Bangladesh: Move underway to issue ‘halal’ certificates to firms

The Financial Express – Md Shah Jahan

BangladeshThe government has taken an initiative to provide ‘halal’ certificates to the business entities those want to enter the US$2.3 trillion global halal market.

The Bangladesh Accreditation Board (BAB) under the Ministry of Industries (MoI) is preparing the procedures for providing the certificates, top MoI officials said.

They also said the step has been taken after repeated appeals from the local businesses and exporters to start this type of programme for ensuring Bangladesh’s position in the promising global halal market.

BAB Director General (DG) Abu Abdullah told the FE that they are still at the primary stage to provide the certificate.

” Though late,it is good that we have started the process. The BAB has assigned an official to formulate the draft of the whole procedure, and we are making it keeping in mind the perspective of the countries that are leading the halal market,” he added.

Mr Abdullah said it is a very complicated process as the concept is absolutely related with the religion.

“So, we have to form a shariah board comprising the Islamic scholars,” he said.

The BAB DG said the demand for halal products is increasing day by day even in the non-Muslim countries as everyone wants to take something hygienic.

“We are just missing the very potential market,” he said.

The non-food sector including chemicals, healthcare, cosmetics, personal care and pharmaceuticals is much bigger. Another promising and fast gaining acceptance in the halal industry is the Shariah compliant services, which include banking and finance, logistics, warehousing and distribution.

Stressing on the halal certification, secretary general of the Bangladesh-Malaysia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BMCCI) Raquib Mohammad Fakhrul told the FE that the country is missing the enormous prospects of halal market due to lack of certification and supervision of the government.

“We are repeatedly appealing to the government to take a step for ensuring our participation in the global halal market. But, no initiative is visible yet,” he added.

Mr Fakhrul said they are ready to help the government to start the process of halal certification, and also proposed the government to give the responsibilities to the private sector.

“We did not get any response from the government side in this respect,” he mentioned.

Sources said, the previous government took a decision for establishing a halal food certification board, and moved to form a committee to recommend ways to establish it. But, it was not materialised.

Managing Director (MD) and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of HALAL Bangladesh Services Ltd, a Bangladeshi private halal certification agency, Al-Haj Jasim U Ahmed told the FE that the halal concept is a very popular one around the world including Bangladesh.

“The issue of hygiene is very important to people all over the world including the non-Muslim countries. They always want to take something suitable for health. So, the halal items are at the top of preference,” he added.

HALAL Bangladesh MD said: “We are the first organisation in the country to give halal certificate, and the top business entities are our clients.”

He said the Abul Khair Group, Akij Food and Beverage Limited, Meghna Group of Industries, City Group, BD Foods, Olympic Industries Limited, Bombay Sweets and Co Ltd, Bangladesh Edible Oil Limited and many other companies are their clients.

Mr Ahmed said their company is a member of the World Halal Council, and the head office of the council is in Turkey.

He said before providing the halal certificate to any company, they also take into consideration the environmental and other social issues.