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11 June, 2019 01:04:29 AM

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Furniture see 19pc export growth

SHARIF AHMED, DHAKA
Furniture see 19pc export growth

The exports of furniture have increased by 19.06 per cent during the July 2018–April 2019 period on a year-on-year basis, according to the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB).

Industry insiders said the country has achieved a double-digit growth for two consecutive years. They attributed the success to several factors including innovative design and quality, rising local investments, exploration of new markets, afforable labour force and modern technologies.

According to EPB data, the furniture sector recorded export earnings of USD 61.53 million in 10 months in the 2018–19 financial year.

This was up from the USD 51.68 million recorded for the same period in the previous fiscal year, thus recording a robust growth of 19.06 per cent.

Selim H Rahman, president of the Bangladesh Furniture Industries Owners’ Association (BFIOA) and also the owner of Hatil Complex, told The Independent that the country has started penetrating and exporting their products to new markets such as India, which is eventually increasing export earnings.

Moreover, Hatil has brought automatic machinery and invested over Tk. 200 crore to renovate its factory at Savar. The machinery includes automated robotic systems to increase the company’s manufacturing efficiency and help to boost its global popularity, said Rahman.

These machineries will help double the Hatil’s production, but will not lead to job cuts, he added.

Hatil has been exporting furniture to India for the past two years. “We are currently exporting our products to West Bengal and Punjab in India. From May, we are going to open showrooms in Kashmir, Patna and Srinagar among other places,” Rahman said.

He also said given the advantage of short distance, it was convenient for Bangladesh to export products to India. “Another reason India imports products from us is because it doesn’t have to pay import duty, whereas it has to pay 10 per cent duty while importing products from China,” he added.

The BFIOA president explained that China used to be the highest furniture-sourcing country in the world. “Now, it has shifted from labour-intensive to high-tech industries because their labour cost has gone up. This has opened up opportunities for Bangladesh in this sector,” he added.

Also, more and more brands are investing in the sector to avail the 15 per cent cash rebate declared by the government on the export of furniture. “So, it’s high time for us to invest more in this sector,” he said.

Rahman also said around 15 to 20 full-fledged furniture factories were coming up every year.

Bangladesh exports furniture to Middle Eastern countries, India, Canada, Nepal, Bhutan, Malaysia, the US, Belgium and other European countries.

The products have become famous because of their fine quality and innovative designs, said Rahman.

Hatil Furniture exports products worth around USD 150,000 to Bhutan, the Middle East, Canada, and Nepal every month, he added.

Rahman said the domestic furniture market has shown an annual growth rate of 20-25 per cent. “The local furniture industry is growing fast because of the rising purchasing capacity of consumers. Researchers are trying to understand their needs, demand, and affordability,” he added.

New designs, modern technology and innovative products have jacked up the demand for furniture in the local market, he noted.

Asked about the local market size, Rahman replied that though there is no statistical

data, it would be approximately Tk. 4–4.5 thousand crore.

Describing the challenges faced by furniture exporters, Rahman said: “Raw materials are still being imported. On an average, we pay 55–60 per cent import duty on these materials. This hikes the production cost and consequently the final prices of the products are increased.”

“We need more investment in the backward integration sector of furniture so that raw materials could be sourced 100 per cent locally and the cost could be reduced as well,” he added.

EA

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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