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Further focus on 5Ps

TexApp, a forum, have been organized concurrently with the 15th anniversary of Textech Machinery Exhibition on September 3 in Dhaka to further celebrate and discuss the current achievements in the apparel sector of Bangladesh. Exhibition organizer CEMS-Global came up with the initiative and teamed up with `The Daily Star’ bringing up industry leaders and stakeholders in the same room.

1Discussant panel of the forum seems to be carefully chosen with well representation from the wide spectrum of the sector. Discussion was made of several issues related to the Bangladesh apparel industry and also deliberate on how to further take the industry forward in the coming years. President to the BGMEA, Mr. Atikul Islam naturally took the key role while he was sharing the recent export growth amid of severe political and other crisis in the sector. While he looked forward to the future to maintain the pace, he recalled the McKensey analysis and emphasized further on 5P’s namely People, Port,Power, Performance and Politics. He intended to continue the endeavor to improve 5 Ps to make sure exponential growth in the coming days.

Answering a question regarding improving the skills of the people, BGMEA president mentioned that workers in Bangladeshi factories who are getting minimum wage are in fact fully unskilled and getting on job training which helps them to build a great career in RMG sector. Mr. Hatem, Vice President to BKMEA helped him on the same issue and added that there are number of training institutes now in Bangladesh and many programs are under going to increase performance and productivity. Both of them echoed that further initiatives need to be continued on the same to further improve the value addition.

2Zahid Hussain, lead economist of the TheWorld Bank’s local office, said, ‘We need a stable political situation for sustained growth of garment exports.’ ‘We also need to address the infrastructure bottlenecks to smooth the running of our businesses,’ Hussain said. Government policies must be reformed to become more business-oriented, he said. If these problems are addressed properly, Bangladesh has scope for attracting more investment in different sectors, he said. Economist Zahid added that at this position of the sector, now everything to move further to brighter days are in our hands.

Foreign investors can invest in backward linkage industries, said Atiqul Islam, president of BGMEA. ‘The local entrepreneurs have invested in the garment sector over the years. They have developed a lot, both in terms of garment products and markets. So we don’t need foreign investment in the basic garment sector anymore,’ Islam said. ‘We need a pool of skilled people for the garment sector, as we have already started suffering from the absence of skilled manpower for the sector, he said. The garment sector passed the worst time in 2013 when the Rana Plaza building collapsed killing more than 1,000 workers, but the country has been gradually overcoming the shocks. `We are expecting good business in the coming years,’ Islam said.

Mohammad Hatem, first vice-president of BKMEA, the knitters’ platform, said the country needs to fix the gas crisis to keep up business growth. ‘Japan is a particularly promising, a market of $35 billion garment consumption a year and our exports to the country are increasing,’ Hatem said.

The government has already cut import duty on import of fire safety equipment to zero for the sake of workplace safety in the garment sector, said Syed Md AminulKarim, member of the National Board of Revenue. ‘The government will lose Tk 2,000 crore from the duty waiver on safety equipment imports,’ he said.

Akhtaruzzaman Khan Kabir, chief executive officer of Bangladesh Tourism Board, SM Mahbubur Rahman, director general of Export Promotion Bureau and Sohel Ahmed, chief operating officer of Aamra Resources Ltd, also was also the member of discussion board. Mr. Kabir requested all the business entities related to textile apparel to use ‘Beautiful Bangladesh’ in their promotional materials. He emphasized that country level promotion and image building is important for both RMG and tourism sectors. Mr. Sohel Ahmed stressed that machinery selling companies can import spare parts duty which is the reason of high cost and delay in machinery services to the industries. This is causing much machinery in the industries to be idle waiting to be repaired and to be operational.

In the discussion it has been understood that alongside the current growth Bangladesh has all capabilities to grow even further. Zahid Hussain particularly addressed that ‘our main problem now is poor infrastructure. What I would like to say is that we need to build special economic zones to meet that challenge.’ Before the forum ends Atiqul Islam called upon everybody to work under a single platform to promote the sector then declared that ‘no east no west, Bangladesh is the best’. The forum was moderated by Refayet Ullah Mridha, Senior Correspondent to The Daily Star.

If anyone has any feedback or input regarding the published news, please contact: info@textiletoday.com.bd

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