Depicting a gloomy picture of the ready made garments (RMG) sector and huge losses caused by frequent shutdowns, frustrated leaders of the apparel sector today renewed their request to political parties to refrain from enforcing hartals for the sake of the economy.
“Relieve us of 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 a joint press conference 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 in the country, UNB reported.
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 readymade garment industry following political instability.
BKMEA president AKM Selim Osman, first vice president M Hatem, BTMA president Jahangir Alamin, former BGMEA vice president M Siddiqur Rahman and directors of the BGMEA were present.
The leaders said the economy and politics will have to move together and the country’s further development is not possible by shattering the economy.
Speaking at the press conference, Selim Osman said, “We’re surprised to see street politics and violence despite the existence of a democratic government. We urge all to take initiatives to reach a consensus and relieve us.”
Responding to a question, he said they are apolitical. “We can’t come down to the streets. We had talks with the prime minister and we’ll meet the opposition leader too and place our proposals.”
He said the businesspeople can only make requests but they cannot force or put pressure on the political parties on any issue.
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 should realise it and hoped that they will help keep the wheel of the economy moving.
Data on Losses
A one-day hartal hampers production worth about Tk20m and export orders worth US$ 2.565m have been cancelled due to hartal while the amount of discount on the export was $1.132m due to the same reason.
The BGMEA president said the air shipment amount was Tk3m and the shipment worth $9.3m got delayed due to hartal.
“The data came from a survey on 32 factories.”
Buyers shying away
The RMG buyers are not coming to Dhaka reflecting security concerns. “At present, buyers are suggesting us to negotiate orders by going abroad. It’s the peak time to get orders. If we don’t get export orders, the factories will remain idle in the coming months,” BGMEA president Atiqul Islam said.
He said a message is being sent out that violence and deaths are occurring in Bangladesh and there is no political stability. “The country’s image is being tainted.”
Atiqul Islam also said the buyers are shifting their export orders to alternative destinations. “Recently, Vietnam saw 22 percent export growth while Cambodia 15 percent.”
The BGMEA president said Bangladesh can boost its export volume to US$ 50bn 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.”