Over the last couple of decades, the phenomenal growth of the textile and apparel sector has repeatedly made our nation proud. The total RMG exports from Bangladesh during FY 2017-18 were 30.61 billion USD, and Bangladesh has set an aspirational target of exports worth 50 billion USD in 2021. Besides the government has established 100 economic zones to boost the investment in this sector that is required to achieve the target. Already many national and global companies are coming and investing in the sector.
On the other hand, major progress happened in safety standard in RMG sector due to Accord, Alliance and national initiative plan in last year. However, the sector is facing some major problems including, high cost for electricity and gas services, high bank interest rate, recent wage hike, inefficient port facility etc.
In this reality, what could be done more to make the year 2019 better?
Md. Khayer Mia, Managing Director, Hyacinth Fabrics Mills Limited & Director, BTMA
Last year the overall textile sector faced some setbacks including cotton price increase, gas price increase, and the banking sector’s financial incidents. For 2019, I think the government has to ensure gas, power at a reasonable price so that the spinners and weavers feel motivated to invest in the textile sector. Though the government has already imported LNG but distribution not yet started properly. We need further Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the backward linkage, textile, and high-end products in our economic zones. I think political stability is very important and for the last 10 years, Bangladesh is in a stable political condition and I hope the new government will provide continues support for the textile sector.
Md. Shafiqul Islam Sarker, Managing Director, Purbani Group and Director, BTMA
We should work hard to accomplish $50 billion target by 2021. For achieving this target, we should improve our negotiation skill for having a fair price from buyers. Besides the government has to ensure top-notch port efficiency, uninterrupted power, and gas supply. At the same time, I think we should get back GSP facilities in the US market. Moreover, a global trade war is running, which is positive for us. But we need coordinated work for our trade protection.
Dr. Khondaker Golam Moazzame, Research Director, CPD
In the global textile sector, we have seen the effect of several positive changes in 2018 and were able to retain the spirit of projected textile and apparel sector growth. The trend of propensity is rising upward compared to the last year, which is positive. There have been changes in the global level, especially China’s new normal policy. Under this policy, low value and pollution created products are being discouraged by China. China’s labor wage has been increased a lot and due to a trade war, export demand of Bangladesh is swelling.
Also, due to Accord-Alliance initiatives, most of the factories have been able to complete the renovation work. The activities of small factories, as well as large factories and member factories, have been started under the national initiative which will end soon. In the absence of the Accord-Alliance, the Transition Monitoring Committee has been formed at the national level to administer the sector’s reforms and the activities have already started. Our success will rest on its potential in the coming days. But importantly, by doing these things, our reputation has been increased that how we are sincere and factory entrepreneurs have taken appropriate steps to do renovation work in the factory environment and development. But everyone is looking at the trend how and in which framework it will be sustained in the future.
We must constantly keep in mind that the position of our rival countries are going to be robust in the global level. We are producing medium or high-value items from low-value items in the product structure. This is undoubtedly a good sign. Foreigners are fascinated enough to invest in Bangladesh. I think that if special economic zones are created for them in near future, there is a lot of opportunities to invest and it will assist to expand the textile sector, especially synthetic products, geotextile market.
Fazlee Shamim Ehsan, 2nd Vice President, BKMEA & Managing Director, Fatullah Apparels Ltd.
This year we are establishing a new green knit project and I am optimistic that many factories are going to expand. Now we should focus on improving workers efficiency and value-added products to endure competitive in the global market.
Engr. Asif Muhammad Sami, Technical Advisor of Crony Group
As Bangladesh textile and apparel industry is growing up very fast, it should yield more value-added products, technical textiles and I hope these products are coming up in 2019. Geo-textile is another investment field for this country due to roads and highway infrastructure is going to be developed. So, this geo-textile will come up very fast with new potentiality.
Medical textile, knit & woven, denim & lingerie items also will boom. Many textile entrepreneurs are looking for a better scope to extend their plants. By 2019 and 2020, I hope it will develop more. I am confident that the market expansion of Bangladesh will be increased according to our expectations in this year and onward. Let’s see what materialize.
Mizanur Rahman, CEO & Managing Director, Westlife
Global buyers and retailers like to place orders from Bangladesh owing to lesser prices. To sustain in the global competitive market, we have to explore the new market. Using the latest technology to produce high value-added and quality products we need to fulfill the buyer’s demand as we ought to get a better price from them.
Mahmudul Hasan Kaycobad, Director, Amanat Shah Group
We have a vast market in the knit and woven sector, so this year, we should move to the new market, produce value-added products. With the basic items, we cannot compete for our rivals and we cannot be able to attract buyer’s attention. For the spinning sector, we should make value-added yarn which we import from abroad. Technical textile is another investment field for our country. Our government should take some take initiatives, though the government has already taken some measures for this project.