Faruque Hassan, president of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), has said the country’s apparel makers are being harassed by customs and bond authority at a time when other countries are making their systems more investment and trade-friendly.
He made the claim on Sunday while addressing the inauguration ceremony of “Made in Bangladesh Week 2022,” which Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina attended as the chief guest along with other government officials and industry leaders.
Faruque said, “Lead time is most important to us because our sector [readymade garment] is highly dependent on time and season. We are now focusing on product development and innovation, for which we need to import new materials regularly.
“But the harassment by the customs and bond officials is disrupting our progress and putting us behind. We humbly seek the prime minister’s innervation to resolve this problem.”
He also said that their export earnings from the major destinations, such as the US and Germany, have already started declining due to the global economic crisis. The ongoing global energy crisis, which has already hit Bangladesh, is also affecting the apparel sector.
“Because of the power crisis, we are forced to use diesel-fired generators and it’s increasing our production costs and reducing competitiveness in the global market. But we have to keep going because we have to pay the workers.
“If this situation prolongs, many factories will have to shut down and that will create massive unemployment,” he added.
The BGMEA president also said that Bangladesh currently holds an 8 per cent share of the global apparel market by exporting $42.68 billion. “We plan to export $100 billion worth of products by 2030 and take our global share to 14 per cent.”
“Considering the ongoing global economic crisis, the government should prioritise export earnings. We need industry-friendly policy support to tackle the crisis,” he added.
Faruque continued, “The government has increased source tax for the apparel sector from 0.5 per cent to 1 per cent. I urge the prime minister to return it to 0.5 per cent.
“However, we are not upset. We expect many new buyers to come along with the old ones during the seven days of Made in Bangladesh Week. We are working to enter the new markets in Asia, Australia, Latin America and the Middle East,” he added.
He also said that representatives of 40 companies from Iraq are attending the Made in Bangladesh Week event, which aims to showcase the capability of the country’s apparel sector before the world.
5 exporters awarded
The prime minister inaugurated the week-long event at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in Dhaka in the morning.
On the first day, BGMEA awarded five exporters for their outstanding contributions to the country’s apparel industry. The prime minister handed over the awards.
Epic Group was awarded for its outstanding contribution towards a sustainable RMG industry. Ranjan Mahtani, the company’s executive chairman, received the award.
Panam Group was awarded for significant export to emerging markets. The group’s Managing Director (MD) Amal Podder received the award.
Snowtex Group was awarded for excellence in product development and industrial engineering. The group’s MD SM Khaled received the award.
Fortis Group was awarded for its innovative approach to product diversification. The group’s MD Shahadat Hossan received the award.
BGMEA also awarded Sparrow Group for its innovation and excellence in technologies.