Saturday, June 22, 2024


Dhaka Tribune

Our export sector needs a new look

Relying on one big industry and foreign remittance is not a sustainable mode of propping up the economy anymore

Update : 22 Jan 2024, 05:15 AM

Bangladesh’s export sector has long been in a state of stagnation, with RMG still dominating our export basket with only a handful of nations being major export destinations. While RMG has indeed proven to be incredibly beneficial to our economy, the new year presents our nation with the opportunity to finally show the world that we can be more than a tailor to the world.

To that end, it is heartening to see Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina echo this sentiment in a statement she made during the inauguration of the 28th edition of the Dhaka International Trade Fair. Alongside emphasizing the need to diversify our export basket, the PM highlighted just how important it is for our manufacturers to seek newer destinations for their exports.

While the United States and Europe have traditionally been the go-to destinations for Bangladeshi exports, there is no reason for us to dogmatically stick to those markets. The year 2022 saw trade between Bangladesh and South Korea reach $3 billion, and while RMG took over 80% of exports, other goods such as sports and leisure items comprised the rest.

In the past few years Bangladesh has seen a number of smaller industries picking up steam, such as light engineering. However, issues such as outdated technology, low productivity, poor quality of products, lack of access to finance, high price and unavailability of quality raw materials, and lack of policy support have all kept light engineering from truly taking off and fulfilling its potential.

For Bangladesh to be able to make good on its long-term economic ambitions, we cannot afford to sit on promising industries. Policy support is of the utmost importance.

Relying on one big industry and foreign remittance is not a sustainable mode of propping up the economy anymore. Bangladesh needs to be more forward thinking in how it extends support to our nascent industries and help them grow.

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