40m Bangladeshis Have Spending Power As Europeans: Minister

Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi || File Photo

Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi || File Photo

Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi says that almost 40 million Bangladeshis now possess substantial spending power, comparable to that of Europeans.

“Some people in our country have entered high economic class," he said during the opening of the National Furniture Fair on Tuesday (October 17).

He encouraged furniture traders to produce European-style furniture, as a considerable number of Bangladeshis can now afford such products.

"These 40 million people will pay premium prices for quality products," he said.

“Furniture craftsmanship has seen a revolutionary transformation in Bangladesh over the past decade. Locally-made furniture is of such good quality that we don’t need to import much of it from abroad.”

This, in turn, has contributed to foreign currency savings, allowing local traders to focus on furniture exports.

While acknowledging the importance of attracting local buyers to the fair, Munshi urged the industry to explore strategies to entice foreign customers, emphasising the need to broaden the sector's appeal.

The minister also said that the government would consider reducing taxes on raw material imports for furniture construction, making it more feasible for local entrepreneurs to enter the export market.

Mahbubul Alam, president of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industries who also spoke in the programme, said if traders adopted a “high sales quantity and low profit” principle, it would serve the sector greatly as it is as labour-intensive as the garment industry.

“As we have a large labour pool, we can even compete with China if we put the labourers to good use,” he said.

As many as 30 companies have set up 86 stalls at the fair, which will be open from 10 am to 8 pm at the Kuril Bashundhara Convention Centre, with free entry for visitors.

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