• Sunday, Dec 05, 2021
  • Last Update : 07:36 am

ED: Time to diversify

  • Published at 12:13 am November 24th, 2021
RMG apparel worker
Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune

It is a matter of concern to see that Europe has once again become the epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic, and with that, could pose a potential threat to our RMG sector slowing down again.  

Bangladesh exports over 50% of its goods to European markets, and during the March-May period of 2020, Bangladeshi RMG workers missed $502 million in wages alone. A repeat -- or even a version -- of this predicament is something we cannot afford. 

However, here lies an opportunity. We are in this situation where we are worrying about Covid numbers in Europe because we are overreliant on our RMG sector. Bangladesh has needed to be working towards diversifying its exports for some time now. As an economy progresses, the economy has to build up other industries. This way, the economy becomes strong and robust, because if one of its industries fails, the other ones can pick up the pace. 

In addition, we live in a constantly changing world. It is better to safeguard ourselves against the future through innovation and diversification. 

While it is encouraging that Bangladesh has been investing in its electronics industry in recent times, and there are other private innovations that are coming out of the country, we remain a long way from building viable alternative export industries that can offset a dip in performance of the RMG sector. The authorities must take note of this progress, do what it can to nurture these young talents and industries, and help take the country forward. 

We have been set in our old ways for far too long. The RMG industry will continue to be a cornerstone for our economy, especially when it comes to export earnings, but it cannot continue to be the only significant one.
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