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‘We are not little at all’

Ahmed Razu and Serajul Islam Siraj |
Update: 2014-04-22 05:29:00
‘We are not little at all’

DHAKA: Hafizur Rahman Khan, Chairman of ‘Runner Group’     one of the local motorbike producers of the country “thinks  that local motor bike industries cannot flourish because of encouraging imports by the government.       

If proper policy is framed then this local motor bike products can be exported after meeting the local demand. This was expressed by this confident businessman.

He frankly expressed his confidence about the potentialities of local motorbike industry to banglanews.                                                             

Hafizur Rahman told that there is a huge potentiality in    Bangladesh. But there is no government support. The government is encouraging the import causing the frustration of the local entrepreneurs.

Reminiscing the past days he told that he actively fought in the liberation war. After the liberation he started business by importing few motor bikes.

Then after facing much hurdles he set up the Runner Group. Due to his tireless labor several new feathers have been attached like Runner Automobiles, Runner Agro Company, Runner Auto Brick Fields, Barendra University, Runner Systems Ltd. Runner Properties and Runner Motors Ltd.       

A confident Runner group chairman informed that this group is now capable of producing 500 bikes everyday. During long discussion he informed that he wants to build up the image of the country as well as create employment opportunities.
He wants to run his business with honesty and in proper way. His devotion is to supply quality goods within affordable price. For this reason this valiant freedom fighter feels the necessity of right policy.  

The business leader informed that there is no policy for motorbike industry. “Let there be a policy we will follow it.”

Elaborating the pros and cons of motor bike business in the country he told that there are three types business in the country. One is import, another assembling it by importing spare parts and the last one is exclusively producing in the country.

To assemble by importing spares is the most dangerous. The local industry is facing uneven competition due to Vat-Tax payment by the spares importer.

He told that India is giving nine percent incentives to the exporters for this kind of spare import causing the downtrend price of the bike. This is causing the uneven competition for the local entrepreneurs.

“We have been demanding the enhancement of Vat-Tax for discouraging imports. But the government is not taking any step. The local entrepreneurs are scared for this reason. If proper policy is adopted then we are ready to export bikes in India and Africa,” Khan said.

Hafizrur Rahman informed that in 1995 a special regulatory order (SRO) was issued. In the SRO it was told that those who will assemble bikes by importing spares shall have to show the growth at the rate of 5 percent every year.

Gradually the importers would be full fledged producers. Moreover, the painted fuel tanks and seat cannot be imported. Unpainted fuel tanks can be painted here but within two years the SRO was kept suspended. After 17 years though elapsed the order was not revived. Taking the opportunity still the painted fuel tanks are being imported.

Hafizur added that huge money requires to be invested. At least Tk 10,000 investment is required for producing one bike.

Commenting that if that suspended SRO is revived then the local industry will flourish and added that in 2011 about 3.50 lakh bikes were sold. During last two years more than two lakh bikes were sold.                                                 

Of the total sale, the local industries sold 20 percent that means 40,000 in 2013. Whereas Runner Group alone can produce 100,000 bikes annually. Other five local companies like Walton, Road Master, My One, New Grameen are capable to export meeting the local demands.

He mentioned that their products are improved in quality but its price is in lower level. So its demand is huge in India and Africa. “We just need a proper policy.”                                                                                 

About quality he confidently told, “We are no less than the popular brands like TVS and Hero Honda.”

Regarding hassle of BRTA we are to get our products tested by BUET but the imported one does not require so. We have to pay Tk 3 lakh for testing a single motorbike. Besides, we have to pay Tk 50,000 to test engine or other parts. The testing fees should be reduced to help flourishing local industry, he observed.

The Runner boss said entering Indian markets our products need to face a costly test fees at Pune for approval. It takes two years time. But their bike is running here without any test.

He informed that a huge amount of foreign currency is spent for importing motor bikes every year but if the local entrepreneurs are provided support a big chunk of foreign currency could be saved with enormous employment opportunities.   

Hafizur Rahman informed that a group has applied to the Investment Board that import is reducing causing income of Vat-Tax. Government is being affected.

He questioned, Japan would have been the worst affected country. Their import is in minimum level. He commented that some people have given misinterpretation to the government.    

Narrating his experiences about participation in exhibitions held at Gouhati in India and Dubai in United Arab Emirates he told that they had been able to attract the foreign buyers.                

On July 10 last year, while visiting our factory by Finance Minister AMA Muhith, he said that, “We are learning from the entrepreneurs, they are giving us inspiration to march forward.”                                           
This business entrepreneur informed that through setting up heavy industries the image of the country is enhanced. Counting on the performance of the labors of this industry, he said that our labors can learn the skill very quickly. They are our assets.      

In 2000, Runner Automobiles started its journey through marketing the Dayang motor bike of China. From technological support China, Dayang has established itself a brand in this country.

In 2007, Runner group first set up its factory for producing components at Bhaluka of Mymensingh which got the approval of BUET and BRTA later on.   

Next in 2011, the group got government approval for producing Runner punching, wielding, painting, assembling, testing machineries and finally motor bikes.          

He further informed that on January 21, 2012 ‘Runner’ started making finished bikes in the factory set up on 100 bighas of land.    

At present about 1,800 workers are working in the factory. Of them a sizeable portion is women, he added.   

BDST: 1520 HRS, APR 22, 2014

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