Industry News

Furniture Makers Demand Bonded Warehouse Facility

The furniture sector could be one of the major export earners for Bangladesh if the government extends bonded warehouse facility to manufacturers, industry people said yesterday. Bangladesh earned USD74.89 million from furniture exports in fiscal 2018-19, which is 18.53 percent higher than that in the previous year.

“The furniture industry could be our next readymade garment sector as it has good potential,” said Sheikh Fazle Fahim, president of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

“The sector can help Bangladesh diversify its export basket,” he said, while addressing the opening ceremony of the 16th National Furniture Fair at the International Convention City Bashundhara in Dhaka.

The Bangladesh Furniture Shilpa Malik Samity (BFSMS), a platform of factory owners, organised the five-day event, where 31 companies are showcasing their products from 10am to 8pm.

“Furniture is a labour-intensive industry and we have available cheap labour. So, we have scope to increase exports as Bangladeshi companies make worldclass furniture,” said Selim H Rahman, chairman and managing director of Hatil.

Rahman, also the president of the BFSMS, said the furniture sector does not get bonded warehouse benefit to import raw materials needed for the industry as it is not 100 percent exportoriented.

As a result, importers have to pay around 60 percent duty to import raw materials which increase the cost of production, he said.

The bonded warehouse privilege provides entrepreneurs with the opportunity to import raw materials duty-free on the condition that the items manufactured by them would not be sold in the domestic market.

“We have no backward linkage industry for the sector, so we have to depend on imports for raw materials,” Rahman said, adding that if the government increases cash incentive on exports from existing 15 percent, shipment will rise.

KM Akhtaruzzaman, chairman of Akhtar Group, said Bangladeshi furniture is winning global praise owing to high quality and modern design.

(The Daily Star)

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