Hartal thrashes RMG sector: BGMEA,BKMEA,BTMEA concerned

Dhaka, Apr 23 (Priyo.com): The leaders and experts of the apparel sector are in a deep concern on the recent political turmoil the country is going through. Frequent hartals and other activities have whipped the ready-made garments (RMG) sector badly.

Businesses have to bear huge losses caused by frequent shutdowns, and as a move to save economy the apparel sector leaders renewed their request to political parties on Tuesday.

Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) and Bangladesh Textiles Mills Association (BTMA) jointly arranged the press conference to share the disastrous scenario of the ready-made garment industry following political instability.

“Relieve us from hartal…You’re not seeing our internal bleeding. It seems that the industry (RMG) is being strangulated to death,” BGMEA president M Atiqul Islam told the media at the BGMEA conference room.

He urged the political parties to resolve the political crisis politically as soon as possible to save the highest export-earning sector of the country.

The leaders said the economy and politics will have to move together and the country’s development is not possible by shattering the economy.

Speaking at the press conference, BKMEA president AKM Selim Osman said, “We’re surprised to see street politics and violence despite the existence of a democratic government. We urge all take initiatives to reach a consensus and relieve us.”

He said the businesspeople can only make requests but they cannot force or put pressure on the political parties on any issue.

BTMA president Jahangir Alamin said, “Political leaders will have to find out the mechanism to resolve their crisis politically. And it’ll have to be done very quickly.”

He said the political leaders realize it and hoped that they will help keep the wheel of the economy moving.

Loss per day

A one-day hartal hampers production worth about Tk 200 crore and export order worth US$ 25.65 lakh have been cancelled due to hartal while the amount of discount on the export was US$ 11.32 lakh due to the same reason.

The BGMEA president said the air shipment amount was Tk US$ 30.47 lakh and the shipment worth US$ 92.81 lakh got delayed due to hartal. “The data came from a survey on 32 factories.”

Foreign buyers moving away

The RMG buyers are not coming to Dhaka showing security concern. “At present, buyers are suggesting us to negotiate orders by going abroad. It’s the peak time to get orders. If we don’t get export orders, the factories will remain idle in the coming months,” BGMEA president Atiqul Islam said.

He said a message is being sent out that violence and death incidents are going on in Bangladesh and there is no political instability. “The country’s image is being tainted.”

Atiqul Islam also said the buyers are shifting their export orders to alternative destinations. “Recently, Vietnam saw 22 percent export growth while Cambodia 15 percent.”

The BGMEA president said Bangladesh can boost its export volume to US$ 50 billion if they get support from the government and a business-friendly environment. “We’re in the second position in the global apparel market. We’re trying to be the number one. To make that happen, we need support from all fronts.”