DHAKA APPAREL SUMMIT KICKS OFF
Ibrahim Hossain Ovi
It aims to brand Bangladesh and draw roadmap to achieve 2021 apparel export target
A three-day Dhaka Apparel Summit 2014 will be held today at BICC
The “Dhaka Apparel Summit-2014” begins here today, aimed at drawing a roadmap to reach an apparel export target of US$50bn by the year 2021 when the nation will celebrate the golden jubilee of the country’s independence.
It would be the first ever summit being organised by the apex trade body for the apparel industry as part of its effort to brand Bangladesh.
Through Dhaka Apparel Summit 2014, Bangladesh will present its progress on fire, electrical and structural safety made in last one year after the Rana Plaza incident. It also will focus the initiatives taken to ensure a sustainable development for RMG sector and a road map to earn $50bn on the 50th anniversary of Bangladesh on 2021.
The 3-day conference is also to draw an outline for the sustainability of the RMG sector, employing around 4.4 million workers to generate an export earnings of about US$25, 81% of the country’s total export earnings and over 10% of GDP.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is scheduled to inaugurate the summit at 9am at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in Dhaka, BGMEA President Atiqul Islam said while adressing a press briefing yesterday in the city.
Brands, fashion designers, sourcing executives and experts from home and abroad, international organisations, employers, private sectors, workers’ representatives, civil society organisations, buyers and academics will join the summit to share their experiences and gather knowledge about Bangladesh’s apparel industry.
In the past, Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) used to organise BATEXPO (Bangladesh Apparel and Textile Exposition) to make Bangladesh familiar with the global buyers as an RMG producing and exporting country.
By now, Bangladesh is known across the globe as the maker of best and quality products. At this stage the country needs branding.
“The summit is aimed at branding of Bangladesh and drawing a road map to reach the export target of $50 billion,” BGMEA vice president Shahidullah Azim told the Dhaka Tribune.
He said the stakeholders would give their opinions at the summit on how they can contribute to make the dream true.
The recommendations and opinions to be mobilised from the conference would be filtered and converted into policies to make the dream comes true and ensure a sustainable RMG sector.
It is also expected that the inputs would help address the loopholes and obstacles in the run up to achieve the vision.
At present, the country’s RMG market share is 5% and to reach the vision of 2021 to become a middle-income country, Bangladesh will have to grab 8% share in the global market.
“Enhancement of productivity is a must to reach the peak of exports,” said the BGMEA vice president. “We are going to launch Center of Excellence for Bangladesh Apparel Industry (CEBAI) to improve productivity through research and development.”
The centre is expected to help increase productivity by developing skilled and semi-skilled workers through giving market-responsive training or providing support for skill development endeavour by any member company.
‘It’s a positive sign to go ahead with long term target but the question is how they could meet the target and what kind of initiatives have been taken,” said Khondaker Golam Moazzem, additional director (research) of the Centre for Policy Dialogue.
To achieve the target, we need 17% growth per year. Though the initiatives a little bit ambitious, it was needed to reach the target, he said.
The interest rate on loans could be brought down to single digit for the industry, and for this, there should have transparency in the banking sector, he added.
The summit is scheduled to have several sessions to discuss issues, including road communication, environmental sustainability, workplace safety and sustainable production, remediation financing for transforming Bangladesh garment industry, responsible sourcing and productivity enhancement, ensuring workplace tranquility, and helping Bangladesh to become a middle income country through RMG.
The session would be participated by representatives from governments of Bangladesh and other countries, international organisations, employers, private sectors, workers’ representatives, civil society organisations, brand representatives, buyers and academics.
The discussions would benefit the RMG producers by enriching their knowledge about latest apparel technologies and fashion. The summit would also help domestic apparel makers build a bridge with the global buyers as well as experts.
In the summit, there will be a safety expo titled “Bangladesh Building and Fire Safety Expo 2014” to be participated by globally recognised safety equipment producers. They will display products and demonstrate several drills to raise awareness among the factory owners.
DECEMBER 07, 2014