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RMG, Knits, Cotton, Apparel, Lingerie and Fashion Industries of Bangladesh

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Jasim Uddin

21 December, 2021, 11:30 pm

Last modified: 22 December, 2021, 09:33 am

Lingerie makers invest more in skills, plants


High-value apparel exporters are making fresh investments in women's undergarments as part of their plan to expand their global upmarket footprint.

Ananta Apparels is one of those, alone investing Tk250 crore in a sophisticated lingerie factory in Chattogram amid the pandemic last year, which created 4,500 jobs.

It is going to add 20 new production lines to its lingerie factory within the next three months in the face of growing demand, Sharif Zahir, managing director at Ananta Apparels, told The Business Standard.

Producing innerwear requires special skills, designs and accessories, and all these require huge investment in machines and manpower.

With the scope and applications for lingerie items rising enormously across the globe, apparel manufacturers have now stepped up to invest more to enhance their capacity with a view to grabbing a bigger piece of the pie.

They have also gone for establishing a strong backward linkage of synthetic fabrics to meet the demand for raw materials domestically – coming out of import dependence.

The Ananta Apparels MD said, "We are planning to set up a synthetic fabric plant at the Mirsarai Economic Zone with an investment of Tk400 crore to produce fabrics and laces for our lingerie unit."

Ananta Apparels is now producing 24 million pieces of bras and 12 million of panties yearly.

Lingerie comprises lightweight robes, undergarments, and sleepwear. It looks good on every woman, no matter her size, shape, and proportions.

Chorka Textile Ltd, a sister concern of Pran-RFL Group, has doubled its production capacity to cater to the demand for lingerie items pouring in from buyers.

With the pandemic having eased recently, consumers across the globe have started releasing their pent-up demand, especially for clothing, that has resulted in a handsome volume of work orders to Bangladeshi apparel-makers.

Amid the rising global demand, at least 50 apparel entrepreneurs have either set up new lingerie units or shifted to making such women's clothing.

With those units, exporters hope to gain a strong foothold in the global lingerie market – a position next to China.

Vietnam and Sri Lanka are now ahead of Bangladesh in supplying lingerie to the global market.

Bangladesh has raked in only $518 million of the global market size to the tune of $42 billion. A year ago, the country's share stood at $350 million. The global market is estimated to reach $62 billion by 2024, according to Kenneth Research.

RMG entrepreneurs say the manufacturing process of lingerie items, especially bras, is very complicated, which requires up to 25 types of accessories and sophisticated knowhow.

They also invested in training workers to produce such products, they add.

Sharif said, "We have invested hugely to scale up workers' efficiency in making lingerie to above 50% from 20%-30% at the beginning.

"To make this segment profitable, we need workers to have a level of at least 60%."

New manufacturers count losses as they are to spend a lot of money to train up workers, so the government should incentivise this promising segment, Ananta Apparels MD Sharif Zahir said.

In 2008, SQ Group, a pioneer in lingerie export from Bangladesh, shifted to making the items through a joint venture with Quantum Clothing Group, a top lingerie company in the United Kingdom. Before that, it had exported sweaters.

In 2010, the group took over shares of Quantum and it now has five lingerie manufacturing units.

Warisul Abid, chief people officer at SQ Group, said after China, Bangladesh has a bright future in this segment. Making such clothing items requires a strong design and development team to produce such high-value products; on the other hand, workers should be more efficient.

He also said raw material sourcing is one of the major challenges for this segment.

Mohammad Ali Khokon, president of the Bangladesh Textile Mills Association, told TBS they are planning to set up a factory to produce lace, an essential accessory for making lingerie.

Shahidullah Azim, vice-president of the BGMEA, said, "Even if we can grab a portion of the global lingerie market, our exports will go up by at least several billion US dollars."

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বিশেষ নিট পোশাক তৈরিতে ৩৫ শতাংশ পর্যন্ত অপচয়ের নির্দেশনা চান শিল্প মালিকরা

বাণিজ্য মন্ত্রণালয়ে বিকেএমইএর চিঠি

আল ফাতাহ মামুন

ডিসেম্বর ২২, ২০২১

বিশেষ নিট পোশাক তৈরিতে ৩৫ শতাংশ পর্যন্ত অপচয়ের নির্দেশনা চেয়েছেন শিল্প মালিকরা। এ দাবি জানিয়ে গতকাল বাণিজ্য মন্ত্রণালয়ে চিঠি দিয়েছেন বাংলাদেশ নিট ম্যানুফ্যাকচারার্স অ্যান্ড এক্সপোর্টার্স অ্যাসোসিয়েশনের (বিকেএমইএ) নেতারা। সংগঠনটির নির্বাহী সভাপতি মোহাম্মদ হাতেমের স্বাক্ষর করা ওই চিঠিতে শিল্প মালিকদের দাবির পক্ষে যুক্তিপ্রমাণ তুলে ধরা হয়।

এর আগে ১৯ ডিসেম্বর বাণিজ্য মন্ত্রণালয়ের রফতানি অনুবিভাগের এক আদেশে পোশাক পণ্যে সর্বোচ্চ অপচয় হার ১৬ শতাংশ থেকে বাড়িয়ে ৩০ শতাংশ করা হয়। আদেশে বলা হয়, বেসিক কাপড়ে সর্বোচ্চ অপচয় ধরা হবে ২৭ শতাংশ, বিশেষ কাপড়ে ৩০ শতাংশ এবং সোয়েটার ও মোজার ক্ষেত্রে ৪ শতাংশ অপচয় ধরা হবে। অবিলম্বে এ আদেশ কার্যকর হবে। এ আদেশের মাধ্যমে নিট গার্মেন্টে সুতা থেকে কাপড় তৈরি এবং কাপড় থেকে পোশাক তৈরিতে বাণিজ্য মন্ত্রণালয়ের ১৯৯৮ সালের ২৮ ডিসেম্বর জারি করা অপচয় হার বাতিল করাকে সাধুবাদ জানিয়েছেন শিল্প মালিকরা। তবে সর্বোচ্চ অপচয় হার ৩০ শতাংশের সিদ্ধান্তকে কোনোভাবেই বাস্তবসম্মত নয় বলে মন্তব্য করেছেন তারা।

বিকেএমইএর চিঠিতে বলা হয়, আধুনিক ফ্যাশনের সঙ্গে তাল মিলিয়ে বেসিক নিট আইটেমের উৎপাদনে ডায়িং ও ফিনিশিংয়ের অপচয়ের হার সর্বনিম্ন ১২ শতাংশ। কিন্তু জারীকৃত আদেশে এ হার ধরা হয়েছে মাত্র ৯ শতাংশ। তাই ডায়িং ও ফিনিশিংয়ের অপচয়ের হার ১২ শতাংশ বিবেচনায় নিয়ে বেসিক আইটেমের অপচয়ের হার ৩০ শতাংশ নির্ধারণ করা প্রয়োজন (অর্থাৎ নিটিং ও ডায়িং ১৩ শতাংশ এবং কাটিং থেকে শিপমেন্ট ১৭ শতাংশ)।

শিল্প মালিকদের দাবি, স্পেশাল আইটেম তৈরিতে ব্যবহূত ফ্যাব্রিক্স উৎপাদনে ডায়িং ফিনিশিংয়ের হার ৯ শতাংশ থেকে বাড়িয়ে ন্যূনতম ১৪ শতাংশ করা হোক। এর মানে হলো, স্পেশাল আইটেম তৈরিতে মোট অপচয়ের হার হবে ৩৫ শতাংশ (অর্থাৎ নিটিং ও ডায়িং ১৬ শতাংশ এবং কাটিং থেকে শিপমেন্ট ১৯ শতাংশ) এক্ষেত্রে স্পেশাল আইটেমের সংজ্ঞায় স্পেশাল ফ্যাব্রিক্স যেমন ইয়ার্ন, ডাই, ফ্লিস/ব্যাসিং, অলওভার প্রিন্স ইত্যাদি অন্তর্ভুক্ত করা হয়নি।

বাণিজ্য মন্ত্রণালয়ের আদেশে সোয়েটার ও সকসের অপচয়ের হার নির্ধারণ অযৌক্তিক উল্লেখ করে বিকেএমইএর চিঠিতে বলা হয়, বাণিজ্য মন্ত্রণালয় কর্তৃক গঠিত কমিটি কোনো সোয়েটার কারখানা পরিদর্শন না করেই এক্ষেত্রে অপচয়ের হার ৪ শতাংশ নির্ধারণ করে দিয়েছে। কিন্তু সোয়েটার উৎপাদনে সাধারণত অপচয়ের হার ১২ শতাংশের বেশি। তাই শিল্প মালিকদের পক্ষ থেকে বাণিজ্য মন্ত্রণালয়ের এ আদেশ পুনর্বিবেচনার দাবি জানানো হয়।


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50 years of Bangladesh: Weaving dreams

 Faruque Hassan | Published:  December 22, 2021 20:25:30


As Bangladesh marks 50 years of independence, it is being hailed as a rising economic star, and rightfully so. The 1971's War of Liberation, apart from claiming three million lives, had also left the country's infrastructure and economy in tatters. At that time around 80 per cent of Bangladesh's population was living in extreme poverty and the country was characterised as economic basket case. But in the last five decades Bangladesh has undergone tremendous transformation and become one of the fastest growing economies of the world.

Our socio-economic progress, human development indicators and achievements of MDGs are widely acclaimed. Especially in last 13 years under the visionary leadership of our Honorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Bangladesh has become a global model of development. Our per capita income has reached USD 2,554 from USD 676 in the FY 2008-2009, which is one of the highest in South Asia. Poverty rate declined to 20.5 per cent, both way trade increased from USD38 billion to USD82 billion during the same time. Foreign exchange reserve is crossing the records every month which is now at USD 45 billion.

How has this happened? Certainly, it was not a case of simply waving a magic wand!

Well, the success story has largely been woven by the ready-made garment (RMG) industry. And those of us involved in this sector can take some pride in our remarkable contribution to the development of the country.

Let's look at a few facts and figures. The apparel sector contributes 11 per cent to GDP and supports over 4 million jobs directly. With 3,500 active clothing factories at present, it accounts for $20 billion in investment, and generates export revenue of 31.4 billion that is about 81 per cent of total export from Bangladesh. The impressive growth of Bangladesh RMG industry has made it the world's second largest garment supplier, with its products going to 167 countries.

Figures aside, the RMG industry truly embodies Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's dream of building a self-reliant nation. In his first speech to the independent Bangladesh, Bangabandhu had said, "Our independence will be futile, if the people of my Bengal are not fully fed. Our independence will not be fulfilled, if the mothers and sisters of this country do not get clothes for the protection of their modesty. Our independence will not be fulfilled, if the people of this country, the youth, do not find employment."

The RMG industry is leading from the front in making Bangladesh self-reliant. It is a vital cog in Bangladesh economy and also the largest formal employment sector, especially for women. Approximately 60 per cent of garment workers are women, mostly within the age group of 18-30 years. As a result, the industry has not only immensely contributed to women empowerment and poverty reduction, but also brought about numerous positive changes in the society like drop in early marriage and early motherhood, increase in female literacy rates, curb in population growth, and increase in environmental and personal hygiene awareness etc. Moreover, the RMG sector provides economic opportunities to thousands of backward and forward linkages.

Even beyond this tangible socio-economic contribution, the apparel industry itself has gone through massive transformation and grown manifold since its inception. The technology features, workplace safety, product quality and range, and  environmental sustainability-- all have improved significantly. The industry's high level of adaptability has been so impressive and successful in making the business sustainable that perhaps other industries can take some lessons from it.

Since the very beginning the successive leaderships of BGMEA worked hard to take the industry forward amid myriad challenges. We humbly remember their contributions and show our deep respect to all the leaders, especially former Presidents of BGMEA. As we look back, broadly there are four areas in which significant advancements have taken place and of which we can all be really proud of.

First, the advancement in workplace safety and value chain responsibility. Today Bangladesh's RMG industry can boast of having been transformed into a state-of-the-art, safe, secured and green hub of sustainable and ethical manufacturing. The sector insiders' relentless pursuit for staying competitive in the global supply chain has helped the industry make great strides in safety and sustainability.

After the introduction of Harkins Bill of Child Labour elimination in 1994, we have made an unprecedented success in eliminating Child Labour from the RMG industry in 1995 and rehabilitate them through 'earn and learn programme'.

We, the entrepreneurs, have committed ourselves to turn around and rebuild the industry to make it safer, risk-free and sustainable for our workers and employees, especially after the tragic building accident of 2013. We have engaged ourselves with the government, ILO, local and international labour federations and brands through the initiatives titled 'ACCORD', 'Alliance' and 'National Action Plan'. Bangladesh made a joint declaration with ILO, EU, USA and Canada called the Sustainability Compact in 2013 to monitor the progress of the transformation. The three initiatives as I named before have carried out safety inspection in all the export oriented RMG factories in Bangladesh in the area of fire, electrical and structural safety. The response from the industry in terms of remediation works was phenomenal.

Since the tragic building collapse incident in 2013 a paradigm shift has happened. All the factories have gone through robust remediation programme and installed all the required safety equipment as per the standards. To complete the safety remediation plan, a factory on an average spent around USD 500,000. And in the case of relocation or rectification, the cost was even 4-6 times higher. Not only that, the factory inspections reports were disclosed online which has set a unique example in the world on the issue of workplace safety

Then we have formed RMG Sustainability Council (RSC) to build local capacity as a national safety monitoring regime, involving equal number of representatives from industry bodies, brands and unions in its governance.

As we believe that capacity building is an important part to develop the culture of safety, particularly by engaging the workers, we have entered into collaborative arrangement with a number of development partners and the government to train workers and mid-management officials on occupational safety and health and on social dialogue.

Thanks to these unprecedented strides over the years, the industry has earned global recognition. McKinsey & Company has termed Bangladesh RMG industry as "a front-runner in transparency regarding factory safety and value-chain responsibility", while QIMA ranked Bangladesh 2nd in its ethical manufacturing audit 2020.

Second, the advancement in environmental sustainability. Today the factories are not only safer, but also have become more dynamic, modern, energy-efficient and environment-friendly. Bangladesh has by far the highest number of green garment factories in the world. US Green Building Council (USGBC) certified a total of 152 Bangladeshi factories as LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), among them 44 are LEED platinum-rated and 94 are LEED gold-rated units. Moreover, 500 more factories are in the pipeline for certification. Factories are increasingly opting for modern, energy-efficient technologies.

Besides, an increasing number of factories from Bangladesh are joining UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change), the German Green Button initiative, and a circular fashion project with GFA, which testifies the industry's strategic vision and committed efforts toward environmental excellence.  I also want to proudly share with the readers that BGMEA has been recently honored with USGBC Leadership Award 2021, which is by far the first of its kind for any associations in Bangladesh. In the recently ended COP26, we have reaffirmed our commitment to climate action.

Third, technological advancement. Our factories are increasingly moving from semi-automatic to more automatic mode using sophisticated machines, technologies and software to prepare the industry for next phase of growth. Energy and resource-efficient technologies like low liquor dyeing machine, Ozone washing machines, Jacquard machines, auto trimming, ERP are increasingly being used in factories. These machines are not only resource-efficient but they also enhance efficiency in production. Most of our new generation factories are equipped with sophisticated technologies, able to handle top quality products of diverse styles, making the product price competitive as well.

Moreover, we are using many environment-friendly technologies like-- rainwater harvesting, daylight saving, solar energy etc. which save our natural resources and reduce the environmental pollution. As far as transparency and traceability of the supply chain management is concerned, different types of supply chain tools are used. Some factories are using technology like -- IOT to analyse sewing motion, radio-frequency identification RFID for production and inventory tracking system, smart dying system, automatic dosing system, smart garment measurement system, finishing roll QC system, mobile apps for QC etc. Automated screening tools are being used to detect organic and zero hazardous chemicals which reduce the consumption of water and energy.

Fourth, and perhaps the most important, is our ability to manufacture world-class products. Today our products compete with the best in the world. Apart from being meticulous in product development, our unfailing commitment to deliver quality products on time also gives Bangladesh a competitive edge.

Moreover, our manufacturing quality is steadily improving and our products are increasingly winning hearts and minds of global consumers. Still, there is a lot of work to be done. We need to enhance our value addition capacity so that our products can become more competitive both in terms of cost and quality.

Considering all these areas of impressive advancement, there is no denying that Bangladesh RMG industry has come a long way. In our journey of almost four decades, we have gone through various challenges and currently, as the whole world suffers from the pandemic of the century-- Covid-19, our manufacturers are also confronted with an unprecedented situation. However, with the support from Honorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, we have been able to successfully fight the initial blow and as a result of mass vaccination around the world, our export is rebounding.

The potential of the industry is much larger and we must aspire to reach the very top. However, the question is- what will it take? In simple words the misconception about the industry needs to be changed, and it must be seen as an important economic growth driver for Bangladesh. Yes, factories are required to address workplace safety, wage and environmental issues. Over the years, these issues have been dealt with successfully, thanks to the action taken by the government and the industry.

Another important thing to do is - we have to carve out a niche for ourselves in high-end garment products, especially with a focus on harnessing the potential of man-made fibre (MMF). The global market for MMF products is huge.  About 75 per cent of the total consumption of global textiles is non-cotton, where the share of Bangladesh is only 25 per cent. Bangladesh is also heavily dependent on imports to meet the demand for non-cotton fabrics. So, rapid localisation of MMF will provide a big opportunity for the RMG sector. The share of 5 core items -- trousers, T-shirts, blouses, sweaters and underwear -- is 82.04  per cent, whereas we have huge scope in items like active-wear, athleisure, suits and high-end formal-wear, outerwear, lingerie etc.

The next phase of business sustainability will also require advancement in the area of 4th industrial revolution. We must make continuous effort to cope up with the global fashion trends and realign our business strategies accordingly. The industry is now more focused on product diversification, especially on non-cotton and high-end apparel products like suits/blazers, lingerie, jackets, swimwear, sportswear, uniform, work-wear etc. Thus we must strive to remodel our business from labour intensive to a value-added one through innovation, modern manufacturing, diversification, technology upgrading, up-skilling and re-skilling of our workforce.

One of the major sources of Bangladesh's competitiveness is the young and vibrant workforce. Bangladesh has a vibrant population, 70 per cent below 40 years of age. Being a highly populated country, we have to focus on our people to achieve our desired economic development. Better utilisation of human resources for maximising  value to the economy requires a critical analysis and appropriate policy. Considering the potentials of emerging as a middle income country, we have to take a People Centric Approach in devising our strategies and policies. It is encouraging that significant investment in skill development and R&D is already taking place in factories. While individual factories are working on their own to develop and design high-end products for exports, BGMEA with the support of the commerce ministry has set up the Centre for Innovation, Efficiency and OSH for garment factories to enhance competitiveness of the industry. It is hoped that the Centre will contribute to industry's preparedness to keep pace with the changing demands.

Last but not least, as the nation aspires to be a developed country by 2041, the RMG industry has a lot more to contribute and will play a pivotal role in the journey. Therefore, the government and the industry must continue to work together to keep up the growth momentum of this vital sector in the days to come. If everything goes well, achieving the target of $50 billion export earnings from this sector is well within our reach. 

Faruque Hassan is the President of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) and the Managing Director of Giant Group.

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TBS Report 

02 January, 2022, 06:10 pm

Last modified: 02 January, 2022, 10:46 pm

Record export earnings in Dec as global apparel demand rebounds

Bangladesh earlier recorded a single-month highest export earnings in October last year


Bangladesh recorded its highest ever single-month export earnings amounting to $4.91 billion in December last year, data showed Sunday, thanks to a strong rebound in demand for apparel in western markets even amid the Omicron spread.

The export receipts surpassed the $3.91 billion target set for the month, registering more than 48% year-on-year growth, according to provisional data of the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB).

Apparel shipment in December grew by 52.6% to $3.16 billion year-on-year, raising the total export earnings to $24.69 billion in the first half of the fiscal 2021-22.

Apart from apparel, frozen food, agriculture, manufactured items, plastic products, leather and leather goods and jute and jute-made items also posted impressive year-on-year growth in December.

But pharmaceuticals lost out as it posted over 9.8% negative growth in December.

Earlier in October last year, Bangladesh recorded its highest ever single-month export earnings amounting to $4.73 billion.

Apparel-makers are hopeful the export growth will continue in the next couple of months as western clothing stores sprint to fill up their inventory. Plus, raw materials for clothing are spiralling in the international market, resulting in inflated garment export earnings.

Apparel might

The latest export data show December 2021 ended with $4.04 billion of readymade garment export, while the half-yearly apparel export in July-December period of the current fiscal year reached $19.90 billion registering a 28.02% year-on-year growth.

Garment export breakdown shows knitwear exports saw 56.57% growth in December, whereas woven garment export increased by 48.17%, marking a positive turn in all key clothing export categories.

Abdullah Hil Rakib, director at the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), said most of the fabric stores in the western market did not buy products in almost two seasons due to Covid. After the reopening as the virus situation normalised, they are now rushing to fill up their empty selves that has been reflected on the apparel export earnings since September last year.

"Most of the western countries now want to continue both life and livelihood at the same time. So, they are opening the stores even amid the Omicron spread," he commented.

The upswing may continue

Fazlee Shamim Ehsan, vice-president of the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA), said December shipment included consignments for the summer leading to the startling single month growth. Besides, pricier raw materials are also reflected in the export earnings.

"The supercharged demand is likely to continue in the next couple of months," he added.

BKMEA Executive President Mohammad Hatem also said December growth was natural considering the global market scenario.

BGMEA President Faruque Hassan expressed hope that apparel export would be able to add another $7-8 billion by the end of this fiscal year in June 2022, while Bangladesh earned $31.46 billion from the sector in the fiscal 2019-20.

"We have been able to capture a chunk of western orders centering the Christmas, leading to the highest single-month exports. Entrepreneurs' efforts as well as various government incentives have played a role in achieving this," said AHM Ahsan, vice-chairman of the Export Promotion Bureau.

Despite the annual export target of $43.5 billion in the current financial year, we expect it to reach $46 billion, he added.

However, BGMEA Director Mohiuddin Rubel said though export data looks promising so far, there have been mounting challenges too.

"On one hand, prices of the raw materials and freight costs are at their peak. On the other, western buyers also did not raise their purchasing rates to the extent of the cost escalation," he added.

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রপ্তানিতে বাংলাদেশের পরবর্তী বাজি সোয়েটারে, চীন সরে যাচ্ছে বাজার থেকে

গত ছয় বছরে বাংলাদেশের সোয়েটার রপ্তানি ২৭ শতাংশ বেড়েছে

আবুল কাশেম & রিয়াদ হোসেন

02 January, 2022, 11:55 pm

Last modified: 03 January, 2022, 12:28 pm


পুলিশের চাকরি থেকে অবসর নিয়ে ১৯৮৭ সালে একটি সোয়েটার কারখানা স্থাপন করেন মোস্তফা গোলাম কুদ্দুস। এই কারখানার উৎপাদনের মাধ্যমে সোয়েটারের বৈশ্বিক বাজারে প্রবেশ করে বাংলাদেশ। তখন এ বাজারে ছিল চীনের আধিপত্য।

গোলাম কুদ্দুস তার কারখানার জন্য ৪৩ জন চীনা বিশেষজ্ঞ নিয়ে আসেন। এরপরের ঘটনায় দেশের ব্যবসায়ী মহল অবাক হয়ে যায়। পরীক্ষামূলক শুরুর প্রথম বছরেই গোলাম কুদ্দুস ৩০ লাখ ডলার মূল্যের পণ্য রপ্তানি করেন। কুদ্দুসের চেউং হিং সোয়েটারকে এরপর আর পিছু ফিরে তাকাতে হয়নি।

৩০ লাখ ডলারের রপ্তানি সময়ের সঙ্গে তাল মিলিয়ে ৪০০ কোটি ডলার ছাড়িয়েছে। দিন দিন বাড়ছে এই রপ্তানির পরিমাণ। আন্তর্জাতিক সোয়েটার বাজারে নিজের অংশীদারিত্ব ক্রমেই বাড়িয়ে চলেছে বাংলাদেশ।

এখন প্রায় ৪০০ সোয়েটার কারখানায় চব্বিশ ঘণ্টাই স্বয়ংক্রিয় উৎপাদন লাইন চালু থাকে। ম্যানুয়াল হ্যান্ড ফ্ল্যাট নিটিং ডিভাইসের জায়গায় এসেছে আধুনিক এবং স্বয়ংক্রিয় জ্যাকার্ড মেশিন।

মৌলিক নিটওয়্যারের মধ্যে আছে পুলওভার, কার্ডিগান, জাম্পার ও মাফলার।

বাংলাদেশ গার্মেন্ট ম্যানুফ্যাকচারার্স অ্যান্ড এক্সপোর্টার্স অ্যাসোসিয়েশন-এর তথ্য (বিজিএমইএ) অনুসারে, চীন সোয়েটার তৈরি থেকে সরে যাওয়ায় গত ছয় বছরে বাংলাদেশের সোয়েটার রপ্তানি ২৭ শতাংশ বেড়েছে। রপ্তানিকারকরা বলছেন, অন্যান্য পণ্যের তুলনায় এ ক্ষেত্রে প্রবৃদ্ধি তুলনামূলকভাবে বেশি।

কোভিড-আতঙ্ক কাটিয়ে অর্থনীতিগুলো ফের চালু হওয়ার সঙ্গে সঙ্গে বিপুল পরিমাণে বেড়েছে সোয়েটারের চাহিদা। সে কারণে সোয়েটার প্রস্তুতকারকরা এখন নতুন বিনিয়োগ ও কারখানার সম্প্রসারণের দিকে নজর দিচ্ছে।

বিজিএমইএর সহসভাপতি শহীদুল্লাহ আজিম জানিয়েছেন, ২০২১ সালে এ খাতে পাঁচটি নতুন বিনিয়োগ হয়েছে। এছাড়াও বেশ কয়েকটি সোয়েটার তৈরির ইউনিট উৎপাদন ক্ষমতা বাড়িয়েছে।

দুজন উদ্যোক্তা দ্য বিজনেস স্ট্যান্ডার্ডকে জানিয়েছেন, আগামী দুই বছরে তারা সোয়েটার তৈরিতে আরও বেশি বিনিয়োগ করবেন। আগামী মাসগুলোতে সোয়েটার উৎপাদনে বিনিয়োগ বাড়বে বলে আশা প্রকাশ করেন শহীদুল্লাহ আজিমও।

সোয়েটার তৈরির জন্য চীনা কর্মী নিয়োগ দিতে হয়েছিল মোস্তফা গোলাম কুদ্দুসকে। তিনি বলেন, প্রশিক্ষিত স্থানীয় কর্মী গড়ে তুলেই বাজিমাত করেছে বাংলাদেশ।

বিজিএমইএর সাবেক সভাপতি এখন তার ড্রাগন সোয়েটারের জন্য সুপরিচিত। স্থানীয় কর্মীদের প্রশিক্ষণ দিয়ে ১৯৯৩ সালে তিনি এই নিটিং ও স্পিনিং প্রকল্প চালু করেছিলেন।

তিনি বলেন, 'আমাদের সাফল্য অনেককে সোয়েটার প্রস্তুতে বিনিয়োগ করতে উৎসাহী করেছে এবং আধুনিক প্রযুক্তি ও আপগ্রেডেড মেশিন আনার পথ প্রশস্ত করে দিয়েছে।'

রপ্তানি থেকে চীন সরে যাচ্ছে, ব্যবসা সম্প্রসারণ করছেন দেশের উদ্যোক্তারা:

আন্তর্জাতিক সোয়েটার বাজারের আকার প্রায় ১০ হাজার ৪০০ কোটি ডলার। সবচেয়ে বড় সরবরাহক হচ্ছে চীন। এছাড়া, অন্যান্য বড় প্রতিযোগী হলো- বাংলাদেশ, কম্বোডিয়া, তুরস্ক, ভিয়েতনাম ও মিয়ানমার।

গ্লোবাল নিটওয়্যারের ব্যবস্থাপনা পরিচালক মহিউদ্দিন আলমগীর রোমেল বলেন, সোয়েটার বেসিক নিটওয়্যার আইটেম হওয়ায় এবং ক্রমে উৎপাদন খরচ বেড়ে চলায় চীন বৈশ্বিক সোয়েটার বাজার থেকে সরে যাচ্ছে। দেশটির এই প্রস্থানে আগামী বছরগুলোয় বাংলাদেশি উদ্যোক্তারা ব্যাপক সুবিধা পাবে।

তিনটি কারখানার মালিকানা প্রতিষ্ঠান ডিজাইনটেক্স নিটওয়্যার ২০০০ এর দশকে সোয়েটার উৎপাদন শুরু করে। কোম্পানির সত্ত্বাধিকারী খন্দকার রফিকুল ইসলাম ২০২২ সালের শেষ নাগাদ সোয়েটার প্রস্তুতে বিনিয়োগ বাড়ানোর পরিকল্পনা করছেন।

বর্তমানে তার উৎপাদন ইউনিটগুলোয় ৮ হাজারের বেশি শ্রমিক কর্মরত। তিনি টিবিএস'কে বলেছেন, সাম্প্রতিক বছরগুলোতে নতুন কারখানা করার চেয়ে বিদ্যমান কারখানাগুলো তাদের সক্ষমতা বাড়িয়েছে।

তার প্রতিষ্ঠানও সোয়েটার প্রস্তুতে বিনিয়োগ বাড়াবে বলে জানান মহিউদ্দিন আলমগীর রোমেল। তবে তিনি এ বিনিয়োগের ব্যাপারে বিস্তারিত কিছু জানাননি।

রপ্তানি ঝুড়িতে আধিপত্য স্বল্পমূল্যের আইটেমের: 

উদ্যোক্তাদের সঙ্গে কথা বলে জানা গেছে, বাংলাদেশ মূলত স্বল্প মূল্যের সোয়েটার পণ্যই তৈরি করে। বাংলাদেশ যে ধরণের সোয়েটার রপ্তানি করে, তার বেশিরভাগেরই প্রতিপিছ রপ্তানি মূল্য ৪-৬ মার্কিন ডলার। তবে হাতেগোণা কয়েকটি কারখানা উচ্চমূল্যের পণ্য স্বল্প পরিমাণে রপ্তানি করছে।  

তবে "ক্যাশমেয়ার উল সোয়েটার"- এর মতো দামি পণ্য প্রস্তুত করলে স্থানীয় উৎপাদকদের রপ্তানি আয় বাড়বে। এ ধরণের এককেটি সোয়েটারের দাম ১০০-১৫০ ডলার। তবে এটির কাঁচামাল চীন, মঙ্গোলিয়া ও ভারতে পাওয়া যায়। বাংলাদেশে পণ্যটি উৎপাদিত হয় না বলে জানান উদ্যোক্তারা।

মহিউদ্দিন আলমগীর রোমেল জানান, একজন উদোক্তা কুমিল্লা ইপিজেডে ওই পণ্য তৈরির উদ্যোগ নিলেও সফল হননি। তবে অ্যাক্রেলিক ফাইবার ও কিছু ফ্যাশনেবল অ্যাক্সেসরিজের সমন্বয়ে তৈরি সোয়েটার বাংলাদেশ রপ্তানি করে, যাতে কিছু বাড়তি দর পাওয়া যায়।

দেশের ২০-২৫টি কারখানা বড় পরিসরে সোয়েটার রপ্তানিতে জড়িত।

এই তালিকায় রয়েছে- পাইওনিয়ার নিটওয়্যার (বিডি) লিমিটেড, রিফাত গার্মেন্টস, স্কয়ার ফ্যাশনস, ফ্ল্যামিঙ্গো ফ্যাশন, ইউরোজোন ফ্যাশন, পাকিজা নিট কম্পোজিট লিমিটেড, এজি ড্রেসেস লিমিটেড, জিএমএস কম্পোজিট ইন্ডা. লিমিটেড, নিপা ফ্যাশন ওয়্যার ইন্ডাস্ট্রি লিমিটেড, একেএইচ নিটিং অ্যান্ড ডাইং, আসওয়াদ কম্পোজিট মিলস, কটন ক্লাব (বিডি), ম্যাট্রিক্স সোয়েটার, টার্গেট সোয়েটার এবং রূপায়ণ সোয়েটার্স।

দক্ষ সোয়েটার প্রস্তুতকারক কর্মী সংকট:

দেশজ খাতের সোয়েটার রপ্তানির পথচলা তিন দ্শকের বেশি হয়ে গেলেও, দক্ষ জনশক্তির তীব্র সংকট এখনও উদ্যোক্তাদের পিছু ছাড়েনি। কারখানা মালিকেরা বলছেন, সাম্প্রতিক সময়ে মূল কাঁচামাল তুলার দাম অস্বাভাবিক বেড়ে যাওয়াও তাদের জন্য বড় চ্যালেঞ্জ হয়ে উঠেছে।  

এছাড়া, উদ্ভাবন, ডিজাইন সেন্টার স্থাপন এবং শক্তিশালী ব্যাকওয়ার্ড লিংকেজ তৈরিতেও পিছিয়ে রয়েছেন তারা।

তার উপর আবার হারমোনাইজড সিস্টেম কোডের জটিলতায় ব্যাহত হচ্ছে কাঁচামাল আমদানি। বিদেশি বড় ব্র্যান্ডের অর্ডার পেতেও সমস্যার মুখে পড়ছেন উদ্যোক্তারা।  

তাছাড়া এ খাতে কারখানা স্থাপনের জন্য বিপুল বিনিয়োগের প্রয়োজন, যা অপেক্ষাকৃত স্বল্প পুঁজির উদ্যোক্তাদের পক্ষে সম্ভব নয়।

মহিউদ্দিন বলেন, ২০০টি মেশিন নিয়ে একটি ছোট আকারের কারখানা স্থাপন করতে হলেও ১৬ লাখ ডলার কেবল মেশিনেই ব্যয় হবে। ফলে এ খাতে বিনিয়োগ খুব সহজ নয়।এ ধরণের কারখানা ২৪ ঘন্টা চালু রাখতে হয়। এর মধ্যে অন্তত অর্ধেক শ্রমিক পিস রেটে কাজ করে।

"এসব শ্রমিকের মাইগ্রেশনের হার বেশি, যা উৎপাদনকে ব্যাহত করে। আগে শ্রমিক চলে গেলেও পাওয়া যেত, কিন্তু এখন সংকট মারাত্নক"- যোগ করেন তিনি।

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Bangladesh primed for $8B MONTHLY RMG EXPORT

Star Business Report

Thu Jan 6, 2022 12:00 AM Last update on: Thu Jan 6, 2022 04:00 AM


Local apparel manufacturers are flooded with orders and many global retailers and brands have moved orders to Bangladesh from its competitor countries. Photo: Star/file

Garment manufacturers are confident about supplying garment products worth $8 billion a month to international buyers after Bangladesh consolidated its place in the global supply chain by remaining open for businesses even during the peak of the coronavirus pandemic.

The government's bold move contrasts to many garment-producing countries that kept shut factories to tame the raging virus. What is more, apparel and textile entrepreneurs in Bangladesh have kept expanding to meet the growing demand as economies return to normalcy.

Now, local apparel manufacturers are flooded with orders and many global retailers and brands have moved orders to Bangladesh from its competitor countries.

"Bangladesh is gradually getting ready to cater garment work orders worth $7 billion to $8 billion every month. At present, we are not capable of supplying products worth $7 billion to $8 billion, but we are expanding our capacity," said Faruque Hassan, president of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA).

The target would be double the current level.

For the first time in the history of Bangladesh, the monthly export of garment items crossed $4 billion in December, helped by a surge in demand in keeping with the global recovery from the severe fallouts of Covid-19.

Hassan shared his views at an event styled "ERF Dialogue" at the conference room of the Economic Reporters' Forum (ERF) in Dhaka yesterday.

The pandemic is far from over, and what is more, Omicron, the latest variant of Covid-19, is spreading fast across the world although it has not proved to be fatal like that of the Delta variant.

But the virus is sweeping across Europe and the US, the two main export destinations of Bangladesh and home to more than 80 per cent garment shipment from the country.

But Hassan is unflinching.

"Garment exporters are not worried as no work order has been cancelled or suspended because of Omicron so far. Only a few buyers have demanded deferred shipments for a handful of consignments for 10 to 15 days." The reason for Hassan's bullishness is some export destinations are increasingly becoming major buyers. And he is hopeful that shipment to a number of Asian markets, including India, China, South Korea, and Japan will surge in the near future as buyers are placing more orders.

In Asia, only Japan has turned into a $1-billion market for Bangladesh. But India, China, and South Korea would soon follow suit, he said.

Since the garment export is on the rise, a lot of investment will flow to the spinning, weaving, dyeing and other primary textile sectors in 2022, according to the entrepreneur.

The spinning sector witnessed a major jump in investment last year as entrepreneurs set up 26 new mills to meet rising demand. Entrepreneurs pumped Tk 5,970 crore in the new manufacturing plants.

"The current trend of garment exports will continue up to April this year as we are booked with a huge quantity of orders," said Hassan. Garment export from Bangladesh to the US is also rising.

And Hassan called on the US to reinstate the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) as manufacturers had improved the workplace safety and compliance in sync with global standards and the conditions set by the American government.

The US suspended GSP for Bangladesh in June 2013, citing serious shortcomings in labour rights and workplace safety.

The BGMEA chief stated that there were some issues related to the National Board of Revenue, the customs department and the port that should be resolved through discussions for maintaining the current positive course of exports. Despite the major strides made by the garment sector in Bangladesh in recent years, both the number of workers and active factories have declined. Hassan, however, could not say immediately how many factories were closed and workers lost jobs.

The BGMEA is carrying out three studies on technical garment products, fibre diversification and the post-Covid-19 roadmap to lift the industry to the next league.

"The studies are aimed mainly at finding out the potential markets and how to shift the production base to high-end garment items and technical clothing items," Hassan added.

SM Rashidul Islam, general secretary of the ERF, moderated the dialogue, which was chaired by M Shafiqul Alam, acting president of the association.

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রাজনীতি-অর্থনীতির অন্যতম ক্ষমতাকেন্দ্র পোশাক খাত

বদরুল আলম

জানুয়ারি ০৯, ২০২২


শেখ ফজলে নূর তাপস ঢাকা দক্ষিণের মেয়র হিসেবে মনোনয়ন পেলে ফাঁকা হয় ঢাকা-১০ আসন। ২০২০ সালে অনুষ্ঠিত আসনটির উপনির্বাচনের আগে ক্ষমতাসীন আওয়ামী লীগের সম্ভাব্য প্রার্থী নিয়ে জল্পনাকল্পনা ছিল অনেক। শেষ পর্যন্ত সবাইকে অবাক করে আসনটিতে মনোনয়ন পান পোশাক শিল্পের উদ্যোক্তাদের সংগঠন বিজিএমইএর সাবেক সভাপতি সফিউল ইসলাম মহিউদ্দিন। যদিও ঘটনাটি মোটেও আকস্মিক ছিল না। গত এক দশকে দেশের রাজনীতি ও অর্থনীতির প্রধান ভরকেন্দ্র হয়ে উঠেছেন পোশাক খাতের ব্যবসায়ীরা। বর্তমান জাতীয় সংসদেও এক ডজনেরও বেশি জনপ্রতিনিধি রয়েছেন, যারা মূলত পোশাক শিল্পের উদ্যোক্তা। তাদের কয়েকজন মন্ত্রিত্বও পেয়েছেন।

বর্ষীয়ান রাজনীতিবিদ বাণিজ্যমন্ত্রী টিপু মুনশি ব্যক্তিজীবনে বস্ত্র ও পোশাক খাতের ব্যবসায়ী। এ খাতে ব্যবসা রয়েছে স্থানীয় সরকার, পল্লী উন্নয়ন ও সমবায়মন্ত্রী মো. তাজুল ইসলামেরও। পেশাগতভাবে পোশাক ব্যবসায়ী পররাষ্ট্র প্রতিমন্ত্রী শাহরিয়ার আলমও। পোশাক খাতের নিট পণ্যের প্রস্তুতকারক ও রফতানিকারকদের সংগঠন বিকেএমইএর সভাপতি একেএম সেলিম ওসমান নারায়ণগঞ্জ-৪ আসনের এমপি। বিজিএমইএর সাবেক সভাপতি আবদুস সালাম মুর্শেদী খুলনা-৪ আসনের এমপি। জাতীয় সংসদে বর্তমানে এমন অনেক জনপ্রতিনিধি রয়েছেন, যাদের অন্যতম পেশা পোশাক খাতের ব্যবসা। এছাড়া ঢাকা উত্তর সিটি করপোরেশনে এখন পর্যন্ত মেয়র হিসেবে নির্বাচিত হয়েছেন দুজন জনপ্রতিনিধি—প্রয়াত আনিসুল হক ও বর্তমান মেয়র মো. আতিকুল ইসলাম। দুজনই পোশাক শিল্পের উদ্যোক্তাদের সংগঠন বিজিএমইএর সাবেক সভাপতি। সংগঠনটির আরেক সাবেক সভাপতি সিদ্দিকুর রহমান জনপ্রতিনিধিত্ব না করলেও ক্ষমতাসীন আওয়ামী লীগের কেন্দ্রীয় শিল্প ও বাণিজ্য সম্পাদক এবং শিল্প ও বাণিজ্যবিষয়ক উপকমিটির সদস্য সচিব হিসেবে দায়িত্ব পালন করছেন।

শুধু রাজনীতি নয়, অর্থনীতির প্রধান চালিকাশক্তি ব্যাংক খাতেও নেতৃত্ব দিচ্ছেন পোশাক খাতের ব্যবসায়ীরা। ব্যাংক খাতের উদ্যোক্তাদের সংগঠন বাংলাদেশ অ্যাসোসিয়েশন অব ব্যাংকসের (বিএবি) চেয়ারম্যান নজরুল ইসলাম মজুমদারও একজন পোশাক ব্যবসায়ী। সব মিলিয়ে বলা চলে, সবচেয়ে শ্রমঘন ও বৃহত্তম শিল্পের প্রতিনিধিত্বকারী পোশাক খাতের ব্যবসায়ীরাই এখন হয়ে উঠেছেন দেশের রাজনীতি ও অর্থনীতির প্রধান কেন্দ্র।

পোশাক ব্যবসায়ীরা নিজেরাও তা স্বীকার করছেন। তাদের ভাষ্যমতে, পোশাক ব্যবসায়ীদের রাজনৈতিক ক্যারিয়ার পোশাক খাতের সঙ্গে জড়িত নয়। যদিও সবচেয়ে শ্রমঘন শিল্প পরিচালনার পাশাপাশি খাতটিকে নেতৃত্ব দিতে গিয়ে অনেকেরই আরো বড় পরিসরে নেতৃত্ব দেয়ার যোগ্যতা তৈরি হয়েছে। সুযোগ হয়েছে সরকারের কাছাকাছি যাওয়ার।

স্বাধীনতার পর দেশের রফতানি খাত ও কর্মসংস্থানের বড় চালিকাশক্তি ছিল পাট ও চা। পরে পাট শিল্প তার আগের অবস্থান ধরে রাখতে পারেনি। এর বাইরে চামড়াসহ বিভিন্ন খাতে সরকার নানা প্রণোদনা ও সুযোগ-সুবিধা দিলেও শিল্পগুলো দাঁড়াতে পারেনি। অন্যদিকে পোশাক খাতের নগদ সহায়তা ২৫ থেকে কমতে কমতে এখন ৫ শতাংশে নেমেছে। তার পরও রফতানির প্রায় ৮৪ শতাংশই জুড়ে রয়েছে তৈরি পোশাক। ব্যাকওয়ার্ড ও ফরওয়ার্ড লিংকেজ শিল্প থেকে শুরু করে সংশ্লিষ্ট অন্যান্য খাতকে বিবেচনায় নিলে পোশাক শিল্পের সঙ্গে প্রত্যক্ষ বা পরোক্ষভাবে এক থেকে পাঁচ কোটি মানুষের জীবনযাপন সম্পৃক্ত রয়েছে।

এ বিষয়ে জানতে চাইলে বিজিএমইএর সাবেক সভাপতি এবং আওয়ামী লীগের কেন্দ্রীয় শিল্প ও বাণিজ্যবিষয়ক সম্পাদক সিদ্দিকুর রহমান বণিক বার্তাকে বলেন, পোশাক খাতের অনেক ব্যবসায়ী আছেন, যারা সংসদ সদস্য। সবাই কিন্তু পোশাক খাতের নেতৃত্ব দিয়ে সংসদ সদস্য হননি। ন্যায্যতা নিশ্চিত হওয়া ছাড়া কাউকে নেতৃত্বে নেয়া হয়নি। এছাড়া আগে রাজনীতি করেছেন, পরে ব্যবসায়ী হয়েছেন, তাদের সংখ্যাই বেশি। পরবর্তী সময়ে গত এক দশকে আমরা যারা রাজনৈতিক ও রাষ্ট্রীয় ক্ষেত্রগুলোয় যুক্ত হয়েছি, আমাদের নেতৃত্বের গুণাগুণ দেখেই দায়িত্ব দেয়া হয়েছে। যাকে যেখানে কাজে লাগানো গেছে, তাকে সেখানে কাজে লাগানো হয়েছে। আমরা দেশের জন্য কাজ করছি। ভবিষ্যতেও করব।

অনেকটা একই কথা বলছেন ঢাকা উত্তর সিটি করপোরেশনের মেয়র ও বিজিএমইএর সাবেক সভাপতি আতিকুল ইসলাম। বণিক বার্তাকে তিনি বলেন, আমরা যারাই রাজনীতির পাশাপাশি ব্যবসা করে এখন প্রতিষ্ঠিত হয়েছি, তারা সবাই শূন্য থেকে উঠে এসেছি। এমন নয় যে আমরা উত্তরাধিকার সূত্রে ব্যবসা পেয়েছি। অনেকেই বিজিএমইএর সভাপতিও ছিলাম। চ্যালেঞ্জ নিতে আমরা অভ্যস্ত। ফলে আজ আমরা সফল। মনে রাখতে হবে, রাজনীতি আর ব্যবসা একটি আরেকটির পরিপূরক। বিশ্বের অনেক দেশেই এখন এটা হচ্ছে। ৫০ বছর আগের পৃথিবী আর ৫০ বছর পরের পৃথিবীর মধ্যে অনেক পার্থক্য দাঁড়িয়ে গেছে। এখন যেকোনো কিছুই বৈশ্বিকভাবেই চিন্তা করতে হবে।

পোশাক খাতসংশ্লিষ্টরা বলছেন, বিশ্বের উন্নয়নশীল দেশগুলোর উন্নয়নের প্রথম ধাপই ছিল পোশাক ব্যবসা। সে হিসেবে দেশ সঠিক পথেই এগোচ্ছে। বিশেষ করে বর্তমানে যারা ব্যবসায়ী থেকে রাজনীতির সঙ্গে সম্পৃক্ত হয়েছেন তাদের নেতৃত্বের গুণাবলি চোখে পড়ার মতো। নীতিনির্ধারণী পর্যায়ে যুক্ত হওয়া পোশাক ব্যবসায়ীরা দুই বছর ধরে কভিড-১৯ মহামারী মোকাবেলায় অনেক অবদান রেখেছেন।

খুলনা-৪ আসনের সংসদ সদস্য বিজিএমইএর সাবেক সভাপতি আবদুস সালাম মুর্শেদী বণিক বার্তাকে বলেন, বাংলাদেশীরা মূলত ছিলেন চাকরিজীবী। বর্তমানে দাসত্ব থেকে বেরিয়ে উদ্যোক্তা তৈরির প্রধান কেন্দ্র হলো পোশাক খাতের ব্যবসা। এটা আমাদের দেশের সবচেয়ে বড় সম্পদ। বাংলাদেশের স্বাধীনতা পেয়েছি বঙ্গবন্ধুর নেতৃত্বে। তার নেতৃত্বে একটা বাংলাদেশ পেয়েছি বলেই আমরা ব্যবসায়ী। এ শিল্পের ব্যবসায় জড়িত হয়ে আন্তর্জাতিক পরিমণ্ডলেও স্বীকৃতি পেয়েছি। শিল্পে আমাদের অবদানের মতো বিষয়গুলো বিবেচনায় নিয়েই প্রধানমন্ত্রী আমাদের জাতীয় সংসদ থেকে শুরু করে দেশ পরিচালনার জন্য বড় বড় জায়গায় নিযুক্ত করছেন।

পোশাক ব্যবসায়ীদের দাবি, দেশের নারীর ক্ষমতায়নেও বড় ভূমিকা রেখেছে পোশাক শিল্প। খাতটির ওপর ভর করে গড়ে উঠেছে সংশ্লিষ্ট আরো অনেক শিল্প। পরিবহন-ব্যাংক-বীমাসহ আরো অনেক খাতেই অবদান রাখছে শিল্পটি। এছাড়া খাতটির নেতারাও ব্যবসায়িক অনেক প্রতিবন্ধকতা মোকাবেলা করে বড় হয়েছেন। এছাড়া খাতটির যারা এখন নীতিনির্ধারণী জায়গায় রয়েছেন, তারা সবাই বেশ সুনামের সঙ্গেই ব্যবসা করছেন।

তবে দেশের অর্থনীতির ভরকেন্দ্র শুধু পোশাক খাতের দিকে ঝুঁকে পড়ার বিষয়টি নিয়ে সমালোচনাও রয়েছে। কোনো কোনো বিশেষজ্ঞের মতে, সরকারের গুরুত্বপূর্ণ পদে পোশাক খাতসংশ্লিষ্টরা বেশি হওয়ায় অর্থনীতির নীতিনির্ধারণী সিদ্ধান্তগুলোও এ ব্যবসাকেই কেন্দ্র করে নেয়া হচ্ছে। এতে অর্থনৈতিক বৈষম্যও বাড়ছে।

বিষয়টিকে এক ঝুড়িতে সব ডিম রাখার মতো ঝুঁকিপূর্ণ বলেও মন্তব্য করেছেন সুশাসনের জন্য নাগরিকের সাধারণ সম্পাদক বদিউল আলম মজুমদার। বণিক বার্তাকে তিনি বলেন, এর প্রভাব ব্যাপক। এর মানে দাঁড়াচ্ছে, আমাদের রাজনীতির ব্যবসায়ীকরণ হয়েছে। ব্যবসার রাজনৈতিকীকরণ হয়েছে। এখন রাজনীতিটাই ব্যবসায় পরিণত হয়েছে। ব্যবসায়ীরাই এখন সংসদ সদস্য, ব্যবসায়ীরাই এখন গুরুত্বপূর্ণ পদগুলোয় আছেন। ফলে নীতিনির্ধারণী বিষয়গুলো তাদের স্বার্থেই বিবেচনা করা হয়। সাধারণ মানুষের পরিবর্তে শুধু একটা শ্রেণীর স্বার্থই দেখা হচ্ছে। এটা আসলে একটা বৈষম্যমূলক ব্যাপার এবং এর ফলে বৈষম্য দিন দিন বাড়ছে। এতে সাধারণ মানুষ বিভিন্ন সুবিধা থেকে বঞ্চিত হচ্ছে। এতে আরেকটি যে অসুবিধা হচ্ছে, বিনিয়োগের বৈচিত্র্য হারিয়ে ফেলছি আমরা। ভিন্ন খাতে বিনিয়োগ বা ভিন্ন সেক্টরকে বড় করে তুলে আনার দিকে আমাদের নজর নেই। আমাদের সিংহভাগ রফতানি তৈরি পোশাক খাতের। আমাদের সব ডিম আমরা এক ঝুড়িতে রেখেছি। যদিও প্রতিটি খাত পরস্পরের সঙ্গে সম্পৃক্ত। শুধু নীতিমালার ক্ষেত্রে যদি একটি খাতকে বিশেষ সুবিধা দেয়া হতে থাকে, তাহলে অর্থনীতি ঝুঁকির মুখে পড়ে। কোনো কারণে যদি এ শিল্প ব্যাপকভাবে মার খায়, তাহলে আমরা ব্যাপক ক্ষতিরও সম্মুুখীন হব। তাই সব ডিম এক ঝুড়িতে না রেখে বৈচিত্র্য বাড়ানো উচিত।

পোশাক খাতের সঙ্গে বর্তমানে জড়িয়ে পড়েছে আরো অনেক খাত। বিষয়টি নিয়ে ব্যবসায়ীদের অভিমত, পোশাক খাত ক্ষতিগ্রস্ত হলে গুরুত্বপূর্ণ অনেক খাত ঝুঁকিতে পড়বে। তবে পোশাকের চাহিদা খাদ্যের মতো কখনই কমবে না। তাই পোশাক খাতে বিপুল বিনিয়োগও ঝুঁকিপূর্ণ নয়।

এ প্রসঙ্গে বাংলাদেশ অ্যাসোসিয়েশন অব  ব্যাংকসের (বিএবি) চেয়ারম্যান নজরুল ইসলাম মজুমদার বণিক বার্তাকে বলেন, এটা অস্বীকারের উপায় নেই, বাংলাদেশের অর্থনীতির মেরুদণ্ড এখন গার্মেন্টকেন্দ্রিক হয়ে গেছে। গার্মেন্ট খাতের সঙ্গে জড়িত পরিবহন খাত। কাল যদি গার্মেন্ট বন্ধ হয়ে যায়, তাহলে পরিবহন খাতের এক কোটি লোক রাস্তায় বসে যাবে। এ খাতের সঙ্গে সরাসরি অন্তত পাঁচ কোটি মানুষ জড়িত। গার্মেন্টের সঙ্গে ব্যাংক সেক্টরও জড়িত। আমার এক্সিম ব্যাংকে গার্মেন্ট শ্রমিকদের সাড়ে চারশ অ্যাকাউন্ট আছে। আমাদের আসল আয়টা ওখান থেকে আসে। ইসলামী ব্যাংকেও আছে। একটা গার্মেন্ট অনেক কিছুর সঙ্গে জড়িত। এ খাতের মধ্যে যারা মেধাবী, যাদের নেতৃত্ব দেয়ার ক্ষমতা আছে, তারা সরকারের গুরুত্বপূর্ণ পদে যাচ্ছেন। আমি মনে করি, এটা তাদের অর্জন। তবে আমি মনে করি, এতে দেশের অর্থনীতি কোনো ধরনের ঝুঁকিতে পড়বে না। বরং গার্মেন্ট শিল্প ভালো আছে বলেই আজকের অর্থনীতি এত ভালো চলছে।

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জানুয়ারি ০৯, ২০২২


সদ্যসমাপ্ত বছরের ১১ মাসে যুক্তরাষ্ট্রে বাংলাদেশ থেকে সব ধরনের তৈরি পোশাক রফতানি প্রবৃদ্ধির হার বেড়েছে। ২০২১ সালের ডিসেম্বরের হিসাবে এর পরিমাণ ৭২১ কোটি ডলার ছাড়িয়ে যেতে পারে। নতুন বছরের প্রথম সপ্তাহে যুুক্তরাষ্ট্রের বাণিজ্য বিভাগের অধীনস্থ অফিস অব টেক্সটাইলস অ্যান্ড অ্যাপারেলসের (ওটিইএক্সএ) প্রকাশিত প্রতিবেদনে উল্লেখিত তথ্য বিশ্লেষণ করে এ ধারণা করছেন সংশ্লিষ্টরা।

বাংলাদেশ থেকে যুক্তরাষ্ট্রে রফতানি করা পোশাকের মধ্যে কটন ট্রাউজার, স্ল্যাকস, নিট শার্ট ও নিট ব্লাউজ উল্লেখযোগ্য। কভিড-১৯ মহামারীর সময়ে বড় ধরনের প্রতিবন্ধকতার মধ্যে পড়ে বাংলাদেশের তৈরি পোশাক রফতানি খাত। এ সময় উৎপাদন অব্যাহত রাখলেও কঠিন চ্যালেঞ্জের সম্মুখীন হন পোশাক শিল্প মালিকরা। ভ্রমণ নিষেধাজ্ঞার কারণে বাতিল হতে থাকে একের পর এক ক্রয়াদেশ। উল্লেখযোগ্য হারে কমে আসে রফতানির পরিমাণ। ২০২০ সালের এমন স্তব্ধ পরিস্থিতি কাটিয়ে উঠতে সময় লাগে ২০২১ সালের এপ্রিল পর্যন্ত। গত বছরের মে মাস থেকে দেশের তৈরি পোশাক রফতানির স্বাভাবিক চিত্র ফিরে আসতে শুরু করে।

যুক্তরাষ্ট্রের প্রকাশিত প্রতিবেদনে উল্লেখ করা হয়, বিদায়ী বছরের প্রথম ১১ মাসে যুক্তরাষ্ট্রে বাংলাদেশের তৈরি পোশাক রফতানি ৩১ দশমিক ১৯ শতাংশ বৃদ্ধি পেয়েছে। ২০২১ সালের জানুয়ারি থেকে নভেম্বর পর্যন্ত দেশটিতে অন্তত ৬৬১ কোটি ডলারের তৈরি পোশাক রফতানি করে ঢাকা। ২০২০ সালের একই সময়ে এর পরিমাণ ছিল প্রায় ৫০৪ কোটি ডলার। ওটিইএক্সএর দেয়া তথ্য অনুযায়ী গড়ে বিদায়ী বছরের প্রথম ১১ মাসের প্রতি মাসে বাংলাদেশ যুক্তরাষ্ট্রে সব মিলিয়ে অন্তত ৬০ কোটি ডলার মূল্যের তৈরি পোশাক রফতানি করে। ২০২১ সালের মে থেকে আগের বছরের একই সময়ের তুলনায় প্রতি মাসেই রফতানি প্রবৃদ্ধি ঊর্ধ্বমুখী প্রবণতায় রয়েছে। ফলে সংশ্লিষ্টরা মনে করেন ডিসেম্বরের রফতানি প্রবৃদ্ধির অংকও ঊর্ধ্বগামী ধারাতেই থাকবে। সে অনুযায়ী বলা যায় প্রবৃদ্ধির এ হার ৭২১ কোটি ডলার ছাড়িয়ে যাবে।

এছাড়া বিদায়ী বছরের প্রথম ১১ মাসে যুক্তরাষ্ট্রে বাংলাদেশের শুধু তৈরি পোশাক রফতানি ৩০ দশমিক ৬৮ শতাংশ বেড়েছে। ২০২১ সালের জানুয়ারি থেকে নভেম্বর পর্যন্ত দেশটিতে অন্তত ৬৩৬ কোটি ডলারের তৈরি পোশাক রফতানি করে ঢাকা। এর আগের বছর একই সময়ে এ অংক ছিল প্রায় ৪৮৭ কোটি ডলার। ২০১৯ সালে এক বছরে যুক্তরাষ্ট্রে প্রায় ৫৯২ কোটি ডলারের কটনভিত্তিক পোশাক রফতানি করে বাংলাদেশ। পরিসংখ্যান অনুযায়ী করোনাকালে যুক্তরাষ্ট্রে বাংলাদেশের তৈরি পোশাকের রফতানি ১১ দশমিক ৮২ শতাংশ কমে গিয়ে দাঁড়ায় ৫২২ কোটি ডলারে।

উল্লেখ্য, করোনা মহামারীর প্রভাবে ২০২০ সালে অন্যসব পণ্যের মতো কমে যায় পোশাক রফতানিও। রফতানিতে মন্দা ভাব কাটিয়ে উঠতে সময় লাগে ২০২১ সালের প্রথম চার মাস। সে বছরের জানুয়ারি থেকে মার্চ পর্যন্ত আগের বছরের তুলনায় রফতানি প্রবৃদ্ধি হ্রাস পায় যথাক্রমে ১৬ দশমিক ৬১, ১৩ দশমিক ১১, ৮ দশমিক ৫৫ শতাংশ এবং ৩ দশমিক ৭১ শতাংশ। জানুয়ারি থেকে মে এর হিসেবে দেখা যায় ১৫ দশমিক ৩৮ শতাংশ প্রবৃদ্ধি অর্জিত হয়েছে। ঊর্ধ্বগামী এ ধারা অব্যাহত রয়েছে পরের মাসগুলোতে। এক্ষেত্রে জানুয়ারি থেকে জুনে দেখা যায় ২৬ দশমিক ৮১ শতাংশ, জুলাইয়ে ২৮ দশমিক ৪ শতাংশ, আগস্টে ২৪ দশমিক ১১ শতাংশ, সেপ্টেম্বরে ২৬ দশমিক ৩৭ শতাংশ এবং জানুয়ারি থেকে অক্টোবরে ২৬ দশমিক ৭৪ শতাংশ।

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গ্রীন ফ্যাক্টরির স্বীকৃতি পেল দেশের আরও দুই পোশাক কারখানা। এ নিয়ে দেশে পরিবেশ বান্ধব কারখানার সংখ্যা দাঁড়ালো ১৫৫টিতে।



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BGMEA calls on apparel exporters to focus on high-end item

Published:  January 13, 2022 21:00:23 | Updated:  January 13, 2022 21:57:20

The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) has called on the country's apparel exporters to focus more on value-added, high-end apparel items as their demand is high in the global market.

"The demand for man-made fibre (MMF)-based garment items is on the rise in the global market. So it is high time we shifted our focus to non-cotton-based textile and apparel to realign our product mix in line with global sourcing trends," BGMEA President Faruque Hassan said Thursday, reports UNB.

"Globally the share of cotton textile and clothing consumption is 25 percent only, whereas 75 percent of Bangladesh's readymade garment (RMG) product is concentrated within cotton items," he added.

"The growing eco-consciousness and care for sustainability are driving consumers towards non-cotton, especially manmade fibres. So we have to keep ourselves aligned with the market demand."

"It is good to see that our garment factories are increasingly opting for high-end and value-added products. More and more factories should move in this direction to seize the opportunities in the global market," the BGMEA chief said.

He made the observations while visiting 4A Yarn Dyeing in Savar.

Abdullah Hil Rakib, managing director of 4A Yarn Dyeing and also a director of the BGMEA, was present.

High-end apparel items like padded jacket, quilted jacket, seam-sealed jacket, down jacket, bomber jacket, ski-wear, jogging suit, rainwear, gilet, leather jacket, workwear, technical apparels are produced and exported by 4A Yarn Dyeing.

The factory is equipped with modern and sophisticated automatic machinery and has a design studio for product innovation and development.

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তৈরি পোশাক সর্বাধিক রফতানি যুক্তরাষ্ট্রে, প্রবৃদ্ধি ৪৬ শতাংশ

জ্যেষ্ঠ প্রতিবেদক

১৫ জানুয়ারি ২০২২, ০২:২৮ পিএম

সদ্য বিদায়ী বছরের শেষ ছয় মাসে আগের বছরের একই সময়ের তুলনায় যুক্তরাষ্ট্রের বাজারে বাংলাদেশের তৈরি পোশাক রফতানি প্রবৃদ্ধি হয়েছে প্রায় ৪৬ শতাংশ। পাশাপাশি ইউরোপ ও কানাডার বাজারে ২৪ শতাংশ রফতানি প্রবৃদ্ধি হয়েছে। এছাড়াও নন-ট্রেডিশনাল মার্কেটে রফতানি প্রবৃদ্ধি বেড়ে হয়েছে ২৪ দশমিক ২৬ শতাংশ। রফতানি উন্নয়ন ব্যুরো (ইপিবি) সূত্রে এসব তথ্য জানা গেছে।

ইপিবির তথ্য অনুযায়ী, ২০২১-২২ অর্থবছরের প্রথম ছয় মাসে (জুলাই-ডিসেম্বর) সারাবিশ্বে বাংলাদেশের তৈরি পোশাক রফতানি হয়েছে ১ হাজার ৯৯০ কোটি ৭ লাখ ডলারের, যা আগের বছরের একই সময়ে ছিল ১ হাজার ৫৫৪ কোটি ৫৫ লাখ ৭ হাজার ডলার। সেই হিসাবে ছয় মাসে রফতানি প্রবৃদ্ধি বেড়েছে ২৮ শতাংশ।

জুলাই-ডিসেম্বর সময়ে যুক্তরাষ্ট্রের বাজারে পোশাক রফতানি হয়েছে ৪২৩ কোটি ১৬ লাখ ৫ হাজার ডলারের, যা আগের বছরের একই সময়ে ছিল ২৯০ কোটি ৮ হাজার ডলার। অর্থাৎ প্রবৃদ্ধি বেড়ে হয়েছে ৪৫ দশমিক ৯১ শতাংশ।

ওভেন খাতে যুক্তরাষ্ট্রে রফতানি হয়েছে ২৬৮ কোটি ২১ লাখ ৭ হাজার ডলারের পোশাক, যা আগের বছর ছিল ১৯১ কোটি ৬১ লাখ ৯ হাজার ডলার। অর্থাৎ ওভেন খাতে প্রবৃদ্ধি হয়েছে ৩০ দশমিক ৬৯ শতাংশ। নিটওয়্যার খাতে ২০২১-২২ অর্থবছরের প্রথম ছয় মাসে রফতানি হয়েছে ১৫৪ কোটি ৬০ লাখ ৭ হাজার ডলারের পোশাক, যা আগের বছর ছিল ৯৮ কোটি ৩৮ লাখ ৯ হাজার ডলার।

যুক্তরাষ্ট্রের পর ইউরোপের বিভিন্ন দেশে ১ হাজার ২০০ কোটি ৭১ লাখ ১ হাজার ডলারের পোশাক রফতানি হয়েছে, যা এর আগের বছরের একই সময়ে ছিল ৯৬৯ কোটি ৬৫ লাখ ২ ডলার। অর্থাৎ ৮৩ শতাংশ প্রবৃদ্ধি হয়েছে।

কানাডার বাজারে ছয় মাসে পোশাক রফতানি হয়েছে ৬০ কোটি ২৮ লাখ ২ হাজার ডলারের, যা আগের বছরের একই সময়ে ছিল ৪৮কোটি ৭০ লাখ ২ হাজার ডলার। অর্থাৎ ২৩ দশমিক ৭৮ শতাংশ বেড়েছে।

২০২১ সালের প্রথম ছয় মাসে নন-ট্রেডিং মার্কেটে বাংলাদেশের পণ্য রফতানি হয়েছে ৩০৫ কোটি ৯১ লাখ ২ হাজার ডলারের, যা আগের বছরের একই সময়ে ছিল ২৪৬ কোটি ১৯ লাখ ৪ হাজার ডলার। অর্থাৎ আগের বছরের চেয়ে প্রবৃদ্ধি বেড়েছে ২৪ দশমিক ২৬ শতাংশ।

সার্বিক বিষয়ে তৈরি পোশাক মালিকদের সংগঠন বিজিএমইএ পরিচালক মহিউদ্দিন রুবেল ঢাকা পোস্টকে বলেন, ডাটা অনুযায়ী প্রধান বাজারগুলোতে বাংলাদেশের পোশাক রফতানির ঘুরে দাঁড়ানোর চিত্র ফুটে উঠেছে। এটা হয়েছে করোনার সময়ে পোশাক কারখানা খোলা রাখার সিদ্ধান্তের ফলে।

তিনি বলেন, বাংলাদেশের অন্যতম প্রধান বাজার যুক্তরাষ্ট্রে পোশাক রফতানি প্রায় ৪৬ শতাংশ বৃদ্ধি পেয়েছে। ইউরোপ ও কানাডার বাজারে রফতানি প্রবৃদ্ধি যথাক্রমে ২৩ দশমিক ৮৩ শতাংশ ও ২৩ দশমিক ৭৮ শতাংশ। স্পেন, পোল্যান্ড, যুক্তরাজ্য, জার্মানি এবং ফ্রান্সসহ ইউরোপের প্রায় সব দেশে রফতানি উল্লেখযোগ্যভাবে বেড়েছে।

এ সময়ে অপ্রচলিত বাজারেও রফতানি বেড়েছে ২৪ দশমিক ২৬ শতাংশ। সামগ্রিকভাবে ২০২১-২২ অর্থবছরের প্রথমার্ধে পোশাকের মোট রফতানি ২৮ শতাংশ বেড়ে ১৯ দশমিক ৯ বিলিয়ন ডলারে দাঁড়িয়েছে।


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অর্থবছরের প্রথমার্ধ

ইউরোপের চেয়ে পোশাক রফতানির গতি বেশি রাশিয়া-মেক্সিকো-ভারতে

নিজস্ব প্রতিবেদক

জানুয়ারি ১৬, ২০২২

অর্থমূল্য বিবেচনায় আন্তর্জাতিক বাজারে বাংলাদেশ থেকে রফতানি হওয়া পণ্যের ৮০ শতাংশের বেশি হলো তৈরি পোশাক। এ পণ্যের প্রধান রফতানি গন্তব্য যুক্তরাষ্ট্রসহ ইউরোপের দেশগুলো। দেশভিত্তিক পরিসংখ্যান সংকলনে দেখা যাচ্ছে, চলতি ২০২১-২২ অর্থবছরের প্রথমার্ধে ইউরোপের চেয়ে ভারত, রাশিয়া ও মেক্সিকোর মতো অপ্রচলিত বাজারে রফতানির গতি বেশি।

জাতীয় রাজস্ব বোর্ড (এনবিআর) থেকে সংগৃহীত তথ্যের ভিত্তিতে নিয়মিত প্রতিবেদন প্রকাশ করে বাণিজ্য মন্ত্রণালয় অধীনস্থ রপ্তানি উন্নয়ন ব্যুরো (ইপিবি)। যার হালনাগাদ থেকে পোশাকের দেশভিত্তিক রফতানির সংকলন করে পণ্যটি প্রস্তুত ও রফতানিকারকদের সংগঠন বিজিএমইএ। এতে দেখা যাচ্ছে, পোশাকের অন্যতম প্রধান বাজার ইউরোপের চেয়ে তুলনামূলক অপ্রচলিত বাজারে রফতানি প্রবৃদ্ধি বেশি।

একক দেশ হিসেবে পোশাক রফতানির প্রধান বাজার যুক্তরাষ্ট্র। গত ২০২০-২১ অর্থবছরেও দেশটিতে গিয়েছিল পোশাকের মোট রফতানির ১৮ দশমিক ৪১ শতাংশ। অঞ্চলভিত্তিক বিবেচনায় ইউরোপের ২৭টি দেশে গিয়েছিল ৬১ দশমিক ৩৫ শতাংশ। আর ভারত, রাশিয়া ও জাপানসহ তুলনামূলক অপ্রচলিত বাজারে যায় পোশাকের মোট রফতানির ১৭ দশমিক ১০ শতাংশ।

চলমান ২০২১-২২ অর্থবছরের প্রথমার্ধ জুলাই থেকে ডিসেম্বরের পরিসংখ্যানে দেখা যাচ্ছে, রফতানি প্রবৃদ্ধি সবচেয়ে বেশি এমন দেশ হলো যুক্তরাষ্ট্র। ২০২০-২১ অর্থবছরের প্রথমার্ধের চেয়ে চলতি অর্থবছরের প্রথমার্ধে রফতানি বেড়েছে ৪৫ দশমিক ৯১ শতাংশ। কানাডাতে বেড়েছে ২৩ দশমিক ৭৮ শতাংশ। ইউরোপের ২৭টি দেশে রফতানি বেড়েছে ২৩ দশমিক ৮৩ শতাংশ।

বিজিএমইএর সংকলন অনুযায়ী, বাংলাদেশ থেকে রফতানি হওয়া পোশাকের অপ্রচলিত বাজার আটটি। ভারত, রাশিয়া, জাপানসহ বাজারগুলোর মধ্যে আছে অস্ট্রেলিয়া, ব্রাজিল, চিলি, চীন, দক্ষিণ কোরিয়া, মেক্সিকো, দক্ষিণ আফ্রিকা ও তুরস্ক। চলতি অর্থবছরের প্রথমার্ধে ভারতে বেড়েছে ৫৮ দশমিক শূন্য ৭ শতাংশ, রাশিয়াতে ৩৮ দশমিক ১০ শতাংশ এবং মেক্সিকোতে বেড়েছে ৬৮ দশমিক ৩৮ শতাংশ। পর্যালোচনায় দেখা যাচ্ছে, ইউরোপের চেয়ে রফতানি প্রবৃদ্ধি বেশি হয়েছে ভারত ও রাশিয়ার মতো অপ্রচলিত বাজারগুলোতে। আটটি বাজারে মোট রফতানি বেড়েছে ২৪ দশমিক ২৬ শতাংশ।

অপ্রচলিত আট বাজারের মধ্যে পোশাক রফতানি সবচেয়ে বেশি হয় জাপানে। দেশটিতে চলতি অর্থবছরের প্রথমার্ধে রফতানি হয়েছে ৫২ কোটি ৯৪ লাখ ৬০ হাজার ডলারের। গত অর্থবছরের একই সময়ে রফতানি হয়েছে ৪৪ কোটি ৫১ লাখ ৮০ হাজার ডলারের। জাপানের পরই সবচেয়ে বড় অপ্রচলিত পোশাক রফতানির বাজার অস্ট্রেলিয়া। চলতি অর্থবছরের প্রথমার্ধে দেশটিতে রফতানি হয়েছে ৩৯ কোটি ৮৮ লাখ ৯০ হাজার ডলারের। গত অর্থবছরের একই সময়ে রফতানি ছিল ৩৬ কোটি ৪৫ লাখ ৪০ হাজার ডলারের। রাশিয়াতে চলতি অর্থবছরের প্রথম ছয় মাসে রফতানি হয়েছে ৩৪ কোটি ১২ লাখ ১০ হাজার ডলারের পোশাক। গত অর্থবছরের একই সময়ে রফতানি হয়েছিল ২৪ কোটি ৭০ লাখ ৬০ হাজার ডলারের।

চলতি অর্থবছরের প্রথম ছয় মাসে ভারতে পোশাক রফতানি হয়েছে ৩৬ কোটি ৫৯ লাখ ৫০ হাজার ডলারের। গত অর্থবছরের একই সময়ে রফতানি হয়েছে ২৩ কোটি ১৫ লাখ ২০ হাজার ডলারের। দক্ষিণ কোরিয়ার চলতি অর্থবছরের প্রথমার্ধে রফতানি হয়েছে ১৮ কোটি ৮৩ লাখ ডলারের পোশাক। গত অর্থবছরের একই সময়ে রফতানি হয় ১৫ কোটি ৭ লাখ ৮০ হাজার ডলারের। মেক্সিকোতে ২০২১-২২ অর্থবছরের প্রথম ছয় মাসে রফতানি হয়েছে ১২ কোটি ৩০ লাখ ডলারের পোশাক। গত ২০২০-২১ অর্থবছরের একই সময়ে রফতানি হয় ৭ কোটি ৩১ লাখ ডলারের।

বিজিএমইএ পরিচালক মো. মহিউদ্দিন রুবেল জানান, অর্থবছরের প্রথম ছয় মাসের দেশভিত্তিক পোশাক রফতানির ডাটা অনুযায়ী, প্রধান বাজারগুলোতে বাংলাদেশের পোশাক রফতানি ঘুরে দাঁড়ানোর চিত্র ফুটে উঠেছে। বাংলাদেশের অন্যতম প্রধান বাজার যুক্তরাষ্ট্রে পোশাক রফতানি প্রায় ৪৬ শতাংশ বৃদ্ধি পেয়েছে। ইউরোপ ও কানাডার বাজারে রফতানি প্রবৃদ্ধি হয়েছে যথাক্রমে ২৩ দশমিক ৮৩ শতাংশ ও ২৩ দশমিক ৭৮ শতাংশ। স্পেন, পোল্যান্ড, যুক্তরাজ্য, জার্মানি এবং ফ্রান্সসহ ইউরোপের প্রায় সব দেশে রফতানি উল্লেখযোগ্য হারে বেড়েছে। এছাড়া এ সময়ে অপ্রচলিত বাজারেও রফতানি বেড়েছে ২৪ দশমিক ২৬ শতাংশ। সামগ্রিকভাবে ২০২১-২২ অর্থবছরের প্রথমার্ধে পোশাকের মোট রফতানি ২৮ শতাংশ বৃদ্ধি পেয়ে ১৯ দশমিক ৯ বিলিয়ন ডলারে দাঁড়িয়েছে।

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Reyad Hossain

22 January, 2022, 11:10 pm

Last modified: 22 January, 2022, 11:30 pm

Bangladesh apparel less competitive than Vietnam’s

Vietnam's fashion industry on the ten leading indices logs at least one score ahead of Bangladesh, while the gaps are 1.5 and 2 respectively on sustainability and political stability


In terms of product quality, lead time, and sustainability, Bangladesh's clothing sector is not as good as its neck and neck market peer Vietnam, according to a recent World Trade Organisation (WTO) competitiveness report, as Dhaka scores remarkably low than Hanoi on ten indices out of a total of twelve.  

Lead time of apparel exports is the period between the placement of an order and delivery of the finished product. Vietnam is better able in sourcing raw materials, according to the report, and also can release the imported consignment at its ports within 24 hours.

In contrast, Bangladesh takes 48 hours to one month to release raw material imports for the apparel industry, said local garment factory owners. They said Vietnamese workers are 10%-15% more efficient in manufacturing, while the country can deliver the final product to European buyers 10-15 days earlier than Bangladesh.    

"Transportations from and to Chattogram port eats up a major portion of our delivery deadline. Vietnam certainly is well ahead of us in overall logistic support," Shovon Islam, managing director at Bangladeshi garment manufacturer Sparrow Group, told The Business Standard.



Then comes the shipment time. Vietnam directly sends the products to the buyers from its seaports, but Bangladesh cannot. 

Due to the unavailability of a deep-sea port, feeder vessels have to take the products to countries such as Singapore and Sri Lanka, where the products are transferred to mother vessels for shipment to Europe and the USA.

"Lead time is very crucial in the current competitive market," said Fazlul Hoque, a former president of the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA), adding Bangladesh lags in port and customs management.     

With around $29 billion apparel export, Vietnam surpassed Bangladesh to become the second largest readymade garment exporter after China in the global market in 2020. According to unofficial data, Bangladesh regained the second position by earning $1.94 billion more than Vietnam in the first seven months of 2021.

Other major gauges of the recent WTO report – prepared after surveying at least 150 exporters and 30 global brands and retailers – are ability to create value added products, innovation, efficiency, flexibility of order quantity, financial stability and political stability.

Vietnam's fashion industry on the ten leading indices logs at least one score ahead of Bangladesh, while the gaps are 1.5 and 2 respectively on sustainability and political stability, shows the report. The report was prepared with data contributed by several UN agencies including the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

Only on two indicators – price and tariff advantage, Bangladesh is ahead of Vietnam and China thanks to duty-free access to key global markets and local cheap labour. The country is little ahead in some indicators than three other least developed countries in Asia including Cambodia, Laos and Nepal.

Sparrow Group's Shovon Islam said any hiccup in the supply chain would ultimately affect efficiency. "If a fabric does not arrive at the port on time, if there is a supply chain disruption or if the workforce cannot be utilised properly, the efficiency would get hurt. This is happening to us," he noted.         

However, Fazlee Shamim Ehsan, vice-president at the BKMEA, said he does not agree with all the indicators showing Bangladesh apparel behind Vietnam.

"None is supposed to be ahead of us in terms of flexibility of order quantity. We accept orders so flexibly that buyers can take several thousand pieces to only a few hundred pieces from us," he claimed.  

The BKMEA vice-president also defended the quality of made-in-Bangladesh products by saying, "We manufacture products as buyers want. Since Bangladesh is capable of satisfying the brands with the quality, the country is getting increasing work orders."          

Fazlee Shamim Ehsan, however, agreed that Bangladesh has a lot to improve in terms of higher value addition.   

Like the BKMEA vice-president, Faruque Hassan, president at the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), too said the report in some cases surprisingly underrated the progress made by Bangladesh garment industry over the past decade.

"The report mentions environmental compliance related risks as a downside for sourcing from Bangladesh, while the industry has made a huge stride to transform workplace safety, workers' wellbeing and environmental sustainability. The rating seems to be inappropriate," he noted.

Vietnam's FDI and FTA upper-hand   

Noted economist Dr Abdur Razzaque, who wrote the report, said Vietnam and Cambodia have strong presence of foreign direct investment (FDI) in their apparel sectors that help them establish improved standards and bargaining power.

"More importantly, while Bangladesh is likely to lose preferential treatment in the EU apparel market, already developing Vietnam will be able to secure duty-free access in that market because of an FTA [free trade agreement]," Dr Razzaque told The Business Standard.

Bangladesh will no longer be entitled for duty-free market access after 2029, as the country will graduate from least developed country club in 2026 and its export will enjoy facility extension for another three years until 2029. For an uninterrupted market access, Dhaka then would be requiring preferential trade agreement and free trade agreement (FTA) with countries and trade blocs.      

But Bangladesh so far has the lone bi-lateral preferential trade agreement with neighbouring Bhutan.  

Dr Razzaque said, "Many buyers consider duty-free status as a critical determinant of sourcing decisions. Although entire sourcing will certainly not be concentrated in Vietnam, but with the loss of tariff advantages, Bangladesh will come under intense competitive pressure from such market peers such as India, Indonesia, and Sri Lanka."

According to the report, Bangladesh may concede a loss of $5.37 billion due to the impact of LDC graduation on export.

Still there will be orders

The WTO report says fashion brands and retailers adopt diverse sourcing considerations, including cost, speed to market, flexibility, agility and compliance risks. 

With China and Vietnam as critical sourcing bases, fashion brands mostly see the least developed countries Bangladesh, Cambodia, Laos and Nepal as part of their diverse sourcing locations.

According to the report, Turkey is another major sourcing destination for European Union-based fashion companies, while EU-based buyers source fewer complex products (such as dresses and outerwear) from Bangladesh, Cambodia, Laos and Nepal due to their limited production capacities.

The report mentions, fashion brands and retailers may still find it attractive to source from Bangladesh, Cambodia, Laos and Nepal after their LDC graduation. Major brands and retailers believe LDC graduation may only modestly affect their sourcing.

It also said that in the next three to five years, they will increase their sourcing from Bangladesh and Cambodia.

BGMEA President Faruque Hassan said Bangladesh's graduation to a developing country will definitely cause some significant changes that need collaborative and joint effort to overcome.

Md Fazlul Hoque, former BKMEA president, said, "Bangladesh is working on the issues mentioned in the report, but it needs to be speeded up. We need to focus on FTAs and PTAs."

"Despite not being covered by the GSP [Generalised System of Preferences] facility, we are still ahead of China and Vietnam in terms of export growths in the US market," he added.

Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi told The Business Standard that Bangladesh will try to avail the duty-free export facility until 2031 – five years after the LDC graduation.

"Besides, we are looking for PTA and FTA agreements with several countries this year," the minister commented.

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Jasim Uddin

06 May, 2022, 11:30 pm

Last modified: 07 May, 2022, 04:17 pm

RMG sees new investments with strong global demand

The current investments in garment and textile industries stand at Tk18,000-Tk20,000 crore


Entrepreneurs are now stepping up with fresh investments in the apparel sector that is currently on a roll with an excellent flow of work orders – even though there is uncertainty over uninterrupted power and energy supplies.

To cash in on this hot streak, a few big names, such as Team Group, Urmi Group, Chattogram-based RDM Group and the real estate giant Sheltech, are now setting up new facilities to boost their production capacity and have a bigger stake in the global RMG export market.

There is no exact data on how much new investment the sector has received. The minimum cost of setting up a 10-line readymade garment factory in a rented building amounts to at least Tk5 crore.

If this calculation is taken into account, 160 big and small factories, which have obtained BGMEA and BKMEA memberships for setting up new facilities, invested approximately Tk4,000 crore in constructing knit, woven and denim factories, industry insiders say.

The current investments in garment and textile industries stand at Tk18,000-Tk20,000 crore.


Team Group has invested Tk720 crore to develop an industrial village where there will be a denim factory with 32 production lines, a washing plant, a sweater factory, and a blouse manufacturing unit.

"We have invested in this project to cash in on the growing apparel market worldwide. Bangladesh has a good stake in it and also has every potential to further increase it with so many work orders pouring in," Abdulla Hil Rakib, managing director at Team Group, tells The Business Standard.

These new units are now under construction and hopefully will go into production by 2023, he says.

But he is also concerned over getting uninterrupted gas supply, saying, "We have no right direction over it."

Rakib hopes that the new facilities will create jobs for 5,000 people, apart from adding another $90 million to this group's annual export turnover.

Currently, Team Group has employed about 18,000 workers and its annual turnover stands at about $660 million from apparel manufacturing, a garment buying house, a pharmaceutical company and a real estate development firm.

In FY21, its garment buying house's exports amounted to $315 million, Rakib notes.

Thanks to its new ventures, the group has also set a target to export goods worth $1 billion by 2026 when Bangladesh is scheduled to graduate to a developing country.

Sheltech Group, a pioneer of the real estate sector in Bangladesh, is also planning to invest in denim garment and knit composite factories, says its Chairman Engr Kutubuddin Ahmed, who is also chairman of Envoy Textiles Limited.

The units will come into production by the end of 2023, he points out.

The denim garment will be an eco-friendly factory to produce high-end apparel items, Kutubuddin Ahmed tells TBS.

The knit composite factory will be set up in a joint venture with "a well-known foreign apparel maker" to produce high-value garment products and both units will be equipped with the latest technologies for high-end buyers, he says.

Sheltech Group has investments in various sectors, such as textile, ceramics, meat, hospitality and brokerage sectors.

Urmi Group has also gone for expansion to set up a new garment factory.

Asif Ashraf, managing director at Urmi Group, says, "We have invested Tk120 crore in a new garment factory with 40 production lines and it will create about 3,000 job opportunities."

Some 1,400 workers have already joined the Tejgaon unit, which is relocated to a new project; the rest of the workers will be employed by 2023, according to him.

In FY21, its export turnover amounted to $160 million, he says, hoping that this year their turnover will reach $200 million.

Chattogram-based RDM Group is planning to establish a 12-line capacity garment factory by this year.

Its Chairman Rakibul Alam Chowdhury says the group, which currently owns seven production units, exported about $60 million worth of goods in the last fiscal year.

BGMEA, BKMEA memberships grow

This year another 14 groups obtained provisional membership of the BGMEA Chattogram office, to set up new units, says Rakibul Alam Chowdhury, also vice-president at BGMEA (Chattogram).

BGMEA Vice-President Shahidullah Azim says this year about 110 factories have obtained memberships for setting up new factories and there are many applications submitted to them.

BKMEA Vice-President Fazlee Shamim Ehsan tells TBS that in the past six months, about 50 factories took approval from them to import machinery. Most of them are expanding capacities of their existing production units.

Besides, there are some new entrepreneurs who are making fresh investments in setting up new facilities, he says.

All are going for new investments despite the ongoing energy crisis, hoping that they will be able to handle it if they negotiate with buyers.

"Energy crisis is not a local problem at this moment, buyers must pay additional prices if we can negotiate with them," Fazlee Shamim adds.

He also hopes that the country will enjoy a huge pressure of work orders in the next two-three years.

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TBS Report

09 May, 2022, 10:40 am

Last modified: 09 May, 2022, 12:30 pm

3 more garment factories recognised as green

With the latest development, the total number of green factories now stands at 160


Green RMG factory of Team Group

The United States Green Building Council (USGBC) has recognised three more readymade garment factories in Bangladesh as green – raising the total number of environment-friendly establishments in the apparel sector to 160.

The latest, Epyllion Knitwears Ltd was rated gold while Tarasima Apparels Ltd and Remi Holdings Ltd received platinum ratings.

Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) Director Mohiuddin Rubel confirmed the matter to The Business Standard on Monday.

The factories received the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certificates from the USGBC last month, he said.

Bangladesh is the global leader having the highest number of green garment buildings, where 48 are platinum rated, 98 gold rated, 10 silver, and four have no rating. 

Dozens more units are in the process of achieving LEED certification.

The country has been receiving the certificate since 2001. 

The council honours factories based on several criteria – transformation performance, energy, water, waste management. The best performers are rated with platinum, followed by gold and silver.


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TBS Report

02 June, 2022, 10:30 pm

Last modified: 02 June, 2022, 10:32 pm

Soaring cotton price clobbering RMG exporters

Many manufacturers have chosen to cease production rendering many jobless, and hindering recovery from the pandemic



While the women toil through despite gruelling work hours and insufficient wages and benefits, it is the men who end up getting promoted. Photo: Mumit M

Soaring price of cotton on top of the increased shipping cost and fuel price hike triggered by the Russia-Ukraine war is adding to the challenges of the country's RMG exporters.

As the buyers are reluctant to adjust their prices taking the added cost into account, the exporters find themselves on the horns of a dilemma. 

The situation is not only true for Bangladesh, but for other Asian countries as well, reports the Reuters.

The report said, many manufacturers in India and other countries have chosen to cease production leading to many workers becoming jobless, which in effect is hindering the economic recovery from the pandemic.

Due to excessive rain in India and drought in the US state of Florida, the production of cotton has depleted leading to its price to increase as much as two times in some countries in the span of one year.

The Reuters story reads, a near doubling in benchmark cotton futures to 11-year highs, hard on the heels of a spike in freight and fuel prices, is clobbering Asian apparel makers while their global retail customers are reluctant to soak up the extra costs.

Losses have mounted for garment makers in Asia, among the region's top employers, with some smaller units suspending operations, rendering thousands jobless, undermining a recovery from the pandemic and posing a fresh challenge for policymakers already battling high inflation.

To remain viable, some yarn and garment makers are even replacing cotton with cheaper synthetic fabric.

Fazlee Shamim Ehsan, managing director at Fatullah Fashion Ltd, told The Business Standard, rising cotton prices, shipping costs and other costs have pushed up our production costs. But, we are not getting the price from the buyers according to that.

He said that due to inflation in Europe and America, which is the main export market of Bangladesh, the export orders in the coming months are also declining compared to previous months.

Meanwhile, the textile mill owners of the country say even if they buy cotton at a higher price, they are not able to sell it at a higher price. On top of it, the uncertainty over the price of cotton remains.

Md Fazlul Hoque, vice president of Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMA) told The Business Standard, currently one pound of cotton costs £1.65 to bring to Chattogram port. Yarn produced from this cotton will cost $5.5 per kg. But now we are selling yarn at $4.80.

In addition to the increase in shipping costs, not receiving cotton shipments on time is another issue, he said adding, "The cotton shipment scheduled in January is yet to begin."

Bangladesh Bank is not approving the hedging of cotton to overcome such a situation. If approved, it would reduce the risk a lot.

The Reuters story added, an uncertain outlook for demand from Europe amid the Russia-Ukraine war has added to the woes of apparel makers in Asia - home to the world's top garment exporters, China and Bangladesh.

In India, world's top cotton producer, several small apparel makers are struggling to fulfil orders from three months ago, when cotton prices were around a third less than current levels.

"Many small units have stopped taking new orders," said Ashok Juneja, president of India's Textile Association.

India's cotton prices have more than doubled in a year after rains hit harvest.

Global prices surged 70% over the period, scaling the highest since 2011 in May, with analysts predicting more gains amid drought damage to output in top exporter the United States and a recovery in China's demand as Covid-19 curbs ease.

In a double whammy for garment makers, "buyers are not willing to raise prices", said Ravi Sam, managing director at Adwaith Textiles, an Indian exporter. "They are also uncertain about summer demand, especially in Europe," he added.

In southern India, which accounts for most of the country's textile exports, spinning mills in May decided to stop producing yarn and procuring raw cotton, the South India Spinners Association said.

The shutdowns are hard for industry workers as many were unemployed during Covid lockdowns.

"Nearly 40% of the mills here have been shut since they are financially unviable," said Duraisami, who goes by just one name and recently lost his job at a textile mill in the southern state of Tamil Nadu.

Like Duraisami, thousands in the area have lost their jobs in May, the state government has said.

Asian garment makers, which also count Walmart Inc and Nike among their customers, rely heavily on Europe and the United States for exports of ready-made garments.

While demand rose in the first quarter as the world emerged from the pandemic, fresh China Covid curbs and higher fuel prices amid the Russia-Ukraine conflict stifled it.

Shipping costs have quadrupled from pre-pandemic levels and global brands are not absorbing additional costs, Rahman said.

"The manufacturers are bearing the burden," he said.

To cut expenses, some mills are using more synthetic fibre, which can cost $0.60-$1 a pound versus $1.4 for raw cotton.

"From what we hear from the mills in Asia, they are increasing spinning ratios in favour of polyester," said Rogers Varner, president of Varner Brokerage in Cleveland, Mississippi.

But this swap has limitations given contractual commitments to deliver a certain quality of fabric.

"There will be some replacement ... but you can't just replace something because you don't want to pay for it," said Louis Barbera, partner and analyst at VLM Commodities Ltd.

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টিবিএস রিপোর্ট 

04 June, 2022, 08:20 pm

Last modified: 04 June, 2022, 11:09 pm

মিরপুরে বেতন বৃদ্ধির দাবিতে পোশাক শ্রমিকদের বিক্ষোভ

বেতন বৃদ্ধির দাবিতে আজ শনিবার (৪মে) রাজধানীর মিরপুর এলাকায় বিক্ষোভ করেছে শত শত গার্মেন্টস শ্রমিক। এসময় তারা প্রধান প্রধান সড়কও অবরোধ করে। 



বেতন বৃদ্ধির দাবিতে আজ শনিবার (৪মে) রাজধানীর মিরপুর এলাকায় বিক্ষোভ করেছে পোশাক শ্রমিকেরা। এসময় তারা প্রধান প্রধান সড়কও অবরোধ করে। 

বিক্ষুদ্ধ শ্রমিকেরা মিরপুর ইনডোর স্টেডিয়াম এলাকায় বিকেল সাড়ে ৫টার দিকে বর্ডার গার্ড বাংলাদেশ-বিজিবি'র একটি বাস-সহ দুটি মোটরসাইকেলও ভাঙচুর করে। 

বিষয়টি নিশ্চিত করে ঢাকা মহানগর পুলিশের অতিরিক্ত সহকারী-কমিশনার (মিরপুর জোন) মোহাম্মদ মাহবুব টিবিএস'কে বলেন যে, শ্রমিকেরা মোটরসাইকেল দুটিতে আগুন লাগিয়েও দেয়। 


শনিবার বিকেল থেকেই শত শত পোশাক শ্রমিক মিরপুর ১০ মোড়, পল্লবী, মিরপুর ইনডোর স্টেডিয়াম, আয়ুর্বেদিক মেডিকেল কলেজ ও কচুক্ষেত মিলি মার্কেট এলাকার রাস্তায় অবস্থান নেয়। বিক্ষোভের কারণে মিরপুরের প্রধান প্রধান সড়কে যান চলাচল ব্যাহত হয়। 

কাফরুল থানার ভারপ্রাপ্ত কর্মকর্তা (ওসি) কামরুল ইসলাম জানান, শনিবার সকাল থেকেই পোশাক শ্রমিকেরা বিক্ষোভ শুরু করে। দুপুরের খাবার বিরতির পর তাদের সাথে আরও শ্রমিক যোগ দেয়। সাম্প্রতিক মূল্যস্ফীতির কারণে এসময় তারা বেতন বৃদ্ধির দাবি করে। 


নিত্যপণ্যের দাম ব্যাপকভাবে বেড়ে যাওয়ার কথা উল্লেখ করে বিক্ষোভরত শ্রমিকেরা বলেন, তারা এখন জীবনযাপনের খরচ মেটাতে হিমশিম খাচ্ছেন। "অবিলম্বে আমাদের বেতন ও অন্যান্য ভাতা বাড়াও"- এমন স্লোগান দেন তারা। 

এদিকে বাস ভাঙচুর ও মোটরসাইকেলে অগ্নিসংযোগের ঘটনার পর পুলিশ শ্রমিকদের জমায়ত ভেঙ্গে দেওয়ার চেষ্টা করে। এসময় পুলিশ টিয়ারশেল নিক্ষেপ করলে, পাল্টা ইটপাটকেল নিক্ষেপ করে শ্রমিকেরা। 

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Abu Azad

05 June, 2022, 03:20 pm

Last modified: 05 June, 2022, 03:23 pm

Finesse Apparels makes a splash in formal wear export

Global market for formal wear is about $160b, while Bangladesh exports are worth $500m


It was just four months away from the Covid-19 outbreak in the country, when the Chattogram-based Finesse Apparels started its journey, with just an export order from a US brand.

Along with many others, the manufacturer at the Karnaphuli EPZ had to keep operations halted for nearly two years amid the high casualties caused by the deadly virus. But, in the following year, it set an example by making a splash in formal wear exports.

"It was a big challenge, especially in the time of global reopening after the Covid-induced restrictions, for us to attain the trust of global buyers within the shortest possible time. We tried our best and we could do what needed to be done," said Sheikh Abdul Matin, chairman of the company, while talking to The Business Standard recently.

The apparel maker now supplies dress pants, knitwear and other formal wear to the American brands Luis Raphael, Haggar Clothing, Kenneth Cole, Arrow and Habband.

It also supplies clothing to different buyers in Sweden, Hungary and Spain as well as the Red Cross, the Hungarian State Railways and some other entities, noted Abdul Matin.

According to sector insiders, the annual global market for formal wear is about $160 billion, while Bangladesh exports such items worth $450 to $500 million only.

With its current capacity, Finesse Apparels is expected to ship formal wear worth $17 million this year. "In the current bullish market situation, we can envision ramping up shipments by at least 20%," said Finesse Apparels Managing Director Sheikh Mohammad Danial.

The popular product of RMG maker is dress pants, which are used in Europe and America as formal or semi-formal wear. 

It is now making 2 lakh pieces of formal wear, mostly dress pants, worth $2 million per month and 2 lakh pieces of knitwear items such as trousers, jackets and uniforms worth $2 million.

Some 15 other Bangladeshi RMG makers have been manufacturing and exporting formal wear for long.

"Although we suspended production at the beginning of the pandemic, we continued communication with our potential buyers in a planned way," added Sheikh Mohammad Danial.

"In the meantime, we have worked to make our factory fully green – environment and work-friendly – and trained our workers on new-technology machines imported from Japan, Germany and China, which contributed largely to our receiving substantial export orders amid the easing of the pandemic."

Finesse Apparels Chairman Abdul Matin, who came to the apparel business in the 1980s, established two factories – Mirage Wear and Acme apparel – in the port city of Chattogram earlier.

Learning from mistakes in the two projects, the entrepreneur invested Tk126 crore to set up the Finesse Apparels facility at the Karnaphuli EPZ.

"The decision to close down the two companies and build a green factory was quite difficult. But we were committed to creating a work-friendly environment and sustainable production system by reducing environmental damage. So, I invested all my savings," said Abdul Matin.

All-out effort to make the factory green

A visit to the Finesse Apparels factory last week revealed a harvesting of rainwater in the factory to reduce dependence on supplied water.

"In the rainy season, our Wasa bill remains zero. We carefully use the rainwater after purification. Even the toilets we have built in the factory are helpful in preventing water wastage," said Sheikh Mohammad Danial.

The facility also uses its garment cutting waste to make steam that fuels cloth ironing boilers. "Most portions of the 130,000 square-feet factory are covered by special glass, which helps the inside atmosphere to remain cool," said Sheikh Mohammad Uzair, its deputy managing director.

Besides, there is enough space among the 7 sewing lines on its floors.

Chairman Sheikh Abdul Matin said they are now installing the solar system to make the facility a fully solar-powered one within the next two years.

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Losses from Chittagong depot fire mount to over $110m

BGMEA claims apparel products worth over Tk1,000 crore may have been stored at the depot


Tribune Desk

June 5, 2022 5:31 PM

Saturday night’s deadly fire at a private inland container depot (ICD) in Sitakunda upazila of Chittagong has caused economic losses estimated at over $110 million.

According to the Bangladesh Inland Container Depots Association (BICDA), over 800 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) of containers loaded with export items, mainly RMG products and frozen food, were caught in the blaze.

Furthermore, 500 imported goods-laden containers and 3,000 empty containers were also affected by the fire.

BICDA Secretary General Ruhul Amin Sikder said primary damage from the fire will surpass over $110 million as it has destroyed loaded export and import containers worth over $90 million and empty containers worth over $20 million.

On Saturday, BM Container Depot at Bhatiari was holding around 4,300 TUEs of containers out of its capacity of 6,500 TEUs. Around 600 people work in the private depot.

There are 19 inland container depots (ICD) in the country, also known as off-docks, which handle almost 100% of export goods shipments and 38 types of imported goods - including food items such as rice, wheat, mustard seed, chickpeas, pulse, and scraps.

The ICDs work to help ease congestion at Chittagong port and facilitate the quick clearance of FCL (Full Container Load) cargo by allowing unloading or delivery from outside the port area.

These ICDs have the capacity to hold 76,255 TEUs containers, while the Chittagong port yard has the capacity for 49,018 TEUs.

Shahidullah Azim, vice president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), said there may have been apparel products worth Tk1,000 crore or more in the depot, which could further increase the losses.

The buyers of the burnt products included H&M and several other brands. Most of the products were shipped by Pran, Ananta Group, 4H, JSK Sweaters, Chaiti Garments, and others, he added.

Azim further said that the tragic accident and the loss of more than 50 lives was the sole responsibility of the port authority, which issued operating licences to ICDs but did not supervise the containers that were filled with products that were beyond their knowledge, licenced or not.

“The in-charge of inspectors of the authority did not conduct regular inspections, which led to the current situation,” he added.

Asked what kind of action the authorities should now take , he said their main duty should be to stand by the victims.

“We will discuss with the port authority later about why it happened and will also find out what steps can be taken to prevent the recurrence of such incidents in future,” he added.

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Bangladesh at final stage of introducing Bt cotton

Regulators give go-ahead to genetically-engineered cotton



Bt Cotton Courtesy

Reaz Ahmad

June 17, 2022 7:42 AM

Bangladesh is only second to China in exporting ready-made garments, fetching yearly earnings of over $35 billion. But the country has to pay up to $5 billion in import bills annually for its high import dependence on cotton – a key raw material for the apparels industry. 

By introducing high-yielding and pest-resistant Bt cotton – a genetically-engineered crop – in 2002, Bangladesh’s immediate neighbour India made a complete turnaround from a cotton importing country to an exporting country. Over the past two decades, India has emerged as the world’s number one exporter of cotton and also commands nearly a third of Bangladesh’s total import volume of the natural fibre.

After agonizingly long regulatory procedures, Bangladesh finally made an inroad on Thursday with regulators primarily agreeing to introduce Bt cotton in the country.

Once introduced, Bt cotton will be Bangladesh’s second GE after it introduced its first – Bt brinjal – back in 2013. The approval of another GE product – vitamin A-enriched Golden Rice – has been pending with regulators for the past four years.

Scientists and industry sources told Dhaka Tribune yesterday that the introduction of Bt cotton would usher in a new era in Bangladesh’s apparel sector by lessening dependence on imported cotton and helping growers earn more by growing more from the same cotton acreage, without requiring to apply toxic pesticides.

With low yield potential, Bangladesh’s homegrown cotton varieties produce only 3 tons of cotton per hectare.

On the other hand, two Bt lines that the regulators gave initial greenlight to would yield over 4 tons per hectare. On top of that, farmers would not be required to spray pesticides to fight bollworm, a moth larva that often causes colossal damage to cotton.

The Cotton Development Board’s (CDB) field experiments found that farmers would earn over Tk100,000 more from each hectare of Bt cotton compared to their earnings from the cultivation of traditional varieties.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently projected that Bangladesh would have to import nearly 9 million bales of cotton in 2022-23 against a paltry local production of 155,000 bales.

In the calendar year 2021, Indian cotton took 29% of the market share in Bangladesh, followed by Brazil, Benin and the United States.

Next steps

The Bangladesh National Technical Committee on Crop Biotechnology (BNTCCB), at a meeting yesterday, gave the go-ahead for two Bt cotton varieties, both sourced from the Hyderabad-based Indian company JK Agri Genetics.

Md Kamrul Islam, a CDB scientist involved with the Bt cotton introduction process, told this correspondent yesterday that after years of contained greenhouse trials, controlled field trials and multilocation trials in Bangladesh, the two Indian Bt varieties had been found to be suitable, profitable and ecofriendly for Bangladeshi cotton growers to cultivate.

Prior to Thursday’s meeting, chaired by the agriculture secretary, a series of discussions had been taking place since February this year at the BNTCCB Core Committee, which is led by the Executive Chairman of Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council (BARC), the apex body of Bangladesh’s national agricultural research system (NARS).

Representatives drawn from the scientific fraternity, academics and biosafety experts proffered the view that there were no health or any other safety issues involved and both fabrics and oil extracted from Bt cotton were as safe as non-Bt cotton.

Dr Rakha Hari Sarkar, who teaches botany at the University of Dhaka and also sits on the biosafety technical committee, told Dhaka Tribune that farmers could expect to grow the Bt cotton sometime soon once the National Committee on Biosafety (NCB) comes forth with the final approval.

Before trying the Indian Bt varieties, the CDB spent several years trying Bt varieties sourced from Wuhan’s Hubei Provincial Seed Group Company but later concluded that the Chinese ones were not suitable in Bangladesh conditions.

What’s Bt cotton

Bt cotton is a genetically-modified pest-resistant plant cotton variety, which produces an insecticide to combat bollworm. This has been developed through the insertion of a bacterium gene (Bacillus thuringqiensis or Bt) into cotton.

Bt cotton was first approved for field trials in the United States in 1993, and first approved for commercial use in the United States in 1995. It was approved by the Chinese government in 1997. India introduced Bt cotton in 2002, and by 2011, it emerged as the largest grower of genetically-engineered (GE) cotton with over 10 million hectares of acreage.

Currently, Bangladesh’s South Asian neighbours – India, Pakistan and Myanmar – all are growing Bt cotton, with India and Pakistan solidifying their positions among the top five exporters of the fibre.

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The RMG sector now has 163 LEED-certified green factories

Green Industrialization is one of BGMEA’s many initiatives to gain sustainability


Tribune Report

June 28, 2022 7:04 PM

The apparel industry in  Bangladesh touched the milestone of having 163 US Green Building Council’s (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified green factories, the highest in the world. 

On June 28, Sharmin Fashion Ltd, unit-2 obtained the Platinum certificate whereas AKH Knitting and Dyeing Ltd obtained the Gold certificate.

According to the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), Bangladesh’s RMG sector has taken the lead in green manufacturing with 49 in the platinum category, 100 in gold, 10 in silver and another four LEED-certified factory buildings as of June 28.

Industry insiders said that the apparel sector of Bangladesh is now standing at the threshold of becoming the global leader by facing the growing challenges in the area of sustainability, climate change, groundwater depletion, efficiency and many more. 

Green Industrialization is one of BGMEA’s many initiatives to gain sustainability and take the industry to the next level, they added.

According to apparel manufacturers, the move towards green factory buildings helped to regain Bangladesh’s image after the Rana Plaza tragedy, which claimed 1,134 lives and left more than 2,000 injured.

Green factories also help to cut down the usage of energy by 40% and water consumption by more than 30%. It also emits less carbon which further ensures environmental safety, said the BGMEA officials.

Green buildings also ensure a safe workplace for workers as the factory owners have to follow certain rules for the construction of the buildings.

Mohiuddin Rubel, director of the BGMEA said: “More than 550 factories are in the pipeline to get LEED certification.” 

Earlier, Faruque Hassan, president of the BGMEA, said that Bangladesh is a greenfield for investment in the growing apparel sector. 

He also said that Bangladesh has 163 LEED Green garments factories certified by the US Green Building Council (USGBC).

Moreover, BGMEA pledges to the Green Button, which is a global seal of excellence in sustainability by the government of Germany.

He further said that they will focus on establishing a sustainable, energy-efficient, and eco-friendly apparel industry and do more with recycling, circular economy, and innovation. 


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28 June, 2022, 11:05 pm

Last modified: 28 June, 2022, 11:08 pm

BGMEA, PwC sign deal to conduct study on Bangladesh’s RMG sector roadmap to recovery



Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) signed an agreement with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) on Tuesday to conduct a study on Bangladesh's RMG sector roadmap to recovery.

The objective of the study is to develop a strategic roadmap and an action plan for the industry covering thematic areas including development of an export target for 2032 with an interim target of 2025.

The sector has shown remarkable growth over the last two decade becoming the second largest exporter in the world.

However, the turn of the last decade has presented some major roadblocks and scope for improvement for the industry. 

The impending graduation from LDC status, the immediate and lingering impact of Covid, changing industry dynamics (growing share of MMF, move towards sustainability, diversification of sourcing bases, etc), is prompting the industry to take significant steps to address these challenges and move towards its growth vision.

In such a context, the study will also develop strategy for other key areas including product and market diversification, technology upgradation, transition towards sustainable/green production, strengthening the upstream value chain segments, skilling and improving access to finance.

The study will cover extensive secondary and primary research to assess constraints, key drivers and elements of competitiveness for the sector in Bangladesh and deliver actionable recommendations.

Faruque Hassan, president of BGMEA, said Bangladesh's RMG industry is now at a crossroads – on one side are huge opportunities while challenges are on the other side. 
"We need to chalk out research and data-driven strategies in order to retain our competitiveness and sustain our growth by seizing the opportunities and overcoming challenges that lie ahead. The study will help to set research-based targets and pragmatic strategies for the apparel industry of Bangladesh."

Mamun Rashid, managing partner, PwC Bangladesh, said, "This is an important and timely initiative taken by BGMEA to explore new avenues and prospects for the garments industry as supply change and consumer behaviors shift. PwC is happy to support this initiative."

BGMEA Directors Asif Ashraf, Abdullah Hil Rakib, Barrister Vidiya Amrit Khan and Chair of BGMEA Standing Committee on Foreign Mission Cell Shams Mahmud, Kaustabh Basu, executive director, Management Consulting at PwC, Rumesa Hussain, director, and Sarah Karim, Markets lead PwC Bangladesh were present at the signing ceremony.

The study will be funded by IFC's Partnership for Cleaner Textile (PaCT II) programme, supported by the government of Denmark through the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA) and the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Bangladesh.

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BGMEA to participate in Apparel Sourcing Week in India’s Bengaluru

United News of Bangladesh . Dhaka | Published: 17:05, Jun 29,2022


A delegation of the Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association comprising leading garment manufacturers and exporters will participate in the Apparel Sourcing Week 2022 in India’s Bengaluru.

The two-day exhibition will begin on July 1, 2022 at Sheraton Grand Whitefield in Bengaluru.

The trade fair will serve as an effective platform to open up new trade opportunities by facilitating business interactions between apparel and textile exporters of Bangladesh and India.

The second edition of the event will bring over 100 participants including manufacturers of garments, fabrics and accessories from around the globe including India, Bangladesh, Indonesia, and Sri Lanka, under one roof where they will explore business opportunities.

Representatives of Indian retailers and brands, international retailers and brands working in Indian market and buyers from traditional markets like USA and Europe, as also the non-traditional markets like China, Japan and Australia are expected to visit the show.

The BGMEA delegation comprising RMG exporters from Bangladesh will conduct business meetings with different clients, including textile, apparel, and footwear industry leaders.

Various activities – seminars, panel discussions, vendor workshops and open house will be held during the expo.

BGMEA President Faruque Hassan said Bangladesh and India has immense scope to derive mutual benefits by complementing each other for the development of apparel and textile industries of both neighboring countries.

‘India is a promising export market for Bangladeshi garments. Our RMG exports have increased by 51.13 percent from 368.09 million US dollars in 2020 to 556.29 in 2021.  On the other hand Bangladesh imports yarns, fabrics, dyes, chemicals and other raw materials,’ he said.

The Apparel Sourcing Week 2022 will play an important role in enhancing trade between Bangladesh and India by bringing manufacturers and exporters of both countries closer, he added.

The RMG exporters from Bangladesh which will participate in the Apparel Sourcing Week 2022 include Pacific Jeans Limited, Universal Jeans Limited, Bando Design Ltd, Laila Styles Ltd, Utah Knitting & Dyeing Ltd, Utah Fashions Ltd, Pakiza Knit Composite Ltd, KDS Fashion Ltd, KDS Textile Mills Ltd, Mahmud Jeans Ltd, KDS Garments Industries Ltd, Standard Stitches Ltd, Standard Group Ltd, Denimach Ltd, Misami Garments Ltd, Tarasima Apparels Ltd, Posh Garments, Mohammadi Group Ltd, Progress Apparels, Root Apparels Ltd, Giant Textile Ltd, Louietex  Manufacturing Ltd, Green Smart Shirt Limited, KhanTex Fashions Limited, Abanti Colour Tex Ltd, Threadmill Clothing Ltd, Welstand Apparel Ltd, Arabi Fashion Ltd, and Intimate Apparels Ltd.


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Uttara EPZ to get $8.5 million investment

Published:  June 29, 2022 18:43:54

Bangladeshi company Texas Clothing Limited is going to establish a garments manufacturing industry in Uttara Export Processing Zone (UEPZ) with an investment of US$ 8.5 million.

An agreement was signed between

Bangladesh Export Processing Zones Authority (BEPZA) and M/s Texas Clothing Limited have signed an agreement in this regard at BEPZA Complex in the capital, reports BSS.

In presence of the Executive Chairman of BEPZA Major General Abul Kalam Mohammad Ziaur Rahman, BEPZA and Texas Clothing signed the deal.

Member (Investment Promotion) of BEPZA Ali Reza Mazid and Managing Director of Texas Clothing Md. Forhad Hossan inked the agreement on behalf of their respective organisations.

The company will produce annually 7.0 million pieces of different garment items like Woven Shirt, Denim Pant, Twill Pant, Jacket and Woven Bottom. This company will create employment opportunities for 1450 Bangladeshi nationals.

Among others, Member (Engineering) Mohammad Faruque Alam, Executive Director (Public Relations) Nazma Binte Alamgir and Executive Director (Investment Promotion) Md Tanvir Hossain were present during the signing ceremony.


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Shape: A startup that’s breaking stereotypes

Tahseen Nower Prachi

Fri Jun 17, 2022 12:29 AM Last update on: Fri Jun 17, 2022 12:39 AM


The core team of Shape. Photo: Courtesy

Shape, an intimate clothing line for women in Bangladesh, provides lingerie and innerwear that caters to the distinct body featurettes of South Asian women. Since 2019, Shape has developed a clientele among Bangladeshi women not only through their unique sales but also through the creation of essential conversation that is considered taboo in our society. Founded by Monoshita Ayruani in September 2019. Shape is now a brand with 5 different stores across Dhaka and Chittagong with 12 members in its core team. Toggle recently talked with Monoshita Ayruani to learn more about this unique brand's journey.

The beginning of an inclusive brand

If there's one thing lacking in South Asia, let alone Bangladesh, that is the lack of inclusivity in the sizes and shapes of undergarments. Most products available in local markets are of the few sizes that are excerpts of UK and US sizes. However, such fits are not compatible with the body sizes and structures of women in our subcontinent. 

"I noticed the huge waste of investment every time when women buy their innerwear without any proper knowledge of their sizes and shapes. I decided to start a brand that will cater to women by not only selling products but also helping them understand their right fit," says Monoshita, "Hence, I started Shape. Currently, Shape has 11 different sizes of innerwear and loungewear one can find the perfect fit of."

The launching of Shape

Shape initially launched its line on Instagram. Monoshita adds, "As we wanted to establish a communication with customers to understand their needs and feedback, we designed our feed into a channel to reach out to them. This feed caters to topics not only limited to innerwear but on reproductive health, menstrual hygiene and mental health as well."

This interactive feed is what helped Shape develop a sustainable bond with its clients, eventually leading to an official website and Facebook page.

Bootstrapping the business

Monoshita started the company with her own capital without external funding, expanding it with her partner after a while.

Till today, the brand is self-funded and runs on its own revenue. Right now it is working on establishing a stronger base in the local market, with future plans on going international, especially to other South Asian countries.

Becoming a customer-friendly local brand

"Shape has worked hard to gain this trust over the two and half years from its clientele. It offers an open space for conversation for women who have a difficult time finding the right fit for their regular use. We offer size consultation with expert consultants," claims Monoshita.

According to her, the problem that customers often face is a lack of proper knowledge about choosing the right fit. The wrong fitted inner might harm the original body shape of the user and is usually uncomfortable. "But here in Shape, there is a right fit for everyone," she adds. 

Their interactive and informative page and feed also answer FAQs about body shapes and sizes, debunks taboos and eradicates misconception about less-talked but important issues. "Comfort should not come second to beauty, rather, it should come before the existing stereotypical norms of beauty. In Shape, we provide services that will serve both comfort and elegance to our customers," ensures Monoshita.

In the face of adversities 

Monoshita highlights two prime adversities in her journey. Firstly, being a young female entrepreneur in Bangladesh with a unique product idea was nothing short of a challenge itself. Secondly, the lack of open conversation about women's innerwear and loungewear. 

Creating a productive conversation about one of the most frequently-bought products seemed to be an absurd taboo. "I wanted to establish a safe space of informative shopping for women. While it was difficult to promote my brand's message initially, we steadily learned how to embrace the uniqueness of our brand with confidence," she says. 

Breaking the taboos

Monoshita believes that creating conversation and building awareness are the two most important factors to break the stereotypes and taboos regarding women's intimate wear.

"Women have been taught to look beautiful first, and put comfort later. But it doesn't have to be that way; comfort and beauty can both come hand in hand," states Monoshita, "Shape is working towards a size-inclusive movement - whether you're lean or plus-sized, we have something for everybody." 


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