Export orders slow down due to continuing blockade: Tofail

Staff Correspondent
A file photo shows commerce minister Tofail Ahmed speaking to reporters in the capital recently. Orders from the foreign buyers have slowed down, thanks to the wrong signals they are getting about the country for the nonstop blockade being enforced by the BNP-led alliance, said Tofail on Thursday. — New Age photo

A file photo shows commerce minister Tofail Ahmed speaking to reporters in the capital recently. Orders from the foreign buyers have slowed down, thanks to the wrong signals they are getting about the country for the nonstop blockade being enforced by the BNP-led alliance, said Tofail on Thursday. — New Age photo

Orders from the foreign buyers for Bangladeshi export goods have slowed down, thanks to the wrong signals they are getting about the country for the non-stop blockade imposed by the BNP-led political alliance to unseat the ruling party.
A senior minister of the cabinet on Thursday came up with the disclosure on the 24th day of the blockade enforced by BNP to press home their seven-point demands including fresh polls under a non-party caretaker administration and dialogue to reach a consensus over the issue.
Commerce minister Tofail Ahmed said placement of orders had slowed down for the locally made export goods.
He was talking to reporters after a meeting with the leaders of the leather good exporters at his secretariat office.
He said the export businesses were already having the adverse impact in getting orders despite sending the shipments to the export destinations timely. He noted that the situation would worsen if the blockade continues.
Tofail’s observation came a day after the business leaders on Wednesday appealed to the ruling and the opposition alliances to immediately resolve the prevailing political standoff to save the economy.
The leaders of the leading chambers and business associations made a fervent appeal from a human chain formed in front of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association head office at Karwan Bazar to press home their demand.
Tofail, however, ruled out any dialogue between the ruling party Awami League and BNP.
He blamed BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia for the situation. ‘She (Khaleda) is unleashing a reign of terror to destabilise the economy and progress of the country,’ said Tofail. He reiterated his hope that normalcy would be restored soon.
BGMEA president Atiqul Islam said that frightened buyers expressed concern over the country’s volatile political situation.
Export orders declined by 30 per cent, he said.
RMG sector is the mainstay of the country’s export. It accounts for more than 80 per cent of the country’s exports worth US$ 30.18 billion in the last fiscal year (July 2013-June 2014).
Exports target has been fixed at US$ 34.5 billion for the current fiscal year (2014-15).
Sluggish performance of the RMG sector has already slowed down the country’s overall export growth to 1.56 per cent in the first six months of the current fiscal year.
The export earnings in July-December of the FY2014-15 stood at US$ 14.91 billion against US$ 14.68 billion in the same period of the 2013-14.

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