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Ensuring decent workplace

MONIRA MUNNI | October 09, 2022 00:00:00

The government will create a database for informal sector within next five years with intent to ensure decent workplace by initially bringing entrepreneurs under a registration system.

SME Foundation, Bang-ladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation (BSCIC) and A2I (Aspire to Innovate) Programme will develop the 'National Informal Sector Database' with all required information by July 2027.

Sources said the government would also prepare a time-bound national action plan for the registration of entrepreneurs and development of the sector.

"Industries ministry in association with Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation (BSCIC) and Bangladesh Investment Development Authority will prepare a specific and time-bound action plan by July 2027," according to the Industrial Policy-2022.

The ministry will administer the proposed databank to bring all scattered enterprises across the country under registration through the one-stop service of union digital centres and A2I.

The new policy, published on September 29, said the government would allocate required funds for the development, administration and maintenance of the database.

Industries ministry published the policy, announcing the industrial sectors' 40-per cent contribution to the economy by 2030.

According to the new policy, economic activity of enterprises, which are not formalised by the 'special law' or not included in tax and revenue collection or not registered with any authority concerned, would be known as informal sector.

Domestic workers, street vendors and waste pickers are among such sectors, it cited.

Citing the new policy, ministry sources said the government would also work to accelerate the growth of cottage and micro-industries in line with the SME (small and medium enterprises) Policy-2019.

Informal-sector entrepreneurs will be encouraged to get registered by raising awareness of the disadvantages of being informal through workshops, seminars and training.

SME Foundation, BSCIC, National Skills Development Authority and Informal Sector Industry Skills Council would work jointly in this connection, according to the policy.

Asked about the new policy, Bangladesh Employers' Federation secretary general and CEO Farooq Ahmed said he was yet to go through it.

He, however, said in general the data set would help know the current status of the informal sector.

Once developed, Mr Ahmed said, the database would help bring accountability, address the issues of priority areas of resource allocation as per their needs.

According to industry insiders, there are some 42 formal sectors across the country, including ready-made garment, tannery, and pharmaceuticals.

A minimum wage board under labour ministry fixes minimum monthly wages for the sector every five years.

A majority or more than 80-per cent workers are in the informal sector, depriving many lawful benefits, the insiders noted.

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