UAE minister expresses appreciation for Singapore Pavilion

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Al Owais is being briefed at the Singapore Pavilion in Expo 2020 Dubai.

Staff Reporter, Gulf Today

Abdul Rahman Bin Mohammed Al Owais, Minister of Health and Prevention, has visited the Singapore Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai to have a closer look at the latest technologies in environmental sustainability and the integration of nature, architecture and technology, through digital designs representing a microcosm towards growth, sustainability, and resilience.

Located at the Sustainability District, the Singapore Pavilion raises the slogan “Nature. Nurture. Future.”

During his visit, the minister was briefed on the most prominent innovations and technical projects showcased, such as the plant-covered cones.

He was also briefed on innovative applications used in green space management, water and energy systems, and small robots for plant health monitoring, and environmental data collection, to create sustainable cities that promote nature protection and contribute to the fight against climate change.

Al Owais expressed his admiration for Singapore Pavilion and the projects showcased in it, especially in the field of environmental sustainability, adding that Expo 2020 Dubai represents a global platform that provides an ideal opportunity to learn about the civilizations, experiences and expertise of various countries, improve communication among peoples of the world and strengthen relations and ties in all fields and sectors.

“Expo 2020 Dubai mirrors the civilized and humanitarian role that the UAE is committed to, with the aim of making an effective and influential contribution towards building a brighter future in which countries and peoples will enjoy greater prosperity, development and welfare,” Al Owais said.

Meanwhile, the minister also recently visited the Brazilian Pavilion to have a closer look at the biodiversity in Brazil, its rivers, and mangroves, as well as national programs launched to preserve the environment and address climate change.

Located at the Sustainability District, the Brazilian Pavilion raises the slogan “Together for sustainable development”.

During his visit, the minister reviewed the sustainable development plans developed by the Brazilian government for the Amazon region, in cooperation with the private sector and stakeholders, to promote development and upgrade the national economy.

Al Owais expressed his admiration for well-organization of the pavilion, which reflects the culture and environment in Brazil, adding that Expo 2020 Dubai represents a global platform that provides an ideal opportunity to learn about the civilizations, experiences and expertise of various countries, improve communication among peoples of the world and strengthen relations and ties in all fields and sectors.

“Expo 2020 Dubai mirrors the civilized and humanitarian role that the UAE and its wise leadership are committed to, with the aim of making an effective and influential contribution towards building a brighter future in which countries and peoples will enjoy greater prosperity, development and welfare,” Al Owais said.

The Brazilian pavilion focuses on the concept of sustainability through its design and the recyclable materials it uses, simulating the design of the Amazon basin, which is the largest river in the world, using audio-visual effects and a distinctive engineering design.

Meanwhile,  the UAE-based Bangladeshi auto parts traders and auto service providers are planning to invest in setting up a number of parts manufacturing plants in Bangladesh’s fast-growing $4.42 billion automotive industry.

Representatives of the UAE-based auto parts re-sellers and owners of auto service centres expressed their desire to set up auto parts manufacturing plants in Bangladesh at a recent meeting with the leaders of Bangladesh Automobiles Assemblers and Manufacturers Association (BAAMA), led by  Abdul Matlub Ahmad, President of BAAMA and Mohammad Ali Deen, General-Secretary of BAAMA.

 Bangladeshi traders dominate the UAE’s automotive aftermarket sector, especially the used auto spare parts market. They are involved in the imports, wholesale, retail, servicing and re-export of the auto parts sector while a large number of them also owns auto electric service centres, garages that takes care of all types of auto servicing and repairs.

Non-resident Bangladeshis own more than 5,000 businesses in the auto service and trading sector spread across some of the key industrial areas, such as Musaffah Industrial Area in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain Industrial Area, Sharjah Industrial Area, Ajman Industrial Area as well as in certain areas of Dubai, Fujairah, Umm Al Quwain and Ras Al Khaimah.

These businesses employ more than 50,000 skilled and semi-skilled professionals who have the complete know-how of maintenance, repair, knock-down, overhaul and re-assembly of various models and brands.

Abdul Matlub Ahmad led a delegation of BAAMA Executive Committee at a seminar organised by Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) at Dubai Expo 2020 and to invite UAE businesses to invest in Bangladesh’s growing automotive industry – where the manufacturing and assembly plants rely mostly on imported auto parts.

The annual automobile market in Bangladesh is around US$2.35 billion while annual parts and components market is estimated to be more than US$2.05 billion, according to a research report. More than 4.7 million vehicles are currently registered in Bangladesh of which more than 60 percent are Japanese brands while Indian brands represent 25 percent.

 Of the 4.7 million registered vehicles, 66 percent are two-wheelers that have been growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15 percent over the last five years. Bangladeshi automobile assemblers and manufacturers import 35 percent of the parts from China and 30 percent from India, the report shows.

Mohammad Sirazul Islam, Executive Chairman of BIDA, said, “Bangladesh Government is keen to develop the automobile industry to diversify export earnings. The Government has issued Automotive Industry Development Policy, 2020 – recently that will help re-structure the industry and help it grow exponentially in the next few years.

“Due to the growing buying power of Bangladeshi consumers, more and more people will buy cars in line with the change in their lifestyle. Increased public mobility is putting pressure on the infrastructure. That’s why Bangladesh government in investing heavily in expanding roads, highways and building large bridges and tunnels to support the economic growth.

“However, the industry will need massive investment to acquire technology, know-how and produce components to support the automobile manufacturing plants.”

 The use of motorized vehicles has increased significantly in the last two decades (2000-2020). There were only 303,215 units of registered motorized vehicles in 2003 in Bangladesh. But up to May 2021, according to Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) data, there were 4,729,393 units of registered vehicles in Bangladesh. Among them, 544,616 are passenger cars. The automobile market is again dominated by sedan cars, covering almost 68 percent of that passenger car market. The Remaining 12.40 percent are covered by Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs) and 19.27 percent are covered by microbus. Due to the increase in purchasing power, mass people are buying vehicles more than ever before.

The Japanese reconditioned cars are dominating the automobile market of Bangladesh for a long time. But, currently the demand for Japanese reconditioned cars is slowly declining. In 2016, reconditioned cars almost covered 92 percent of the demand, and in 2020, it decreased to 82 percent.

In 2020, among the new registered cars, 82 percent are reconditioned or grey market imported, 16 percent are brand new imported, and only 2 percent are locally assembled vehicles.

Abdul Matlub Ahmad, President of BAAMA, said, “The automobile industry is going to be the next big contributor to Bangladesh’s economy if we can attract foreign investment in the automobile component and parts industry, which we currently import for our manufacturing plants.

“The industry is currently catering to the domestic market. However, if we could develop the industry properly, Bangladesh could become a major automobile exporter to the rest of the world – the same way we developed the ready-made garments industry.

“Currently we are scouting for investment in auto parts industry, that could produce vital auto parts to support the local auto assemblers and manufacturers so that we don’t have to import them from other countries,” concluded Abdul Matlub Ahmad, who is also the President of the India-Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IBCCI).

Representatives of Bangladeshi auto parts traders in Sharjah, said they are keen to contribute to the development of the automobile industry.

  Mohin Uddin, a leading member of the group and Chairman of Dubai Royal Group, said, “Bangladeshi businessmen have been dominating the auto parts trading and service industry in the UAE for the last three decades. We have experienced and skilled human resources, capital and the know-how. We are ready to invest in Bangladesh to support the industry’s growth.

“However, we need technical and management support to set up factories and develop the industry in Bangladesh. We know how to source and sell parts, repair vehicles. But we do not have experience in setting up factories, industries or in importing machineries to produce auto parts. So, we will need technical support from the industry leaders.”

UAE-based Bangladeshi auto traders said, they are in a unique position to market Made in Bangladesh auto parts in the UAE market that will help the Bangladeshi parts manufacturers expand in the GCC markets.

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