The pre-fabricated steel building sector of the country apprehended a loss of Tk 4.0 billion due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The sector having annual revenue of around Tk 10 billion has faced a serious setback in import of raw materials.
“We could not import raw materials due to international lockdown and failed to meet our clients’ requirement,” general secretary of the Steel Building Manufacturers Association of Bangladesh (SBMA) Rashed Khan told the FE on Sunday.
And, as a result, our bills also remain unpaid causing serious financial trouble, he added.
There are around 230 steel-building manufacturing companies in the country with over 130,000 employees. If we include the subcontractors, the total number of manpower in the sector will be 200,000.
The number of employees is comparatively high as this is a labour-intensive sector like readymade garments.
In recent years, pre-fabricated steel buildings have become popular and most of the factories are being made by pre-fabricated steel.
The entrepreneurs urged the government to waive the 8.0 per cent advance tax on the import tariff.
Mr. Rashed said that to tackle the crisis, they also sought the facility of making foreign payment against the import letter of credit (L/C) by 360 days instead of the present 18 days.
“This may help ease our burden otherwise the sector will be doomed,” he added.
The pre-fabricated steel building is affordable, earthquake tolerant and good for the entrepreneurs as it helps maintain global compliance standard at low cost.
The closure of the sector will hit hard the huge number of its manpower, Mr Rashed said, expecting immediate intervention of the government to rescue it.
“We are currently facing a very critical situation as the construction of factories, government’s Cyclone Shelter Centres and warehouses are completely stopped. Some of the factories went into lockdown for an indefinite period,” he said.
He added that the entrepreneurs are not being able to pay the loan installments of the banks, salaries of the workers and bills like electricity, gas and water.
According to the association, this sector has become a part and parcel of the domestic industry as most of the factories are now being built by pre-fabricated steel.