Not all apparel owners will see their fortunes immediately change for the better, and to expect export levels to immediately return to pre-Covid days would be unrealistic
It is extremely encouraging to see that Bangladeshi apparel exporters are experiencing an increase in interest from global buyers, who are steadily placing more and more new work orders.
Covid-19 spared no industry in 2020, and the Bangladesh RMG industry was no different. However, with about 85% of the country’s export earnings coming from the RMG industry, and with cancellations and delays worth billions of dollars due to Covid-19 in 2020, it was a particularly difficult time, not just for the industry but, as a result, for the entirety of the Bangladesh economy.
Credit, however, must be given to the government and other relevant stakeholders and authorities concerned, who enacted the appropriate policies to support the continuation of operations and retain workers.
However, now that the Covid-19 vaccine is being rolled out across the world, there is genuine hope that this will be the start of the global economy reverting to pre-pandemic levels. To that end, caution and patience will be necessary for Bangladesh. Not all apparel owners will see their fortunes immediately change for the better, and to expect export levels to return to pre-Covid days would be unrealistic.
The first seven months of the current fiscal have seen about a 5% reduction in export earnings compared to a year earlier, and apparel companies in the country must maintain realistic expectations, while simultaneously remaining pro-active and ready to adapt and be flexible for future work orders should they come.
Experts have long called for Bangladesh’s RMG model to be reassessed and adjusted to meet the needs of future marketplaces, and with the pandemic providing a reset of sorts, there is no better time to explore these avenues.