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Monday, November 12, 2012
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Big time for garment

Top buyers see Bangladesh as China's alternative for basic garments; delegation in Dhaka for assessment

Leading international buyers have said that Bangladesh is their first choice for sourcing apparel products in the wake of China's shift from basic garments to other industries.

“Bangladesh is our first choice…the country has a long history of producing readymade garments,” said Richard Vuylsteke, leader of the delegation of international buyers that include more than two dozen global brands and retailers.

“Cambodia, Indonesia, Vietnam and Myanmar are the other alternatives,” he said after a meeting with Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) at its office yesterday.

These international buyers imported readymade garments worth $5.6 billion from Bangladesh in 2011-12, more than one-fourth the country's total garment exports worth $19 billion in the fiscal year.

Vuylsteke, also president of American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong, said they are in Dhaka to diversify sourcing, particularly after China's shift to heavy industries from apparel manufacturing.

The buyers include Walmart, VFC, Tradecard, Target, PVH, Li & Fung Group, Kiabi, H&M, Esprit, Carter's, C&A Mondial, Amer Sports and Avery Dennison.

These Hong Kong-based buyers believe that Bangladesh has a huge potential to grow with its garment industries but it has limitations in terms of infrastructure, management and productivity skill, and safety issues in factories.

The delegation arrived in Dhaka yesterday on a four-day visit. They will talk to entrepreneurs and government officials about Bangladesh's prospects to become a RMG giant and the challenges ahead.

“They [buyers] are here to see our capacity,” BGMEA President Shafiul Islam told journalists after the meeting with the buyers.

Global buyers are coming to Bangladesh to look for alternatives to Chinese clothing manufacturers, he said.

“It is a crucial time for us. If we can give them [buyers] the assurance that the government is working to develop the infrastructure, we can surely become an alternative to China for them,” he said.

BGMEA said it has the capacity to handle more work orders. But energy and infrastructure constraints are its biggest challenge.

Shafiul said exporters are unhappy about the government's slow implementation of much-needed infrastructure projects.

He referred to the project to expand the Dhaka-Chittagong highway, slow progress in implementation of Pangaon river port and inland container depot.

“We don't know when the project to expand the Dhaka-Chittagong highway will be completed. We have to act fast on these issues,” said the BGMEA president.

The exporters also talked to the buyers about wages of workers.

“We have urged them to look into the wage issue, and sought their help for developing two housing projects for garment workers,” said Shafiul.

The exporters said shortage of skilled manpower still remains a big problem for the industry.

“The apparel industry as a whole faces shortage of 20 percent skilled manpower,” said BGMEA Vice President Faruque Hassan.

Siddiqur Rahman, another vice president, also spoke on the occasion.

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If that is the case and if it is not over exaggerated, I think Bangladesh leadership should sit down and chalk out a massive plan. One particular area of Bangladesh must be dedicated strategically for this particulate industrial development; because we should not be resorting to our cities and nearby lands for this huge amount of pressure anymore. Having said that where is electricity, gas, and other necessary infrastructure is going to come from? Bangladesh must decide to have the nuclear power plant without any delay and BAPEX must double its effort to connect more gas resources to our national grid. However necessary study must be carried out very professionally and the infrastructure development plan must start now through PPP ventures. Big BGMEA members with stack of cash sitting in their overseas bank should return those funds finding its way toward this noble cause.

However one particular point to remember about the hoax from the influential quarters, and that is politics as election are looming over us. Could this be a political maneuvering by certain quarters that are looking at the next election only? We need to be careful. Public money should not be the only source for the development of RMG project as there are strong rumours that bad guys are planning another attack or move on our poor economy to attract funds from all resources and make its way to foreign land leaving us a crippling effect permanently.

: Sheikh Monirul Islam, Opee

We need political will to remove all barriers. That is possible if we can sustain our democracy for all time. Culture of rejecting election result and people's mandate, boycotting parliament only makes democracy go astray and thus benefits those who basically do not believe in the independence of this country and its progress and development. Rule of law must be established at all cost. Only good governance will bring confidence in the minds of the investors and outside buyers.

: MR

Comments

  • Mohammad Afzal
    Monday, November 12, 2012 01:45 AM GMT+06:00 (99 weeks ago)

    This leading position has been created by the tireless efforts of the BGMEA members, ably supported by certain government policies during the previous regimes by some far sighted Finance and Commerce Ministers. The manufacturers and exporters have been tested over time by the overseas buyers and hence it is logical that they will look towards Bangladesh as a prime supplier to the US and Europe, however the Exporters have meanwhile secured entry to much more lucrative markets like Japan, South Africa.

    BGMEA should carry out a study about the prospects of expanding their production capabilities based on future infrastructural advancements as per plans that exist in govt's Planning Ministry and should reach a conclusion whether the country will be able either to fulfil the needs of the manufacturers or they should open up manufacturing facilities in countries where policies and environment are more conducive as has been done in the past- where our manufacturers opened up production facilities in Cambodia, Vietnam-the surplus orders could be shifted to those countries, one very potential country will be Myanmar in the coming years for Bangladeshi manufacturers considering the proximity and the availability of cheap labour and above all the support that is being committed by the largest importers of apparels- USA.

  • OpeeMonir
    Monday, November 12, 2012 10:59 AM GMT+06:00 (98 weeks ago)

    Those who advocates emerging tiger scenario should not forget that once Thailand was Asia's emerging tiger- tourism is still a major industry and prostitution is still the most attracting part...must not we forget that? Low paid bunch of women pulled out of the social structure rehabilitated in every city slum dwellings are big eye openers. Economic development is good, but if its benefit only reaches the house of the riches...why all this social manipulations in the name of creating jobs. The whole economics is wrong and we in Bangladesh- our livelihood are under threat.

  • Misbah uddin Sumon
    Monday, November 12, 2012 07:19 AM GMT+06:00 (98 weeks ago)

    One of the most exporting sectors of Bangladesh is garment product. China is the world's top most exporting country in different sectors but now scenario is changing, world top buyers appreciate Bangladesh rather than china in garment sector. This is the high time for our garment sector to gain the market leadership by producing and exporting quality garment products.

  • Dr. Iftikhar-ul-Awwal, DU
    Monday, November 12, 2012 08:17 AM GMT+06:00 (98 weeks ago)

    It is only in the nature of global competitiveness. That this would be the scenario was a foregone conclusion. With maturing of industrial nations, they shift their investment in directions of capital intensive industries rather than labour intensive. Labour being cheap and plentiful, RMG sector has come to stay in Bangladesh for quite a while till we ourselves are able to diversify our own industrial base to sectors of higher technology based return. However, the exploitative relationship between the industry and labour must be corrected to ensure social justice, peace and stability in the industry.

  • shahid
    Monday, November 12, 2012 11:46 AM GMT+06:00 (98 weeks ago)

    just provide utility services, repair roads and highways in chittagong, you will see RMG export reaching a new height!

  • Syed Imtiaz Ali
    Monday, November 12, 2012 09:46 AM GMT+06:00 (98 weeks ago)

    This is a huge national 'sales lead' of sorts, and must not be ignored or delayed in realising its gravity in our national economy.

    Without further ado we must also:

    1. Set up a Garments Village

    2. Ensure realistic/minimum Pay scale.

    3. Have better quality control of produce and the people behind the process.

    Govt must take renewed interest and focus in this vital area. We need to be pro-active.

  • Putool
    Monday, November 12, 2012 02:10 PM GMT+06:00 (98 weeks ago)

    Big time for Garment requires immediate putting on stream the PANGAON Container Terminal. Only this alternative route by waterway can expedite Garmen -ts Export easing Traffic tail backs on the Ctg - Dhaka-Ctg Highway.

  • Abu Karim
    Monday, November 12, 2012 05:40 PM GMT+06:00 (98 weeks ago)

    Apart from some high profile clothing industries in Bangladesh, most of the clothing industries are in fragmented state although they are doing good business. Consolidating these fragmented industries into high profile industries would bring more prosperity to the clothing industry in Bangladesh.

  • M H Uddin
    Monday, November 12, 2012 12:18 AM GMT+06:00 (99 weeks ago)

    This is a great opportunity for our country to be the garments leader in the world. A part from this there is huge benefit for our social, economical, infrastructures and educational developments. RMG has been able to radically change our women empowerment and their role in the family.

    To be a middle income country we need to focus on industrial revolution and China's shift from RMG to heavy industry has potentially opened the door for our country and we should take that advantage. When we will have that skilled manpower and infrastructure we can then move forward like the Chinese is doing.

  • Sengupta, Canada
    Monday, November 12, 2012 12:21 AM GMT+06:00 (99 weeks ago)

    Bangladesh may prove as an emerging tiger if political and civil administartion's harassment stop and assist garment owners and buyers not to run from post to pillar.


 

 


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