PRABRIDDHI Project: Jashore Light Engineering Industry gets vibrant

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Contract signed between PRABRIDDHI & IPE of JUST

By Roton Malo:
PRABRIDDHI, a Local Economic Development (LED) Project of Swisscontact has signed a contract with the Department of Industrial and Production Engineering (IPE), Jashore University of Science & Technology (JUST) which is to provide hope to light engineering sector in the district.

Aiming to promote the country’s most prospective light engineering sector as well as to foster local economic development, PRABRIDDHI and an expertise group of Department of IPE at JUST singed the deal on 24 August 2022, according to an article published by PRABRIDDHI Project of Swisscontact.

Earlier on 2 December 2021, PRABRIDDHI signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Bangladesh Engineering Industry Owners’ Association (BEIOA) and Jashore University of Science and Technology (JUST) at the Sheikh Hasina Software Technology Park, Jashore.

New contract between the IPE Department of JUST and PRABRIDDHI will further assist and foster the district’s light engineering sector with technical assistance and required supports.

PRABRIDDHI is a Local Economic Development (LED) project, funded by Switzerland and Government of Bangladesh, and co-implemented by Swisscontact and Local Government Division (LGD).

According to the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB), Bangladesh’s small and medium-scale manufacturers exported engineering products worth $795.63mn in the last fiscal year 2021-22. This year’s export is 50.4% higher than FY 2021.

During the FY 2020-2021, an amount of $529 million was earned from export of light engineering sector.

Amid the prospective growth in the recent years, the light engineering sector has been facing challenges such as lack of modern technology, production processes, lack of technical skills, trained engineers, technical knowledge, market linkage, promotion etc.

Dr. A.S.M. Mojahidul Hoque, Chairman of IPE Department, JUST, said this initiative will connect the academia and industry which will benefit both parties towards economic development.

The students of IPE Department, JUST will also be benefitted from practical hands-on experience working closely with the workshops, he said adding that “Students will work closely with the light engineering workshops to support product improvement, development and innovation.”

The collaborative approach among BEIOA, JUST and PRABRIDDHI has been providing technical support to the light engineering entrepreneurs and workshops for product development, innovation, digitising the sector through online directory and e-marketplace, developing market linkages and skills for entrepreneurship development.

PRABRIDDHI has been exploring access to finance and compliance for business growth and market expansion for the light engineering sector as well.

Prime Minister’s Declaration on Light Engineering Sector
Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in January 2020 declared light engineering as the “product of the year” to draw a special attention to this sector as it could boost up country’s foreign currency through export of various goods.

Soon after the declaration of Prime Minister, the Ministry of Industries decided to set up light engineering industrial parks in Dhaka, Narayanganj, Jashore, Bogura and Narsingdi to explore full potentials of the growing sector.

Bangladesh’s Policy in Favor of Light Engineering Industry
Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal in his budget speech for FY 2022-23, reiterated that all kinds of products made by light engineering industry which will solely be used in mills and factories have been given a 10-year tax exemption benefit.

FM made the declaration of 10-year tax exemption benefit for the light engineering industry in his budget proposal for FY 2021-22.

Apparently, he made this declaration to attract investments for the local manufacturing of components of engineering industries such as automobiles and two wheelers, capital machinery, agro-machinery, electrical and electronic products – which are considered thrush sectors.

Bangladesh’s light engineering industry produces bicycles, electrical equipment, construction-related machineries, bicycle light fittings, stone & brick crushers, spare parts for paper & cement mills, cast-iron articles, marine spare parts, carbon rods & automobile spares, train-and-rail-support equipment, etc which are being exported.

However, bicycle, iron steel, and electric products are the dominant ones for export earnings of the light engineering industry.

PRABRIDDHI Project at a Glance
PRABRIDDHI is a Local Economic Development (LED) project jointly being implemented by Swisscontact and Local Government Division (LGD). The project is funded by Switzerland and Government of Bangladesh.

PRABRIDDHI focuses on building the capacity of an urban or rural territory to create a competitive advantage for its enterprises through a broad set of activities and improve the economic well-being of its people and workers.

The project is essentially participatory short-term planning, bottom-up designed, owned and delivered, relying on public-private collaboration with an iterative, transparent and open-ended process.

PRABRIDDHI started a 24-month long pilot phase in August 2018 in two municipalities- one in Jashore and the other in Chapainawabganj’s Shibganj municipality.

The two main project objectives of pilot phase were to build municipality level institutions’ capacity and test the feasibility of the LED process through municipalities and to design a scale up phase of the project in other municipalities based on the pilot experiences with a national level anchor.

PRABRIDDHI Project & Expected Results by 2025
The innovative PRABRIDDHI Project of Swisscontact is aiming to benefit 40,000 people through increase of net additional income of Swiss Franc 4.5 million.

It also aims to create 45,000 additional labor days by the next three years and support partner municipalities to generate additional revenue of Swiss Franc 500,000 through improved service provision.

PRABRIDDHI Project is also aiming to develop Local Economic Development (LED) toolkit based on the contextualized LED model for Bangladesh and anchor it with suitable national level partner to ensure wider replication of the LED model in future.

  • Writer Roton Malo is a freelance journalist and development worker. He is currently working for the forcibly displaced Myanmar nationals (FDMN) in Cox’s Bazar. Contact Email: [email protected] Mobile: +8801720007244