Blockade hurting RMG sector: BGMEA

Staff Correspondent

Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association on Monday warned political parties not to make businessmen hostage to their political squabbles and urged them to solve the political deadlock immediately through dialogue.
‘If the garment business shifted from Bangladesh due to political reasons, leaving millions of people jobless, entrepreneurs will not bear the responsibility,’ the BGMEA president Atiqul Islam said in a press conference at the association headquarter in the city.
Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association on Monday urged the political parties to solve the deadlock immediately through dialogue as the ongoing nationwide blockade is hurting businesses badly.
The trade body claimed business of Tk 450 crore in the readymade garment
sector have been interrupted in the last couple of days due to the blockade.
Atiq urged political parties to declare the readymade garment sector and its forward and backward linkage industries, and export import supply chain, free from strike or blockade.
The base of the readymade garment industry is image of the country, as the sector depends on international buyers. The buyers have already started to express their concern over the current political unrest, he said.
Atiq said that renewed political chaos is taking place at a time when the readymade garment industry started to rebound, overcoming the negative image created by last year’s political turmoil.
‘We are giving message to the buyers that we are back in business but buyers are replying that for the last 12 days your country is in blockade, so you are again back to the pavilion,’ he said.
Post Christmas vacation is the peak time for global buyers to place orders for the fall season, but the political situation is giving a bad signal to the buyers, he said.
If the political stalemate prolonged it would be tougher for entrepreneurs to pay workers’ wages, instalments on bank loans and insurance premiums, he said.
‘In 2013 we had met prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, and BNP chief Khaleda Zia and requested them to sit for a dialogue to solve the then political crisis. If necessary, we will meet Khaleda Zia again and explain to her how political instability is hurting businesses badly,’ Atiq said.
The government is providing police protection to carry the goods to and from Chittagong port to keep export and import businesses normal, but buyers are considering the situation abnormal, he said.
The BGMEA president said to achieve the government set export target of $26.89 billion for the RMG sector in the financial year 2014-15, the sector will have to export products worth Tk 695 crore everyday.
If the situation continues, the export target would not be achieved as the sector is already behind the target in the first half of FY 2015, he said.

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