Katalyst has been working with Export Promotion Bureau (EPB), the national export promotion agency of Bangladesh to promote furniture export. EPB has prepared a strategy paper highlighting the problems and prospects in exporting furniture in cooperation with Bangladesh Furniture Industries Owners Association (BAFIOA) and Bangladesh Furniture Exporters Association (BFEA) and Katalyst. To share the plan with relevant stakeholders, Katalyst facilitated EPB to organize a workshop on ‘Discussion & Finalization of National Work Plan for Development of Furniture Export from Bangladesh’ on 10 November 2010.
The workshop started with an welcome address by Dr. Rakhal Chandra Barman, Director General, EPB followed by an address by Mr. K.M Akhtaruzzaman, President, BAFIOA and an introductory note from Mr. Christian Portal, Director, Katalyst. The working session presented and discussed the recommendations of the base paper which was inaugurated by Mr. Jalal Ahmed, Vice Chairman, EPB followed by the presentation of the key note paper by Mr. M. Omar Faruq, Director, Commodity Division of EPB. The session was conducted by Mr. Hussain Ahmed, Member, National Board of Revenue. Representatives from different organizations and government agencies expressed the willingness to take the necessary steps to boost the furniture sector and emphasized the role of the association of exporters.
One of the most critical topic discussed at the workshop was reducing the duty on raw materials of exporting goods. Representative from NBR assured that depending on a strong proposal from the association this issue will be included in the next budget review. Katalyst will develop the capacity of EPB and the furniture association to prepare concept paper on the recommendations and liaison with the relevant authorities for implementation.
This workshop was also participated by representatives from Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of Education, Department of Forestry, Department of Narcotics, Bangladesh Bank, Bangladesh Forestry Research Institute, Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, Bangladesh Technical Education Board Germanischer Lloyd, members of associations and other relevant stakeholders.