Export earnings still did not manage to meet the government’s target of $27.11 billion for the July-March period

Bangladesh has earned $25.94 billion from exports in the first nine months of this fiscal year with nearly 4{ad71656c61d5cd45d1e1aa04fecadb2e3dd82676fa3651253d22fcb40d1a4af5} increase from the same period a year ago, though it is still 4.30{ad71656c61d5cd45d1e1aa04fecadb2e3dd82676fa3651253d22fcb40d1a4af5} less than the target.

According to the latest Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) data, during the July-March period of FY2016-17, Bangladesh earned $25.94 billion, which is 3.97{ad71656c61d5cd45d1e1aa04fecadb2e3dd82676fa3651253d22fcb40d1a4af5} higher compared to $24.95 billion in the same period in FY2015-16.

Though Bangladesh earned $3.11 billion in March, which is 9.83{ad71656c61d5cd45d1e1aa04fecadb2e3dd82676fa3651253d22fcb40d1a4af5} higher than last year’s $2.83 billion, export earnings still did not manage to meet the government’s target of $27.11 billion for the July-March period.

As RMG exports contribute to about 82{ad71656c61d5cd45d1e1aa04fecadb2e3dd82676fa3651253d22fcb40d1a4af5} of total exports, manufacturers blamed the slow growth in the apparel industry exports for failing to meet the target.

In this fiscal year, the RMG sector earned $20.92 billion, a 2.39{ad71656c61d5cd45d1e1aa04fecadb2e3dd82676fa3651253d22fcb40d1a4af5} increase from $20.44 billion last year. However, even this marginal growth is far from the sector’s target of earning $50 billion by 2021. In order to achieve that goal, the industry needs to attain a growth of more than 12{ad71656c61d5cd45d1e1aa04fecadb2e3dd82676fa3651253d22fcb40d1a4af5}.

Within the sector, knitwear products earned $10.14 billion, up by 4.85{ad71656c61d5cd45d1e1aa04fecadb2e3dd82676fa3651253d22fcb40d1a4af5} from $9.67 billion in the previous year. Woven products earnings, however, at $10.78 remain almost same as last year’s earnings of $10.76 billion.

Exporters Association of Bangladesh (EAB) President Abdus Salam Murshedy told the Dhaka Tribune that the cost of production in the clothing sector had gone up because of three main reasons: the remediation work being done on factories and the fall in overall global demand for apparel resulting in a fall in retailer’s prices and the fact that many local manufacturers are in the process of relocating their factories.

Seeking anonymity, another exporter claimed that over 59 factory owners had to shut down production because of the Ashulia workers’ protests, which resulted in delayed shipments since each factory had fewer production days.

The EAB president, also a former president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), urged the government to draft policy which would enable the sector to retain competitiveness in the global market.