November 2017

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Manwar Hossain is the Group Managing Director of Anwar Group of Industries (AGI), the oldest business entity successfully running for 184 years. He explains the dynamics of keeping a business successful while continuously expanding and increasing their portfolio, the advancements that need to come forth within the nation and his family’s legacy.

Interview taken by Asaduzzaman.

Being a developing nation, Bangladesh is still plagued with multitudes of social issues. What can reduce these issues by a great number is innovation and digital transformation. LightCastle Partners in collaboration with Edward M. Kennedy Center (EMK Centre) took a step toward solving these problems by launching TechBeez – Women in ICT. It is a platform for connecting aspiring female students of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) fields with successful and inspiring female leaders in the ICT and digital industry of our country.

TechBeez – Women in ICT, was designed to generate tech-based ideas developed by women and solved a social issue from the five social issues that is the most prevalent in Bangladesh; Education and Literacy, Pregnancy and Motherhood, Harassment and Abuse, Traffic and Transportation and Healthcare and Wellbeing.

On 12th of November, the finale of TechBeez – Women in ICT was held at EMK Center. The top five teams pitched their innovative ideas in front of a panel of judges to win the title of ‘Champion’ and take home the prize money of BDT 75,000. The finale was officiated by chief guest Ms. Tina Jabeen, Advisor, iDEA Project, Ministry of ICT. Ms Tina Jabeen accompanied by Mr. Asad-Ur- Rahman Nile, Technical Specialist, LICT Project and Mr. Nayeem Ashrafi, Team Leader, iDEA Project, also judged the ideas presented.

After a vigorous journey of more than a month, ‘Team Polaris’ won the title of Champion of TechBeez- Women in ICT by pitching the best idea among others. Their innovative idea was to make a biodegradable menstruation kit called ‘Feminae Period Kit’ that includes clean and cheap women’s undergarments with a sanitary pad embedded with each and a reusable menstruation kit that detects the presence of vaginal infection.

The objective behind TechBeez was to build a bridge between female ICT professionals and female students through networking opportunities, events and competitions, to inspire further involvement of women in ICT and facilitate the growth of digital Bangladesh. TechBeez- Women in ICT will soon be back with such more initiatives in the near future.

 

ICE Business Times presents the 1st episode of “Leadership Lens” featuring Abrar A. Anwar. CEO of Standard Chartered Bank, Malaysia. In this exclusive interview, he shares his experience as a banker, his vision for the banking of tomorrow, and some advice that the next generation can reflect upon.

Interview taken by Asaduzzaman.

Monno Ceramic Industries Limited, the renowned ceramic tableware manufacturer and leading exporter in the country has grand launched their new ceramic product at Grand Ballroom of Hotel Pan Pacific Sonargaon in Dhaka on 3 rd November, 2017 (Friday) at 6.00 PM. The new product has new features with elegant design as well as supreme quality and this products will be available in Showroom and dealer point within very soon. Newly launched products are English Bone, Monno Italia and Silk Porcelain.

Monno Ceramic has rewarded and handed over 10 Prize to renowned Top Ten Dealers in the country. Chittagong based exclusive dealer M/S Iqbal & Brothers has been awarded 1st prize and received Brand New Mitsubishi Car. Mitford based dealer M/S. Nasir & Brothers has been rewarded 2nd prize and received Brand New Hero Motorcycle. Another dealer M/S. Helal & Brothers also been rewarded 3rd prize and received Samsung Smart LED TV 43’’. Monno Ceramic also handed over other prizes like, Canon DSLR Camera 1300D, Dhaka-Bali Return Air Ticket, Acer Core i3 Laptop, Samsung Galaxy Tab J Max, Samsung Microwave Oven, Samsung Galaxy J7 Prime Mobile phone. Chairperson of Monno Group Mrs. Huron Nahar, Vice-Chairman of Monno Group Mr. Moynul Islam, Managing Director of Monno Group Mrs. Afroza Khan Rita and Deputy Managing Director of Monno Group, Mr. Rasheed Mymunul Islam distributed the prizes to the dealers.

M/S Iqbal & Brothers from Chittagong has been awarded Brand New Mitsubishi Car as 1st Prize from Chairperson of Monno Group of Industries (3rd from right).

Mr. Rasheed Mymunul Islam, Deputy Managing Director of Monno Group delivered his welcome speech and presented the Future Business Strategies of Monno Ceramic. Mr. Moynul Islam, Vice-Chairman of Monno Group and Mrs. Afroza Khan Rita, Managing Director of Monno Group were also delivered their speech in this launching program.

Choreographer Imran and his group performed colorful fashion show in this awarded night. Renowned Singer Mr. Kumar Bishwajit also performed a special musical performance in this night.

Renowned Singer Mr. Kumar Bishwajit also performed a special musical performance in this night.

Among others Secretary of Madrasha and Technical Division, Ministry of Education Mr. Md. Alamgir, Director of EPB  Mr. Abdur Rauf, Deputy Register of Petent, Design and Trade Marks Directorate Mr. Obaidur Rahman, Deputy Director of EPB  Mr. Mahmudul Hasan, Secretary & CEO of Dhaka Club Commander Zahirul Alim, BN (Retd), Additional Managing Director  of Mercantile Bank Ltd. Mr. Matiur Rahman,  Additional Managing Director of SIBL Mr. Tarek Murshed, Executive Vice President of SIBL Mr. Nazmus Saadat, Director of Security & Exchange Commission Mr. Ripon Debnath, Industrialist, Businessman, Different Association representatives, Govt & Non Govt. Officials, representatives from different foreign mission in Dhaka, print and electronic media representatives, high officials from Monno Group were also present in the program.

Monno Group of Industries is a leading conglomerate, successfully growing in international markets and paying tribute to its founders dream every step of the way – “to serve the nation with world class products and to bring fame and respect to Bangladesh”. Founder of Monno Group Late Mr. Harunar Rashid Khan Monno started his business with a small printing press namely Monno Art Press. His true success lies in making Monno a rich heritage, a house hold name and the flag bearer of the Made in Bangladesh brand in international markets. Monno Group has grown over five decades of relentless hard work, the leading platform now has operations and investments across a wide range of industries including Bone China Tableware, Textiles, Garments, Trading, Power Generation, Printing, Healthcare, Educational Institutions and Retail sector.

Monno Group of Industries employed more than 6 thousand workers and officials. Monno Ceramic is the one of the leading ceramic tableware exporter from Bangladesh and exporting to over 42 countries across the globe. As a recognition for being one of the leading ceramic tableware exporter from Bangladesh, Monno Ceramic has received ‘National Export Trophy’ for a record 09 (Nine) times from The Government of Bangladesh. Monno Ceramic is now the official souvenir partner of the Honorable President of Bangladesh.

Home loans are like those extended family members whom we don’t interact with our whole lives until at a certain point in our lives we require their help. Home loans are ubiquitous, yet we hardly bat an eye at it. It’s only when we reach a particular career high that we start thinking of home loans in depth. It’s just then when we start researching financial institutions (FI) like banks and leasing companies to get the best possible deals on home loans.

So what factors are taken into consideration when these FI’s dish out home loans?
A multitude of factors needs to be taken into consideration for these types of loans such as your repayment capabilities or credit score, monthly net disposable income, age, nature of job/business, number of family members, etc.
Let’s look at the main components in details:

• Age – Your chances of getting a home loan application granted will be higher when age supports you. Those who are young and are periods away from retirement have more chances of pleasing the lenders to get a loan approved.
• Profession & Income – Applicants who aren’t working in the traditional industries (that follow a corporate structure) seem less suitable to the lenders. It’s the repayment capacity of such applicants that remains questionable since unconventional jobs involve with regards to security and safety. Moreover, if you are someone who loves to swap jobs frequently, be sure to earn negative points as it posits that your ability to hold down a position is further questionable. On the other hand, a regular source of income enhances your home loan eligibility. You may also qualify for a higher home loan amount if you’ve held the same job for over a couple of years.
• Number of dependents – The number of dependents (such as retired parents, children, or spouse) you have is another factor the lenders will take into consideration. Having more dependents may earn you sorry scores to be eligible of loan repayment capacity.
• Property Age – Property Age – Home loan eligibility is inversely proportional to the age of the property. Lenders conduct separate evaluations to determine your home loan eligibility in the property under consideration is very old. A high loan against property eligibility improves your home loan eligibility as well.
• Existing debts – As the largest loan you’ll likely ever have, a mortgage is a lot of debt to take on. Therefore, banks typically get nervous about other large debts that you might have. Avoid opening new lines of credit and pay down debts before applying for a home loan to prove you won’t be financially overwhelmed.

TRENDS
In 2016 private banks provided 55% of home loans while the state banks disbursed 22% of the same. This is reflected in the fact that Bangladesh’s banking sector has been seeing an influx of home loans for the last two years due to interest rates being under 10% and a rise in per capita income. According to a study, total outstanding home loans from banks and financial institutions stood at BDT 56,290 crore, which was 9.1% of total credit to the private sector, as of last year’s June.
Default loans in the home loan are low due to commendable recovery: it was 3.12% in 2016.
Of the total outstanding home loans, private commercial banks provided the largest portion of 55%, amounting to BDT 30,920 crore, followed by the state-owned banks at BDT 11,930 crore.
High competition among banks in attracting home loan borrowers pushed down the interest rate, the study said. The interest rate for home loan currently is a minimum of 8% and a maximum of 15%. The credits ranged between BDT 2 lac and BDT 1.2 crore.
The minimum debt-equity ratio stood between 10:90 and 50:50. Most of the banks provide the loan at the debt-equity ratio of 30:70 for locals and 50:50 for expatriates. On top of that, according to the research findings, a home loan is comparatively safer for a bank as opposed to business-focused loans.
Even though home loan disbursement has increased, it is significantly concentrated in urban areas of Dhaka and Chittagong. In 2016, over 85% of the disbursements were in urban areas, according to the study.
The study found that the most substantial portion of home loans in 2016 was of construction: 66%. Flat purchase accounted for the other 34%.
While home loan disbursement is grossly concentrated in Dhaka, yet according to Irteza Ahmed Khan, CEO of Meridian Finance and Investment Ltd.: “demand will continue to grow for Home Loans in the next ten years due to rising population in Dhaka as well as surrounding area. Most of the city may have already filled up, so it is expanding in the circular ways”.

CHALLENGES
While trends suggest that there has been an increase in home loans in recent years, home loans by no means are a straightforward procedure. Getting a home loan is quite cumbersome and with it comes certain challenges. Most prominent of which are:

• Turned down in the first stage – Many of the home loan applications are screened off right at the beginning, due to incompatibility between the borrower’s qualifications and lenders requirements.
• Processing fee not refunded – With every application form for home loans, banks require about 0.25% to 1% of the loan amount to be submitted as the processing fees. This processing fee is not refundable. In simple words, this means that whatever reasons if the bank finds that you don’t deserve the home loan, this payment won’t be returned.
• The interest rate dilemma – Almost all home loan borrowers are unsure about whether to opt for floating or fixed interest rate. Even after deciding on a particular loan regime, the home loan terms, and fine condition prints can create havoc with your interest rates.
• The difference in property valuation – The bank has its experts for legal, technical and financial appraisal of the property in question and evaluates the property as per its standards and puts a value on it. This worth can be considerably lower than the quoted price of the property. In such a scenario the bank will only lend you up to the amount it valued
• Down payment – Banks require the borrower to fund at least 10% to 20% (varying from bank to bank) of the entire loan amount as the down payment for the home loan. If this amount is not deposited before the disbursal of the home loan, the bank will refuse the home loan to the borrower. Even though the problems mentioned above are prevalent, they can be easily avoided if the borrower follows accurate procedure, prepares sufficiently before applying and takes care of correct documentation.

While the RMG sector has always been the limelight of Bangladesh, another sector has been slowly building itself up and growing at an astounding rate. One of the oldest industries of the country, the leather and footwear industry has now become one of the key engines of growth in Bangladesh.
The first ever tannery was established in 1940 by RP Saha, a business man in Narayangonj, and since then this industry has amassed a rich history of 77 years. What really kick started this industry was when BATA, an international footwear company, started full fledge operation in Bangladesh in 1972. Their contribution in the local market of Bangladesh made a big difference.

By 1995 206 tanneries had been established which consequently led to an annual growth rate of 8.5% in the leather goods industry and 15.4% annual growth rate in the leather footwear industry between 1992-2002. Leather footwear accounted for 28% of export earnings from leather and leather products in 2007-08.
According to a study in 2014, there are around 100 small-to-medium leather goods manufacturers, and a small number of niche larger manufacturers.
In 2001-02 export earnings from the leather, leather goods, and footwear were approximately $210, $10, and $40 million accordingly. After 10 years, in 2011-2012 export earnings from the leather, leather goods, and footwear increased to $330.16, $99.36, and $335.51 million accordingly. To put things into perspective, in between those 10 years there has been a roughly 50% increase in export of leather, 900% increase in export of leather goods and 700% increase in export of footwear. As a result, the leather industry achieved a growth rate of 19.42% in 2011-2012. This led to an FDI of $ 57.29 million in the leather industry of Bangladesh in 2012-13.
In FY 2016-17 (July-February) FDI in EPZ area in leather, footwear and leather goods industry were $252.41 million and investment outside EPZ area in leather, footwear and leather goods industry with joint venture investment were $3.33 million. On top of that, during the same time frame there was a local investment in leather, footwear and leather goods industry were $130 million.

The leather sector generates direct and indirect employment for about 850,000 people. The ratio of female and male workers is 65% and 35% accordingly. The industry currently has approximately 65,000 tannery Workers and 5,00,000 leather collector and hoard Labor. According to the Export Promotion Bureau of Bangladesh, the leather industry achieved the milestone of $1 billion in 2012-13 fiscal years for the first time, whereas the International leather industry size is $233 billion approximately.
Bangladesh is currently exporting 0.53% of the global leather, leather goods and footwear market. International leather goods industry size is $72 billion approximately, where Bangladesh shares 1% of the whole market. International leather footwear market size is $52 billion approximately, where Bangladesh shares 1.07% of the whole market.
Bangladesh was ranked 8th, in terms of footwear production in the world in 2016, with a production of 378 million pairs. The traditional market of Bangladeshi leather products comprises of Japan, Germany, Italy, UK, Belgium, Spain, France, Poland, the US and Canada.

Local Scenario
Bangladesh, a country with a population of 160 million (approximately) consumes 300 million pairs of footwear annually. Consequently, the local footwear market is growing at 10-15% per year.
Popular local brands comprise of Apex, Bay, Jennys, Zeil’s, and Leatherex. Among them Apex is the largest with 224 retail stores countrywide. Combined, they have imported approximately 24 million pairs of footwear in fiscal year 2016-17, which values approximately 93 million USD with an average unit price of USD3.87.

Future prospects
Given the steady rise in growth of the leather industry, Bangladesh government has targeted export earnings of $5 billion by 2021 from this sector. Keeping that target on sight Bangladesh government is currently implementing Skills for Employment Investment Program (SEIP) through Ministry of finance in cooperation with Asian Development Bank (ADB) and targeted to train 15,000 skilled workers by December 2020.

Source :
1. http://en.banglapedia.org/index.php?title=Tannery
2. http://www.assignmentpoint.com/business/marketing-business/report-on-marketing-strategies-of-bata-shoe-limited.html
3. http://jbbc.co.jp/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/A-Report-on-Leather-Leather-Goods-Industry-of-Bangladesh.pdf
4. http://www.aplf.com/en-US/leather-fashion-news-and-blog/news/35381/bangladesh-footwear-market-expands-fast-as-demand-rises

Unlike the Microsoft of the past, struggling to be relevant in a hostile market dominated by Google and Apple, the Microsoft of today is a very different beast, fighting a different battle. The tech giant of Redmond has never been in a better shape, with CEO Satya Nadella taking some drastic and unconventional calls which would have made his predecessor Steve Ballmer choke on his bacon sandwich. Nadella’s vastly superior survival instincts ensured that Microsoft would not only turn around their sinking status, but also forge new relationships across the industry which can spell the difference between make and break.
As part of their new range of conquests on the software front, Microsoft has been aggressively moving into the mobile ecosystems of Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS platforms, both of which enjoy massive user bases around the world. After struggling for years to break new grounds in the mobile scene with their own Windows Phone operating system, Microsoft, ultimately trailing behind its competitors, has decided to follow the age-old adage “If you can’t beat them, join them.”
Rather than attempting to futilely keep building its own platform from the ground, Microsoft has wisely chosen to suck up its failure by piggybacking on the already established bases of Android and iOS, by providing an excellent range of apps across both platforms – including the venerable Microsoft Office productivity suite (albeit in a somewhat cut-down factor to account for system limitations), the Outlook organizer-email client hybrid, the Cortana digital voice assistant, and as of late, the Edge browser. The apps are remarkably well-designed to suit the native environments of each OS, and user response has been greatly encouraging. Interesting parallels can be drawn between Microsoft’s decision and that of Sega, a gaming console titan from a bygone era. While a major innovator in the console gaming industry in the last millennium, as time went by, Sega found it increasingly more difficult to keep up with the consoles brought forth by the likes of rivals Nintendo and Sony, and eventually stopped making its own consoles to focus solely on developing games for the consoles of their competitors.

“Microsoft is looking forward to realizing the vision of a unified cross-platform future bridged by its apps across a wide range of devices with different operating systems on different hardware, yet running the same Microsoft apps on all of them.”

However, to gain something, some things must also be sacrificed, and Microsoft has made the harsh but practical decision of putting their aging but still hopelessly lacking Windows Phone platform on the chopping block. Windows Phone has languished in an agonizing limbo of laggardness for a very long time. This is especially saddening because it brought forth quite a few great ideas to the table, such as a super-minimalistic interface that focused on clarity through exquisite typography and simple ‘tiles’ that alternated between action points and information displays. The end result was not just distinctly recognizable, but it was also refreshingly different from the more iconographic interfaces of iOS and Android.
However, despite all its uniqueness, Windows Phone never quite managed to catch up with its market rivals, largely because of its late entry into the market. Had Windows Phone made it past the gates at the same time as its competing systems, the scenario in the market today may have been very different. But despite all sorts of pushes and prods, developer interest in the platform has been consistently low, with most developers choosing to develop for Android and/or iOS, while soundly disregarding Windows Phone.
It should be noted that Windows Phone’s ecosystem largely mimicked that of iOS in the sense of being a walled garden, where the host of the app store would be solely in charge of dictating the rules of app installation, availability and customization. This falls in sharp contrast with the openness of Android, which not only offers an absurd number of apps and deep-level customization tools on its official store (Google Play), but also allows users to install unofficially released app packages through a process called sideloading.
Granted, this kind of openness also opens up some room for exploitable vulnerabilities, but it is a great victory for someone who wants to use his/her phone with absolute freedom, without requiring to abide by rigid policies set by shadowy overlords. It can be speculated that if Microsoft had chosen to take the Android route of openness, by creating a more flexible and welcoming system (not unlike Windows running on desktop or laptop computers), it could have enjoyed considerably greater success, particularly among enthusiast circles.
Microsoft has officially announced the end of development on the Windows Phone platform, but what does it mean for the end user? It has been clarified that there will be no more new versions of Windows Phone beyond its current iteration, and no new devices which would come loaded with the now-deprecated operating system. However, Microsoft has ensured that while no new features would be added to the OS, it would still continue to receive official security updates and bugfixes so that existing users can keep using it for the time being. The news was confirmed by Joe Belfiore, the Corporate Vice President of Microsoft’s Operating Systems Group. Belfiore also elaborated upon the main reasons that were instrumental behind the closure of Windows Phone, such as low user volume and developer reluctance.
Despite a promising start and a fresh outlook, the downfall of Windows Phone was predicted by numerous market analysts right from the beginning. Microsoft even bravely attempted to refresh the system by applying fresh coats of paint to the software across new versions (which incidentally mirrored the release numbers of Windows’s desktop iterations), and even attempting to create an all-in-one solution called Continuum, which would allow a Windows Phone user to connect his/her phone to a docking station connected to a desktop monitor, keyboard and mouse, and be able to instantly use and access the phone and all its contents – software and data – as one would use a desktop computer. While a revolutionary and novel concept, Continuum never really became smooth and functional enough to be of practical use for most users.
While Windows Phone’s quiet exit will be mourned by its handful of devotees, Microsoft is looking forward to realizing the vision of a unified cross-platform future bridged by its apps across a wide range of devices with different operating systems on different hardware, yet running the same Microsoft apps on all of them. By embracing this new model of business, it has also gained a firm foothold in the mobile market, one that will benefit its current and new users alike. Windows Phone’s legacy will be fondly remembered, but the lessons learned from its shortfalls are far more memorable for Microsoft.

As Bangladesh strives for the middle-income nation status by 2021, its drive towards industrialization is estimated to induce exponential growth in multiple industrial sectors throughout the nation. Industries closely linked with construction and infrastructural development are anticipated to benefit most from this goal set by the government. With increasing growth also comes the need for higher power consumption and the domestic cable industry is looking forward to catering the entirety of this expected demand locally. However, the question stands, how well-equipped is the local cable industry to meet up to such expectations and deliver regarding capacity, product safety, and quality?

The government aims to ensure electricity to the whole population by 2021 by generating 24,000MW of it and installing 12,000 circuit kilometers of the transmission line, the same report indicates.

Government Aims, Stimulating Growth
Power generation capacity in Bangladesh has increased from 5,245MW to 15,379MW in February 2017 of the fiscal year of 2005-06. According to the Bangladesh Economic Review (BER) 2017 published by the finance ministry, electricity transmission has also expanded to 10,376 circuit kilometers as of February this year. All these are part of the government’s plan to provide electricity to the entire population by 2021.
Progress has already been achieved, as only 10–15% of the population had access to electricity when local cable giant BRB began its journey in 1978. Now, 80% of the 16 crore population have access to power, including renewable energy, according to BER 2017. The government aims to ensure electricity to the whole population by 2021 by generating 24,000MW of it and installing 12,000 circuit kilometers of the transmission line, the same report indicates. Operators expect that this expansion will buoy the demand not only for power cables but also for domestic cables.

New Entrants Inducing Local Competition
While an accurate industry growth rate could not be determined, according to numerous industry executives, demand for cable in Bangladesh is growing up to 20-25% a year. Almost a decade ago, the market value was worth at BDT 1,500–2,000 crores when the country had about 5,000MW of electricity generation capacity. However, the increase in constructions and development of industries has facilitated growth, and the buoyancy of demand has raised the industry’s worth to Tk. 4,000–5,000 crores, which is only expected to expand further in the coming decade.
In the 1970s, a few firms, including state-run Eastern Cables Ltd, were engaged in cable manufacturing. Later, more manufacturers such as BRB Cable Industries Ltd and Paradise Cables Ltd (PCL) made their way into the cable industry to secure a slice of the growing market.
In recent years, more popular local industrial groups such as Partex Cables Ltd, a subsidiary of Partex Group hit the market. Among others, BBS Cables and RFL Electronics, a concern of PRAN-RFL Group, and entered the market in 2009 and 2012, respectively. Such increasing entry of local manufacturers has facilitated the industry to become self-sufficient and reduce import dependence, as industry experts say that almost all of the cable demand is now being met locally.
Currently, there are around 120 local cable manufacturers, serving the domestic demand. This amount is expected to grow further as still, only one-third of the population of Bangladesh lives in urban areas. According to World Urbanization Prospects 2014 released by the United Nations, the urban population has grown by 2.4% annually between 2010 and 2015. The UN also stated that the urban population is predicted to rise to a mammoth 11.24 crore by 2050 from 5.31 crore in 2014, and the high-rise buildings will replace today’s small buildings, while concrete houses will replace tin-shed dwellings. All these will require more significant capacity expansion in the domestic market, which is likely be fulfilled by more new entrants into this already growing industry in future.

Greatest Concern Over Safety
The cable sector has to rely heavily on the international market for raw materials, mainly copper and aluminum. Manufacturers also have to buy raw materials to make insulators. Due to lack of quality control and government level regulatory checks, it is often difficult to determine the quality of the raw materials and processes that go into forming these final products. We, as consumers, are very little aware of the devastating consequences a faulty cable can have. We are also barely aware of the quality of cable products that we use in everyday life.
The significance of certification by international cable certification bodies in ensuring the product quality of a cable manufacturer is often overlooked throughout the industry. The lack of interest in maintaining standards sets aside the fact that certification is a continuous process and not just a single-time approval. A certified company is required to follow a rigorous quality control system in its production line regularly in every single phase of the manufacturing process, starting from the source of raw material to production process. Besides, the post-production quality control mechanism and even the human resource management are needed to go through such measures.
When it comes to manufacturing different types of cable products, technical expertise varies from product to product. We can mention about power cable or industrial cable that requires a production technique and raw materials superior to that of domestic cables, something which is not always the case for Bangladesh. The issue lies in the lack of monitoring from the government side in this regard. Furthermore, a government agenda to set specific criteria as to who can produce what kind of cable products can solve the issue and ensure the safety of the end consumers.
It’s also noteworthy that due to the lack of regulation, many companies don’t pay much attention to ensure the quality of their products and try to keep their price margin low. It creates unfair competition in the cable market which ultimately affects the quality producers as this demands increased expenditure. However, a higher price is placed on the final consumers, as they end up prioritizing price over quality.
Most recorded short circuits and fire breakouts occur due to the lower quality of cables installed. In many cases, industries use domestic cables, which significantly risks the safety of the institution and its workers. Cable manufacturers urge that the government should take actions to control the use of domestic cable in factories. The industry owners should also be made aware of the severity of the issue and the risks involved. The cable industry and the government should both invest in creating mass awareness about cable-related safety issues.
Proposed Government Policies to standardize the industrywide regulation in the cable sector to ensure standardized quality is perhaps the most urged of all the issues that need to be solved by the industry leaders. Many cable manufacturers are indiscriminately using contaminated scrap copper as the primary raw material for cable production. Scrap copper comes from shipbreaking yards and is contaminated by solder, iron, aluminum, etc. As a result, their resistance property fails to meet the relevant international standards. The cables manufactured with these conductors get overheated above a particular load, and damage the insulation and cause short circuits often resulting in loss of lives and property.
Forbidding of domestic cables in industrial processes should be implemented as soon as possible to ensure employee safety. Other changes such as the government promoting the use of XLPE insulation instead of PVC insulation, which will provide safety as well as reduce carbon emission from cable products. For the conductors, increased use of aluminum cable instead of copper is also a recommended proposal, as it costs one-fourth of the price of copper and is of the same quality.
Owners also urge the government to rethink its current policy of requiring a minimum of five years’ manufacturing experience before entering the cable sector. The government should instead focus on the expertise of the industry, and if a company has all the necessary capacities, it should not be kept waiting for five years. According to operators, this will only discourage new entrepreneurs in the cable industry.
Finally, the cable industry is a ‘conversion industry’ in the sense that it only converts raw materials into cables. In such industries, raw materials are usually the most expensive parts, and in the cable industries, raw materials make up 60-70% of the total production cost. It is suggested that if the cable companies focus on enhancing efficiency in the supply of raw materials, they can maintain a right profit margin without compromising on quality. To ensure that, the government should play a significant role in defining the industry benchmarks for efficiency, which as a spillover effect can solve an array of issues at once.

Importance of Product Specifications and Quality
The quality of cable being used should be of paramount importance as homeowners, and industrialists bet crores worth of assets upon the safety that these cables have to provide. Apart from the safety hazards, low-quality cables cause substantial power loss in the long run. If impure raw materials are used for making conductors, a certain amount of power is bound to get lost during the distribution process due to higher resistance. And as generally, a cable remains in operation for 20-30 years, the total loss incurred, if counted over the years, stands at a very high amount. This is the one of less talked about sides of the perennial problem of system loss caused by the use of sub-standard products, as explained by the expert.
Moreover, the lack of knowledge of product specifications by consumers, as to which type of cable is appropriate for their desired purpose, also acts as a hindrance towards proper utilization and risk minimization.

Most recorded short circuits and fire breakouts occur due to the lower quality of cables installed. In many cases, industries use domestic cables, which significantly risks the safety of the institution and its workers.

A Brighter Future for the Industry Ahead
Opportunity in the cable industry also lies as the government is considering expansion of electricity coverage in rural areas, which will create a massive demand for power. The Power System Master Plan (PSMP) 2016 sets the target of generating 60,000 MW by 2041. To achieve this goal Bangladesh has to improve a lot in its power generation capacity. Similarly, it also has to improve power transmission and distribution capacity.
This is an opportune moment for the local cable industry to expand their business and focus on manufacturing distribution and transmission cables. High voltage transmission lines are required to meet the high power demand in the city areas, but overhead transmission of high voltage lines tends to be quite risky. Moreover, it also consumes valuable city space. Thus, the government is most likely to move towards underground transmissions. The government is planning to change all overhead electricity distribution lines to underground ones in six major cities by 2025 as per the PSMP. This is also expected to increase the longevity and reliability of the power distribution system. A considerable amount of cable will be required shortly to fulfill that demand.
The local companies who have the capacity should gradually expand towards producing 132 kV and 230 kV cables. The manufacturing of transmission cables requires high investment as 132 kV, and 230kV cables are far superior qualitatively compared to domestic cables. Achieving the capacity of producing such high voltage cables will result in overall production quality improvement, which is rewarding in the long run.
The export potential of cable products from Bangladesh is also something which should not be overlooked. Like many other industries, tax benefits provided by the government can benefit to promote cable export. In pursuit of that, the local cable industry should also strive to attain international standards to compete in the foreign market. If quality, capacity, and standardization can be achieved, then cable products can become premier export items for Bangladesh in the future.
Industry experts and leaders can anticipate a bright future of the cable industry in Bangladesh. Since the demand for electricity is growing along with the rapid development of the country, a massive scope of expansion lies subsequently for the cable industry in the coming years.