Today we are excitedly waiting to celebrate the 50th Victory Day of Bangladesh, which is undoubtedly a proud and glorified moment for all of us as a nation. From a war-ravaged country with a shattered economy, Bangladesh is now a “basket full of wonders”.
Our dearest homeland has obtained such growth momentum along with mentionable achievements, that, whether it is a miracle or a surprise has been on the discussion among the global community for several years. As our nation celebrates its 50th year of independence, Bangladesh has become a developing country from LDC and aspires to be a developed nation by 2041.
Our socio-economic progress, human development indicators and achievements of MDGs are widely acclaimed. Especially in the last 13 years under the visionary leadership of our Honorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Bangladesh has become a global model of development.
Our per capita income has reached $2,554 from $676 in the FY 2008-2009, poverty rate declined to 20.5%, our total trade balance increased from $38 billion to $82 billion during the same time. Foreign exchange reserve is crossing the records every month which is now at $43.10 billion. Much of this development has been propelled by industrialization as the industry’s contribution to GDP has increased from 17.31% in FY1980-81 to 35.36% in FY2019-20.
One of the few industries that has flourished with the emergence of Bangladesh as a development surprise is the ready-made garment sector. Starting its journey in the early ‘80s, this sector has contributed immensely to our economic growth and prosperity through creating employment, earning foreign currency and women empowerment.
As of today, around 4 million people are directly and another 10 million are indirectly dependent on this sector for their lives and livelihood. Among this huge workforce, around 2.5 million are women. For a male-dominated country like Bangladesh, where decision-making power usually comes with the earning capability, the RMG sector has brought a revolution here.
The job gives them ample opportunity to enjoy the taste of economic freedom and liberty, which, in terms, act as a catalyst behind the overall economic and social development.
Containing a lion’s share (83%) of our total export, the Bangladesh RMG industry has earned $34.13 billion in the FY 2019-20. Even though the pandemic lowered the growth momentum, in recent months export has started to rebound as a result of the mass vaccination and coping up with the “new normal”.
While as a primary industry the textile and RMG is helping our economy to develop a solid foundation, the wider transaction (beyond export earnings, and wage and other input bills) is enormous. In a word, the ready-made garment industry is playing the role of our economic backbone, while the sector has so much more to contribute given its potential in the global market.
The fact that amazes all of us is Bangladesh does neither grow cotton, nor is an integrated producer of textiles and apparel, but we have already become the second-largest apparel exporting country in the world.
The unparalleled entrepreneurial spirit and the dedication and determination of millions of our workers, along with the policy support from the government and endorsement from the brands are all behind our success story.
Today, the tag “Made in Bangladesh” is being retailed in 167 countries across the globe with pride. Through the committed efforts and investments in the past few years, Bangladesh is now considered to be one of the safest apparel manufacturing countries worldwide.
Our clothing factories are not only safer now, but also have become more dynamic, modern, energy-efficient and environment-friendly. Bangladesh is the home to the most LEED green factories in the world. We now have 152 LEED green factories (Certified by USGBC) of which 44 are platinum and 94 are gold rated. 40 out of the global top 100 LEED green factories are in Bangladesh. Around 500 factories are in the pipeline to get their certification.
These are state-of-the-art factories, equipped to save energy and natural resources, having facilities like rainwater harvesting and daylight saving, and having a healthy and hygienic atmosphere. So Bangladesh is showing its sincere commitment when it comes to safety and sustainability.