Save RMG sector

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After Eid holidays, retailers and boutiques sell the most clothes before Pahela Baishakh. But with hartals taking away four working days out of five in this week alone, they are in trouble as they like years before made special materials for Baishakh. The retailers and boutique owners with their products yesterday formed a human chain on Bailey Road in the capital. They held placards that read “what do I do with the product” and “who’s going to pay back my bank loan”. Photo: Sk Enamul Haq

Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) yesterday called upon the ruling and the opposition parties to save the country’s apparel sector by stopping the ongoing political violence.
BGMEA President Atiqul Islam urged politicians to immediately sit for a dialogue to end the violence while speaking to Labour Minister Raziudin Ahmed Razu at his secretariat office.
He described the state of the garment sector as gloomy and said, “We are losing many buyers as they are reluctant to come to us because of the persistent violence.
“Buyers from across the world come to Bangladesh during the spring and summer, visit our garment industries, negotiate and strike deals. But their embassies are asking them not to come amid the violence.”
But, he added the BGMEA was trying to assure them in all possible ways, including offering them transport from the airport and to arrange accommodation, but they are still scared and concerned about their security.
“Please rescue us from the situation. We want to do business,” Atiqul requested the politicians, pointing out how around 5 crore people were directly and indirectly dependent on the garments sector.
He said the world had a positive outlook towards Bangladesh, and urged political leaders not to destroy the image.
Citing Sri Lanka’s political unrest, Atiqul said, “It was beneficial for us when buyers chose Bangladesh over Sri Lanka.”
“If we can create a congenial atmosphere, we can fetch up to US$ 50 billion from garment exports, more than what McKinsey & Company predicted in a study,” said Atiqul, adding that the entire world was keeping an eye on Bangladesh.
McKinsey & Company, a global management consulting firm and trusted adviser to the world’s leading businesses, governments and institutions, in a study predicted Bangladesh’s apparel exports could triple by 2020 as European and US buyers plan to strengthen their presence in the country and as new players enter the market.
Aitqul urged politicians to keep the apparel sector out of the purviews of hartal. “We also want safety to do our business smoothly,”
The labour minister said the government was trying to provide security to everyone, and was ready to sit for talks with the opposition.

Source: The Daily Star

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