Entrepreneurs in Chittagong are more interested in wholesale or retail commodity businesses, and to some extent in car repairing workshops, rather than the production sector where certain cottage industries hold the lead.
This was revealed in the Chittagong district economic census-2013 published at the deputy commissioner’s office in Chittagong on Thursday.
In the census year of 2013, there were 3,80,550 business organisations in Chittagong employing 19,68,862 people. The figure of the businesses was 1,94,922 in 2003 where 7,04,351 people were employed. The number of business organisations and employees rose by 95.23 per cent and 179.53 per cent respectively in the last 10 years till 2013. Economic activities in rural areas grew more than the urban areas during the period.
Of the business organisations, 51.76 per cent or 1,96,984 enterprises deal in wholesale and retail business and vehicle repairing workshops, followed by 58,620 manufacturing organisations (15.40 per cent). There are 35,744 hotel-restaurants occupying 9.39 per cent of the enterprises. Over 15,000 entrepreneurs were engaged in transport and cold storage businesses.
The manufacturing sector was supposed to flourish in Chittagong using its port facility. The garment sector was Chittagong-based in the beginning, but it did not expand there.
Chittagong Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Mahbubul Alam said Chittagong has been reeling under a gas crisis since 2009, and land prices are also higher. Entrepreneurs concentrated on Dhaka due to the lack of industrial facilities in Chittagong, despite the port facilities. On the other hand, entrepreneurs resorted to wholesale commodity business due to import facilities by sea.
In the manufacturing sector, 73 per cent factories were situated in rural areas and 87 per cent are cottage industries which have permanent assets worth only Tk 5 lakh each. There are only 474 heavy industrial units in Chittagong.
According to the latest census, women employment grew manifold up to 29.67 per cent of the total workforce in comparison to 8.70 per cent in 2003. Women entrepreneurship also witnessed 7 per cent rise in ten years up to 2013.