The following are the excerpts from the interview of Mufakkharul Islam Khasru, Managing Director of Finlay Properties Limited, an affiliate of JF (Bangladesh) Ltd, in an interview with The Financial Express:
FE: Would you please describe the state of the construction sector in the country as it is right now?
Answer: Housing and construction sector at present is trying to gain momentum and is in a better condition that what is was four to five years before. Customers appear to be regaining confidence in the sector and as such the sector is being revitalised. This being the situation we can at least hope for flourishing of the sector in the days to come.
FE: Do you think, after the last general election held December 30, 2018, the prevailing political stability well leave a positive impact on the sector in 2019? Please, elaborate.
Answer: Due to sluggishness prevailing in the economic activities of the country over the last few years coupled with election fever/uncertainties, investors appeared to have become a little hesitant regarding their investment in the sector. But after December 30 election things are expected to show improvement and as such the investor are showing their willingness to concentrate positively in investing in this sector.
FE: What are the challenges you face in the business right now?
Answer: Excessive price of construction materials like deformed bars, cement, ready mix concrete, imported sanitary materials, domestic cables and above all unethical competition among the competitors have come as a challenge in our business activities now. Moreover, we need policy support from government for the growth of the industry.
FE: What is the state of use of latest technology like prefabricated steel in the sector?
Answer: Latest technology like prefabricated steel, which is highly required for building and construction sector, is unfortunately available at a very high cost. This has remained an issue of concern for us.
FE: How will you evaluate the backward linkage industries in the sector and do you think there exist opportunities still untapped?
Answer: We cannot rely on backward linkage industries because of their poor quality. Opportunities are there, but inefficiency of persons and quality of goods will have to improved at any cost.
FE: Construction is a big sector that can change the face of the country. How much are we ready for the in view of the global perspective?
Answer: The government, after December 30 election, has started embarking on new industrial projects, expansion, modernisation of the existing ones. Keeping that in view we have no other alternative other than tapping available resources at any cost.
FE: The government plans to build villages like urban areas. That offers a great opportunity for businesses like yours. What is your opinion?
Answer: It is a noble and laudable venture no doubt. But for successful implementation of the same infrastructural development for unabated continuation of this scheme will have to be ensured.
FE: Please tell about how you got into the business and founded your business venture. What is the way forward?
Answer: On the decision of our sponsor for profitable utilisation of his vast unused lands, he visualised the idea of starting this project and since its start we are gradually making headway towards achieving the desired goals. Furthermore, there is a great need for quality housing which we want to tap in.
FE: What is your vision of the sector?
Answer: Our vision is to provide customers with outstanding services in a quality home environment provide employees unparalleled opportunity for personal and professional development and provide customers with maximised real estate value. To us customers' interest always will come first and we will place customers' concern ahead of everything.
FE: Do you have any suggestion for the policy makers?
Answer: At present, the registration cost of apartment is quite high. Apart from the amount paid as price for a flat or a plot a customer has to spend around 15 per cent on registration cost. If government provides land at a low cost through public private participation, things will be easier for completion of the project at a reasonable and affordable cost.
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