Niaz Morshed Elite
Founder President, JCI Chittagong
Managing Director, Borotakia Group
Niaz Morshed Elite, as the Founder President of JCI Chittagong, has been focusing on using his resources for the greater good of the younger generation. As a passionate worker and leader, he has been voicing the concerns of the young people tirelessly through diverse forums, concentrated in the field of entrepreneurship. It is his belief that if we don’t tap into the potential of our youth by investing in them and directing them down the business line, they will become a liability for the country in the future. Niaz is also the Managing Director of Borotakia Group, whose activities mainly concern the assembling of two/three wheeler vehicles and supplying port equipment.
During his discussion with ICE Business Times, he explains, “The total development of Bangladesh is by default a private sector led phenomenan and I am working to awaken the potential of the youth of our nation. At the policy level, there are provisions for single-digit loans for women entrepreneurs. However, there are no such provisions for the younger generation who constitute one third of our population. Bangladesh has the vision to become a middle-income country and gradually, a developed country but if we fail to connect to the group in the 19 to 40 age bracket, then we will fail to achieve our targets.”
He continued, “The youth have failed to enter the business domain due to shortages in capital, thus, they queue up in the long lines to enter the service industry. Banks are still inclined to provide loans for young entrepreneurs if they have the right experience and collateral, but without it they cannot get the adequate funding.” Niaz explains that these issues are driving his activities.
“They can be counted as assets when we are helping develop their skills. However, they will be turn into liabilities when the appropriate fields are not created for them”
He goes on to express the firm need for a supporting policy regimes which can aid young entrepreneurs in both the micro and macro levels. “We need a large pool of young entrepreneurs to reach our long-term goals so we need to start providing the necessary technical training for these people. We have to bring change in our mindsets and curriculums. The majority of the people are studying for BBAs and MBAs and now there is a new trend of going for Law degrees. This is because the market is over saturated. We need to go for education that supports our market and the market demand for technical people is expanding every day.”
He then spoke of the millennial generation who can be great assets for the country but may also become liabilities if their potential isn’t realized in time. He elaborates, “They can be counted as assets when we are helping develop their skills. However, they will be turn into liabilities when the appropriate fields are not created for them.” He cited many innovative government projects including a2i and Young Bangla but emphasized on the need for more tangible formats in the field of entrepreneurships saying, “One sort of SME loan can be curtailed for the young generation along with some youth centric policies.”
Despite the need for their growth, Niaz expressed his dismay regarding the lack of patriotism in our youth. Expanding on this aloofness regarding our cultures and norms he said, “We are adopting the others’ norms very quickly but forgetting our ones which is quite alarming. Our younger generation are not thinking about our culture and are not aligned with our roots. A lot of people are not even properly aware of the history of the Liberation War and the war criminals. Those who were present during the war time are emboldened by our history but the there is a missing link with the current generation.”
Moving on to the topic of the port city, Chittagong, Niaz spoke of some key issues, “The development of the port city is required for the sake of the whole country. The geographical location is very important and by default we have a natural port. We do not need dredging. Now the growth rate of the Chittagong port is 17% and it will rise in the coming days. For 2020, we need the Bay Terminal, Patenga Terminal and it is imperative that they go into operation otherwise we will be in a big trouble.” He commended the government’s efforts for the SEZ and for maintaining its focus for the development of the city. “To keep pace with global development we need to expand the port and infrastructures like the electricity, gas and other communication modes. In that regard, a coordinated move is a primary requirement.”
Regarding his entry into the family business he said, “Our business started in 1989. Since 1989, we have been distributing Tata trucks and buses with Nitol Motors and continued it up to 2002 and then joined with Runner group. I first became involved with the business when I was still a student at North South University in 2003. My father gave me a job as an executive in Borotakia Group and in 2006 I started a new business in Bangladesh which involved a plant for assembling three wheelers. In 2012, I established the Junior Chamber in Chittagong and in 2013, I established the Kulshi Club. Now we have 800 members and we have procured land in Foy’s Lake. I still have a long way to go but it gives me encouragement to see young people and their contributions to these organizations.”
Detailing the current stance of their business, he said, “There are 400 people working in my company now. We are mainly a transport selling company and authorized distributor but two wheelers and three wheelers have been my addition. We have a two wheelers and three wheeler assembling plant. We are working with the Chittagong and Parya ports and also involved in equipment handling and maintenance business in the ports. Next, we are looking to make an assembling plant encompassing 142 acres of land and are in a process of signing contracts with a Chinese company for the transport vehicles in the 1 ton range.”