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The local construction industry, an important sector in the economy that involves about 6 crore people generating around Tk200,000 crore in business, has effectively been left out of the country’s many infrastructure projects. Today, many of these companies having decades of experience constructing major projects are struggling due to the heavily biased tax and duty environment. The stacks are raised against local companies in favor of foreign contractors that hire foreign consultants and effectively transfer little knowhow or skills to Bangladesh. Lack of policy support coupled with outdated procurement methods allow foreign companies to win contracts by bidding at lower prices. Unfortunately once a contract is awarded, costs increase exponentially through time extensions. This practice exposes the weaknesses in the contracts awarding regime in Bangladesh. Government policies and regulations need review and update to level the playing field between domestic and foreign companies. There is further need to revisit the tax exemption facility given to contractors that are working on megaprojects. Local construction contractors can make greater contributions to national development than foreign entities, if given equal opportunities.

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