As Bangladesh's apparel exportswere hit hard by the recession worldwide last fiscal year, industry insidersdemand that series of measures should be taken immediately to save thecountry's largest forex earning sector.
The country ranks second amongapparel exporters in the world.
The readymade garment (RMG)sector accounts for nearly 80 per cent of the country's total export lastfiscal.
"It is a matter of grave concernthat RMG exports are declining fast, which is influenced largely by the demandcrunch from the Western markets along with rising cost of production athome," said Md Siddiqur Rahman, acting president of BGMEA, told The NewNation yesterday.
He added that the latest exportdata stoked anxiety among the garment exporters as it reflects realvulnerability of the country's largest export sector.
The export figure shows thatexport growth from RMG weakened to 6.56 per cent in the last fiscal (2011-12), compared with 43.36 per cent a yearago.
Bangladesh fetched $19.08 billionfrom apparel exports against the $ 20.36 billion target. In fiscal year (FY)2010-11, export earnings from RMG sector stood at $17.91billion. In the last fiscal, foreign sales of garmentshad fallen for the four consecutive months from March to June, showing ayear-on-year negative growth."This happened as Europe was gripped byrecession and economic recovery remained patchy in the United States, two majorexport markets for local apparels," noted Rahman.
In FY 2010-11, out of the total, 58 per cent RMG exports destined toEurope and 25 per cent to American markets.
"The situation is not rosyand the sector demands more policy support from the government," Rahmansaid.
He added: "We have to adopt series of measures, includingrate cut, subsidy on gas and electricity bills and uninterrupted power supplyto the garments industry to facilitate export."
Rahman further said that theindustry has the ability to achieve a higher export rate provided thegovernment steps in to give supports.
Justifying state support, he saidthe country's export business is largely reliant on RMG sector and a dwindlinggarments export could reverse its growth prospect for the next fiscal.
"RMG remains the main growthdriver of exports and shrinking growth from the sector will prompt to cutoverall economic growth of the country," he added.