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26 January, 2020 08:07:18 AM

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Textile needs to grow footprint in global markets

Md Habibulla, Dhaka
Textile needs to grow footprint in global markets

The primary textile sector has witnessed a good expansion with some Tk. 2,500 crore worth of investment in 2019, mainly to install imported machines and set up new factories.

Market insiders say local spinners can currently supply nearly 90 per cent of raw materials for the knitwear sector and 40 per cent for the woven sector.

Local garment manufacturers have to import nearly USD 8 billion worth of fabrics from abroad, mainly from China, India, Turkey, and Pakistan, to make woven items. Mansoor Ahmed, secretary of the Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMA), told The Independent that they were expecting more investment in the primary textile sector this year in areas like man-made fibre and some technical and non-traditional goods. The current total investment in primary textile is USD 8 billion.

Mansoor also said Bangladeshi investors made investments of nearly Tk. 10,000 crore in the primary textile sector, which is a backward linkage industry for the readymade garments (RMG) sector, in the last six years. According to BTMA data, local entrepreneurs invested, on average, Tk. 1,667 crore per year from 2014 to 2019 in the primary textile sector to meet the demand of fabrics and yarn.

Mansoor, however, said that the primary textile sector was in a good position in 2019. However, in the beginning of the new year, the market situation has worsened because of adverse conditions in the global textile market. It is unclear when the market prospects would brighten, he added.

PM for diversifying products to boost textile export

Recently, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has urged the country’s textile sector to diversify products and expand the market to boost export earnings. “I think it’s necessary to diversify textile products to match the demands of the world market,” she said while inaugurating the ‘National Textile Day 2019 and Multipurpose Textile Fair’ at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC) in Dhaka on January 9.

The Premier also asked the entrepreneurs concerned to add value to their existing products and to “explore new markets to raise the country’s export income”. Hasina also asked public and private sectors to work together to increase the demand for Bangladeshi products in the world market. She said though Bangladesh held the second position in textile export in the world, the reality was that it had only 6.40 per cent share of the global market. “We have to work hard to increase the demand for our products in the world market. We have to formulate short-, medium- and long-term plans for achieving this,” she added.

How to attract more investment

Stakeholders think more investment can be injected into the sector, something that has not happened as expected due to a lack of infrastructural support and unavailability of utility services.    “While around Tk. 10,000 crore is no small amount for the sector, I am very uncertain about the future of the sector in Bangladesh,” said Mansoor. "I hope investment in the sector will get a boost in the next five years as the government is setting up Special Economic Zones [SEZs] and developing the infrastructure," she added.

More than 100 garment factories in Bangladesh have recently received the "green building" certificate from the United States Green Building Council (USGBC), an NGO that assesses environmental issues of commercial and residential settlements. Around 500 more manufacturers are waiting for their certificates, according to the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA).  These efforts to make the industry more eco-friendly are expected to secure for Bangladesh's apparel and textile exports a competitive place in the global market.

Challenges facing the sector

Highlighting some problems regarding investment, the BTMA president Mohammad Ali Khokon pointed out three factors—inadequate gas, shortage of electricity, and inadequate availability of land—as hindrances to textile sector investment. Talking about the prospects of producing high-end readymade garments (RMG), Khokon said that every other country was producing and going after premium products, but inadequate availability of gas and electricity in Bangladesh were hindrances to producing more valuable merchandise. Khokon also said the government had taken the initiative to import liquefied natural Ggs (LNG) to ease the gas supply to the industry. “We urge the government to implement the step immediately to overcome the power crisis,” he added.

Textile sector exports drop by 9.5 per cent

Exports of textile products fell significantly in the first six months (July–December) of the current financial year (FY2019–20) compared to the same period of the last fiscal year. According to the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB), the sector registered a slightly negative growth rate of 9.5 per cent that resulted in the earning of USD 370.1 million. However, this figure was USD 408.94 million during the same period of FY2018–19 (July–December).

Fair to boost the sector

In order to showcase textile products, a three-day diversified textile fair from January 9–11 were held at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in the capital. The textiles and jute ministry organised the event for the first time in the country on the occasion of National Textiles Day. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the fair with the theme "Globalisation of Textile Sector: Sustainable Development".

During the programme, textiles and jute secretary Lokman Hossain Mia said the government would felicitate eight associations and a university to encourage innovation and promote excellence and exports of textile goods and products. During the inauguration of the fair, at least nine associations and institutions were honoured with crests for their contribution to the development of the country’s textile sector.

They are: the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association, the Bangladesh Textile Mills Association, the Bangladesh Garments Buying House Association, the Bangladesh Specialised Textile Mills and Powerloom Industries Association, the Bangladesh Terry Towel and Linen Manufacturers and Exporters Association, the Bangladesh Cotton Association, the National Crafts Council of Bangladesh, and the Bangladesh University of Textiles.

At the fair, a number of entrepreneurs participated to showcase and sell their products.  Md Omar Faruqe, owner of Taanti Faruqe, told The Independent: "I have received a huge response from the visitors at the fair. And sales have been good.” Shamim Akhter, owner of Siddique Silk House, said: “I came from Mirpur area in the capital. I have attended several fairs like this. As this fair has been organised for the first time, I did not want to miss the chance to display my products.”

 

SI

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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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