The government yesterday awarded 116 businesspeople the status of commercially important persons (CIPs) for their outstanding performances in business, especially in export.
Commerce Minister GM Quader handed over the CIP cards to the businesspeople at a function at Sonargaon Hotel in Dhaka. The commerce ministry and the Export Promotion Bureau updated the CIP status for businesses for 2011.
Seventy-eight people were awarded in export category and 38 from trade bodies in ex-officio category.
The government awards the CIP cards to the businesspeople in line with the guideline of 2006 which mainly focuses on clean bank transaction, regular tax payment and reputation of the companies.
The ministry had a plan to award 125 businessmen, but it could give the cards to 116 as the remaining contestants were disqualified either for bank loan or tax payment problems, said Ruhul Amin Sarkar, additional secretary (export) to the commerce ministry.
Of the 195 applicants, the ministry nominated 127 businesspeople, while the cabinet committee approved 116, he said.
The recipients will enjoy some privileges. They will get entry into the secretariat without a special pass, and will be invited to national programmes and functions of municipal corporations. They will get priority in Biman ticket booking for overseas travel, and reservation of seats in government transport systems. They will also enjoy special status at domestic airports.
Quader urged the businesses to increase the number of export-oriented industries to create more jobs. "We should diversify exportable products."
He said the commerce ministry will bring changes to the CIP award policies so that more successful entrepreneurs, especially the women, get CIP status.
Commerce Secretary Ghulam Hussain said Bangladesh is now following the export-led growth model. The commerce ministry is finalising a comprehensive trade policy to ensure coherence among different ministries and departments.
AK Azad, president of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry, called upon the government to give gas and electricity connections to industrial units as soon as possible.
Many industrial units cannot go into production due to a lack of gas and electricity, he said. "For God's sake, please increase gas and power connections to the industrial units and save goods-laden trucks from hijacking on the Dhaka-Chittagong highway."
He said business leaders met the home minister three times in the last few months with a call to save trucks from such hijacking. "But still trucks get hijacked," he said.
He demanded immediate arrest of Tanvir Mahmud, managing director of Hall-Mark Group. Azad also urged the government to take actions against the members of the board of directors of Sonali Bank, if anyone is found guilty in investigation.