFIOA) under the management of the Design and Technology Center (DTC), is underway at the International Convention City Bashundhara, Dhaka.
Around 30 furniture companies, including Hatil, Akhtar, Omega Furniture, Navana, Pertex, Regal, Nadia, and Brothers Furniture are participating at the fair with 185 stalls. The fair will continue till 21 October.
At the opening ceremony of the fair, the commerce minister noted the growing demand for furniture in Bangladesh, driven by the country’s growing middle class.
“The purchasing power of the country’s four crore people is comparable to those living in Europe,” he said. “This cross section, between middle class and upper class, can buy good products at affordable prices. As a result, demand for furniture is also increasing in the country.”
Salim H Rahman, chairman of the Bangladesh Furniture Industry Owners Association (BFIOA) and managing director of Hatil, said that most of the raw materials used in the country’s furniture industry have to be imported, as there is no domestic industry for these materials.
He added that large amounts of import duty, supplementary duty, and regulatory duty are applicable when importing these materials from outside the country.
“We need bonded warehouse facilities,” he said. “We want these facilities to be based on the amount of exportable products we will make from the raw materials we import. We will submit the necessary documents to the National Board of Revenue (NBR) and provide a bank guarantee for this.”
Bonded warehousing means the facility provided to export-oriented industries for importing inputs or raw materials and packaging materials without paying any duty or taxes.
Earlier, the BFIOA had proposed the bond facility to the NBR before the national budget for 2023-24 FY.
Salim H Rahman said that furniture is exported from Bangladesh to various countries, including India, Nepal, the USA, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and EU countries. In FY22, furniture exports were about $110 million, which is 39% more than in the previous year.
However, Rahman also noted that there is still no institutional education system for the furniture industry in Bangladesh, which makes it difficult to find qualified workers.
Commerce Minister / middle class / furniture / Fair
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