Top 20 Profitable Sectors for Investment in Bangladesh
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Business dynamics change over decades, existing sectors meet their saturation and newer potential sectors come up. Investors have to untapped emerging sector to invest and gain from its growth opportunity. The longer the growth curve means the longer the entrepreneurial gain. Intellectual businessmen usually diversify their businesses to enjoy growth in their maximum ventures. The maturity of business provides signals for taking preparation for the decline. Socioeconomic conditions, changing reality of the economy, people’s expectations, cultural weave, and finally market demand determine the potentiality of a sector/product line.
In the case of Bangladesh, the economy is transforming from agriculture dependency into an industrial dominancy situation. In such a condition industrial infrastructure like roads, transportation, waterways, airways, electricity, gas, capital machinery, skilled labor, managers, engineers, technicians, fright-forwarders, innovative business ideas, science, and technological superiority, enabled business environment through enacting entrepreneurial friendly policy regime, smooth handling of international trade, international trade relations, so on and so forth.
Top 20 Profitable Sectors for Investment in Bangladesh:
There are around 80,000 primary schools and 17,000 high schools enrolling 7.0 million students. Besides, there are over 1200 intermediate colleges, 38 public universities, and 91 private universities in Bangladesh. The existing setup of the education institutes is producing graduates are producing in hundreds of disciplines every year. But a little number of these disciplines have hardly a connection with the professional arena. Professional linkage with the existing curriculums has to be established. Newer discipline has to be introduced as per the demand of the business sectors.
Over 5% of the population of Bangladesh is unemployed the scenario of unemployed graduates is more dangerous. A recent report stated that about 47% of graduates are unemployed in Bangladesh. About 2 million new job seekers are entering the job market each year. This is how the unemployment queue is becoming longer day by day. This is because existing curriculums have far linkage with the demand of growing business sectors of Bangladesh. In this scenario, public and private sector investment should be increased for drafting a new curriculum as per demands of the private sector job fields to produce skilled manpower as per sector’s demand.
On the other hand, there are about 7 million Bangladeshi workers employed overseas now. They contributed about USD 15.27 billion in remittances in the year 2015. Most of these overseas migrants are less skilled or unskilled. As a result, they are drawing in measurable rates / very low wages compare to the Indian or Pakistani overseas employees. Training these overseas workers in a specific trade with an international standard curriculum could give a hundred times more remittance to Bangladesh.
Therefore investing in manpower capacity building both in higher education and in short-term trade/certificate courses with demand-driven curriculum could be one of the most profitable and result-worthy businesses in the coming days.
2. Overseas Employment:
Overseas employment or manpower export is one of the most contributory sectors to Bangladesh’s economy. At the same time, we have an enormous supply of manpower in hand to export in the coming days. Therefore this sector deserves more attention for both public and private sector investment. The contribution of the overseas employment sector in the last ten years could be shown below:
Table – 1: Overseas Employment and Remittance Trend.
|Year||Total Overseas Employment||Total Remittance in million USD|
Source: Bureau of Manpower Employment and Training (2016).
Overseas Employment and Remittance from 1976 to 2016.
From table – 1 we could state that, the number of overseas employment is decreasing over time though the remittance yearning is increasing. But why the number of overseas employment is decreasing could be studied further. I the number could be increased over time then this sector could be the highest foreign currency earning sector for Bangladesh.
Currently, Bangladesh is exporting mostly workers. But with 47% unemployed graduates Bangladesh could think of professional exports as well. Public and private sector investment/initiative is needed to start exporting professionals like doctors, engineers, managers, nurses, etc. In such cases, a formal working environment has to be ensured through government-to-government negotiation.
Existing manpower recruitment agencies/travel agencies have to be modernized as HR consulting firms to deal with the higher educated people. Therefore overseas employment of professionals could be a very profitable as well as contributory sector for Bangladesh.
3. Energy Sector:
Earning self-sufficiency in the energy sector including electricity, gas, and other alternative sources is a prerequisite for industrial development. Electricity plays a vital role in economic development and increasing the standard of living of the mass people. At present, Bangladesh has installations with a capacity generating 13,095 Megawatt. Out of installed capacity actual production varied from 7,549 to 8,777 Megawatt, on December 07, 2016.
In Bangladesh, exhaustible own source natural gas and imported source like oil are the main sources of generation of energy. A hydroelectric generation once provided a great deal of electricity worldwide. It was also the main source during the Pakistani days and early days of Bangladesh. The shift to fossil fuels was a choice made on the basis of their temporary abundance and relatively low cost once technology made it possible for developed countries to drill and mine for those.
According to the Power System Master Plan 2010 of the government of Bangladesh it is forecasted that the demand for electricity would be as follows:
Table – 2: Forecasting about demands and supply of electricity.
|Generation (GWH)||Peak Demand
|Generation (GWH)||Peak Demand
Source: Power System Master Plan 2010, Government of Bangladesh.
Government alone could not organize resources for such a big amount of investment required to meet up the above target. Therefore power sector is opened up for private sector investment in electricity generation. This could be a lucrative sector for investment in the upcoming days.
Renewable energy sources wind, water, biomass, and solar power could offer a great amount of electricity to meet up this huge demand.
4. Agro-processing Sector:
Producing new products by processing (using technology or chemicals) agricultural crops is known as agro-processing. In another sentence, we could state that it is the techno-economic method for producing new products usable for people from the agricultural crops by using machines and applying technology for value addition. The produced new products are named agro-processed products. Agro-processing sector deals with agro-processed products like food, dairy, fish, fuel, feed, etc. We deal in this report with the agro-processed products which are generally used by people as food. The association, Bangladesh Agro-Processors’ Association (BAPA) is working with those who deal with agro-processed food products.
In recent years, the entrepreneurs of the agro-processing sector have been able to produce a good number of processed products from the chiefly available local raw materials. Agro-processed products are juice, drinks, biscuit, bread, chanachur, prepared nuts, fried peanuts, potato products- crackers, flakes, chips, starch, etc. rice, flour, flattened and puffed rice, confectionery goods, all kinds of spices, jam-jelly, marmalade, pickles, chutney, all kinds of sauces, vermicelli, rose water, nodules, extruded snacks, fruit bar, candy, bubble gum, loly-pop, kasundi, ruti, parata, purl, spring roll, singara, luchi, samusa, chatpati, chitoi-pitha, molasses, syrup, vinegar of sugarcane and date-juice, honey, cigarettes, biri, jarda, tea, mustard oil, coconut oil, milk powder, fresh milk, mineral water, flavored water, flavored milk, ghee, sweets, active drinks, lemon drinks, khichuri mix, chicken spices, tehari mix, chicken biryani, mutton biryani, jackfruit pickle, oil from rice polishing, vegetable juice, etc.
The sector accounts for over 22% of all manufacturing production and employs about 20% of the labor force. All food processing enterprises account for 2% of the national GDP. Bangladesh Agro‐processors Association (BAPA) has now 370 members who are engaged in manufacturing, processing and exporting the products of this emerging sector.
From BAPA’s record, in 2011-12, the export was US$ 86.91 million and in 2012-13 the same was US$ 101.49 million. But in 2013-14 the export stood at nearly US$ 153.50 million. At present 100 types of processed food products are exported to nearly 104 countries, which shows the competitive strength of the agro-processing sector.
Major importing countries of Bangladeshi agro-processing products are the UAE, KSA, India, UK, USA, Bhutan, Malaysia, Kuwait, Singapore, Qatar, Somalia land, Nepal, Angola, Djibouti, Australia, Bahrain, Ghana, Senegal, Canada, Guinea Bissau, South Africa, Mauritania, Italy, Jordan, Belgium, Liberia, Maldives, Congo, China, Nigeria, Mayotte, Benin, Oman, Japan, Sierra Leone, Cyprus, Ivory Coast, Gambia, Burkina Faso, Sweden, Ecuador, Kenya, Loam Togo, Greece, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Korea, Germany, Iran, Cambodia, Sudan, Hong Kong, Spain, and Mauritius, etc.
Only a few products are processed by using primary technologies or processes. A large number of Bangladeshi agricultural crops are yet to be processed and commercialized. There is a great cope to diversify the agro-processed sector having market demands at home and abroad. Therefore this sector deserves more investment and further diversification.
5. Food Processing Sector:
Food processing is one of the largest agro-processing sub-sectors in Bangladesh. Bangladesh has a well-established food processing sector, which heavily relies on agricultural production. The sector accounts for 22% of total manufactured products, 20% of total labor forces, and 5% of total GDP equal to around USD 4.48 billion. The main focus of this sector is on domestic demand. The export of processed food products is limited and mainly targeted ethnic products, not mainstream international markets. Besides scrimp’s main products being agriculturally based as oils and bakeries, but also fishery plays an important role.
Major subsectors of Bangladeshi processed food are Edible oil, Fisheries, Bakery products, Grain milling, Tea and Soft Drinks, Sugar Molasses, Dairy products, Fruits and vegetables, and other food products, etc. Edible oil is the largest subsector accounting for 39% of the processed food sector followed by Fisheries, Bakery, Tea, Soft drinks,s, etc. The composition of the Bangladeshi processed food sector is as follows:
Source: Udenrigsministeriet, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark (Undated). Food Processing in Bangladesh.
There are nearly 700 processed food manufacturing enterprises in Bangladesh including brands like Teer, Olympia, Milk Vita, Fresh, 7Up, Bombay, Ahmed, Bengal, Pran, Isphahani, and Igloo. The processed food sector has grown 22% during the last 3 years and the growth is expected to continue as the industry is considered the most potential growth industry in Bangladesh.
From BAPA’s record, in 2011-12, the export was 86.91 mill US$ and in 2012-13 the same was USD 101.49 million. But in 2013-14 the export stood at nearly USD 153.50 million. At present 100 types of processed food products are exported to nearly 104 countries, which shows the competitive strength of our growing sector.
Major Countries for Exports: UAE, KSA, India, UK, USA, Bhutan, Malaysia, Kuwait, Singapore, Qatar, Somalia land, Nepal, Angola, Djibouti, Australia, Bahrain, Ghana, Senegal, Canada, Guinea Bissau, South Africa, Mauritania, Italy, Jordan, Belgium, Liberia, Maldives, Congo, China, Nigeria, Mayotte, Benin, Oman, Japan, Sierra Leone, Cyprus, Ivory Coast, Gambia, Burkina Faso, Sweden, Ecuador, Kenya, Loam Togo, Greece, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Korea, Germany, Iran, Cambodia, Sudan, Hong Kong, Spain, Mauritius, etc.
Major Exported Products: Juice, Drinks, Puffed Rice, Snacks, Spices, Chanachur, Biscuits, Mustard Oil, Pickles, Frozen Vegetables, Semai, Potato Crackers, Nuts, Jam-jelly, Candy, Meat, Mango Bars, Molasses, and Flattened Rice.
Till now export of this sectoral product goes to the non-resident Bangladeshi communities living abroad. But it has tremendous potential to create demand among foreign buyers if the companies could achieve international standard certification like ISO, HACCP FSMS etc. certifications. If Bangladeshi processed food could enter foreign markets then the export amount will be increased a hundred times more. So it is a potential sector to invest in and get an optimum return out of it.
6. Infrastructure Development
Infrastructure is an essential sector for the development of a country. Infrastructure can be divided into three major groups.
- Ports and Shipping
- Water Supply, Sanitation
In Bangladesh, transportation has three broader sub-categories namely road, railway, air, and waterways. Road transportation has developed tremendously since independence. From about 1000 km of the pucca road at that time the country has now over 50,000 km of pucca road. International trade has increased many folds and there is traffic congestion not only in Dhaka and Chittagong City, but it is also frequently experienced on Dhaka-Chittagong Highway. On an urgent basis, Dhaka Chittagong highway needs to be upgraded to a four-time highway. Three government agencies are involved in road transport development activities. These are the Roads and Highways Department, Bangladesh Bridge Authority, and Local Government Engineering Department (LGED).
There were 97 projects with a total allocation of Tk. 11378 crore have been undertaken under RHD. The mega project construction of Padma Multipurpose Bridge with a total investment plan of Tk.10162 crore will start within this financial year under Bangladesh Bridge Authority. LGED has five projects worth Tk.1683 crore for the construction and development of rural roads.
The railway once used to be the principal mode of transport in all parts of the country except the Barisal Division. Since the 1980s there is virtually no donor-assisted development activity. For causes beyond imagination, this very pro-people mode of the transportation system has continuously been neglected. Recently the interest of people has increased in this mode of transport. The railway is running on a meager budgetary allocation. There are 20 projects in the current fiscal year worth Tk. 7319 crore.
A review of the projects shows that of the 20 projects only one project is financed by World Bank. This project is related to the development of export infrastructure. The budget is Tk. 1140 crore out of which 850 crore is foreign exchange part. Of the projects, only two are construction works relating to enhancing the physical capacity of the movement of trains. These two are
- Construction of double line track between Laksam and Chinki Astana.
- Construction of a double line between Tongi and Bhairabbazar.
Other projects are either related to procurement, rehabilitation, or consultancy. Of the 20 projects 6 have financial support from JBIC;
Traditionally water transport was the main mode of transportation in Bangladesh. Waterway still provides the cheapest transportation for both passengers and goods. Barriers created by constructing unplanned roads and bridges and encroachment of rivers have reduced the total waterways drastically activities in the Inland Water Transport system are managed by Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) and Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Corporation (BIWTC). Rivers or their tributaries following beside the cities, particularly Dhaka and Chittagong have been forced to become narrow in width and water pollution increased to a level beyond imagination. The government has taken up plans to revive the rivers through the demolition of illegal structures.
There were 4 projects with a total budgetary allocation of Tk. 351 crore in BIWTA. Out of the projects of BIWTA and BIWTC only one project as project aid from South Korea. The negligible number of projects and the minimum amount of budgetary allocation indicates that the waterways subsector is a neglected one.
Riverways have been seriously affected due to siltation. To the lack of dredging river erosion has become serious in some areas of the country. The government has taken up a massive plan to dredge rivers and the planned budget of Tk. 11000 crore. In the water sector, this activity will be a continuous one. Therefore there will be continuous investment in this subsector.
Fatal accidents take place almost every year in river transportation. There is a need to minimize the number of accidents. A very inhuman situation is that in many cases the dead bodies cannot be rescued. Rescuer operations are abandoned quite often. There is no mention of this horrible situation in the development planning document of the Government. There should be projects on the following:
- Monitoring the load factor of launches before departure.
- Monitoring fitness throughout the year.
- Improving Telecommunications System of river vehicles.
- Realistically strengthening the rescue operations after accidents.
- Improving Research & Development activities of both BIWT & BIWTC.
Maintaining the river transport system operational is to the benefit of the economy of Bangladesh because it is a cheap mode of transportation.
Bangladesh can be reached by air from any part of the world. The national flag carrier Biman of Bangladesh flies to 26 international and 8 domestic destinations . Biman Bangladesh airlines connected Dhaka with 27 major cities of the world. They are- London, Muscat, Dhahran, Baghdad, Kuwait, Yangon, Bangkok, Mumbai, Calcutta, Doha, Dubai, Jeddah, Karachi, Kathmandu, Kuala Lumpur, Abu Dhabi, Amsterdam, Athens, Rome, Tripoli, Tokyo, Singapore, Bahrain, Frankfurt, Ho Chi Minh City, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Sarjah, Seoul, Riyadh, and Delhi. Biman, Bangladesh Airlines also connected Dhaka with major cities of Bangladesh,
Chittagong, Jessore, Cox’s Bazar, Rajshahi Saidpur, and Sylhet in its 7 domestic routes. There is a total of 11 airports in Bangladesh. These are Dhaka, Barisal, and Chittagong. Comilla, Cox’s Bazar, Ishurdi, Jessore, Rajshahi, Syedpur, Sylhet, and Thakurgaon. The airports at Dhaka, Chittagong, and Sylhet are international. Besides Biman, Air cargo and Short Take-off and Landing (STOL) services have been opened to the private sector by the government.
Seaport is essential for international trade. Bangladesh is fortunate enough to have two seaports. International trade has increased has tremendously increased in Chittagong Port. The movement of ships through Mongla Port did not increase significantly. The recent regional understanding to use Chittagong and Mongla Ports for the movements of goods to seven eastern states of India and the two SAARC countries Nepal and Bhutan will necessitate massive expansion of the two seaports.
Bangladesh has land with India and Mairman through land ports. There are 17 land ports in Bangladesh. These are the Benapole, Teknaf, Banglabandha, Sonamasjid, Nakugaon, Bilonia, Hilli, Darshana, Birol, Burimari, Tamabil, Haluaghat, Akhaura, Bibirbazar, Bhomra, Gobrakora & Karaitoli land ports. Making land ports functional needs larger investment by the public or private sector.
7. Hospitals and clinics
The hospital and clinic service sector in Bangladesh is one of the promising sectors of Bangladesh. Local demand is much higher than that of the available supply. Healthcare is available through both the public sector and private sectors. Private hospitals, clinics, and diagnostic centers are run according to a 1982 ordinance. There are more than 8,000 registered private hospitals, clinics, and diagnostic centers in the country. There are 583 government hospitals and 2,501 registered non-government hospitals. There are also many unregistered private hospitals in the country. The total number of beds in the registered private hospitals and clinics is 42,237. Among the 8 divisions, Dhaka division has the highest number of tertiary hospitals followed by Rajshahi with 26 such healthcare facilities. The Government of Bangladesh encourages foreign companies to partner with local companies for producing drugs, especially high-tech and specialized products.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO 2014), only about 3.7% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is spent on health services through both public and private sector expenditures. Life expectancy in Bangladesh is now nearly 70, whereas both India and Pakistan have 65. Although the percentage of GDP is being spent on the healthcare sector is relatively higher than it used to be but it is a very small amount compared to developed countries which spend 8 to 12% of GDP. The total government contribution to health expenditure is even lower at 7.8%. However, government expenditure on health is only about 35.3% of the total health expenditure, and the rest 64.7% out-of-pocket (OOP) expenses. Inequity, therefore, is a serious problem affecting the healthcare system. There is significant room for market expansion as the country enters lower-middle income status. The fact that more than two-thirds of total health expenditure is out-of-pocket that is privately financed indicates that people are willing to pay for better healthcare.
- Public Sector Hospitals:
There are 53 District Hospitals with 7,850-bed facilities, 11 General Hospital with 1,350 beds, 5 infectious disease hospitals with 180 beds, 22 Medical / dental college hospitals with 11,960 beds, 7 Specialized hospitals with 2,330 beds, and 1 medical university with 1500 beds.
- Private Sector Hospitals:
The private sector can be grouped into two main categories. First, the organized private sector (both for-profit and nonprofit) includes qualified practitioners of different systems of medicine. Second, the private informal sector, which consists of providers practicing in rural areas not have any formal qualifications such as untrained allopaths, homeopaths, kobiraj. According to Asia Pacific Observatory on Public Health Systems and Policies, there are 2,983 private hospitals and clinics registered as of 2013. The total number of beds provided by the private sector is 45,485 (as of 2013).
- Diagnostic Centers:
Along with private clinics and hospitals, the number of diagnostic centers in the private sector is growing. In 2012, approximately 5,122 laboratories and other diagnostic centers were registered with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW, 2012). In the private for-profit sector, there are some large diagnostic centers in the cities (Lab Aid, Ibn Sina, Popular, and Medinova) providing laboratory and specialized radiological tests. Some of these facilities maintain a high standard.
- Donors, NGOs, and Professional Groups:
Bangladesh is known worldwide for having one of the most dynamic NGO sectors, with 2,471 NGOs registered with the NGO Affairs Bureau working in the population, health, and nutrition sectors (as of 2014). NGOs have been active in health promotion and prevention activities, particularly at the community level, and in family planning, and maternal and child health areas.
All the above-mentioned hospitals and clinics are mainly located in the capital city Dhaka, and other divisional cities in Bangladesh. Most of the district cities have healthcare facilities but without emergency / ICU facilities. There is a scope to establish modern hospital facilities at the district level with ICU facilities. Besides, there is a demand for modern diagnostic facilities at Upazila levels as well. There is only one child hospital located in Dhaka for serving the needs of the whole country. Similarly, other specialized hospitals are mainly located in Dhaka. Therefore at least divisional towns are deserving specialized hospital facilities either by the public sector or private sector investors.
8. Telecommunication Sector
The liberalization of Bangladesh’s telecommunications sector began with small steps in 1989 with the issuance of a license to a private operator for the provision of inter alia cellular mobile services to compete with Bangladesh Telegraph and Telephone Board (BTTB), the previous monopoly provider of telecommunications services within Bangladesh. Significant changes in the number of fixed and mobile services deployed in Bangladesh occurred in the late 1990s and the number of services in operation has subsequently grown exponentially in the past five years.
The incentives both from the government and public sectors have helped the industry grow and it is now one of the biggest industries in Bangladesh. As a populous country, its huge market has attracted many foreign investors. The major milestones of Bangladesh’s telecommunication sector are:
Table – 3: Milestones of Bangladesh telecommunication sector.
|1853||Telegraph branch under Posts and Telegraph Department, British India.|
|1971||Reconstructed as Bangladesh Telegraph and Telephone Department under the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications.|
|1975||Reconstructed as Telegraph and Telephone Board.|
|1979||Reconstructed as Bangladesh Telegraph and Telephone Board (BTTB) with the right to issue licenses for telecom and wireless services.|
|1981||Digital Telex Exchange in Bangladesh.|
|1983||Automatic Digital ITX started in Dhaka.|
|1985||Coin box Telephone service was introduced in Bangladesh by BTTB.|
|1989||GENTEX Telegraph messaging service introduced in Bangladesh.|
|1989||Bangladesh Rural Telecom Authority got a license to operate exchanges in 200 upazila.|
|1989||Sheba Telecom got the license to operate an exchange is 199 upazila.|
|1989||Cellular mobile phone companies Pacific Bangladesh Telephone Limited and Bangladesh Telecom got licenses.|
|1995||Card Telephone service was introduced in Bangladesh by BTTB and TSS.|
|1995||The regulatory power of BTTB was transferred to Ministry (MoPT).|
|1995||2nd and 3rd ITX was installed in Dhaka.|
|1996||GrameenPhone got a cellular mobile Telephone license.|
|1996||Telecom Malaysia International Bangladesh got a cellular mobile license.|
|2000||Global Telecom Service (GTS) Telex Exchange venture with British Telecom.|
|2001||Telecommunication Act, to establish Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC).|
|2004||Teletalk cellular mobile launched.|
|2005||Egypt-based Orascom acquired Sheba Telecom|
|2006||NGN was introduced in BTTB.|
|2008||BTTB converted into Bangladesh Telecommunications Company Limited (BTCL) with 100% shares owned by Government. The Submarine Cable Project transformed into Bangladesh Submarine Cable Company Limited (BSCCL)|
|2008||Japanese NTT DoCoMo bought a 30 percent stake in Aktel|
|2009||Bharti Airtel acquired a 70 percent stake in Warid Telecom|
|2009||Internet Protocol Telephony Service Provider (IPTSP) Operators launched.|
|2010||Aktel rebranded to Robi Axiata Limited|
|2012||3G mobile service is introduced by state-owned Teletalk in October.|
|2013||3G auction held for private companies|
|2014||64 districts covered with 3G by Grameenphone, Banglalink, and Robi|
Source: Tele Info (2016). History of Telecom Industry in Bangladesh. The link is http://tele.info-bd.com/telecommunications-in-bangladesh cited on November 11, 2016
Currently, there are six mobile operators in Bangladesh with Grameenphone (GP) as the market leader with 42% share of a total of 126.87 million (BTRC June ‘15). Among other operators, Banglalink has 26%, Robi 22%, Airtel 7%, Teletalk 2%, and Citicell 1% of the market share.
Till now data service is available at town levels only. Speed in most places is very slow due to poor infrastructure. Call rate and data package both are expensive in Bangladesh. On the other hand, Bangladesh is entering into the global outsourcing market with its services providing professionals. High-speed internet connectivity has to be ensured to support the outsourcing sector. Therefore there is a need for further investment in Bangladesh’s telecommunication sector. It could be a backward linkage sector for the outsourcing sector.
9. Pharmaceuticals sector
Pharmaceutical is one of the SME Booster Sectors having the special attention of policymakers due to its growth potential. In the 1970s three fourth of the pharmaceutical industry was dominated by multinational companies. Local pharmaceutical companies started initiation in the 1980s and have grown in the last two decades at a considerable rate. The National Drug Policy (NDP) in 1982 and 2005 has had a major impact on the development and growth of the Bangladesh pharmaceutical sector of Bangladesh.
The Bangladeshi pharmaceutical industry is dominated by local manufacturers. Local vs. multinational companies has 97% vs. 3% market shares. The top ten market leaders of the Bangladeshi pharmaceuticals sector are local companies. Square and Incepta pharma has 30% of local market shares. The size of the retail market reached BDT 84.0 billion (US$ 1.136 billion) in 2011 based on IMS health Bangladesh (Haroon, 2012). The report additionally stated that retail sales in the domestic market achieved 23.59% growth in 2011 which is following 23.8% and 16.8% growth in 2010 and 2009 respectively. This industry has an annual growth rate of 10.2% during the fiscal year 2002. The values fell by 4.3% in 2003. The lower growth rate shown in 2003 and 2004 is largely because of the country’s economic recession. Again the growth rate increased by 9% in 2005. The growth rate in 2005 was 17.5%. In recent times the growth rate has literally doubled which is 23.59% in 2011.
According to the Directorate General of Drug Administration (DGDA), there are currently 200 active allopathic companies in Bangladesh. About 22,000 brands of drugs are sold which cover 1500 types of medication. There are 1495 wholesale drug license holders and about 37700 retail drug license holders. The industry meets 98% of the demand for medication in the country and can be considered to be self-sufficient.
The sector employs 1, 15,000 workers and between 2013 and 2014, the growth stood at around 11.37%. According to IMS Health, annual pharmaceutical sales in the local market may reach BDT 160 billion in 2018.
According to IMS Health, the top 10 companies hold 68.5% market share, the top 20 hold 85.73%, and the top 31 hold 94.1%, while the remaining 169 companies shared 5.9% among them. Square Pharmaceuticals led the industry with a market share of 19.21%. Incepta and Beximco took 2nd and 3rd positions with market shares of 10.42% and 8.47% respectively.
Currently, formulations are exported to 107 countries around the world. The major destinations for Bangladeshi medicines are Germany, the USA, France, Italy, the UK, Canada, Netherlands, Denmark, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and Kenya, while nearly 50 countries import Bangladeshi medicines regularly. The growth in exports has averaged over 10% from 2010 to 2014. In 2015, the exports were over $ 41.17 million. Pharmaceutical companies are trying to export to regulated, unregulated, and moderately regulated markets.
10. Tourism and Hospitability
Bangladesh has great tourism potential. It is potential in terms of continuous economic growth, strategic location for regional connectivity, enriched natural and historical beauty, diversified landscape including plain lands, hills, rivers, and sea sights, etc. It has green plain land, a medium-height hilly range with evergreen trees, sandy sea beaches, and the largest mangrove forest in its beauty basket. With such land diversity, it has ethnic diversity of people, religious varieties, cultural differences, and different lifestyles of the people.
The direct contribution of tourism to Bangladesh’s GDP was 2.2 percent in 2014, which is expected to grow to about 4.7 percent by 2024 according to the projection of WTTC. This level puts Bangladesh at a rank of 165, whereas countries like Thailand and Malaysia are ranked at 35 and 41, and neighboring India is ranked at 135. The total contributions of the tourism sector to GDP for the abovementioned countries are respectively – Thailand (20.2 percent of GDP); Malaysia (16.6 percent of GDP) and India (6.2 percent of GDP.) These statistics suggest that Bangladesh needs to improve its performance significantly over the medium term to attain the target achieved by India.
Similarly, the tourism sector has so far generated about 3 million jobs in 2014 and is projected to generate up to 4 million jobs by 2024. Thus the contribution of the tourism sector to total employment is around 4 percent and according to the WTTC projections, it may reach 4.3 by 2024. The projections, however, are not very promising as it suggests only a 0.3 percent increase in employment generation over the next 10 years time period.
Bangladesh’s beauty basket contains beautiful landscapes like Bisanakandi at Sylhet, Sangu River at Thanchi in Bandarban, tea gardens in Srimongol, Bhawal National Park in Gazipur, Himchari National Park in Cox’s Bazar, Kaptai National Park in the Chittagong Hill Tracts, Lawachara National Park in Moulavibazar, etc. Its archeological excellence includes Lalbagh Fort in Dhaka, Ahsan Manzil in Dhaka, Shalbon Bihar in Kotbari, Comilla, the War Cemetery in Moynamati, Comilla, Mahasthangarh in Bogra, Shat Gombuj Mosque in Bagherhat, Tajhat Palace in Rangpur, Paharpur Bihar in Naogan, Kantoji Temple in Dinajpur, Puthia Palace in Rajshahi, and Suna Mosque in Chapai Nawabgaonj, etc. Beautiful sea beaches like Cox’s Bazar Sea Beach, Patenga Sea Beach in Chittagong, Teknaf Sea Beach in Cox’s Bazar, Saint Martin’s sea beach in Cox’s Bazar, Kuakata Sea Beach in Patuakhali, etc.
Bangladesh is having diversified and rich religious attractions like Mazar of Hazrat Shah Jalal (Rh.) and Shah Poran (Rh.) in Sylhet, Shah Mostafa (Rh.) in Moulvibazar, Khan Jahan Ali (Rh.) in Bagherhat, Shah Mokhdum (Rh.) in Rajshahi, Baro Awlia in Chittagong, etc. All of these are considered holy places by the Muslim community. Bangladesh is also home to religious heritages of the Hindu community like Dhakeshwari Temple in Dhaka, Joy Kali Temple in Dhaka, Kantaji Temple in Dinajpur, Chandranath Temple in Chittagong, Dhamrai Jagannath Roth in Dhamrai, Boro Kali Bari Temple in Mymensingh, Comilla Jagannath Temple in Comilla, Adinath Temple, Moheshkhali, Cox’s Bazar and Bhabanipur Shaktipeethin Bogra, etc. There are places in Bangladesh carrying memories of the famous Buddhist Saint Atish Dipankar and many more.
Bangladesh could easily attract more local and foreign tourists if transportation, housing, and security system could be improved in the tourist spots. Private sector investment could play a vital role in the development of tourism in Bangladesh if government policy inspires private investors to do so.
11. Organic Fertilizer, Seeds, Insecticides
For the production of crops fertilizer, seeds, and insecticides are important elements. The country depends heavily on the use of chemical fertilizers for its agriculture. The use of mega granules of urea (guti-urea) has optimized the efficiency of the use of fertilizers.
There is also some use of organic fertilizer. There is no reliable data available on the use of organic fertilizer in agriculture in Bangladesh. To make a balance in the production of health hazard-free crops some NGOs are encouraging entrepreneurs to produce organic fertilizer through the use of cow dung, water-hyacinth, etc. However, this can be the subject of another research activity.
Seed is the main input of agricultural production. The yield level of a crop depends on the quality of the seed. Preservation of seeds has been an age-old practice in Bangladesh. Bangladesh Agriculture Development Corporation (BADC) has played a significant role in popularizing the systematic production and storage of seeds. There are seed multiplication farms and contract rowers through whom BADC participates in seed production. The seeds are usually paddy, wheat, potato, jute, oil seed, pulse, maize, and vegetables. The farmers can enhance their income by participating in the production of seeds.
All agricultural crops are attacked by diseases and pests of different types. Paddy is attacked by the black bugs, fruits fly attack jackfruit, guava, tomato, and mango is attacked by bats, cabbage and vegetables are attacked by diamondback moth, and rats attack almost all types of crops. To protect the growing crops and vegetables farmers use different type’s insecticides. The use of insecticides beyond the limit is harmful to public health. Almost all the insecticides are imported from abroad.
Agricultural scientists have found out that all insects that are seen in a farm or a garden are harmful, some are friendly to the crop and vegetables and some are harmful. To protect the crop from the attack of pests agricultural scientists have developed Integrated Pest Management (IPM) methods. In Bangladesh, the Directorate of Agriculture Extension (DAE) has been implementing progress on IPM. There can be more investment in the research and development of IPM. The government’s import policy allows for the import of insecticides and the imports have to be declared to DAE and need to be used according to Pesticides Rules, 1985.
12. Consultancy and Business Support Service
Consultancy is an industry in developed and advanced developing economies. The organization seeks the services of consultants both during strong growth of the economy and during a recession. An organization seeks the services of consultants for two reasons (i) it can afford the consultants and (ii) Consultants can advise on how to spread their business. During a recession, organizations turn to consultants for advice on how to cut costs, save money and weather the economic storm.
In Bangladesh, consultancy services are sought and used mostly by big investment projects. Due to interaction with the international market public sector organization are also seeking the services of consultants. But consultancy has not taken any shape of an industry or so there is a crisis of consultants. Usually, the consultancy organization can be divided into the following four categories:
- Engineering Consultancy Firm.
- Management and Socio-economic Consultancy Firms.
- Chartered Accountancy and Audit Firms.
- Business Support Services.
Usually, clients look for two types of consultants: (i) those who emphasize their problem-solving ability and (ii) those that help the client help improve their performance. Clients seek to hire consultants because they may lack expertise and knowledge or they cannot afford their time and rather than doing the job they take the services of the consultants.
There is a difference between an expert and a successful consultant. A successful consultant is one who translates his or her expert knowledge into useful applications for clients. The skills needed by a successful consultant fall into four major categories: Technical skills, communications skills, interpersonal skills, and Administrative skills. Any one skill alone will not help one to become a successful consultant. Bangladesh is in serious lack of export consultants. There are firms but they do not have the minimum service conditions to attract young talented people to take up consultancy as a profession.
There are no consultancy firms in Bangladesh offering business startup support services like registrations and licensing, project profile and financing, linkage with forward and backward processes, and one-stop service for technology selection, commissioning, and operations. Such types of consultancy services could play a pivotal role in increasing the speed of economic development in Bangladesh. New investment could be worthwhile in this sector.
13. Light Engineering Sector
The light engineering sector occupies a unique position in the Bangladesh economy. It prudently acts as a feeder of support industries to all other industries and plays a vital role in the socio-economic development of the country. Therefore, it is known as the mother of heavy industries. This sector has the potential to make a significant contribution towards technological and economic development along with wide opportunities for employment generation.
There are about 40,000 Light Engineering enterprises all over the country. Around 6 lack people are directly involved with the light engineering sector. It is engaged with the production and manufacturing of high-value-added engineering goods and services with a value of annual turnover of more than TK. 10,000 crore. In recognizing this fact, the government has declared this sector as a thrust sector in its Industry Policy –2010.
Major products of this sector are Agricultural Machinery & Spares, Motor launch & Marine Transport Spares, Textile Machinery & Spares, Jute Machinery & Spares, Tea plant Machinery & Spares, Construction Machinery & Spares, Bread, Biscuit and Food Processing Machinery & Spares, Metal Furniture, Paper and Pulp Machinery & Spares, Mold & Dies, Components & Spares of Gas Transmission & Distribution, Printing & Packaging Machinery & Spares, Poultry Machinery & Spares, Kitchen Wear & Bathroom Fittings, Metal Product & Hard Ware, LP Gas Cylinder & Fire Extinguisher, and Pharmaceutical Machinery & Spares, etc.
The current trend of the sector:
Since the development of the sector, entrepreneurs are providing their products and services to the local market. LES keeps the national economy running by offering cost-effective maintenance services and much-required spares & capital machinery. The light engineering industry has two segments of the market i.e. local market and the export market. In the local demand, there is a secular growth of around 30% per annum. The size of the local market is around US$ 2 billion.
In the meantime, the local light engineering industry has stepped up its presence in the export market. The major products include iron sheets, G.I. pipes, cast iron articles, aluminum household articles, iron chains, SS ware, machinery, diesel engine, motor parts, bicycle, light fittings, and dry cell batteries.
This sector has an option for further expansion into manufacturing of made in Bangladesh electrical and electronic goods for the local market as well as for the export market. So further investment could result worthy in this sector.
14. Software Development and IT Enabled Services Sector
Bangladesh’s economy is transforming into a digital version. The Government of Bangladesh is committed to developing a digital Bangladesh soon. Therefore Software development could be one of the most progressive sectors of Bangladesh. According to the BASIS survey, there are over 800 registered software and ITES (IT Enabled Service) companies in Bangladesh. There is another few hundred unregistered small and home-based software and IT ventures doing business for both local and international markets.
IT Enables Service (ITES) is one of the growing sectors of Bangladesh. The ITeS sector of Bangladesh has grown considerably in recent years. Today, it counts more than 1,500 registered ITeS service providers employing over 250,000 ICT professionals. Total ITeS revenue generated by the country reached approximately US$600 million for the period 2013-2014, with export revenue accounting for US$250 million, including the freelance outsourcing segment . Industry estimates have pegged the ITO sector to comprise a vast majority of services exports, with industry stakeholders estimating that ITO comprises upwards to 90% of total services exports. Though the country’s BPO sector has continued to grow, it has remained focused on servicing the domestic market. Though this may be the current scenario, Tholons believes that there lies an opportunity for both the ITO and BPO (particularly for non-voice BPO services) spaces to expand more aggressively in the global market. As previously implied, for this to happen, specific supply-side inhibitors must be purposely addressed.
The majority of ITO service providers in the country specialize in Customized Software Development and IT Enabled Services service groups, comprising 56% and 17% of BASIS members, respectively. As of December 14, 2015 – BASIS counts 986 member companies under its fold.
Currently, the majority of Bangladesh IT/ITeS providers, as found by BASIS, depend on the domestic market as a primary revenue source, with 63% of members focused on providing services to local industries. Local demand is reported to be driven by companies seeking to improve business processes and adopt global ‘IT Best Practices,’ a relatively recent trend, only beginning to spread in the country. In a 2014 survey carried out by BASIS of around 110 member service providers, the majority of providers delivering services to the domestic market were focused on developing business application solutions including ERP, Accounting Software, HR Software, Sales Automation, and Inventory Management systems, among others.
Source: BASIS (2014). Catalog of BASIS.
15. Leather Goods Sector
The leather goods sector is one of the fastest-growing sectors of Bangladesh’s economy. It employed about 1, 80,000 (One lac eighty thousand) people directly. This sector includes about 3,500 micro, small, and medium leather goods factories with about 110 large industries. This sector is divided into two major heads i.e. leather processing units called tanneries, leather goods like shoes, bags, and belts,s, etc. manufacturers called leather goods factories. There are about 220 to 250 tanneries in Bangladesh mostly located in the Hazaribagh area of Dhaka city. As a Muslim-majority country, Bangladesh used to produce a huge amount of leather every year mainly during Eid ul Azha.
There are a good number of leather goods clusters around the country mainly located in Dhaka, Bhairab, Satkhira, Chittagong, and Brahmanbaria. In Bhairab, about 3000 SME workshops are situated. All of these workshops are dealing with footwear production. Almost all workshops are mostly manual (the lasting process is done by hand). Around 25,000 people are working in these workshops but female employment is almost absent.
Major Bangladeshi leather goods are pocket or handbags, including purses, wallets, key cases, passport cases, note cases, card cases, cigarette cases, cigar cases, matchbox cases, handbags, shopping bags, shoulder bags, document cases, attach cases, belts, wallets, shoe, and footwears, etc.
Only 15 – 18 % of the total leather production of Bangladesh can meet up local demand for leather goods. The rest of the amount is export-oriented. The leather and leather goods sector is the fourth largest export-earning sector of Bangladesh. Export earning of this sector is rising with about 48% growth per year. Bangladesh earned USD 1.29 billion by exporting leather goods in the 2013-14 fiscal year. SD Asia forecasted that very soon this export could be increased to USD 15 billion.
Bangladeshi leather goods are exported into mainly European markets like Germany, Italy, France, Belgium, Sweden, the UK, Austria, Switzerland, etc. Besides these Bangladesh used to export leather goods to the USA, Canada, Japan, China, South Korea, Malaysia, and Singapore.
Bangladesh’s leather goods export is growing with double-digit growth during the last few years. International buyers are showing their keen interest to purchase more Bangladeshi leather goods but till now a little number of Bangladeshi leather goods factories are capable to supply an adequate number of orders within a short lead time. More investment is required in this sector to make it an export-oriented and rewarding sector like the readymade garment sector.
16. Developers and Housing Sector at District Level
As one of the most densely populated countries in the world, Bangladesh has been experiencing severe housing shortages. With the majority of the population in the middle and low-income groups, ensuring housing for all is difficult here. The private sector housing developers have met a large proportion of the national housing demand in the last 40 years.
But Bangladesh also suffers from a scarcity of land. It is an agriculture-based country where the urbanization level of 28% (Islam, 2012) is substantially lower than in developed countries. However, urban centers are housing huge populations. People are migrating to urban areas because of both push and pull factors, thereby creating urban sprawl. Meeting the huge demand for housing has become a challenge for the government. The real estate sector in Bangladesh has been operating for four decades, within which period it has fluctuated greatly.
Today the sector plays a major role in the national economy, contributing up to 7.08% of the national GDP in FY 2013-14 (BBS, 2014). In addition, the sector also contributed to the national economy through linkage industries, such as MS bar, cement, brick, sand, ceramic tile, paint, and other fixtures and fittings. The Real Estate and Housing Association of Bangladesh (REHAB) declared that the sector along with its linkage industries contributed about 12% to the national GDP in 2014.
Through analyzing the consumer responses, it is estimated that the demand for houses in the upcoming three years is around 30,000 to 40,000; in the upcoming five years demand is around 60,000 to 80,000; and in the upcoming 10 years demand is around 95,000 to 130,000. In the case of flats, the estimated demand in the upcoming three years is around 75,000 to 100,000; in the upcoming five years demand is around 90,000 to 125,000; and in the upcoming 10 years demand is around 70,000 to 95,000.
Apart from meeting housing needs, the Real Estate sector contributes to the Government exchequer through Registration Fees, VAT, Advance Income Tax (AIT), Stamp Duty, Property Handover Tax, etc. Also, the construction industry is a labor-intensive industry, whose capacity of absorbing labor is great. The industry provides many jobs for skilled, semi-skilled, and unskilled workers both in the formal and informal sectors. For the migrants from rural areas, the construction industry is often a stepping stone to urban life. The Real Estate sector is a major part of the construction sector. Most of the labor force engaged in the construction sector is basically engaged in the Real Estate sector. Thus real estate sector is also contributing a lot to the overall economy of Bangladesh.
Besides the major divisional towns, there is a scope for investing in the housing business in the district even upazila levels.
17. Sea Food Collection and Processing
Bangladesh is the largest Delta in the world having hundreds of rivers, rivulets, and tributaries. In terms of area and varieties of fish species, the inland water resources of the country are considered one of the richest in the world. In 2008, the Department of Fisheries (DoF) declared that there are 260 species of freshwater fish, 475 species of marine fish, 24 inland water prawn species, 36 species of marine shrimp, and 12 species of exotic fishes available in Bangladesh. Around 60% of the total national demand for animal protein in the country is contributed by the fisheries industry and the sector is also one of the major export-earning segments.
Bangladesh earned about BDT 40,970 million by exporting frozen fish, shrimps, and prawns in FY14 which was about 2.3% of the country’s total export (without considering the proceeds from EPZ). Its share in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and value of the agricultural sector amounted to 4.37% and 23.37% respectively in FY13. Following several macroeconomic hurdles, the industry lost its second position in export and stood seventh (export amount- USD 568.0 million; 1.82% of the country’s total export) in FY15.
According to the declaration made by Bangladesh Frozen Food Exporters Association (BFFEA), the country has 14.7 million shrimp and fish farmers along with 1.3 million fishermen. The export portion of the sector directly provides a livelihood to nearly 1.2 million people, while about 4.8 million people indirectly depend upon this sector .
Frozen fish has traditionally been the most important export product; however, exports of fresh fish have been increasing rapidly and now represent a significant portion of export revenue. Currently, only a small portion is exported as fillets. For frozen fish, the most important markets are the UK, Saudi Arabia, the US, and to some extent Italy and China. For fresh fish, the most important markets are India, China, Germany, and Oman.
According to the estimation of exporters and sector representatives, the exported categories are shrimps and prawns (75%), frozen whole fish (10%), fresh fish (8%), fish fillets (5%), and fish slices (2%). The export-oriented fisheries industry is divided into two broad subsectors: Shrimp and prawns (exported as frozen) and Whitefish (exported as both frozen and fresh). Sea food collection and processing could be a profitable sector for investment in Bangladesh.
18. Amusement Sector
Bangladesh is one of the most densely populated countries in the world. Economic development is making its people concerned about their mental health. Purchasing power of the population is rising day by day. As a result amusement park is not only a source of entertainment but could be a vibrant source of profit for an entrepreneur. Rapid economic growth along with evolving service sector espouses a substantial number of people who have regular income with diversified needs. Among those needs, entertainment plays a very important role. Because today’s people are aggressively active in entertainment markets in order to maintain as well bring something new to their busy and rigid life structure.
Major amusement destinations of Bangladesh are Dhaka National Zoo, Balda Garden, Mirpur Botanical Garden, Shishu Park, Nandan Family Amusement Park, Fantasy Kingdom Amusement Park, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Novo Theatre, Heritage Park Concord Ashulia, Dhaka, Dream Holiday Park, Chaitaba, Panchdona, Narsingdi, Tamanna World Family Park Picnic & Shooting Spot, Mirpur, Dhaka, Foy’s Lake Amusement World, Bangladesh Butterfly Park, Zastat amusement park, Sylhet, Toggi World (Theme Park), VINNYAJAGAT, Ganjipur, Rangpur, Ananda Bhaban Shaheed Zia Smriti Complex, Dublar Char (Island), Bhawal National Park, Modhupur National Park, Ramsagar National Park, Kaptai National Park, Himchari National Park, Madhabkunda Eco-Park, Sitakunda Botanical Garden and Eco-park, and Dulahazara Safari Parks, etc.
Amusement parks, safari parks, children’s parks, hill station development, foreign or sea sights development, islands development, and river station development, etc. could be profitable businesses in Bangladesh.
19. Diversified Products
Diversification of products makes sense when good opportunities exist outside the present business on the main raw material of production i.e., the sector is attractive and provides an opportunity for a six mix of business strengths to be successful. For example because of International jute organizations’ efforts through Jute Diversification Promotion Centre (IDPC) now diversified products are made frost jute and there is expanding market for these products. Some of the mentionable products are:
Bags & Baggins: Shoulder bag, Travel bag, Carry bag, Shopping bag, School bag, Water bag, Briefcase, Purse, Money bag, Coin box, Vanity bag, Gift box, Jewelry box, Kit box.
Office accessories: Office bag, Seminar bag, File cover, Penholder, Folder, Table lamp shed, Photo stand, Basket.
Floor Covers table mat, Carpet, Shatranji, Prayer mat, Running mat, Bedside mat, Bathroom mat, Doormat.
Home Textiles: Furnishing fabrics, Curtains, Bed covers, Bad Sheets, Sofa covers, Cushion covers, Tapestries, Wall Hangings mats, etc.
Nursery Products: Nursery pot, Nursery sheet, Nursery triangle, Tap.
Shoes and Others: Sandals, Shoes, Slippers, Fancy Lady’s Shoes, Seabreeze Slipper, Espadrille.
Handmade Paper: Handmade Paper and its Diversified Products.
Apparel: Fabrics, Scurf, Chaddar, Top apparel, Sweeter, Muffler, Jacket.
Toys: Dolls, Decorative pieces, Decorative balls.
Some of these products are exported in large volumes. Some of these products still do not have HS codes but they are being exported. There is a scope to introduce such diversification for indigenous raw materials-based industries like leather, cane, bamboo, etc.
20. News Product Design and Development
There are no organizations in Bangladesh that are working on designing and developing new products. Almost every sector is in need of designing new products. Most companies do not have the capacity to establish R&D / new product designing and development centers of their own. There are no secondary organizations in Bangladesh that are working to design and develop new products. But product diversification is an essential need for Bangladesh. Establishing a new product design and development center could be a profitable venture in Bangladesh. To know more please click here