‘Exports need to be on track despite lockdown’

Staff Correspondent

14 April, 2021 12:00 AM printer

In the backdrop of lockdown due to a surge in corona infections, exporters are focusing to keep the RMG sector operational for the sake of the country’s largest export-earning sector and maintaining the competitive edge in the global market.

Newly-elected BGMEA President Faruque Hassan told the Daily Sun that they are now paying full attention to keeping export-oriented clothing factories open and keep the wheels of exports moving.

Talking about a fresh stimulus for the RMG sector, the BGMEA President said the issue primarily came to the fore following a new set of crisis created by the pandemic.

 “New stimulus will be needed. But we are yet to discuss the stimulus issue with the government. We will seek stimulus later. Now we are paying attention to keep the factories open,” he said.

Many export orders have been cancelled while many factories are not getting new orders, he said, adding that they will assess the need and seek new stimulus from the government.

 “Our first priority is now is to run the factories,” the BGMEA president said, adding that the wheels of the economy must keep moving despite the challenges created by the pandemic.

It is mentionable that the government has taken all preparations to enforce a complete eight-day lockdown in the country from today to contain the surge of the deadly coronavirus. But, export-oriented factories will remain open.       

Fazlee Shamim Ehsan, director of Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA), said there is no alternative of running the wheel of the economy.

“Export-oriented factories are very much competitive,” he said, adding that if Bangladesh fails to go with the competitors' pace, the RMG sector will lose its competitiveness.

The garments sector has seen continuous price drops of 4.5 per cent to 5 per cent since September last year.

Besides, the sector has reported export orders loss worth $6 billion in 2019-20 fiscal. Due to lockdown measures since February 2020, the retail business of ready-made garments has sustained a negative trend, as Europe reported a 28 per cent fall and the US reported it to be 16 per cent.

BTMA President Mohammad Ali Khokon recently said that textiles mills currently have export orders worth $2 billion and more than $4 billion is on the pipeline.

If textile industries are closed during the lockdown, this sector would incur a loss of around Tk 54,000 crore, he added.