Local firms’ growth hampered by competition with foreign cos: Speakers

Speakers at a webinar on infrastructure development observed that the local firms are forced to face uneven competition from foreign firms to obtain public works contracts due to policy anomalies.

“We have to face uneven competition as the provision for local preference was withdrawn from the existing policy,” said Mir Nasir Hossain, former FBCCI president and a leading entrepreneur in the construction sector, while addressing the webinar titled ‘Infrastructure Development: Local Contractors Fall behind for Lack of Policy Support’ on Saturday.

The virtual seminar organized by Energy and Power magazine was also addressed by Planning Minister Abdul Mannan, Special Envoy to UN Climate Vulnerable Forum Abul Kalam Azad, economist Dr Ahsan H Mansur, former NBR chairman Abdul Majid, Energypac Infrastructure Development Company’s managing director Rezwanul Kabir and Mollah Amzad Hossain.

Mir Nasir alleged that the local construction firms have to pay 26 percent corporate tax as construction companies are not recognised as industries in the existing VAT law.

He said local contractors have to work as sub-contractors as they often do not qualify for large works.

If works are divided into small lots, it would help them to obtain more works, he added.

Planning Minister Abdul Mannan said if there is any anomaly in the policies, the responsibility will ultimately fall on the government to remedy those.

“So, we will examine the matter as we don’t want the local entrepreneurs to face losses due to policy anomalies,” he added.

He said the country will indeed lose some benefits it allowed to avail as an LDC once it graduates out of the group.

Abul Kalam Azad said the rules and regulations need to be updated to protect the interests of the local entrepreneurs.