Bangladesh has a huge skincare and colour cosmetics market that is ruled by fake products and illegally imported items, said an official.

But comprehensive policy support could help the domestic industry grow as well as reduce its tax burden while bringing more revenue to the state coffer, said Ahsraful Ambia, managing director and chief executive officer of Remark HB Ltd, a skincare and colour cosmetics company.

Affiliated with Remark LLC, USA, Remark HB is setting up a manufacturing facility at Dhaka’s southern district Munshiganj to produce hygiene, beauty and colour cosmetic products with an aim to go global apart from catering the growing domestic market.

Ambia, citing various estimates, said the overall skincare, cosmetics and toiletries market is worth around Tk 25,000 crore annually.

Over 4 crore consumers, especially women, use skincare and colour cosmetics such as lotion, facewash, lipstick and nail polish in Bangladesh.

But a large portion of these products are not made here and most of the items are brought through illegal imports, he added.

In fiscal year 2021-22, the National Board of Revenue (NBR) got Tk 288 crore as customs duty from imports of cosmetic and skincare products.

“This is an insignificant amount. The government can earn several thousand crores of taka in revenue when the domestic industry will grow,” he said, urging the government to give policy support in the form of reduced customs tariff for importing raw materials, and removal of value added tax and supplementary duty on locally made cosmetics.

Ambia, also president of the Association of Skin Care and Beauty Products Manufacturers & Exporters of Bangladesh, made the suggestion in an interview with The Daily Star while sharing his reaction to the proposed budget for fiscal year 2023-24.

He said the government tries to give comfort to people amid various global and local pressure on the economy. It has maintained the consistency to facilitate development of import substitute industries.

Ambia said the government had earlier provided policy support to the main export earner, garments, which helped the sector flourish.

The policy support given to the electronics industry has also cut Bangladesh’s import dependence.

“Now the government should explore more prospective industries and give support. If it nurtures skincare, toiletries and colour cosmetics, the sector will grow,” he added.

Ambia also said huge investment is required in cosmetics for research and development as well as global branding. Hence, financing should be made available.

“An industry-friendly policy is needed,” he added.

Source: thedailystar

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