Good amount of time has been passed after BGMEA and Government of Bangladesh agreed on a target of increasing RMG export to USD 50 billion by 2021. The declaration first came in Apparel Summit 2014 and so almost two years have been gone and only four solid years remaining. Current yearly export stands at USD 28.1 billion and another huge jump is needed to reach in about four or five years’ time. Articles have been published in Textile Today suggesting the way onward but it seems the pace of developments is not satisfactory yet. According to the industry insiders easing the business process would be the greatest hurdle to reach the target.
Market opportunities are there, enthusiastic entrepreneurs and skilled workforce are enough to overcome the challenges of scarce resources and other uncertainties. “We have enough people and courage to take the challenge but we must be allowed to do this.” A young entrepreneur Shumon was expressing his feelings to this reporter. Shumon is partnering with a Spain based garment accessories company and told that if the government or regulatory processes could be made familiar for new and small to medium entrepreneurs how the sector can expect such growth?
As he travels to countries like China, Vietnam, and Cambodia etc. main competition countries for Bangladesh export, he finds ease of business is the key for growth. He told that Vietnam particularly could gain rapid growth because of smooth government services. Cambodia is another country coming up with improved trade services, he added. Bangladeshi entrepreneurs are suffering great for difficulties related to government services. Financial services have become remarkably difficult now-a-days when additional precautions have been added to tackle money laundering. Road transport, port services are not yet world class and not smooth. Different customs and related service providers are horrible. He added that you can have laws and regulations and controls but quality of service must be there to keep things smooth, known and transparent.
A textile raw materials importer in the condition of anonymity told this reporter that if you want to import hassle free, you will have to have unofficial illegal contract with certain customs officials. Even if your declaration, documentation, and goods are all right you will have to face problem in the process if you are not under such illegal contract of bribery. Such difficulties and resulted delays are causing financial losses, reputation losses and loss of local and international business.
Digital or e-governance has been talked about much for last several years and current digitalization in certain government services has improved information related things in government offices but overall process’s transparency, quality and efficiency of services have not improved much.
An owner of a textile group having vertical setup producing yarn to fabric and processing it to make garment and exporting huge amount of garment after cutting and sewing told that for energy and power related purpose they needed to spend huge amount of money as bribery. Special arrangement of improving gas pressure required potential amount. Now to get high voltage grid line we will need huge amount of money, he added, in the condition of anonymity. However, it is not only about bribery and undue preferences; it is also about quality of services. The usual and frequent services we need from government and related agencies are not smooth, so these cause huge time loss and those interns’ results in business losses, he concluded.
However, none of above mentioned person and pessimistic about Bangladesh growth prospect. All of them are rather optimistic and increasing their own business as well. All of them echoed that easing of government and related public services required for businesses would accelerate growth as envisioned by the government.