The government has set an export target of US$30.5bn for the current financial year (2013-14), giving focus on the traditional export items.
The estimate is 12.84% higher than previous fiscal’s target of $28bn or 13% over the previous fiscals export earnings of $27bn.
Priority has been given to readymade garment, woven, knitwear, leather, agricultural products, shrimp, jute and jute-goods in achieving export target for the current fiscal.
The export target was fixed at a meeting at the Ministry of Commerce on Wednesday, with the secretary in the chair. Representative from Bangladesh Bank, National Board of Revenue, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, BASIS, EPB, BGMEA, BKMEA and Ministry of Livestock were present.
Participants at the meeting stressed on infrastructural development with increased port facilities, training for woven and knitwear workers, removing constraints in shrimp culture, continuation of incentives to enhance export growth.
In the last fiscal year, Bangladesh’s exports rose by 11% to more than $27bn, despite political upheaval, labour unrests and global economic slowdown.
However, it fell 3.5% short of the target set for fiscal year 2012-13 ended on June 30, according to latest data of Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) of Bangladesh.
The growth of the fiscal year was driven by woven garments that surged 14.96% to over $11bn and knitwear garment exports 10.43% to over $10bn.
For the current fiscal year, the export growth for knitwear estimated at 15.5%, woven garments13.87%, frozen foods at 6.42%, shrimps at 5%, agriculture products 20.17%, manufactured commodities at12.83%, leather at 15%, leather products at 30%, jute and jute products at 12.89%, footwear 25%, ships, boats, and floating structures at 10%, and home textile 5%.
“The government has set the export target for the current fiscal through consultation with all the stakeholders. The target is achievable,” Commerce Secretary Mahbub Ahmed told the Dhaka Tribune. “We took the decision considering our last five years of experience on export growth.” He said the export growth is on the rise and the trend will continue also in the current fiscal.
Md Amin Ullah, president of Bangladesh Frozen Food Exporters Association (BFFEA), said the target is quite achievable as it adds a few compared to the previous one.
He stressed the need for strict monitoring along the border to stop smuggling of hilsa fish to achieve the export target and urged the government not to withdraw 2.5% cash incentives from shrimp sector.
He also urged the government to allow restarting export of frozen hilsa fish.
“Political unrests and frequent hartals are great threat in the way of achieving 12.84% export growth,” said SM Mannan Kochi, second vice president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA).
He urged the government as well as all political parties to shun violent politics for the sake of the country’s development.
“The export target is attainable, if the government extends hands to cooperate in relocating tanneries and to set up effluent treatment plant,” said Belal Hossain, chairman of Bangladesh Finished Leather, Leather Goods and Footwear Exporters’ Association.
“12.84% export growth target is not much to attain, but we have to keep in mind that this year will be more volatile because it is the last year of this government,” said Abdus Salam Murshedy, president of Exporters Association of Bangladesh.
“The big challenge for us is to ensure compliance in all sectors, including workers safety as we are on pressure from international buyers and rights organisations,” he added. He also emphasised on proper implementation of the policy supports taken by the government.