That Bangladesh emerged as a major hub for sourcing denim products for international retailers is a very good piece of news and those who made it possible deserve to be celebrated. The overwhelming presence of foreign and local exhibitors and visitors at the seventh edition of Bangladesh Denim Expo smacks of the fact that the country has made great strides in the denim sector.
Bangladesh has an enormous opportunity to increase its share of global market in RMG export markets. The contribution of denim products in the overall RMG exports is also increasing rapidly. Now it remains to be seen whether the country’s garment exports can reach the USD 50 billion mark by 2021, as is being projected. However, the fact is that the rising wages of garment workers in China, the largest textile exporter, has opened a window of opportunity for countries like Bangladesh where production cost is still relatively low.
But, there are challenges as well for Bangladesh to capture more global market share. Lacklustre infrastructure and port facilities, and shortages of utility services are some of the obstacles the readymade garment industry is facing. It is, however, reassuring that the government is trying its best to overcome these shortcomings.
The apparel and garment sector has to modernise and focus more on quality than quantity. They must keep a tab on the ever changing global fashion trends and invest more on promotion and patronisation of research, development and innovation to manufacture high quality products.
Bangladesh is currently the second largest exporter of textile in the world. With the increase in production cost in China, Bangladesh gained a competitive edge in terms of production cost. But we must remember that several other countries including India and Vietnam also hold the same advantage and are vigorously trying to cash in on the opportunity.
Amid this global competitive environment, it is disheartening that the country has gone one notch down in the World Bank’s ranking of ease of doing business mainly due to the hurdle businesses face here at the start of their operations. Whereas India made significant progress by jumping 30 spots to 100th in this year’s ranking.
Some visionary and forward-looking steps from the government for the sake of the entire business sector and the country’s economy would be much welcome. There is much Bangladesh can gain by removing the hurdles of running business in the country.