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Challenges and expectations of 2019

Bangladesh textile and apparel industry has passed another year with many accomplishments and the industry already welcomed 2019 wholeheartedly. Stakeholders of textile and apparel industry want to see in the New Year the continuation of the business-and investment-friendly environment as the $32 billion industry can overcome all challenges to step towards a sustainable future that will help to accomplish its target.

Challenges & expectations BD RMG 2019
Figure: RMG worker’s disturbance damages Bangladesh’s apparel industry’s image to the global arena that ultimately has benefited our rival countries to get more attention from buyers. Courtesy: Daily Star

Now the moment, the prime challenge for the sector is the execution of the new wage structure for the garment workers that came into effect in December 2018 and the workers received enhanced wages from January of the New Year.

When owners are anxious how they will cope with the new wage structure as production cost has been amplified a lot, the workers started demonstration against the wage structure and unrest sustained for almost two weeks that generates colossal loss of production, and some of the factories were ruined by strikers, several workers were exterminated, and many were incapacitated and arrested.

Now, the prime challenge for the sector is the execution of the new wage structure for the garment workers.

Yes, there were legitimate demands of the workers those were addressed by the owners and the government. Nevertheless, what actually the major output of such turbulence except ruining Bangladesh’s apparel industry’s image to the global arena that ultimately is not fruitful for the workers or owners.

Besides wage hike, infrastructure problem, energy, and land crisis, high bank interest rate etc. are also prevailing as major challenges for the sector. Due to these complications, instead of having the prodigious potential for investments to the sectors, national and foreign investors are not expressing adequate keenness to invest here. Business leaders urged to improve ease of doing business in the New Year. Now Bangladesh is one of the bottommost performers on ease of doing business, it is 176 out of 190 countries.

Nonetheless, many surprises are also imminent so far for the industry, an industry leader conveyed recently to the Textile Today a very good update, “Bangladesh is going to be a sourcing hub for China as one of the biggest Chinese companies that have 3800 stores worldwide started sourcing from Bangladesh.”

Bangladeshi manufacturers are going for high value-added items that will increase work orders. Depending on basic items it is not possible to compete with our rival countries.

On the other hand, Primary Textile Sector and backward linkage industry are getting robust growth that is largely aiding the apparel industry to remain competitive in the global market.

However, deprived of long-term government policy supports and efforts to ease of doing business numerous potential developments may not come factual. These are also needed to assist entrepreneurs to design their investments in order to accomplish the 2021 target of the government. Consequently, if the government takes indispensable measures to safeguard good governance, eliminate corruption and recover the ease of doing business it will bring the textile and apparel industry to an advanced phase.

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