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Dhaka Tribune

Textiles minister will address RMG makers’ worries

Textile minister said he will raise the NBR related complications at the cabinet meeting

Update : 13 May 2024, 11:04 PM

Jute and Textiles Minister Jahangir Kabir Nanak said that he will raise the issues of complications faced by the readymade garment (RMG) exporters at National Board of Revenue (NBR) and Customs in the next cabinet meeting.

Calling this a big issue, he also said that he received similar complaints from other places. He will hold meetings with higher government authorities and the NBR to address complications, he went on assuring that the all-out cooperation from the textiles ministry will continue for the RMG industry.

He said this in a meeting with the leaders from the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), led by BGMEA President SM Mannan Kochi, on Monday in the ministry’s meeting room.

He also said that along with earning foreign exchange, the RMG sector is playing an important role in social change by removing poverty as more than 4 million workers are working there, and most of them are women. 

The textile minister said that they have identified various problems in the garment sector through discussion and will find out the rest of the issues. 

Regarding the recent policy of no industry being allowed outside without fully preparing the economic zone, he said that he will try to make policy flexible.

He also said that the RMG sector leaders demanded cash assistance till 2026, “If we want to reach our target and survive in the global market, this issue of cash assistance must be there,” he went on.

BGMEA President SM Mannan (Kochi) said the garment industry is going through a difficult time due to various local and international factors. 

He pointed to the decline in consumer demand and spending on clothing in developed countries alongside fall in product prices, and a manifold increase in production costs within the industry.

“Over the past five years, rising gas and electricity prices, wages, bank interest rates, and transportation costs have led to a rise in the cost of doing business by approximately 50%,” he added. 

He underscored the importance of policy support, particularly in lessening the tax load on the sector, to ensure its sustainability and foster export growth, thereby safeguarding employment opportunities. 

He also demanded uninterrupted gas and power supply, streamlined business processes through reduction of customs hindrances, bond audits, and VAT complexities in goods clearance, which are also essential for the RMG sector.

“We demand that we can do business in accordance with the law and we want to do business without harassment,” he added.

The BGMEA president also stressed the necessity of policy support to attract increased investment in promising sectors as many trade benefits currently enjoyed by Bangladesh would be no longer available following the country's LDC graduation. 

He also mentioned the preparedness of the garment industry for the post-LDC era.

At this time, the BGMEA president demanded to maintain the cash support for garment export till 2026. Besides, he demanded to reduce the source tax from 1 percent to 50 percent.

Mentioning the Bangladesh Bank’s recent circular regarding industry cannot be established outside the economic zone, he said that of the 100 economic zones, only three are operational and he demanded the withdrawal of this circular.

BGMEA Vice-President (Finance) Md Nasir Uddin, Vice-President Abdullah Hill Rakib, and Directors Md Imranur Rahman, Md. Ashikur Rahman (Tuhin), Shams Mahmud, Md Nurul Islam, Saifuddin Siddiquie Sagar, and Md Rezaul Alam (Miru) were also present. 

Md Abdur Rauf, secretary of the Ministry of Textiles and Jute, and Md Nuruzzaman, director general at the Department of Textiles were also present at the meeting.

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