After having ordered CNG filling stations to remain closed for six hours a day, the Bangladesh government has decided to ration gas supply to all industries, including textile and apparel industries for four hours (from 5 pm to 9 pm daily) for 15 days amid a crisis during Ramadan started from 12 April.
Textile and apparel industry leaders are trying to negotiate the matter with the high authorities of the government including Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury, Energy Adviser to the Prime Minister to keep the industry out of gas rationing as they can ensure uninterrupted production.
However, the government did not issue any new directive regarding the issue yet.
Textile Today asked some industry leaders: how can they cope with the government decision to stop using gas for four hours daily for 15 days and what is the strategy they can take to lessen its impact on their business?
BTMA officials said that around 1,700MW of electricity is generated by captive power plants that are run by natural gas. But due to low gas pressure for a long time, they could not ensure uninterrupted production and also failed to meet shipment deadlines.
Faruque Hassan, President, of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) said, “Gas rationing will increase our lead time while we have record work orders.”
“We cannot deny that in Ramadan gas is necessary for household cooking. But it is also true that the textile and readymade garment sector is also a lifeline in our economy. That is why we have urged the government to consider allocating gas supply to the RMG sector after providing gas to the household.”
Anisul Haque Ansari, General Manager, Vertex RMG Division, pointed out some ways to cope with this situation:
- Use solar power for certain areas to reduce the need for gas.
- Start working hours earlier in the morning to increase day work time.
- Create effective working hours by reducing non-productive time.
- For new factories they can consider eco-friendly constructions to utilize daylight efficiently, thus the power usage can be reduced.
- Using diesel fuel for generators and boilers for time being if needed.
Hasin Arman, Chairman-Standing Committee on Market Development at Brand BGMEA, and a director of MB Knit Fashion Limited said, “As the world economies are gradually recovering from the coronavirus, the export orders have been increasing exponentially. Factories are getting booked for a longer period. Now the sudden decision to stop using gas for 4 hours daily will greatly affect the value chain. As dyeing facilities will remain closed for 4 hours that would delay the production of fabrics and thus orders won’t be completed as per schedule.”
“Dyeing’s production is calculated through batch to the batch system within 24 hours of the production cycle and when there is a gas interruption around half of the cycle will be collapsed. Orders will fail to meet the deadline. This decision not only will lead to an economic loss but also project inefficiency on our part to the international market due to the delayed shipments of orders. The situation will be even direr as the manufacturers will be under the pressure of salary and bonus for Eid.”
“While the country is trying to revive the economy, this decision will do the opposite by decreasing the export earnings.”
“To recover this situation we can’t roaster the time or the schedule, there is no alternative of the gas as of now. So, we would urge the government to reroute the gas to the readymade garments and textile industry and to think of alternatives for the other sectors because the RMG industry is unparalleled for our country and this sector should be at top of the priority list. However, we have to abide by the rules too. But this will create havoc with the added pressure of Eid bonuses while factories will witness their export decline.”
Sheikh H M Mustafiz, Managing Director, Cute Dress Industry Ltd. said, “It will surely have a negative impact with this sudden decision, especially during this month of Ramadan when we have limited working hours.”
“You know most of the factories have a good volume of orders in their production line. This gas supply rationing will create raw materials supply chain disruption and the result is very clear, less production and less export. We will face the main crisis of delivery commitment reputation to our buyers. If this repeatedly happens, then buyers will not feel confident to place orders in Bangladesh in future,” H M Mustafiz added.