Explore new markets, diversify products: PM to RMG makers

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Dhaka, Jan 09: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday asked the country’s garment manufacturers to explore new markets and diversify their products considering the demand of fast-changing fashion and apparel designs in the international market.“We’ve to pay attention to diversification of products in the export basket. In the case of apparel, (the demand of) everything, including design and colour, is always changing in the course of time,” she said, UNB reports.

The Prime Minister said this while addressing a programme of the National Textile Day-2019 and inauguration of the multipurpose textiles fair at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in the city.

She said although the design and colour of garments depend on the demand of buyers, Bangladesh should have its own initiative to look for new markets and know the demand of fashion and design of apparel items.

“I think it’s essential to diversify our products regularly with these (the demand of fashion, design and colour in the international apparel markets),” said the Prime Minister.

She said the manufacturers should have short-, mid- and long-term plans in this regard. “I hope, you’ll prepare and adopt such plans. We’ll extend all sorts of cooperation,” she added.

Noting that Bangladesh sells garment items at very low prices, the Prime Minister urged the businessmen to take initiative so that international buyers raise the prices — at least to some extent.

“If the buyers raise the price of every cloth by one US dollar, we could develop this sector further,” she said adding that she raises the issue of paying more to Bangladeshi garments during her visits to different countries.

Highlighting the economic development of Bangladesh in the last 10 years, the PM said the size of GDP has increased to US$ 302 billion from US$ 102 billion in 2009, while the export volume to US$ 46.53 billion in the 2018-19 fiscal year, which is three times higher than that in the 2005-06 fiscal year during the BNP’s regime.

The per capita income has now increased to US$ 1909, she said adding that the government has been able to increase the GDP growth to 8.15 percent, while it successfully kept the inflation rate within 5 percent, she said.

Noting that her government has been promoting the private sector, she said the private investment has grown five times and now stands at US$ 70.8 billion. The government increased the reserve of foreign currency nine times as the amount of the reserve is now US$ 33 billion.

Focusing on the contribution of the textile sector to the country’s economic development, Sheikh Hasina said this sector’s contribution to the GDP is 13 percent. Besides, massive employments for females created in the sector.

The readymade garment (RMG) sector has been making significant contributions to the development of the country. The government has also been providing different incentives to the sector, she added.

The Prime Minister said the minimum salary of RMG workers has been raised to Tk 8,000 now, which was only Tk 1600 in 2009.

She said the government is giving importance to the development Tant (weaving) industry as the government has undertaken a good number of measures for the development of Tantis (weavers).

Later, the Prime Minister opened the multipurpose textiles fair.

Textiles and Jute Minister Golam Dastigir Gazi presided over the function, while Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi, State Minister for Labour and Employment Begum Monnujan Sufian and Chairman of Parliamentary Standing Committee on Textiles and Jute Ministry Mirza Azam spoke on the occasion.

Textiles and Jute Secretary Lokman Hossain Miah delivered the welcome speech.

Though the National Textiles Day was observed for the first time in the country on December 4 last, its main programme was arranged on Thursday (January 9).

At the function, nine organisations were honoured with crests for their contribution to the development of the country’s textile sector as now Bangladesh is the second largest RMG exporter in the world.

The organisations include Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA), Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMEA), Bangladesh Garment Buying House Association (BGBA), Bangladesh Specialised Textile Mills & Powerloom Industries Association (BSTMPIA), Bangladesh University of Textiles (BUTEX), Bangladesh Cotton Association and National Crafts Council of Bangladesh (NCCB).