BGMEA chief gets calls from worried buyers
Tribune Report

BGMEA president told the buyers that they are trying to keep supply normal taking special arrangements

Leading international buyers of garment products have phoned the BGMEA chief to learn about the current political situation so they can place work orders.

“This morning (Tuesday) I got phone calls from as many as 11 top global RMG retailers. They wanted to know what was going on in Bangladesh and how long it would continue,” BGMEA President Atiqul Islam told a seminar in the city yesterday.

They were concerned about the situation and wanted to know when the crisis would end so they could plan their business here and make decision on placing orders, he said.

But the president of garment owners and exporters association could not give any proper reply as he was also uncertain about the future course of political crisis in Bangladesh.

“As the president of BGMEA, I could not give a proper answer to their questions and just told them that we were trying to keep supply normal taking special arrangements.”

When contacted later over phone, Atiqul Islam told Dhaka Tribune that they would observe the situation for next couple of days and take decision on how to tackle it for the sake of the RMG industry.

To reach the $27bn export target set for the current fiscal year, RMG industry needs to have a production of Tk700 crore per day, he said.

Besides, Atiqul Islam emphasised that it is also necessary to maintain a smooth supply chain to carry raw materials for achieving the export target.

He said Bangladesh needs 11% growth to achieve the $50bn export target by 2021 in the garment sector.

About relocation, he said they lack necessary lands to relocate their factories.

Islam said 60% of the shared building factory owners have land for relocation while 40% are facing problems to find lands.

“The problem is that if we fail to relocate our factories to purpose-made buildings, the buyers won’t place orders. Then the owners will have to shut down their factories,” BGMEA chief said. He said they have three years to complete remediation works of factories as the buyers set a 5-year plan to this end.

Besides, Atiqul Islam urged the government to negotiate tariff issues bilaterally as it could help bring down the existing duty rate.

“We need to sign bilateral agreements with those countries having business with us in this regard.”

The seminar was held on “Regulatory Challenges for Trade and Investment” organised by Policy Research Institute (PRI) in collaboration with Department for International Development (DFID) of the UK government.

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