Govt to facilitate manufacturing of electric car locally

The government will facilitate the potential investors for manufacturing of electrical cars in the country as different countries of the world have been coming out from the traditional fossil fuel or petrol burned cars, said Salman F Rahman, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Private Sector Industry and Investment.

 “We should go for new technologies,” Rahman said adding that he has already talked with the German’s Volkwagen Company to set up electrical car manufacturing unit in Bangladesh.  If any company wants to set up any electrical car manufacturing plant in Bangladesh, the Government will even give the land free of cost.

He was addressing a Webinar on “Car Market in Bangladesh: Challenges and Prospects” organised by the Policy Research Institute of Bangladesh (PRI).

The government is not encouraging any company to set up car manufacturing plants in Bangladesh with old technologies, Salman Rahman said 

The Adviser also said for easing the import duty on cars of high CC so that more revenue can be generated. Currently, the Government collect 5,000 crore taka as revenue from import of cars but it can be reached to 10,000 crore taka to 15,000 crore taka if the tax is lowered, especially on import of high CC cars.

Bangladesh only enjoys the benefits of other countries and the country will not give benefits to others, it cannot run well, he said.

While presenting the keynote paper of the Webinar, Dr. Ahsan H Mansur, Executive Director of PRI also echoed with the views of Salman F. Rahman. Solar and power based automobile manufacturing plants need to be set up in the country. “We have to leapfrog,” Dr. Mansur said. 

“Currently, in the automobile industry, we have almost nothing. But, we have the potential to make the sector a very good sector for our economy. Because we can set up the manufacturing plants with new technologies,” Dr. Mansur said.

For instance, Pakistan could not well in textile and garment compared with Bangladesh despite having Pakistan’s own cotton. Because Pakistan has been using old machinery in manufacturing of textile and garment items.

 On the other hand, Bangladesh has no cotton of its own like Pakistan, but Bangladesh has been performing well compared to Pakistan because of using new technologies and machinery by the local textile and garment industry people.

Dr. Zahid Hussain, Former Lead Economist of the World Bank moderated the discussion. Dr. Zahid Hossain said if $1 is spent in the car industry, it creates $3 value addition in the economy. Consumers need efficient, safe and eco-friendly cars, he said.

Abdul Haque, President of Bangladesh Reconditioned Vehicles Importers and Dealers Association (BARVIDA) said the Government should formulate the policy considering the country, region and global issues. The most important issue is technologies as the developed countries like Germany, USA and Japan have been moving towards electrical cars, he said.

For instance, Vietnam could not establish car manufacturing plant even in 20 years, nearly 60 car manufacturing plants in Malaysia were shut down and the state-owned Proton car plant was sold to Chinese entrepreneurs. 

South Africa could establish a car manufacturing plant in 60 years. So, the Government should formulate the policy in such a way so that the thousands of people can be employment, saving the environment with adoption of new technologies, Mr. Haque said.

Dr. Muhammad Abdul Mazid, Former Chairman of the National Board of Revenue (NBR) said the car industry has the potential to grow a lot if the new investment is made targeting the both local and export markets as well as the backward linkage industries.

Dr. Masrur M. Reaz, Chairman of Policy Exchange of Bangladesh said the demand for electrical cars in the world will increase to $1.2trillion soon. So, the investment in the car industry should not only focus to domestic markets but also to foreign markets, he said. Car industry is a diverse sector in the country’s economy, Dr. Reaz also said.