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

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Jobaer Chowdhury

03 July, 2022, 10:30 am

Last modified: 03 July, 2022, 10:33 am

Terry towel: A soft start later to grow into a billion dollar industry

Bangladesh’s export in towel and home textile segment now worth $1.2 billion a year


Industry requires a few Ms at the beginning: manpower, money, method, and one other thing – an entrepreneur with a vision. The inception of Sonar Cotton Mills BD Ltd and its subsequent journey prove it again.  

Rais Khan, a Pakistani-born US citizen, had the business foresight to grasp the towel-making potentials in Bangladesh in the 1980s. He left a top executive position in the global textile giant Franco Ferri Corporation to establish Sonar Cotton Mills in Chattogram Export Processing Zone (EPZ) in 1984.

This is the first towel factory not only in the EPZ but also in Bangladesh, as annual export of towels and home textiles by local manufacturers has now reached $1.2 billion.   

Sonar produces 30,000 kg of terry towels per month, as the company's export in FY2021-22 was more than $1.62 million. Sonar's products are now being sold at multinational shops such as Amazon.  

Rais Khan's son Shariq Khan now runs the factory his father established 38 years ago. After completing his medical studies, Shariq joined the production unit in 2002 at his father's request.    

In an interview with The Business Standard, Shariq – who is now the managing director of Sonar Cotton – shared the eventful story of the company and an expansion plan in the next two years.  

Shariq said many workers from Feni, Mirsarai, Chattogram, Sitakunda and adjacent areas used to work at towel factories in Karachi in Pakistan before independence. Bangladeshis had a good reputation as skilled workers.

In 1984, many of these workers joined Rais Khan's venture in the Chattogram EPZ.  

"My father used to travel to Bangladesh regularly before 1971 as we had relatives here. He loved the country and saw the future potential of business after Bangladesh's independence," Shariq said.

Rais Khan had been in the textile sector since the 1960s. He was a senior official of the textile giant Franco Ferri Corporation. Shariq said his father's experience in textiles led him to invest in Bangladesh.

"My father consulted with MrFerri, the head of the Franco Ferri Corporation, about investing in Bangladesh. MrFerri supported him as he was our first client," said the Sonar MD.  

He attributed the success of the local towel-making sector to the fashion quota system for least developed countries under which the USA used to source 1.2 million kg of towels from Bangladesh.

But there were challenges and vulnerabilities, within the country and outside of it. Shariq said the first hit onthe factory was the 1991 cyclone, which inundated and eventually damaged the machinery. It took Rais Khan seven years to resume production in 1998.  

Shariq said the business suffered severely during the 2007-08 global recession, forcing them to allow a local investor to pump money into the company.     

According to the Bangladesh Terry Towel & Linen Manufacturers & Exporters Association, 110 companies are producing home textile and terry towel items in the country. The factories employ nearly 65,000 workers and have investments totalling around $1.20 billion.

The international market size of the textile segment is around $26 billion.

According to the Bangladesh Export Processing Zones Authority (Bepza), Sonar Cotton has exported products worth $19.73 million since 2003.

In 2002, Shariqflew from the US to join Sonar as his father became ill and died subsequently.  

"Father told me, "I paid for your education from this factory. Now you should take charge."

"The first time I came here, my father told me to go to the production lines first to understand the factory. He used to say that once you understand the work of the production unit, you will understand the business. Before sitting behind the desk, I worked at the production unit for six months," he recalled.

Shariq said the firm is now sitting on new orders despite using its full manufacturing capacity.

"We need to expand now. There are plans to set up a new factory in Mymensingh as our aim is to double production in the next two years," he said.

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BGMEA targets $100 billion apparel export by 2030

 FE ONLINE REPORT | Published:  July 05, 2022 15:14:59 | Updated:  July 05, 2022 17:05:43

The country’s readymade garment (RMG) exporters set US$ 100 billion export earnings by 2030.


During the period, the sector is also expected to create employment for a total of 6.0 million people ensuring 100 per cent gender equality and inclusive and decent workplace.

Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) on Wednesday unveiled its sustainability strategic vision at a city hotel.

Speaker of the parliament Dr Shirin Sharmin was present there as chief guest and also launched the trade body's new logo.

BGMEA president Faruque Hassan, former president Abdus Salam Murshedy and its current board members were also present at the event.

Bangladesh fetched $42.62 billion from RMG exports in the just concluded fiscal year, which is about 82 per cent of the total $52.08 billion.

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Bangladesh has achieved unprecedented success in RMG exports in the last ten years. Ready-made garments' earnings doubled from $21.41bn in FY2012-13 to $43.34bn in FY2021-22, accounting for 82 percent of Bangladesh's total export earnings.




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জোবায়ের চৌধুরী

07 July, 2022, 12:15 am

Last modified: 07 July, 2022, 12:22 am

ফুটবল বিশ্বকাপের আসরে বাংলাদেশের পোশাক শিল্পের শক্তির নজির হয়ে থাকবে যে প্রতিষ্ঠান

শুধু এবার নয়, ২০১৮ সালের রাশিয়া বিশ্বকাপেও ফিফার লোগো সম্বলিত ২ লাখ পিস অফিসিয়াল জ্যাকেট তৈরি হয়েছিল সনেট টেক্সটাইলের কারখানায়। ২০২০ সালের ইউরো কাপের জন্যও ৩ লাখ পিস টি-শার্ট তৈরির কার্যাদেশ পেয়েছিল প্রতিষ্ঠানটি।


২০২২ সালের কাতার ফুটবল বিশ্বকাপে বাংলাদেশ খেলছে না। তবে লাল-সবুজের সিল সম্বলিত 'মেইন ইন বাংলাদেশ' লোগোর অফিসিয়াল টি-শার্ট থাকবে গ্যালারিতে দর্শক/ সমর্থকদের গায়ে। ফুটবলের এই মহা-আসরের জন্য চট্টগ্রাম-ভিত্তিক সনেট টেক্সটাইল ইন্ডাস্ট্রিজ লিমিডেটের কারখানায় উৎপাদিত হয়েছে প্রায় ছয় লাখ পিস ফিফার টি-শার্ট।

ফিফার লাইসেন্সপ্রাপ্ত রাশিয়ান স্পোর্টস চেইন শপ স্পোর্টস মাস্টারের হয়ে এই টি-শার্ট তৈরি করেছে কারখানাটি।

শুধু এবার নয়, ২০১৮ সালের রাশিয়া বিশ্বকাপেও ফিফার লোগো সম্বলিত ২ লাখ পিস অফিসিয়াল জ্যাকেট তৈরি হয়েছিল সনেট টেক্সটাইলের কারখানায়। ২০২০ সালের ইউরো কাপের জন্যও ৩ লাখ পিস টি-শার্ট তৈরির কার্যাদেশ পেয়েছিল প্রতিষ্ঠানটি।

ক্রীড়া দুনিয়ার সেরা সেরা আসরের জন্য পোশাক উৎপাদনের এসব অনবদ্য অর্জন ছাড়াও, সনেট টেক্সটাইলের শুরু ও পথচলার কাহিনিও কম চিত্তাকর্ষক নয়। 

গল্পের শুরুটা গাজী মো. শহীদুল্লাহকে দিয়ে। ২০০০ সালে তিনি স্থানীয় একটি তৈরি আরএমজি কারখানায় কম্পিউটার অপারেটর হিসেবে পোশাক খাতে কর্মজীবন শুরু করেন। ধীরে ধীরে সেখানকার জিএম মো. হুমায়ুন কবির চৌধুরীর সঙ্গে খুব ভালো সম্পর্ক গড়ে ওঠে তার। ২০০২ সালে দুজনে একসঙ্গে ক্লিপটন গ্রুপের গার্মেন্টসে যোগ দেন। সেখানে গিয়ে পরিচয় হয় ওই প্রতিষ্ঠানের আরেক কর্মী মো. ইয়াসিনের সঙ্গে।

শহীদুল্লাহ, হুমায়ুন কবির ও ইয়াসিনের বয়সের ব্যবধান থাকলেও- তিনজনের চিন্তার মিল ছিল অনেক। ২০০৭ সালের দিকে আরেকটি কারখানায় ভালো বেতনে যোগ দেন তিনজনই। 

কিন্তু, সেখানে গিয়ে মালিক পক্ষের সঙ্গে বিভিন্ন বিষয়ে মতবিরোধ হচ্ছিল। তখন তারা নিজেরাই তো কারখানা শুরু করতে পারি! এরপর তারা ২০০৮ সালে চাকরি ছেড়ে দেন।  হুমায়ুন কবির, শহীদুল্লাহ ও ইয়াসিনের সঞ্চয়ের পুঁজির ২০ লাখ টাকা, আত্মীয়স্বজন থেকে নেওয়া ঋণসহ মোট ৬৫ লাখ টাকা পুঁজি নিয়ে নামেন তৈরি পোশাক কারখানা স্থাপনের জন্য। 

প্রাথমিক পুঁজি দিয়ে তারা চট্টগ্রাম নগরীর বায়েজিদ এলাকায় ৩০ লাখ টাকা অগ্রিম দিয়ে ১৬,০০০ স্কয়ার ফুটের একটি ফ্লোর ভাড়া নেন। ২৯ লাখ টাকা খরচ করে ২৮টি মেশিনও কেনেন। শুরুতেই অর্থসংকটে পড়ে আরো কিছু ঋণ নিতে হয়। এরপর ২০০৯ সালের ফেব্রুয়ারিতে উৎপাদনে যায় কারখানাটি। শুরুতে অন্য কারখানার হয়ে সাব-কন্ট্রাক্টে কাজ করে দুই মাস। এরপর কাজ না পেয়ে একমাস শ্রমিকদের বসিয়ে বসিয়েও বেতন দিতে হয়েছে। তখন কারখানায় ৬৫-৭০ জন শ্রমিক কাজ করত।

সেই থেকে শুরু। এখনও তৈরি পোশাক শিল্পে মাথা উচু করে দাঁড়িয়ে আছে সনেট টেক্সটাইল। তবে শুরু থেকেই একের পর এক প্রতিবন্ধকতা এসে থমকে দিতে চেয়েছিল প্রতিষ্ঠানটির পথচলা। কিন্তু উদ্যোক্তারা পেছনে ফেরার মানুষ ছিলেন না।

সেদিনগুলির কথা স্মরণ করে গাজী শহীদুল্লাহ বলেন, 'আমরা খুব বিপদের মধ্যে ছিলাম।'

দ্য বিজনেস স্ট্যান্ডার্ডকে তিনি বলেন, 'আমরা কারখানা শুরু করেছিলাম বৈশ্বিক মন্দার সময়ে। শুরুতে ব্যাংক লোন নেওয়া পরিকল্পনায় ছিল। কিন্তু মন্দার কারণে ব্যাংকও এগিয়ে আসেনি। এরপরই কাজ না পাওয়ায় বড় ধরনের বিপাকে পড়তে হয়েছিল। পুরো ২০০৯ সাল টুকটাক সাব-কন্ট্রাক্টে কাজ করতে করতে কোনোরকমে টিকে ছিলাম। বায়িং হাউজের মাধ্যমে ২০১০ সালের এপ্রিল মাসে প্রথমবার সরাসরি একটি আমেরিকান অর্ডার পাই। ৭৬ হাজার মার্কিন ডলার মূল্যের ওই অর্ডারটি নবজাতকের রোম্পার সেট তৈরির। পুরো অর্ডার শিপমেন্ট করতে পারিনি। ওই বছরের শেষে অডিট করে দেখি, দুই বছরে আমাদের মোট ১ কোটি ১০ লাখ টাকা ক্ষতি হয়েছে। নতুন কারখানা করেই বিশাল ক্ষতির মুখে পড়ে যাই।'

২০১০ সালেই একটি রাশিয়ান বায়ারদের একটি দল সনেটের কারখানা পরিদর্শন করেন। ওই বছর জুনে ২ লাখ ৪৫ হাজার পিস টি-শার্ট অর্ডার করে তারা। এরপর প্রতিষ্ঠানটি মার্কেটিং বা বিপণনের প্রতি জোর দেয়। ২০১১ সালে পায় আমেরিকান একটি প্রতিষ্ঠানের অর্ডার, যা দিয়ে ওই বছরই সকল ক্ষতি পুষিয়ে সনেট টেক্সটাইলের পরিসর বাড়াতে থাকে। এরপর শুধু সামনে এগিয়ে চলার গল্প।

২০২১ সালে ১৫.১ মিলিয়ন মার্কিন ডলার রপ্তানি আয় হয়েছে সনেট টেক্সটাইলের। ২০২২ সালেও ১৫-১৬ মিলিয়ন মার্কিন ডলার রপ্তানি আয়ের লক্ষ্যমাত্রা নিয়েছে প্রতিষ্ঠানটি।

সনেট টেক্সটাইল ২০১৩ সালে সনেট ফ্যাশন লিমিটেড নামে আরেকটি তৈরি পোশাক কারখানার লাইসেন্স নেয়। এ ছাড়া নিজেদের অভ্যন্তরীণ চাহিদা মেটাতে ২০১৭ সালে একটি প্রিন্টিং কারখানাও স্থাপন করা হয়। 

সনেটের ৩টি কারখানায় প্রায় ১,৮০০ কর্মী উৎপাদনের চাকা ঘুরাচ্ছেন। তাদের তৈরি টি-শার্ট, জ্যাকেট, অ্যাকটিভ ওয়ার, স্পোর্টসওয়ার যায় রাশিয়ায়। স্লিপওয়ার, আন্ডার-গার্মেন্টস যায় যুক্তরাষ্ট্রে। কিডস আইটেম, রোম্পার, টি-শার্ট যায় ইতালিতে। এ ছাড়া পুরুষ, নারী ও বাচ্চাদের বিভিন্ন পোশাক রপ্তানি হয় জাপানে। প্রতিষ্ঠানটির বার্ষিক উৎপাদন সক্ষমতা ১ কোটি ২০ লাখ পিস। 

এর পরিচালক গাজী মো. শহীদুল্লাহ বলেন, 'রাশিয়ান স্পোর্টস মাস্টার নামে চেইনশপটি আমাদের প্রধান ক্রেতা। কারখানায় উৎপাদিত পণ্যের ৬৫ শতাংশ তাদের অর্ডারের। ২০১৮ সালে রাশিয়ায় ফুটবল বিশ্বকাপের সময় তারা ফিফার লাইসেন্স পায়। আমাদের তৈরি পণ্য বিশ্বের বিভিন্ন দেশে অবস্থিত চেইন শপে বিক্রি হচ্ছে। তবে রাশিয়া-ইউক্রেন যুদ্ধের কারণে রপ্তানিতে কিছুটা ধীর গতি এসেছে।'

২০২০ সালের নভেম্বরে করোনায় আক্রান্ত হয়ে হুমায়ুন কবির মারা গেলে তার ছেলে ইমরুল কবির চৌধুরী পরিচালক হিসেবে ব্যবসায় যুক্ত হন।

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TBS Report

07 July, 2022, 05:05 pm

Last modified: 07 July, 2022, 05:09 pm

Apparel export to US increases by 51.57%: EPB


The United States remained the top apparel export destination for Bangladesh, gaining $9.01 billion in the fiscal year 2021-22 with 51.57% growth compared to the last fiscal, according to country-wise export statistics released by Export Promotion Bureau (EPB).

Also, export to the European Union, the largest apparel importer in the world increased by 33.87% to $21.04 billion in FY2021-22 from $15.99 billion in FY2020-21.

Germany, the largest apparel export market for Bangladesh in the EU region showed 27.74% year-on-year growth. Bangladesh exported $7.16 billion worth of apparel to Germany. 

Exports to other major EU markets such as Spain, France, Italy, Poland, and Netherland have shown strong positive growth. Bangladesh's export to UK and Canada also grew by 30.56% and 33.22% respectively.  

At the same time, the year-on-year comparison shows that export to the non-traditional market increased by 25.40% in FY2021-22. Among the major non-traditional markets, China and Russia have shown negative growths of 18.04% and 1.67% respectively.

Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) Director Mohiuddin Rubel said, "Even though the overall export in our major markets has shown a positive growth trend, trade dynamics will see a sharp shift in coming days in the post-Covid world and amid geo-political tension created by the Ukraine conflict." 

"The ongoing recession foreshadows a depressing outlook for the global economy in future which is concerning for us. So, we should not be overwhelmed, rather need to be cautiously optimistic," he added.


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Puma willing to increase sourcing high-end garments from Bangladesh

Currently, Bangladesh is the largest apparel sourcing hub for Puma in terms of the volume of garments


Tribune Desk

July 7, 2022 9:14 PM

Puma, one of the leading sports brands in the world, is willing to increase apparel sourcing from Bangladesh, especially value-added sustainable products.

Chief Sourcing Officer of Puma Anne-Laure Descours expressed interest during a meeting with the BGMEA President Faruque Hassan in Dhaka on Thursday. 

BGMEA Director Asif Ashraf and Branch Manager at Puma Bangladesh Moyeen Hyder Chowdhury were also present at the meeting.

During their discussions, Faruque Hassan highlighted the potential of Bangladesh as a sourcing country for value-added sportswear, activewear, outerwear, swimwear, and workwear.

He apprised the CSO of Puma about the RMG industry’s increased focus on diversification of products, especially non-cotton and high-end segments.

He said Bangladesh’s apparel sector is giving priority to taking a turn from quantity to quality and volume to value. 

The BGMEA President requested Puma to support and collaborate with their suppliers in Bangladesh to build their capacities in manufacturing value-added apparel products having higher market demand.

He assured Puma of all-out support from BGMEA to expand its suppliers’ base and sourcing volume in Bangladesh.

Currently, Bangladesh is the largest apparel sourcing hub for Puma in terms of the volume of garments.


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Bangladesh’s RMG export to India rises faster than other markets

Jannatul Ferdushy || BusinessInsider

 Published: 12:47, 11 July 2022   Update: 13:10, 11 July 2022



Among the non-traditional markets, apparel exports to India have grown incredibly in the just-concluded fiscal year as importers took efforts to cut shipment costs amid the waning Covid pandemic.

According to the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB), exports to India grew by 70.58 percent in the last fiscal year, as against the overall export growth of 35.47 percent within the less-popular markets.

“Being their neighbour, we can send our products through land ports by truck-loads to India with much lower cost. On the other hand, Indian importers enjoy duty-free facilities while importing Bangladeshi apparel,” Shahidullah Azim, Vice President of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) told the Business Insider Bangladesh.

Apparel shipments grew by 34 percent in the biggest export market of the European Union and, it grew by 51 percent, 33 percent and 31 percent in the USA, Canada and UK, respectively.

Bangladesh shipped garments to India worth $715.41 million in 2022FY as against $ 421.86 million in 2021 FY.

As the world is facing new hard challenges on a regular interval, the businesses are also evolving through fresh trade strategies for survival, exporters said.

Together with the old partners, Bangladesh is forging relations with the new partners, as well, they added.

“The reality is trade with the neighbours or intra-region businesses will rise substantially as the world has been experiencing adverse situations like lockdown and war which are affecting the global supply chain. As Bangladesh is the nearest market to India, New Delhi has imported more from Dhaka,” Abdullah Hil Rakib, Director of BGMEA, said.

The readymade garment sub-sector is fetching the majority portion of Bangladesh foreign exchange. In June, the clothing industry bagged the highest $4.09 billion from the global markets.

During the last fiscal year, Bangladesh set record earnings worth $42.61 billion, exporting trousers, denim, T-shirts, sweaters, blouses, skirts and underwear etc.

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জাপানে পোশাক রপ্তানি বিলিয়ন ডলার ছাড়াল

গত ১০ বছরে দ্বিগুণ হয়েছে জাপানে পোশাক রপ্তানি

ট্রিবিউন ডেস্ক

প্রকাশিত: ০৯:২৮ সকাল জুলাই ২৮, ২০২২

২০২১-২২ অর্থবছরে জাপানে বাংলাদেশের তৈরি পোশাক রপ্তানি বিলিয়ন ডলার ছাড়িয়েছে। আর গত ১০ বছরে দ্বিগুণ হয়েছে দেশটিতে বাংলাদেশের পোশাক রপ্তানি। সংশ্লিষ্টরা রপ্তানি বৃদ্ধির জন্য জাপানের চীন-প্লাস নীতি এবং নিয়মের শিথিলতার কথা বলছেন।

বাংলাদেশের তৈরি পোশাক শিল্পের সংশ্লিষ্ট ব্যক্তিরা আরও জানান, ২০২১ সালের ১ এপ্রিল থেকে জাপানের বাজারে শুল্কমুক্ত সুবিধা উপভোগ করছে বাংলাদেশের তৈরি পোশাক শিল্প।

বাংলাদেশ গার্মেন্টস ম্যানুফ্যাকচারার্স অ্যান্ড এক্সপোর্টার্স অ্যাসোসিয়েশনের (বিজিএমইএ) তথ্য অনুযায়ী, বাংলাদেশ জাপানে ১.০৯৮ বিলিয়ন ডলার মূল্যের পোশাক রপ্তানি করেছে যা চলতি ২০২২-২৩ অর্থবছরে ১৬% বেড়েছে। পোশাক রপ্তানি করে ২০২১-২২ অর্থবছরে ৯৪৪.৮২ মিলিয়ন ডলার আয় হয়।

তৈরি পোশাক রপ্তানিতে বাংলাদেশ প্রথমবার বিলিয়ন ডলার অতিক্রম করে ২০১৮-১৯ অর্থবছরে। যা ছিল ১.৯১ বিলিয়ন ডলার। ২০১২-১৩ অর্থবছরে নিট এবং ওভেন আইটেমের পোশাক রপ্তানি হয় ৪৭৮.৪৮ মিলিয়ন ডলার। যা ২০০৮-০৯ অর্থবছরে ছিল মাত্র ৭৪.৩৩ মিলিয়ন ডলার।

রপ্তানিকারকরা অবশ্য জাপানে পোশাক আইটেম রপ্তানিতে বেশ কিছু সমস্যার কথা জানিয়েছেন। মানের বিষয়ে জাপানি ক্রেতাদের জিরো টলারেন্স নীতি, সময়মতো চালান পাওয়া এবং ভাষাকে জাপানে পোশাক রপ্তানিতে বাধা হিসেবে উল্লেখ করেছেন তারা।

সম্প্রতি ইউনাইটেড নেশন্স কনফারেন্স অন ট্রেড অ্যান্ড ডেভেলপমেন্টের (ইউএনসিটিএডি) এক প্রতিবেদন অনুসারে, জাপানের বাজারে টেক্সটাইল এবং পোশাক পণ্যগুলো শুল্কমুক্ত সুবিধার জন্য মূলত অ্যাসোসিয়েশন অব সাউথইস্ট এশিয়ান নেশনসের (আশিয়ান) সদস্য পদের ওপর নির্ভর করে। বাংলাদেশ এবং নেপাল যেহেতু আসিয়ানের অংশ নয়, তাই তারা জাপানে রপ্তানির ক্ষেত্রে জিএসপি বা এমএফএনে (মোস্ট ফেভারড নেশন)-এর অধীনে থাকবে।

তাই এই দুই দেশ তাদের পোশাক রপ্তানিতে ৮.৫-৯% পর্যন্ত শুল্কের সম্মুখীন হবে। অন্যদিকে, কম্বোডিয়া, লাও পিডিআর এবং মিয়ানমার আঞ্চলিক বাণিজ্য চুক্তির মাধ্যমে জাপানে শুল্কমুক্ত বাজারের সুবিধা পেতে থাকবে।

তৈরি পোশাক শিল্পের সংশ্লিষ্ট ব্যক্তিরা মনে করেন, ২০২১ সালের মধ্যে জাপানে পোশাকের বাজারের আকার ৯০ বিলিয়ন ডলারের বেশি হবে। জাপানি ক্রেতারা মানের ব্যাপারে খুবই কঠোর। তারা প্রতিটি পণ্য আলাদা আলাদা করে পরীক্ষা করে।

তারা জানান, জাপানি ক্রেতাদের সঙ্গে সম্পর্ক করতে যথেষ্ট সময় লেগেছে। কারণ তারা দেশের রপ্তানিকারকদের কাজের মানের বিষয়টি পরীক্ষা করে এবং সময়মত চালান করতে পারবে কি-না সেটাও পরীক্ষা করে। এছাড়াও জাপানি ক্রেতাদের সঙ্গে সরাসরি সম্পর্ক তৈরিতে ভাষা আরেকটি বড় বাধা বলেও জানান তারা।

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TBS Report

28 July, 2022, 04:05 pm

Last modified: 28 July, 2022, 04:09 pm

French company Proparco supports Ananta Huaxiang with $13.8M loan for business expansion



Proparco, the French Development Finance Institution, has extended a $13.8 million loan to Ananta Huaxiang Limited (AHL), a subsidiary of Ananta Group in Bangladesh, to expand the latter's sweater production capacity by expanding its manufacturing facility located in Narayanganj.

This operation will allow Ananta Huaxiang to emerge as a large volume sweater manufacturer and strengthen its competitiveness in the international market, reads a joint statement issued on Wednesday (28 July).

Bangladesh is the second largest ready-made garment exporter in the world after China, representing 81% of Bangladesh's total exports and employing 4.4 million workers. 

According to the statement, AHL ranks among the top 10 sweater producers in Bangladesh exporting mostly to Europe for various international brands.

With this project and the increase in high-end sweater manufacturing capabilities, AHL will be better able to serve its customers by producing over 10 million pieces of sweaters by 2023 at a higher quality level and price points than before, the press statement added.

"It gives us immense pleasure to support AHL, a responsible actor in Bangladesh's garment industry committed to gender diversity. By supporting the growth of a job-creating company committed to the well-being of its employees, women empowerment as well as the sustainable use of resources, Proparco is supporting the largest exporting sector of Bangladesh", said Diane Jegam, Regional Director – South Asia, Proparco.  

Due to the quality of AHL's working conditions and its various commitments towards women empowerment, the project qualifies for the 2X Challenge, a global gender finance initiative that Proparco has been contributing to since its launch in 2018.

The Project also addresses 3 SDGs: SDG#9 by developing operations at best standards, SDG#8 due to above average salary package, and to SDG#5 due to the women-dedicated program that will be implemented.

"This partnership with Proparco will greatly support our vision of sustainable factories scoring high on environmental and social compliance standards. Moreover, the new capacity expansion financed by Proparco has been completed in record time and the factory is already in operation employing a gender balanced workforce and contributing to the export earnings of the country. Further, we are delighted to work with Proparco and look forward to growing this partnership in the coming year", says the Managing Director of the Group, Sharif Zahir.

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55pc US apparel buyers want to increase sourcing from Bangladesh: Study

Published:  July 27, 2022 23:23:44 | Updated:  July 28, 2022 09:22:18

A recent US study has suggested that top American apparel buyers are more interested in sourcing their products from Bangladesh than from Vietnam, Indonesia, China, Cambodia and other competitors in the course of the next two years.

The news came on the back of the Reuters report which suggested that Bangladeshi garment manufacturers have been bracing for a slowdown as sales at key customers such as Walmart are hit by a spike in inflation, reports bdnews24.com citing Apparel Resources.

Walmart, a US bellwether for the retail sector, cut its full-year profit forecast on Monday and pledged to reduce prices of clothing and general merchandise more aggressively.

The United States Fashion Industry Association, or USFIA, 2022 Fashion Industry Benchmarking Study, however, suggested that a staggering 55 per cent of the US apparel executives have expressed interest to increase sourcing from Bangladesh till 2024, including three per cent who expected a strong increase.

The report further underlined when asked which countries or regions the US fashion companies planned to increase their sourcing value in the next two years, India led the way, followed by the CAFTA-DR region and Bangladesh with all three selected by more than half of the respondents, while Mexico came in the fourth place in this regard, with Indonesia and Vietnam tied for the fifth position.

CAFTA-DR or Dominican Republic-Central America FTA is the first free trade agreement between the United States and a group of smaller developing economies, which includes Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, El Salvador and the Dominican Republic.

Bangladesh started exporting readymade garments in the early 80s and with goods worth $31.57 million, or 4 per cent of the total exports, sent abroad from the sector in the fiscal year 1983-84. The industry accounts for more than 80 per cent of total exports for Bangladesh now.

After four decades, Bangladesh has become the second largest apparel exporter in the world, with the garment industry contributing $42.61 billion, or 81.81 per cent of the total, to the country’s exports in the financial year that ended on Jun 30.

The European Union accounts for about 60 per cent of Bangladesh's total garments sales, followed by about 20 per cent for the United States. Other buyers include Japan, Australia, India and China.

Bangladesh's garments exports last shrank in July 2021 when COVID-19 cases were high around the world. Since then, sales have surged, growing by a multi-month high of 60 per cent year-on-year in March this year and 41 per cent in June, according to data released by Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, or BGMEA.

Meanwhile, the apparel exporters of Bangladesh will organise a weeklong event in November to showcase the strength the industry has gained.

The BGMEA in partnership with the Bangladesh Apparel Exchange will organise the “Made in Bangladesh Week” starting on Nov 12 in Dhaka.

The event aims to highlight the progress being made, and the potential ahead and to draw a strategic alignment among the broader stakeholders toward a sustainable, resilient, modern, fair and equitable supply chain, the organisers said. They expect Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to inaugurate the event.

Industrial disasters such as the 2012 Tazreen Fashions fire and the 2013 Rana Plaza collapse led to rapid reforms in the industry with the help of Western retailers.

The weeklong event will have several programmes, including the 3rd Dhaka Apparel Summit, the 37th World Fashion Convention by the International Apparel Federation, Dhaka Apparel Expo, Bangladesh Denim Expo, the Sustainability Leadership Award, and Sustainable Design & Innovation Award. For details, the organisers opened a website (https://www.madeinbangladeshweek.com).

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Jasim Uddin

30 July, 2022, 10:40 pm

Last modified: 30 July, 2022, 10:45 pm

Apparel exports see nearly 14% growth in July 


Bangladesh's apparel exports have raked in around $2.78 billion with nearly 14% year-on-year growth in the first 27 days of July, while the sector is bracing for around 30% shortage of work orders in the coming months. 

The sector enjoyed a whopping 1,128% growth year-on-year in a single day during the period, but the shipment also witnessed zero export on 10 July, said sources at the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA).

The BGMEA came up with the calculation based on the National Board of Revenue data as the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) is yet to make the official announcement.         

Industry leaders fear that if the global economy does not recover soon from the economic slowdown caused by the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine, apparel exports may fail to achieve the last fiscal year's record receipts amounting to $42.2 billion. The government has set a target to earn $46 billion through RMG exports in the current fiscal year. 

Bangladesh's major export destinations – the United States and European countries – are now facing a 40-year high inflation.

In FY22, readymade garment shipments amounted to $42.2 billion with about 35% year-on-year growth, according to data published by the EPB.

Sparrow Group Managing director Shovon Islam told The Business Standard that apparel exports in July came down significantly because of Eid holidays – a number of exporters completed shipments of their goods in June ahead of their fixed schedules, considering the vacation. 

"Issuance of utilisation declaration certificates by the BGMEA also dropped about 15%, which will be reflected in coming months' export earnings," he also said. 

USA buyers, such as Walmart and Target, officially announced that they will procure 30% less for the spring season as they have huge unsold inventory, he added. 

For the first time, exports to a single country – the USA – are crossing $10 billion. Of this $10 billion, $9 billion came from the RMG sector, according to the EPB.

Bangladesh may lose a share in the US market in FY23 as its economy is facing inflationary pressure, Shovon Islam noted.

Spring season apparels are scheduled to be produced in September-December, he said, adding that other buyers, including H&M, Inditex, American Eagle, are also placing less volume of orders as their stores saw less demand for apparels. 

Shovon Islam hoped the next summer season may bring good news for apparel exporters.

Last year, apparel exports got about $4 billion in additional value owing to high cotton prices, but currently, cotton prices are going down, which may be reflected in annual export value, he added. 

"Overall exports might fall 20% compared to last fiscal year's value or reach $34 billion by the end of FY23," said the Sparrow Group managing director. 

Fazlul Hoque, managing director of Plummy Fashion, said the apparel sector will face challenges to reach its last fiscal year's value as the industry is witnessing a slowdown in orders. 

It will bring a very tough time for every exporter, he also said, adding that those are expanding capacity, riding on the higher volume of orders last year, may face a shortage of orders. 

Every exporter should focus on diversifying products and exploring new markets and strengthening their marketing capacity, he noted. 

"We are in talks with a Brazilian buyer, which is a new market for us," the managing director of Plummy fashion noted. 

Team Group Managing Director Abdullah-Hil-Rakib said it is very tough to make any prediction due to the global energy crisis that has had effects on everything, from supply chain to freight costs to raw materials to end products demand. 

"The crisis is bigger than the pandemic," he also said, adding that if the global economic situation does not improve by October this year, many factories might cut 50% of their capacity. 

The government may have to provide factories with another stimulus support to prevent termination of workers," said Abdullah-Hil-Rakib, also a director of BGMEA.

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Jasim Uddin & Ahsan Habib Tuhin

08 August, 2022, 09:05 am

Last modified: 08 August, 2022, 03:06 pm

Denim industry banks on new tech for further leap

The country's denim cloth and apparel makers, who mostly produce low value products at present, are now going for higher technologies with an aim to increase their goods quality and value addition.

With the latest technologies, which are also believed to reduce production costs by at least 30%, the exporters are dreaming of becoming leaders in the global high value denim market.

Take Envoy Textiles for example. The world's first LEED platinum-certified denim manufacturing has recently signed a know-how transfer and collaboration agreement with Spanish company Jeanologia, under which Envoy will set up a state-of-the-art laboratory.

The eco-efficient lab facility will cost Envoy Textiles 270,000 euros (some Tk2.62 crore) for every 12 months, according to the company disclosure.

"Although it is an expensive move, it will help us produce sustainable products at lower costs,"  Envoy Textiles Chairman Kutubuddin Ahmed told The Business Standard.

"Buyers are now looking for sustainable denim and considering the demand we are going to set up the lab, which will be the first of its kind at commercial level across the world."

He also added that global consumers are ready to pay a higher price for sustainable goods.



Industry insiders said the latest technologies help them make sophisticated wash, reduce usages of water and chemicals which ultimately make denim goods environmentally-friendlier.

Pacific Jeans Managing Director Syed Mohammad Tanvir said they are also using the latest technologies. "Being the largest denim garment maker, it is the opportunity to get every prototype version from the world's renowned denim technology providers".

As a high-value products buying company, Dutch fashion brand G-Star RAW sources about 1 million pieces of jeans, which are worth about $20 million, from Bangladesh in a year, said its Regional Operations Manager Shafiur Rahman.

"Bangladesh has a huge opportunity to grow more in the denim market, as the country mostly produces low value jeans yet," he told TBS.

Genesis Denim is the only Bangladeshi denim exporter working with the Dutch fashion brand for the last 10 years. Its Managing Director Munir Ahmed shared their experience of producing high value goods with The Business Standard.

"Our beginning was very tough, as the brand requirements were very complicated in terms of styles, wash, chemical usages," he said, adding that they adopted some sophisticated technologies to meet the buyer's demand.

"We took about seven days to make a pair of pants at the very beginning. Now we know the brand taste and fashion aesthetics."

Munir Ahmed said G-Star RAW pays them up to $35 for a pair of denim pants, while low value denim exporters get $6 for that on an average.

Quality denim export began with Pacific Jeans

The quality denim exporting journey of Bangladesh was started by the late Nasir uddin, founder of Pacific Jeans, a Chattogram EPZ-based exporter.

In 1984, its small garment factory named NZN Fashionwear started manufacturing denim pants, but there was no washing plant in the country then. They had to do laundry in Italy. A year later, they set up a washing plant in the country with the technical support from their Italian buyer. 

Investment in local fabric productions

Considering the demand of denim fabrics for export market, Barrister Anisul Islam Mahmud, a second-generation entrepreneur in the textiles sector, established Shasha Denims in 1998 to produce denim fabrics particularly for exporter-oriented industries, using Swiss-German company Beninger's technology.

Before the inception of the company, two other denim fabric manufacturers – Bengal Indigo and Beximco – were operating in the country but making fabrics for the local market.

In 2008, Envoy Textiles started commercial operation as the first denim facility in Bangladesh to use Rope Dyed Technology.

Strong backward linkage helps grow further

Thanks to strong local backward linkage, Bangladesh denim jeans have captured the leading position in the global market.

Despite the ongoing economic slowdown, denim jeans have maintained its growth, according to industry people.

"When the economic situation will be better, buyers should come to Bangladesh with more orders, as they have no alternative to buy denim with a more lucrative price, in a shorter lead time", said Kutubuddin Ahmed, chairman of Envoy textiles.

Market yet untapped

Denim exporters have a scope to have high value additions with quality wash, but most Bangladeshi suppliers are yet to untap the potential.

Annata Apparels Managing Director Sharif Zahir said buyers are not coming to Bangladesh for high value denim pants due mainly to prolonged lead time.

"Most of our denim makers are producing low to mid segment jeans. Those who are producing high value jeans have to import the fabrics from Turkey, China and Pakistan," he added.

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যুক্তরাষ্ট্রে পোশাক রপ্তানি বেড়েছে পৌনে ২শ কোটি ডলারের

জ্যেষ্ঠ প্রতিবেদক

০৮ আগস্ট ২০২২, ০৬:২০ পিএম

যুক্তরাষ্ট্রের বাজারে বাংলাদেশের তৈরি পোশাক পণ্য রপ্তানি বেড়েছে ১৮৮ কোটি ৭৯ লাখ ৮ হাজার ডলারের। যা শতাংশের হিসেবে ৬০ দশমিক ৩০ শতাংশ।

ইউএস ডিপার্টমেন্ট অব কমার্সের অফিস অব টেক্সটাইল অ্যান্ড অ্যাপারেল (অটেক্সা) এর ডেটা সূত্রে এই তথ্য জানা গেছে। সোমবার (৮ আগস্ট) এ তথ্য জানিয়েছেন বিজিএমইএর পরিচালক ও মুখপাত্র মহিউদ্দিন রুবেল।

ডেটা অনুসারে, ২০২২ সালের জানুয়ারি থেকে জুন পর্যন্ত সময়ে যুক্তরাষ্ট্রের বাজারে বাংলাদেশের তৈরি পোশাক রপ্তানি হয়েছে ৫০১ কোটি ৯০ লাখ ৭ হাজার ডলারের। ২০২১ সালের একই সময়ে পোশাক পণ্য রপ্তানি হয়েছিল ৩১৩ কোটি ১০ লাখ ৯ হাজার ডলারের। সে হিসেবে ২০২১ সালের তুলনায় ২০২২ সালের একই সময়ে পোশাক পণ্য রপ্তানি বেড়েছে ১৮৮ কোটি ৭৯ লাখ ৮ হাজার ডলারের। 

সংশ্লিষ্টরা বলছেন, এই রপ্তানি আদেশগুলো এসেছিল চলতি বছরের মে মাসে, যখন বৈশ্বিক পরিস্থিতি এখনকার মতো অস্থির ছিল না। তবে বর্তমান পরিস্থিতি অতটা ভালো না।

বর্তমান পরিস্থিতির বিষয়ে বিজিএমইএর পরিচালক ও মুখপাত্র মহিউদ্দিন রুবেল ঢাকা পোস্টকে বলেন, করোনা পরবর্তী সময়ে এবং ভূ-রাজনৈতিক সংকটের কারণে বিশ্ব বাণিজ্য ও অর্থনীতি এই মুহূর্তে এক ভয়াবহ পরিস্থিতির মধ্য দিয়ে যাচ্ছে। জ্বালানির উচ্চমূল্য এবং সরবরাহের ঘাটতি বিশ্ব পরিস্থিতিতে নেতিবাচক প্রভাব ফেলছে। যেহেতু আমরা বিশ্ববাজারে কাজ করি, আমাদের শিল্পও এর মাধ্যমে প্রভাবিত হয়েছে।

তিনি বলেন, গত দেড় বছরে সুতার দাম বেড়েছে ৬২ শতাংশ, মালবাহী পরিবহন খরচ বেড়েছে ৫০ শতাংশ, রং-রাসায়নিক খরচ বেড়েছে প্রায় ৬০ শতাংশ, ন্যূনতম মজুরি গত বছরের শুরুতে ৭ দশমিক ৫ শতাংশ বেড়েছে। এর ফলে আমাদের গড় উৎপাদনে গত ৫ বছরে খরচ বেড়েছে ৪০-৪৫ শতাংশ। সেই সঙ্গে উৎপাদনশীলতা এবং দক্ষতা আমাদের জন্য একটি প্রধান উদ্বেগের বিষয়। কারণ বাংলাদেশে গড় উৎপাদনশীলতা প্রায় ৪৫ শতাংশ, ভিয়েতনামে উৎপাদনশীলতা ৫৫ শতাংশ এবং তুরস্কে ৭০ শতাংশ।

এই সংকট পরিস্থিতিতে উদ্যোক্তারা নিজ নিজ সরকারের কাছ থেকে সমর্থন পাচ্ছেন যা তাদের এগোতে সাহায্য করছে। আমরা সরকারের কাছ থেকেও কিছু নীতিগত সহায়তা চাই। সরকার নীতিগত সহায়তা দিলে আমরা এগিয়ে যাব উল্লেখ করে তিনি বলেন, আগের মতো সহযোগিতা এবং সহায়ক পদক্ষেপের মাধ্যমে এই কঠিন পরিস্থিতি কাটিয়ে উঠতে পারব।

মহিউদ্দিন রুবেল বলেন, পণ্য তৈরি এবং বাজারের অতিরিক্ত ঘনত্ব, বিশেষ বাজারে অনুপস্থিতি, ব্যাকওয়ার্ড লিঙ্কেজ শিল্পের উন্নতি ইত্যাদির মতো দুর্বলতাগুলো কাটিয়ে ওঠার চেষ্টা করছি। খরচ কমিয়ে আমাদের দক্ষতা এবং উৎপাদনশীলতা বৃদ্ধি করে প্রতিযোগিতামূলক থাকার চেষ্টা করছি বলেও জানান তিনি।

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টিবিএস ডেস্ক 

10 August, 2022, 09:55 pm

Last modified: 10 August, 2022, 10:03 pm

চলতি বছর বাংলাদেশের পোশাক রপ্তানি প্রবৃদ্ধি ১৫ শতাংশে নামতে পারে 

করোনাভাইরাস মহামারির পর বিপুল হারে বাড়ছিল বাংলাদেশ থেকে পোশাক রপ্তানি। উন্নত বিশ্বের সরকারগুলোর দেয়া প্রণোদনা সহায়তাও এর পেছনে অবদান রাখে। ভোক্তাদের হাতে এতে করে বাড়তি অর্থ থাকায় পোশাক কেনার চাহিদাও বেড়েছিল।  



৭ ফেব্রুয়ারি, ২০২১- গাজীপুরের ফখরুদ্দিন টেক্সটাইল মিলস লিমিটেডের কারখানায় কাজ করছেন পোশাক শ্রমিকেরা। ছবি: মোহাম্মদ পনির হোসেন/ রয়টার্স ফাইল ফোটো

২০২১ সালে পোশাক রপ্তানিতে ৩০ শতাংশের বেশি শক্তিশালী প্রবৃদ্ধি অর্জন করেছিল বাংলাদেশ। চলতি বছরে তা ১৫ শতাংশে নেমে আসতে পারে। 

যুক্তরাষ্ট্র ও ইউরোপের ভোক্তাদের জীবনযাপনের ব্যয় বেড়ে যাওয়ায় রপ্তানি কমার এই আশঙ্কা বার্তাসংস্থা রয়টার্সকে জানিয়েছেন সংশ্লিষ্ট খাতের ব্যবসায়ী নেতারা। 

বাংলাদেশের মোট রপ্তানির প্রায় ৮০ শতাংশের বেশি করে গার্মেন্টস শিল্প। আমদানিকারক বৈশ্বিক ব্র্যান্ডগুলির মধ্যে রয়েছে ওয়ালমার্ট, গ্যাপ ইনকরপোরেশন, এইচঅ্যান্ডএম, ভিএফ কর্পোরেশন, জারা, আমেরিকান ঈগল আউটফিটার্সের মতো নামজাদা প্রতিষ্ঠান। 

কিন্তু, মূল্যস্ফীতির চাপে উন্নত বিশ্বের ভোক্তারা মৌলিক পণ্য ও সেবার দিকে ঝুঁকে পড়ায় এসব প্রতিষ্ঠানের অনেকেই তাদের বিক্রিবাট্টা দুর্বল হয়ে পড়ার তথ্য জানিয়েছে। 

অথচ করোনাভাইরাস মহামারির পর বিপুল হারে বাড়ছিল বাংলাদেশ থেকে পোশাক রপ্তানি। উন্নত বিশ্বের সরকারগুলোর দেয়া প্রণোদনা সহায়তাও এর পেছনে অবদান রাখে। ভোক্তাদের হাতে এতে করে বাড়তি অর্থ থাকায় পোশাক কেনার চাহিদাও বেড়েছিল।  

কিন্তু, এখন বিশ্ব অর্থনীতির নাজুক অবস্থা। মূল্যস্ফীতিও চরমে। এই বাস্তবতায় বাংলাদেশের পোশাক প্রস্তুত ও রপ্তানিকারক সমিতি (বিজিএমইএ)-র সহ-সভাপতি মিরান আলী রয়টার্সকে বলেছেন, ' চলতি পঞ্জিকাবর্ষে আমরা ১৫ শতাংশ প্রবৃদ্ধির মুখ দেখতে পারি– যা একেবারেই সাধারণ হবে। গত বছর রপ্তানি স্বাভাবিকের চেয়ে অনেক বেড়েছিল'।  

চীনের পর বিশ্বের দ্বিতীয় বৃহৎ পোশাক রপ্তানিকারক হলো বাংলাদেশ। গতবছর ৩০.৪ শতাংশ প্রবৃদ্ধি নিয়ে ৩৫.৮ বিলিয়ন ডলারের পোশাক রপ্তানি হয়। বার্ষিক হিসাবে যা ছিল ২৫ বছরের মধ্যে সর্বোচ্চ। 

১৯৯৪ সাল থেকে বিজিএমইএ'র নিজস্ব তথ্য বিশ্লেষণ করে রয়টার্স জানিয়েছে,  যে বছর বাংলাদেশ রপ্তানিতে বড় উল্লম্ফন দেখেছে, পরের বছরেই সে তুলনায় প্রবৃদ্ধিও কমতে দেখা গেছে। 

প্লামি ফ্যাশনসের ব্যবস্থাপনা পরিচালক এবং বাংলাদেশের নিট পোশাক প্রস্তুত ও রপ্তানিকারকদের সমিতি (বিকেএমইএ)-র  সাবেক সভাপতি ফজলুল হক বলেছেন, চলতি বছর রপ্তানি ১৫ শতাংশ বাড়বে বলে তিনি ধারণা করছেন।
উৎপাদন খরচের চাপ:

ফজলুল হক জানান, বিদেশি ক্রেতা প্রতিষ্ঠানগুলি কার্যাদেশ গ্রহণের সময় এক মাস করে পিছিয়ে দিচ্ছে অথবা অর্ডারের পরিমাণ কমাচ্ছে। যুক্তরাষ্ট্রের একটি বড় ক্রেতা প্রতিষ্ঠান প্রথমে চলতি মাসে একটি ছোট চালান নিতে চেয়েছিল; কিন্তু পরে সেটি ডিসেম্বর পর্যন্ত পিছিয়ে দেয়। 

প্লামি ফ্যাশনস এসময় প্রতিষ্ঠানটিকে জরিমানাসহ অন্যান্য চার্জের ব্যাপারে সতর্ক করলে তারা মাত্র এক মাস পর ডেলিভারি নিতে সম্মতি দেয়। 

'এত ছোট অর্ডারও যদি তারা কয়েক মাস পেছায়–তার মানে সেখানকার পরিস্থিতি ভালো নয়। এজন্য তারা ছোট চালান বিক্রি করতে পারবে কিনা- তা নিয়েই উদ্বেগে ছিল'। 

আরেকটি বড় উদ্বেগ হয়ে উঠেছে উৎপাদনের বাড়তি খরচ। গত শনিবার থেকে বাংলাদেশে জ্বালানি তেলের ৫০ শতাংশের বেশি বর্ধিত মূল্য কার্যকর হয়েছে। অথচ বাংলাদেশের পোশাক শিল্পের কোম্পানিগুলোর মোট ব্যয়ের প্রায় ১০ শতাংশ জ্বালানি কিনতে খরচ হয়।  বিশেষত, লোডশেডিংয়ের সময় ডিজেল জেনারেটর চালাতে হয় বলে উল্লেখ করেন ফজলুক হক। 

বিজিএমইএ'র আরেকজন সহ-সভাপতি শহিদুল্লাহ আজিম বলেন, ' তেলের দাম অস্বাভাবিকভাবে বাড়ানোর পর উৎপাদন খরচও তীব্রভাবে বাড়বে। আমরা এরমধ্যেই যেসব কার্যাদেশ পেয়েছি, সেগুলিতে এখন লোকসান দিতে হবে'। 

তিনি মনে করেন, চলতি বছর পোশাক রপ্তানি ৩৮ থেকে ৪০ বিলিয়ন ডলার হতে পারে। 'কিন্তু পরের বছর যদি বিশ্ব অর্থনীতি মন্দার কবলে পড়ে তাহলে এটি অনেক কমে যাবে'- যোগ করেন আজিম। 

পাকিস্তান ও শ্রীলঙ্কার পর গত মাসে দক্ষিণ এশিয়ার তৃতীয় দেশ হিসেবে আন্তর্জাতিক মুদ্রা তহবিল (আইএমএফ) থেকে ঋণ সহায়তা চেয়েছে বাংলাদেশ। বাণিজ্য ঘাটতি বেড়ে যাওয়া চাপের মধ্যে রয়েছে দেশের বৈদেশিক মুদ্রা রিজার্ভ। রিজার্ভকে স্থিতিশীল রাখতে এ সহায়তা চেয়েছে ঢাকা। 

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Global business downturn depresses garment export

Utilisation orders fall as western buyers calculate consumption contraction

 FHM HUMAYAN KABIR | Published:  August 11, 2022 10:17:06 | Updated:  August 11, 2022 15:15:41


Bangladesh's apparel export has been on a downturn with utilisation orders showing further fall in latest weeks under an enforced global business crunch, insiders say.

Reports of late have it that consumer demand undergoes contraction and some showrooms give a vacant look in the western world, concomitant with recession alarm ringing in some developed economies, too, amid back-to-back blowback from the global pandemic and the war in Ukraine.

According to Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), utilisation declaration (UD) in the first week of August dropped 16.60 per cent compared to the same week last month.

In the first week of August, Bangladesh bagged export orders of 5,114 (UD) while the gauge recorded 6,132 in the first week of last month, the BGMEA data show.

The export of the RMG products declined by US$930 million to US$3.98 billion in July from $4.91 billion in June, Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) data.

Garment manufacturers worry that if the declining trend in export orders persists, the readymade garment-export volume could be lower in the coming months, too.

They say the export orders were stated to decline in the last quarter of the last fiscal year (FY) 2021-22 as the main buyers -- European countries and the USA -- getting under higher inflationary pressure and economic crisis.

Amid higher global food and energy prices as a fallout from the Covid-19 invasion and the Russia-Ukraine war, major apparel importers have moved on back gear, which has weighed on Bangladesh's export orders in the recent months.

Although the major European and American buyers had placed higher numbers of orders during the entire period of the last FY2021 to replenish their stores during the immediate- past two years, the export orders had gone on a backslide over the last 2-3 months, garment owners say.

They note that the export orders are ''usually disposed in three months''. In that case, when the exporters get the UD, they make their shipment within next 2-3 months.

''So, the volume of Bangladesh's RMG exports of the current orders will be reflected after 2-3 months when the manufacturers will make shipment of the products to the buyers,'' says one.

Former BGMEA President Anwarul-Ul-Alam Chowdhury says the downtrend in the export-order placement to Bangladesh has been persisting over nearly last two months.

"The higher global inflation and the Ukraine-Russia war are mainly affecting export orders in recent weeks. As the situation is not improving within a shorter period, so the coming days for the Bangladeshi apparel and textile sector is gloomy."

Mr Chowdhury mentions that sales at the US retail giant -- the Wal-Mart -- have already dropped. ''It is very bad news for Bangladesh as the shop like Wal-Mart is one of the key importers of our products."

He adds: ''The recent oil-price hike at home would also make us backpedal on the global export market further.''

In FY 2022, the RMG sector fetched $42.61 billion which accounted for more than 81 per cent of the country's total export earnings worth $52.08 billion.

Out of the $42.61 billion in apparel earnings in FY2022, some 52 per cent or $21.40 billion came from the European Union, $9.01 billion or 21 per cent from the United States, $4.49 billion and $1.32 billion from the UK and Canada respectively, the BGMEA data showed.

The remaining $6.37 billion came from non-traditional markets like Japan, Australia, Russia, India and Korea.

Bangladeshi RMG exports stood at $31.45 billion in FY2021, while the turnover figure was $27.94 billion in FY2020.

In FY2019, RMG export earnings amounted to $34.13 billion, according to official data.

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যুক্তরাষ্ট্রের বাজারে বাংলাদেশের তৈরি পোশাক পণ্য রপ্তানি বেড়েছে ১৮৮ কোটি ৭৯ লাখ ৮ হাজার ডলার। টাকার অংকে ১৭৭৪৬ কোটি টাকা যা শতাংশের হিসেবে ৬০ দশমিক ৩০ শতাংশ।

২০২২ সালের জানুয়ারি থেকে জুন পর্যন্ত সময়ে যুক্তরাষ্ট্রের বাজারে বাংলাদেশের তৈরি পোশাক রপ্তানি হয়েছে ৫০১ কোটি ৯০ লাখ ৭ হাজার ডলারের। ২০২১ সালের একই সময়ে পোশাক পণ্য রপ্তানি হয়েছিল ৩১৩ কোটি ১০ লাখ ৯ হাজার ডলারের। সে হিসেবে ২০২১ সালের তুলনায় ২০২২ সালের একই সময়ে পোশাক পণ্য রপ্তানি বেড়েছে ১৮৮ কোটি ৭৯ লাখ ৮ হাজার ডলারের।

#রপ্তানি #পোশাক #যুক্তরাষ্ট্র #বাংলাদেশ



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Jasim Uddin

26 August, 2022, 09:55 pm

Last modified: 26 August, 2022, 09:59 pm

Apparel exporters fear big fall in US market


Apparel exporters fear a slump in shipments to the United States, their largest destination, as retailers in the market are witnessing low footfalls with consumers turning more cautious about discretionary spending on clothing amid a record high inflation.

US clothing stores have already suffered significant sales drops in the second quarter (April-June) of 2022 owing to the ongoing economic slowdown.

Industry people say the major US buyers, such as Walmart, Target, The Children's Place, Costco, TJX and Kohl's are cancelling orders in the face of falling clothing demand in the US.

Other buyers are also cutting down on orders or requesting a halt to production that is in the process.

Talking to The Business Standard, Shahidullah Azim, vice-president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), said almost all buyers are now requesting deferred shipments, while a few are also cancelling orders.

"This situation is unavoidable but we are aware of how to tackle this shock," he added.

He added that buyers are now focusing on reducing dependence on the US and EU markets.

Asian countries would be alternative markets for Bangladesh, he said, noting that apparel-makers have had good growth in Indian, Japanese and Korean markets in the last fiscal year.

"Now, we are planning to increase market share in those destinations," he said.

The BGMEA has plans to arrange a single-country expo to find out new buyers, he added. 

Mentioning that Gulf countries also have the same potential, Shahidullah Azim said buyers are also planning to participate in two expos in Saudi Arabia and Dubai this year.

Fazlul Hoque, managing director of Plummy Fashions Ltd – the world's highest rated green knitwear factory, said, "To reduce dependence on two large markets is very important for the industry's survival.

"We are looking for a new market to diversify the export destinations. We have confirmed a new buyer in Brazil."

But not just in Brazil, there is also scope to gain a foothold in the South American market, said Fazlul Hoque, a former president of Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA).

BKMEA Executive President Mohammad Hatem said the whole situation is getting worse due to global high inflation.

"Buyers are not placing new orders, but despite that we are hopeful about going back to business after Christmas, as knitwear apparel is a mandatory item at any time," he noted.

Kutubuddin Ahmed, chairman of Envoy Textiles Limited, the world's first LEED platinum certified denim textile facility, said, "It will be a big shock from our major destination, and we have no option but to wait and see the consequences."

He also said the industry now has to invest more in research and development to produce more low-cost fabric as people's buying capacity is going down due to inflation; on the other hand, raw material prices have hiked at least 30% in the last one year.

"As we are not a cotton producing country, we have no control over it but we have to find out how to reduce apparel making prices," he added.

The ongoing downturn may continue for six months. So apparel exporters have to somehow survive this lean period, added Kutubuddin Ahmed, who is also a former president of BGMEA.

The upcoming Christmas sales may help retailers clear their large volume of inventory, he said, adding that Bangladesh's apparel market is controlled by buyers and exporters have nothing to do when it comes to bringing them into business.

US retailers grapple with poor sales

According to the Markets Insider, Children's Place Inc, a pure-play children's specialty apparel retailer, reported that its second-quarter net loss was $13.30 million.

For the first time, Bangladesh exports to a single country – the USA – crossed $10 billion in FY22. Of this $10 billion, $9 billion came from the RMG sector, according to the EPB.

According to CNBC, US buyer Target's earnings have taken a huge hit as the retailer sold off unwanted inventory.

Target said its quarterly profit fell nearly 90% from a year ago, as the retailer followed through on its warning that steep markdowns on unwanted merchandise to clear out a glut of unwanted inventory would weigh on its bottom line, CNBC reported.

Walmart, one of the major US buyers of Bangladesh's readymade garments, officially announced that they will procure 30% less for the spring season as they have huge unsold inventory.

Walmart has cancelled billions of dollars in orders as part of a continued effort to align inventory levels and pursue the demands of budget-conscious consumers.

The company's executives said the US retailer has cleared out most of its summer collections ahead of the back-to-school season – which has begun in large parts of the South – and the upcoming holiday period.

As per Yahoo Finance, the TJX Companies reported second-quarter fiscal 2023 results, with the bottom line beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate. The company reported net sales of $11,843 million, down 2% from $12,077 million.

 Total US comparable-store sales declined 5% in the second quarter of fiscal 2023, compared with a 21% increase in US open-only comp store sales in Q2 of last year.

The top line declined and missed the consensus mark as US comp sales were dented by escalated inflation, which affected consumer discretionary spending.

The company raised its fiscal 2023 pretax profit margin. However, the company lowered its full-year adjusted earnings and US comp store sales guidance range.

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Survey finds over 29pc RMG factories paid extra money to qualify for compliance standards

 FE ONLINE REPORT | Published:  August 31, 2022 17:44:17 | Updated:  August 31, 2022 20:40:11

Over 29 per cent of the readymade garment factories surveyed had to pay inspectors additional money to be eligible for compliant ones, a joint study has revealed.

“The survey found that, during the high export growth period (September 2021 to March 2022), overall, 29.3 per cent of the surveyed factories had to pay additional money to the inspector to be eligible as compliant factories, which is illegal,” read the findings of the study.

It also revealed that several new subcontracting factories were set up to meet a higher volume of export orders, and child and juvenile workers are being hired in these factories to offset workforce shortage.

The findings of the study titled ‘Debate on Recent Export Growth and Decent Employment in RMG Industry: A UNGPs Perspective’ by the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) and Christian Aid (CA) were shared on Wednesday at a dialogue held at the BRAC Centre Inn in the capital.

Some 1,244 workers and a total of 51 factories, with 12 mean years of operation, located in Dhaka and adjacent areas including Savar, Narayanganj and Gazipur were surveyed.

Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi was present as chief guest at the event chaired by CPD’s Executive Director Dr Fahmida Khatun. Research director of CPD Dr Khondaker Golam Moazzem presented the survey results.

Responding to the findings, Khaled Mamun Chowdhury, director general of the Department of Labour, said they had taken action against three inspectors allegedly involved in the bribery.

Five inspectors were transferred and departmental measures have been taken against two others, while one would be suspended, he informed.

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Experts: Apparel workers still far from earning a living wage

Monthly income of RMG workers increased by 1.7% in March 2022 while their expenditure increased by 9.5% due to inflation


Saddam Hossain

August 31, 2022 8:03 PM

Apparel workers are far from earning a living wage still, said experts on Wednesday. 

“Workers are not earning a minimum wage while inflation has driven up prices of everything from food, goods and services,” said Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD). 

They also called for a new wage board commission at “Debate on recent export growth and decent employment in RMG industry: A UNGP’s perspective,” jointly organized by Christian Aid and Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) at Brac Center in the capital.

In the keynote presentation, CPD Research Director Dr Khondaker Golam Moazzem said that the apparel export witnessed high growth last year. 

However, during this period, they found workers were getting minimum wages and not living wages. 

He also mentioned that during a survey, they found that workers were paid Tk11,993 on average, excluding overtime in March 2022, which was 12.5% higher than the same month of the previous year.

Moazzem also said that the growth of a worker’s family income is much lower than the growth of family expenditure.

He further explained that the monthly income of RMG workers increased by 1.7% in March 2022 while their expenditure increased by 9.5% due to inflation

Mohammad Hatem, executive president of the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA), said that it is true that there are currently a number of contractual workers in the RMG sector.

“A number of contractual workers earn more than official workers. So, they are reluctant to go under official employment,” he added.

Regarding trade unions, he said that they have no issues in forming trade unions. Freedom of association exists in the sector.

“We always welcome the actual trade unions which serve the interests of the workers and factories,” he added, saying that day-care centers exist in most factories.

He said that they are also against the establishment of non-compliance factories.

“The sector experiences robust growth but a decline in profit margins as the price of cotton, raw materials, and transportation costs saw abnormal hikes in price,” he added. 

He also said that there are some issues regarding getting fair prices from the brands. 

Shahidullah Azim, vice-president of the BGMEA said that they should work together for a living wage.

“Labour leaders should negotiate with buyers to pay more for a living wage to workers. Otherwise, factory owners will not be able to pay that alone,” he added.

Regarding robust growth in the last few months, he said that government policies and incentives during the pandemic, factories that remained operational during lockdowns while maintaining health guidelines helped them gain this growth.

“There are still many issues in this sector, but also room to work together. We have to work together under global standards,” he added, saying that efficiency and upscaling must be ensured for both women and male workers.

During an open discussion, Bangladesh Center for Workers Solidarity Executive Director Kalpona Akhter said if they talk about a living wage for workers that should be at least Tk32,000 to Tk40,000, saying that: “We are not getting the minimum wage yet.”

Montu Gosh, president of the Garment Workers Trade Union Center said that workers failed to meet their daily needs, as essential commodities are not within their reach.

He also requested the government to form a new minimum wage commission to rationalize workers’ wages, otherwise, it might create a big challenge for workers. 

During the program, CPD Chairman Professor Rehman Sobhan said that the government should focus on workers' skill development. 

He also suggested taking proper initiatives to take advantage of the US-China conflict. Due to the crisis, many US buyers are shifting from China and Bangladesh should be fully prepared in terms of production and export capacity. 

He is also suggested to take initiative to get a GSP+ facility in the European Union (EU) market after LDC graduation. 

In his speech as the chief guest, Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi said that the RMG sector has excellent growth, but it is yet to be confirmed whether the growth will sustain or not. The growth tendency has already declined.

Regarding trade unions, he said: “Trade union is important and we want it. But the unions' leaders have to understand that their responsibility is to protect worker rights and keep factories operational uninterruptedly,” he added.

He also said that everyone has to work together to make the RMG sector compliant and workers-friendly, saying that the industry is like a bicycle where owners and workers are two wheels.

The RMG sector has success stories but also room for improvement.

“The stakeholders associated with the sector are positive and want development. So, by discussing with all parties, we have to find out problems and the way forward,” he added.

The survey was prepared by CPD Research Director Khondaker Golam Moazzem and Research Assistance Tamim Ahmed while CPD Executive Director Fahmida Khatun presided over the program. 


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Shifting Gears to Propel Bangladesh’s Growth Engine



|AUGUST 31, 2022

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Bangladesh’s manufacturing miracle is much celebrated. Labor-intensive, export-oriented growth driven by the ready-made garments (RMG) industry has propelled Bangladesh’s recent economic transformation. But this growth engine is under duress. Bangladesh will cease to benefit from duty-free quota-free market access to advanced economies once it graduates from least-developed country (LDC) status in 2026. Shifting global trends are also generating new challenges. The COVID-19 pandemic has introduced pressure points in reshaping global value chains. The European Union’s Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism is poised to penalize countries where climate change-related policies are less ambitious. And the growing use of industrial robots in high-income countries is reducing the importance of wage costs in determining international competitiveness. All in all, Bangladesh’s emphasis must shift to broader considerations of efficiency and quality as it seeks to diversify its export basket and move up the value chain. Innovation and technology adoption are becoming increasingly central to enable this transition. This was illustrated during the pandemic when digital solutions made firms more resilient but also when weak firm capabilities hampered bringing vaccine manufacturing to scale for the world.

Technology matters for firm performance  

Our report finds that firms with higher technology levels in Bangladesh’s manufacturing sector perform better. After accounting for key differences, such as size, physical capital and age, a 25 percent increase in the overall technology level is associated with a 3 percent increase in profits per worker. Industrial technologies such as robots, informational technologies  such as business management software, transactional technologies such as digital payment systems, and management practices such as incentivizing employees and monitoring performance are all associated with better firm performance. In fact, as much as 18% of the total variation in the performance of manufacturing firms (as measured by indicators such as profits per worker) is explained by their observed differences in technology. This is comparable to the share of the variation in performance that is explained jointly by other key attributes, such as firms’ size, capital, age, sector, and location.  

Figure 1: In Bangladesh’s manufacturing sector, firms with higher technology levels earn higher profits and revenue per worker  


Even incrementally better technologies need to be diffused much more widely 

While some firms in Bangladesh’s manufacturing sector are at an advanced technological level, most use rudimentary technologies. In terms of business processes, the use of digital tools is few and far between. For example, 72 percent of firms practice manual quality inspections and 47 percent of them still use handwritten processes for business management. In terms of industrial processes, most firms in Bangladesh still use basic machinery (that is, fully manual or powered but manually operated) in most production stages. The sewing stage in the RMG industry is the exception to this norm; 80% of RMG firms use semi-automated technology and another 9 percent use fully automated methods.  In terms of management techniques, many firms do not even use basic management practices for setting targets, providing incentives to workers, and monitoring performance. For example, 32 percent of firms do not monitor any key performance indicators (KPIs).  

Figure 2: Most firms in Bangladesh’s manufacturing sector use basic technologies for quality control and business administration  



Improving firm capabilities holds the key 

COVID-19 has provided an impetus to the advent of digitalization around the world. In Bangladesh, however, the increased use of digital platforms by businesses during the pandemic considerably lagged that in other countries. So how can policy makers accelerate the adoption of better technologies?  Improving firm capabilities is key. Firms typically underinvest in foundational managerial and organizational practices because of limited awareness of their true value. Manufacturers in Bangladesh are no exception to this norm. They systematically underestimate the extent to which they are behind other firms in terms of technology use; nearly 84 percent of firms do not believe that they need external advice about adopting new technologies. The direct provision of business advisory services to firms can help overcome these information market failures. They are best implemented by private providers in competitive markets, with the government providing financial and regulatory support. More advanced firms such as RMG exporters or more technology-intensive industries such as pharmaceuticals can also benefit from technology extension services. 

Connectivity to international markets must also be leveraged to strengthen firm capabilities. For example, firms that most often used information from foreign buyers or suppliers to make decisions about technology adoption, on average, used mobile apps to complete tasks 

related to business administration, human resources, and inventory management compared with other firms that, on average, used handwritten processes or standard computer packages. This matters for the RMG industry where supplier development programs can enhance technology transfer to domestic firms that are well ensconced in GVCs. But it matters just as much for the more nascent pharmaceutical industry where partnerships with multi-national enterprises through FDI, contract manufacturing, and joint ventures can enable domestic firms to acquire world-class experience.  

Strengthening firm capabilities can enable manufacturers in Bangladesh to better withstand the headwinds in the world economy. There is little time and space for business-as-usual and technology adoption is necessary to change the equation from competing on wages to competing on productivity. In turn, productivity growth is a precondition for sustainably generating well-paid jobs. It can provide the very successful export-led manufacturing model in Bangladesh a second wind. 


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Rafiqul Islam

01 September, 2022, 10:50 pm

Last modified: 01 September, 2022, 10:54 pm

Ditched by local banks, Saad Musa Group reboots on foreign loans

The conglomerate is receiving $325m in loans from banks in China, Belgium, and Germany to buy machinery for its new textile mill



It was an ambitious expansion plan built on promises of over Tk1,000 crore loan by state lenders.

But the Chattogram-based business conglomerate could not make it happen in 2016 as the approved loans were abruptly cancelled.

It was a disaster for Saad Musa Group as it had already invested its own resources and bank money for spacious factory floors.

That unfinished dream now looks set to come true with loans from foreign banks.

This is the story of a desperate turnaround bid of one of the port city's textile industry forerunners.

Starting off in the 1980s with export-import trade, Chattogram-based Saad Musa Group tasted success when it entered into manufacturing textile products in the 1990s. 

With time, the group had gone from strength to strength through expansion of its businesses in different segments of textiles. 

Its business was going ok until 2010 – when the company went for an aggressive investment in a new project that hit a roadblock for failing to secure utility connections.

To ride out the bad times and get back to the growth trajectory with diversified businesses, the industrial group is now going ahead with massive investment plans as it mulls gaining footholds in new sectors, such as power, steel, cement, agro, hospitality, and real estate alongside increasing investment in its existing textile business.

The business group is set to invest about $334 million, a major portion of it will come as external loans, in setting up Sultana Habiba Fabrics Mills that will comprise eight units – cotton yarn spinning, blended yarn spinning, weaving, circular knitting, RMG dyeing, printing and finishing, home textile dyeing, printing and finishing, and yarn dyeing, said company officials.

Besides, it is going to invest another $90 million in Saad Musa Denim and Saad Musa Terry Towels.

The Group has several companies, including 100% export-oriented ones, in the textile sector, and yet it is building another large plant i.e., Sultana Habiba Fabrics Mills, buoyed by an increasing demand for readymade garments and household textiles. The new plant is planned to go into operation by next year.

The group has already completed partial construction of the mill with an investment of Tk700 crore arranged from domestic sources, and now it plans to purchase necessary machinery with foreign loans.

Muhammad Mohsin, managing director of Saad Musa Group, told The Business Standard that some banks in China, Belgium, and Germany have agreed to provide the company with about $325 million in loans at 3% interest.

"We have applied to the Bangladesh Bank and the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority for their permission regarding the loans," he said.

Even though this group is more focused on the textile sector, especially home textiles, it has already expanded and is planning expansion of its business in various other sectors keeping its focus on future market and business potential.

Saad Musa Group plans to diversify its business into power plants, auto bricks, agro projects, cement, and steel industry by 2025 and real estate sector by 2030.

Muhammad Mohsin said, "With the group expanding in some new sectors by 2025, we will employ more than 30,000. At present, about 12,000 people are employed in 27 industrial units of the conglomerate."

As part of its expansion plan, Saad Musa Group will invest $30 million in manufacturing dalda, vegetable oil, and other oils, $175 million in an HFO (heavy fuel oil) power plant with 200MW power generation capacity, $20 million in manufacturing eco-friendly auto bricks, and $5 million in agro projects.

It also mulls investing in the cement industry that is expected to grow 10% every year. To this end, it has purchased 20 acres of land in Chattogram's Shikalbaha. 

The group plans to set up a steel factory in Chattogram's Anwara by 2025 with an aim of producing 1,000 tonnes of steel daily, for which it has purchased 20 acres of land. The cost of this project also will depend on the time of implementation, said officials.

Saad Musa Group is also planning to invest in a seven-star resort and in the real estate sector in Cox's Bazar.

Foreign loans in pipeline

Saad Musa Group took up the initiative to build Sultana Habiba Fabrics Mills in 2016.

At that time, the Investment Corporation of Bangladesh (ICB) decided to invest in the mill. The corporation approved a loan of Tk485 crore through debentures for Sultan Habiba Fabrics Mills. It was also a lead arranger of another Tk890 crore in loans from four state-owned banks for the company. 

In total, Saad Musa Group received a loan approval of Tk1,375 crore from the ICB.

But, the Tk485 crore ICB loan was later cancelled as the investment was outside the capital market. Loans approved by the state banks also got cancelled.

Muhammad Mohsin told TBS that buoyed by the fact that Tk1,375 crore in loans were in the pipeline, Saad Musa Group started construction of the a 12lakh sqft mill by investing Tk700 crore arranged from banks and the group's own resources. But it is not possible to bring in required machinery, he added.

Denied by local banks, Saad Musa Group approached foreign lenders to finance its new textile mill. And it has received approval for a total of $325 million in loans from several banks based in China, Germany, and Belgium for the import of machinery. 

Among the lenders, the Agricultural Bank of China alone will give $78.33 million or about Tk800 crore, Mohsin told TBS, adding that German Landesbank Baden-Württemberg will give $25 million and Oldenburgische Landesbank AG with provide another $25 million, while the Bank of Belgium will give $15 million.

Application to Bida for approval

Saad Musa Group on 4 August this year wrote to the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority seeking approval of the loan from the Agricultural Bank of China to buy machinery for Sultana Habiba Fabrics Mills.

In its letter Sultana Habiba Fabrics Mills says, "The Agricultural Bank of China, Qingdao branch intends to finance 85% of the contract amount $78.33 million as per acceptance of China Export and Credit Insurance Corporation without any local bank guarantee only on the basis of our corporate guarantor."

How it fell into bad times

In 2010, the business conglomerate started to witness the flip-side of success - it developed Saad Musa Industrial Park with 24 factories of different products but could not start operation in the absence of gas and electricity connections, causing it to incur a massive loss.

In 2015, some units of the industrial were commissioned, but there is still a shortage of gas and electricity. All factories in the park have not yet been able to go into production as losses mount. 

Saad Musa Group's owner also got into legal trouble in the US while buying a warehouse there, resulting in a big loss.

Besides, the group went through problems after renting state-owned Karnafuli Jute Mills. In 2008, it took over the loss-making mill and started its operation.

But four years later in 2012, Saad Musa Group had to return the mills to the government for some unknown reasons. For this, the group suffered a loss of Tk300 crore that it had already spent in the form of a new investment and paying for outstanding electricity and gas bills after having taken over the mills.

Saad Musa Group's bank liabilities

Saad Musa Group owes about Tk3,000 crore to about a dozen banks, including state-owned ones. A portion of the loans have fallen in default following the fire incident in one of its factories in 2005, the loan cancellation by the ICB in 2016, and Covid-induced business slowdown in the past couple of years.

Some of the loans have been rescheduled after payment of instalments and some are still in default.

When asked about this, Muhammad Mohsin said, "I have been doing business since 1982. During this period there was no problem in repayment of loans. But, due to some incidents, there have been problems. We are trying to resolve them."

The rise of Saad Musa Group

Muhammad Mohsin stepped into the world of business in 1982 after completing his higher secondary education by borrowing money from one of his childhood friends, even though his father Abu Saad Chowdhury wanted him to become a service holder.

He started with an import-export business in the trading sector. But the capital he arranged from his friend was lost as he incurred huge losses in the business.

The initial setback, however, could not dampen the spirit of the entrepreneurial young man as he managed to take out a loan from a bank and opened a department store.

After a few years, he started in the ship building sector. And as his new venture saw success, he started business in the textile sector.

The first industrial venture of Mohsin was Chittagong Fibre Boards Mills, which used to manufacture and supply leather fibre sheets and silver cans.

In 1994, he formed Saad Musa Group – named after his father and uncle – and started expanding business in various sectors.

Ever since then, he never looked back as Saad Musa Group has now turned into a large conglomerate consisting of more than two dozen sister concerns and subsidiaries in various sectors.

It is building the Saad Musa Industrial Park on 100 acres of land in Chattogram's Anwara.

There will be an education park, which will have all kinds of education facilities, on a 100-bigha plot of land, a hospital on a 40-bigha plot, planned villages for living, textile mills to meet textile demand, and agro projects for food production in the industrial park.

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অর্থনীতির তিন সূচকে বাংলাদেশে আশার আলো

 বৈশ্বিক সংকট সত্বেও পোশাক রপ্তানিতে ঘুরে দাঁড়াচ্ছে বাংলাদেশ



প্রকাশিত: ০৭:১০ বিকাল সেপ্টেম্বর ০৩, ২০২২

বৈশ্বিক আর্থিক সংকটের মধ্যে অর্থনীতির তিনটি গুরুত্বপূর্ণ সূচকে আশার আলো দেখাচ্ছে বাংলাদেশ।

ইউরোপীয় পরিসংখ্যান সংস্থা ইউরোস্ট্যাটের বিভিন্ন অর্থনৈতিক সূচকের সর্বশেষ তথ্যে এ কথা জানানো হয়েছে।

এতে বলা হয়, বৈশ্বিক সংকট সত্বেও পোশাক রপ্তানিতে ঘুরে দাঁড়াচ্ছে বাংলাদেশ।

বছরের প্রথম পাঁচ মাসে ইউরোপীয় ইউনিয়নে বাংলাদেশের পোশাক রপ্তানি ৪৫% বেড়েছে।

এছাড়া চলতি বছরের জানুয়ারি থেকে জুন পর্যন্ত যুক্তরাষ্ট্রের বাজারে পোশাক পণ্যের রপ্তানি বেড়েছে ৬০.৩০%।

শুধু ইউরোপ-যুক্তরাষ্ট্র নয়, আগের অর্থবছরের একই সময়ের তুলনায় চলতি অর্থবছরের প্রথম মাসে জুলাই মাসে বাংলাদেশ থেকে সামগ্রিক রপ্তানি ১৪.৭২% বৃদ্ধি পেয়েছে।

আর জুনে রপ্তানি প্রবৃদ্ধি ছিল ৩৭.১৯%।

শুধু রপ্তানিই নয়, রেমিট্যান্স ও বেসরকারি ঋণের প্রবৃদ্ধিও সাম্প্রতিক সময়ে ইতিবাচক অগ্রগতি দেখা গেছে।

এফওয়াই ২৩ এর প্রথম মাসে ৩.৯৮ বিলিয়ন ডলার মূল্যের পণ্য রপ্তানি করা হয়েছে।

রপ্তানি উন্নয়ন ব্যুরোর (ইপিবি) তথ্য অনুযায়ী, গত অর্থবছরে প্রথমবারের মতো ৫২ বিলিয়ন ডলারের রপ্তানি করে দেশটি ৫০ বিলিয়ন ডলারের মাইলফলক অতিক্রম করেছে।

প্রতিবেদনে বলা হয়, যথারীতি প্রবৃদ্ধিতে সবচেয়ে বেশি অবদান রেখেছে তৈরি পোশাক।

গত মাসে এই খাতে রপ্তানি হয়েছে ৩.৩৬ বিলিয়ন ডলারের। এই হিসাবে, মোট রপ্তানির ৮৪.৪৯% পোশাক পণ্য।

আর গত অর্থবছরের জুলাইয়ের তুলনায় এ পণ্যের রপ্তানি বেড়েছে ১৬ দশমিক ৬১ শতাংশ।

এদিকে ইউরোস্ট্যাটের তথ্য অনুযায়ী, চলতি বছরের জানুয়ারি থেকে মে পর্যন্ত বাংলাদেশ থেকে পোশাক পণ্যের আমদানি বেড়েছে ৪৪.৯৫ শতাংশ।

প্রতিবেদনে বলা হয়, এই সময় পর্যন্ত মোট ৯.৫৮ বিলিয়ন মূল্যের পোশাক পণ্য আমদানি করা হয়েছে।

বাংলাদেশ ব্যাংকের তথ্যে দেখা যায়, জুলাই মাসে বেসরকারি ঋণের প্রবৃদ্ধি ১৩.৯৬ শতাংশ বেড়ে দাঁড়ায় ১৩ লাখ ৫২ হাজার কোটি টাকা।

ব্যাংক কর্মকর্তারা বলছেন, অনেকেই নতুন প্রকল্প হাতে নিয়েছেন। আবার অনেকে উৎপাদনশীলতা বাড়াচ্ছেন।

কম সুদের হারের কারণে এ বছর আবাসন, গাড়ি ও ব্যক্তিগত ঋণও বেড়েছে।

এছাড়া গত চার মাসে ডলারের দাম ২০ শতাংশের বেশি বেড়েছে।

যদিও ঘোষিত মুদ্রানীতিতে চলতি বছরের ডিসেম্বর পর্যন্ত বেসরকারি খাতে ঋণের প্রবৃদ্ধির লক্ষ্যমাত্রা ধরা হয়েছে ১৩.৬%।

ফলে ঋণের প্রবৃদ্ধির মুদ্রানীতির লক্ষ্যমাত্রা আগেই ছাড়িয়ে গেছে।

অনেক মূল্যস্ফীতি সত্ত্বেও ভোক্তারা বেশি ঋণ নিচ্ছেন। কারণ ঋণের সুদের হার এখনও ৯ শতাংশের কাছাকাছি।

বাংলাদেশ ব্যাংকের সর্বশেষ তথ্য অনুযায়ী, আগস্ট মাসে দেশটি ২.০৩ বিলিয়ন ডলার মূল্যের অভ্যন্তরীণ রেমিট্যান্স পেয়েছে যা রেমিট্যান্সের এই ঊর্ধ্বমুখী প্রবণতার মাধ্যমে বৈদেশিক মুদ্রার সংকট কমানোর আশা দেখাচ্ছে।

জুলাই মাসে, এফওয়াই২৩ এর প্রথম মাসে প্রবাসীরা ২.০৯ বিলিয়ন ডলার রেমিট্যান্স পাঠিয়েছে, যা গত ১৪ মাসের মধ্যে সর্বোচ্চ।

জুলাই মাসে অভ্যন্তরীণ রেমিট্যান্স প্রবাহ ছিল ১.৮৭ বিলিয়ন ডলার ও এফওয়াই২২-এ আগস্টে ১.৮১ বিলিয়ন ডলার।

বাংলাদেশ ব্যাংকের নির্বাহী পরিচালক ও মুখপাত্র মো. সিরাজুল ইসলাম ইউএনবিকে বলেন, ব্যাংকিং চ্যানেলে আরও রেমিট্যান্স আকৃষ্ট করতে কেন্দ্রীয় ব্যাংক বিভিন্ন প্রক্রিয়া সহজ করেছে।

সরকার রেমিট্যান্স প্রণোদনার পাশাপাশি নীতিগত সহায়তা প্রদান করছে। এখন ডলারের দাম বেশি হচ্ছে বলে জানান তিনি।

খাতের অভ্যন্তরীণ ব্যক্তিরা বলছেন, বৈদেশিক চাকরির বাজারে মহামারী-পরবর্তী প্রত্যাবর্তনের কারণে গত অর্থবছরে জনশক্তি রপ্তানি নতুন উচ্চতায় পৌঁছেছে বলে বাংলাদেশের অভ্যন্তরীণ রেমিট্যান্স প্রবাহ আরও বাড়বে।

ব্যুরোর অফ ম্যানপাওয়ার এমপ্লয়মেন্ট অ্যান্ড ট্রেনিং (বিএমইটি) এর তথ্যে দেখা যায়, ৯ লাখ ৮৮ হাজার কর্মী ২২ অর্থবছরে বিদেশ গেছে যেখানে এই সংখ্যাটি ২১ অর্থবছরে ২ লাখ ৭১ হাজার ছিল।

গত সাত বছরে এটাই সর্বোচ্চ সংখ্যক বার্ষিক বিদেশে চাকরি।

কর্মকর্তারা আশা করছেন, চলতি অর্থবছরে শ্রমিকদের বহিঃপ্রবাহ বাড়বে কারণ মালয়েশিয়া একটি আলোচনা সাপেক্ষে দেশ থেকে জনশক্তি নিয়োগ পুনরায় শুরু করতে যাচ্ছে।

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Reyad Hossain

12 September, 2022, 10:40 pm

Last modified: 12 September, 2022, 11:55 pm

Apparel exports to Europe, US may surge by $54b by 2030: Research



A declining trend of China's garment exports on top of the establishment of a strong local backward linkage industry makes the Bangladesh apparel sector nicely poised to increase its annual exports to two key markets – Europe and the US – by $54 billion by 2030, predicts Research and Policy Integration for Development (RAPID).

Bangladesh has the potential to boost its apparel exports to the US market to $24 billion and to the European market to $65 billion by next eight years, says the research organisation.

It has calculated the potential of garment exports in view of the current trend and statistics of the global apparel market, and the potential capacity of the Bangladesh RMG industry.

According to Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) estimates, Bangladesh exported garments worth about $43 billion in the fiscal 2021-22, of which exports to Europe accounted for $26 billion. Bangladesh's RMG exports to the US market stood at $9 billion last fiscal year.

In other words, Bangladesh's garment exports to these two markets may increase two and a half times in eight years, with an average annual export growth of 12% to Europe and 15% to the US, according to RAPID.

The research organisation says that even in the current situation, Bangladesh has the potential to rake in an additional $18 billion annually by exporting readymade garments to Europe, but the country is not being able to tap it. RAPID, however, did not provide detailed information as to why the country is failing to capitalise on its full export potential.

Nonetheless, there are also some uncertainties and challenges ahead as Bangladesh is going to lose duty-free export facilities after its graduation from the status of a least developed country (LDC) and other geo-political issues.

Dr Mohammad Abdur Razzaque, chairman of RAPID, told The Business Standard that Bangladesh will be able to earn additional $54 billion by exporting apparel every year by 2030 if it can increase focus on non-cotton products, bring in foreign investments, ensure environmental and social governance (ESG), and enhance capacity in logistics including port and customs.

"Global political tension and domestic factors will continue to reduce China's share in apparel exports. On the other hand, Bangladesh's strong backward linkage support will play a positive role in achieving this target," he explained.

Readymade garments account for over 80% of Bangladesh's total exports and more than 80% of the country's RMG exports are done to the European and US markets.

Based on this, the RAPID study showed that the US and European markets remain the main places of hope for Bangladesh in attaining its export growth target. Exports to non-traditional markets are unlikely to grow much, the study said, adding that the country's apparel exports to 16 regions in non-traditional markets totalled a little over $6 billion in the last financial year.

The RAPID chairman observed that Bangladesh's RMG exports to the US and Europe may grow to the tune as predicted by his organisation even if the country can retain the last 10 years' average annual growth rate of its garment exports to these markets.

According to International Trade Centre (ITC) data, in 10 years before Covid-19, apparel exports to the EU (including the UK) grew at an average annual rate of 15% and it grew at 9% to the USA.

The size of US apparel imports currently stands at $87 billion and it has grown at an average rate of 2.8% over the past 10 years. If it grows at a rate of 3% over the next eight years, the size of this market will be $115 billion.

On the other hand, Europe's current annual apparel imports (including intra-European countries) are worth $200 billion. The market has grown at an average rate of 2.82% over the past 10 years. If it grows at a rate of 3% over the next eight years, the market size will be $260 billion, where Bangladesh's share could be $65 billion.


Recently, the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) has set a target of raising the country's annual apparel exports to $100 billion by 2030.

According to sources, the organisation is working on a roadmap to achieve this target. The trade body may publish this roadmap by the end of this year, they said.

Shahidullah Azim, vice president of the BGMEA, told TBS that the BGMEA has set the $100 billion export target considering the overall situation.

To attain the target, he emphasised the importance of government policy support, ease of doing business, and infrastructure development in order to increase the export of man-made fibre.

But, not all entrepreneurs are confident that Bangladesh can export $100 billion worth of clothing every year by 2030.

Fazlul Hoque, managing director of Plummy Fashion, one of the leading knitwear factories in the country, told TBS, "The kind of master plan and activities needed to raise the annual exports to $100 billion in eight years is not there. On the other hand, the global demand will be on the decline because of the Russia-Ukraine war."

Another entrepreneur in the garment sector on condition of anonymity said RMG factories in the country do not have the capacity to increase production by two and a half times within the next eight years.

There were huge orders last year, he mentioned, adding that the industry could export $42 billion worth of products in the year even after forcing workers to work overtime.

"Will it be possible to increase the number of workers at this rate?" he said.

But, RAPID Chairman Razzaque said, "Even though there is a need for increasing the production capacity by two and a half times, the demand for workers will not increase at that rate as the use of high-tech machines in factories is on the rise."

Bangladesh, Vietnam to benefit most from decline in Chinese exports

A review of statistics on apparel imports and exports over the past decade shows that China's share in the big two global apparel markets is on a falling trend, with Bangladesh and Vietnam taking the lion's share of the lost market of China.

In 2010, 45% of apparel imports to Europe was from China, which fell to 30% in 2021. At the same time, Bangladesh's share in the market doubled from 10%, while that of Vietnam also grew slightly.

China's share in the US apparel import market, on the other hand, has fallen to 20% from 40% over a 10-year period, and most of this lost market of China has been grabbed by Vietnam while Bangladesh's share grew at a slower rate than Vietnam's.

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Locally made jerseys to adorn FIFA World Cup

Refayet Ullah Mirdha

Thu Sep 22, 2022 08:30 AM Last update on: Thu Sep 22, 2022 09:15 AM


Bangladesh is increasingly becoming a source not only for replica football shirts worn by fans but also kits used in practice by players of the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) World Cup alongside European clubs. 

The local knitters also supply jerseys for different sporting clubs globally.

For instance, Chattogram-based knitwear manufacturer Sonnet Textile Industries sent 6 lakh shirts for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 to be held between November 20 and December 18.

"I shipped the last consignment in April this year…through buyers as I do not export directly to the FIFA," said Gazi Md Shahid Ullah, one of the company's directors.

He, however, declined to state the price of each shirt.

Shahidullah also said there were bright prospects for sportswear as he shipped $18 million worth of knit products from his factory a year employing 1,800 workers.

Similarly, Fazlee Shamim Ehsan, managing director of Narayanganj-based knitwear manufacturer Fatullah Apparels, said he had exported 2.5 lakh shirts for 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia.

He also sent replica kits for supporters of different countries.

This time, Ehsan has not sent any kit for the Qatar world cup.

But he regularly sends official jerseys for Real Madrid Basketball in Barcelona as his factory is an officially nominated supplier of the Spanish professional basketball team.

Every five months, his factory has been sending a good quantity of jerseys for the club, he said.

Currently, he mainly sends jerseys made of cotton of European clubs to his buyers.

The price of jerseys made from manmade fibres are higher than those made of cotton, he said.

"I also think the future of garment business of Bangladesh is MMF (manmade fibre)-made jerseys and sportswear as the demand for these items has been rising worldwide because of changes in fashion and styles," he said.

For instance, many office-going people wear casual dresses like t-shirts, sportwear and lightweight sweaters instead of formal woven dresses made from both cotton and manmade fibres.

As a result, the demand and production of the casual dresses from Bangladesh is also increasing worldwide, especially in Europe and the US, he added.

Mohammad Hatem, managing director of MB Knit Fashions, another Narayanganj-based knitwear manufacturer, said he had sent 12 lakh shirts of eight countries like Brazil, Argentina and some other European ones for the world cup football in Russia in 2018.

In the previous world cup in 2014, Hatem sent 8 lakh jerseys.

Hatem said he has not sent any jerseys for the world cup in Qatar so far.

Regarding profits from the sale of jerseys, Hatem said buyers do not pay anything extra for these being a special kind of clothing.

Recently, the local garment suppliers have been increasing the production of garment items from manmade fibres to gain better prices from international clothing retailers and brands.

They are expecting jerseys and sportswear to play a vital role in achieving Bangladesh's target of earning $100 billion from garment exports by 2030.

Last fiscal year, garment shipment clocked a 35.47 per cent year-on-year growth, netting $42.61 billion. Of the sum, $23.21 billion came from knitwear shipments, which was up 36.88 per cent.

The knitwear items mostly comprised jerseys and sportswear, according to data from the Export Promotion Bureau. 

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