Wednesday, June 24, 2015

BWCCI demands a women friendly environment in all borders to increase the cross border trade for women entrepreneurs

BWCCI  organized a national seminar on 9th June 2015, in cooperation with The Asia Foundation and South Asia Women’s Entrepreneurship Symposium under the project “Promoting Women Entrepreneurship through Improving Regional Cooperation”. The Seminar was held with the presence of the Chief guest Honorable Minister H.E. Mr. Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali, MP, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, Mr. Abdul Matlub Ahmad, President of FBCCI as special guest, Mr. Hasan M Mazumdar, Country representative, The Asia Foundation as the guest of honor, Mr. Bijay Selvaraj, First Secretary, the Indian High Commission to Bangladesh, H.E. Aum Pema Choden, Ambassador of Bhutan Embassy Dhaka, Ms. Farah Farooq, Commercial Counselor, High Commission of Pakistan, Country Representative of UNHCR as distinguished guests. Ms. Selima Ahmad, President of BWCCI chaired over the program. Various stakeholders including representatives from The Asia Foundation, USAID, UN Women,  Asian Development bank, UNFPA, different Banks, different national and international NGO’s, women activists, representatives from electronic and print media, general members and directors of BWCCI were also present in the event.

In her speech BWCCI President Ms. Selima Ahmad said that women entrepreneurs are the emerging group for business growth as well as contributor to national economy, It is essential to concentrate more to expedite implementation of women friendly policies to ensure access to cross border trade addressing access to markets, strengthening cross border networking among business and trade associations for market information and product information and increasing capacity building opportunities related to business skills, access to finance and business promotion.

 She shared the main obstacles for cross border trade:
  • Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) has fixed to carry products equivalent to US$ 500 while attending cross border fairs which is not at all sufficient amount,
  • EPB provides a letter of certification to women entrepreneurs which have no importance to the customs officers.
  • There are some syndicate who are leading the corruption in borderpoor infrastructure at borders and ports
  • Custom officials routinely exert their power to influence the tariff value 

On behalf of all women entrepreneurs she demanded:
  • 50 % discount on stalls and pavilions for women entrepreneurs in DITF.
  • Establishment of a help desk and a Focal person for women entrepreneurs at both sides of borders.
  • Improvement in customs inspection, assessment and control procedures.
  • Computerization and automation of trade procedures.
  • Timely publication and dissemination of Information on custom rules, import and export regulation to women entrepreneurs.
  • Simplification of custom’s documentation. 
  • Capacity building in Ports and Customs

BWCCI’s members also shared that they are continuously facing harassment and trouble for crossing the border. In spite of having legal and authorized documents, legal letter from EPB, invoices for products, they are also facing problems and harassments. They have to give bribe in every step in both side border. 

Mr. Abdul Matlub Ahmad, President, FBCCI, Special Guest of the event praised the BWCCI’s initiatives on cross border trade. He stated that regional connectivity and networking is very important to increase the cross border trade. He also added that visa problem need to be reduce to increase the cross border trade. He demanded to provide 5 years multiple visas from Indian High Commission to Bangladesh for women entrepreneurs. He assured that from now they will confirm the women entrepreneurs’ participation in their business delegation team by FBCCI. 

Speaking as the chief guest Honorable Minister H.E. Mr. Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali, MP, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, said that BWCCI has taken a very good initiative which is a burning issue for women entrepreneurs whom are related to foreign trade. He specially requested to the representative of Indian High Commission and FBCCI to take rapid action to reduce the obstacles which women entrepreneurs are facing during cross border trade.  He also suggested submitting the challenges and obstacles of the borders in written form to the EPB and the ministry of foreign affairs so that they can sit together with BWCCI to reduce the challenges for women entrepreneurs. He requested to the representative from Indian High Commission to take necessary initiative to assign female Customs Officer at their border. He committed that 30% woman entrepreneur’s participation in the business delegation team will be assured by 2021.

Mr. Bijay Selvaraj, First Secretary, the Indian High Commission to Bangladesh said that they will take care of the dissimilarities in the border at Indian side. They will assign Female Custom Officer at their border for the women entrepreneurs. They are now processing 1 year multiple visa for business purpose.

BWCCI organized an award giving ceremony on 10th June 2015, entitled “BWCCI Progressive Award 2014” in cooperation with Grameenphone Limited

Bangladesh Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BWCCI) organized an award giving ceremony on 10th June 2015, entitled “BWCCI Progressive Award 2014” in cooperation with Grameenphone Limited  at Krishibid Institution Bangladesh, KIB auditoriam, Dhaka. The program was held with the presence of Mr.Tofael Ahmed, Honorable Minister, Ministry of Commerce, and Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh as chief guest. Mr.Abdul Matlub Ahmad, President,FBCCI as special guest and Mr. Mahmood Hossain, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer participated at the event as guests of honor. Ms. Selima Ahmad, president of Bangladesh Women Chamber of Commerce & Industry chaired the program while Ms. Sangita Ahmed, former president of Bangladesh Women Chamber of Commerce & Industry, senior vice president and convener of this award program Ms. Munmun Rahman also were present.
In addition to this, 500 women entrepreneurs from all over the country, donor representatives, bank personnel, media representatives, civil society people and directors of BWCCI Board were also present in the program.
This year 7 women entrepreneurs from 7 divisions who are also BWCCI members are awarded for their significant achievement in business; they were Maksuda  Khatun from Barisal division, Nurun Nahar from Chittagong division, Shahida Parvin from Dhaka division,  Kaniz Sultana from Khulna division, Asma-Ul-Husna from Rangpur division, Mst. Hosna Begum from Rajshahi division and Reshma Sharmin Juthi from Sylhet division. With them, 2 media representatives also received award this year for their contributions towards women entrepreneurship development in the country who are –Sima Bhowmik, Staff Reporter from Jamuna Television in electronic media category and Kamrun Nahar, staff reporter from the Financial Express in print media category. Honorable industries minister Mr. Tofael Ahmed handed over the awards to the winners which included a trophy, a certificate and prize money of Tk 25,000.
Giving her speech BWCCI’s President Ms. Selima Ahmad said that half of the country’s population is women who are contributing significantly to the whole development; but they are also the main victims of violence and discriminations in the society. She said though despite all hurdles number of women entrepreneurs is increasing but they are failing to move forward due to proper financial and policy support. She requested the Government to give 50% discount on stalls in Dhaka International Trade Fairs to women entrepreneurs. She also said that women development policy of Bangladesh is an example to others in the world. She demanded to arrange ICT trainings for 5000 women per year which will help our women to be more successful in their businesses. She also requested to include women entrepreneurs in business delegation.

Congratulating all the winners, commerce minister said that women as entrepreneurs have established their position in the areas of women development. Mentioning that BWCCI’s initiative to inspire women entrepreneurs through progressive award is indeed praiseworthy, he said that BWCCI is making great contribution in bringing women economic empowerment in the country. He said to discount 50% on stall/pavilion fee in DITF for women entrepreneurs, He mentioned that ICT trainings should be provided to women entrepreneurs. He also informed that by 2021 33% member of parliament will be women.
Special guest Mr.Abdul Matlub Ahmad, President, FBCCI and Chairman of Nitol Niloy Group assured in his speech to help BWCCI in all respects. Along with Mr. Mahmood Hossain, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, Grameenphone Ltd and BWCCI board members  also delivered their valuable speeches and committed to continue their support in promoting women entrepreneurship.