RMG export earnings growth 15-year low

Shovongkor Karmakar | Update:


The country's RMG export growth in the outgoing fiscal year of 2016-17 was a 15-year low.

During the period, readymade garments (RMG) export decreased due to the Brexit, the impact of the US election and Taka gaining against dollars.

Stakeholders said the low growth in the export earning issues a note of caution. It would be difficult to increase export in the future unless capacity for competition is raised, they observed.

Around 4 million people work in the RMG sector, contributing to 80 per cent of export earnings.

Bangladesh earned $28.15 billion by exporting readymade garments this fiscal while it was $28.09 billion in 2015-16.

The growth stands at 0.20 per cent, a sharp decline from 10.14 per cent recorded in 2016-15.

According to the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB), the country earned $14.39 billion from woven apparel and $13.75 billion from knitwear apparel. During this period, knitwear export increased by 3 per cent while woven export decreased by 2.35 per cent.

Total export earnings suffered due to low growth in RMG.

The total export stands at $34.83 billion in 2016-17, recording a growth of only 1.68 per cent.

The remittance also hit a six-year low, with the country receiving only $12.76 billion.

Speaking to Prothom Alo on Sunday night, Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) president Fazlul Hoque said RMG export had been expriencing the downward trend since the beginning of the last year.

"We have to increase our production and competitiveness. A study should be carried out on an urgent basis and steps should be taken immediately," he added.

Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers Exporters Association (BGMEA) president Siddiqur Rahman told Prothom Alo, "Previously the buyers used to increase orders every year. Now they are decreasing it due to the ongoing recession in the US and European markets.

He also attributed it to Brexit, the US polls and Taka gaining against dollars.

*This report originally published in Prothom Alo print edition has been rewritten in English by Rabiul Islam

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