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Textile Policy, 2017-Ins and Outs

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Maeen Md. Khairul Akter

Managing Editor, Textile Focus

policy-coverRecently, the ministry of Textiles and Jute, GOB has published Textile Policy, 2017 with a mission and vision to develop the textile sector for the future.

Policy is the foremost guideline for any organization, industry or sector as it is the principles through which an entity is directed. The strategies and plans are always based on the internal and government policies. Development of any industrial sector is also reliant on the appropriateness of the concerned policies, no doubt.  So, policy is a vital issue when forecasting the future of our textile sector as well.

This article is an attempt to analyze the ins and outs of the published Textile Policy-2017 and forecast the scenario of the textile sector in the upcoming days.

Mission and Vision

The new Textile Policy-2017 has been approved by the ministry of Jute and Textiles, GOB at a ministerial meeting held on 13th February, 2017. The vision of the policy is to build a strong and internationally competitive textile and apparel industry. The mission of the policy is stated as productivity improvement, employment generation and surge in export and foreign investment to ensure a safe and eco-friendly textile and apparel sector.

To reach the mission stated in the policy it has stated some specific goals which are depicted below for the readers.

Goal of Textile Policy, 2017

  • To take necessary steps to build the textile and apparel sector as an employment generating sector.
  • Strengthening the primary textile sector to full-fill the local demand of textiles and to promote a medium and high value added export oriented garments industry.
  • To increase government assistance and incentives for the diversified products manufacturing and exporting textile factories.
  • To make strategic development planning for each sub-sector like spinning, weaving, knitting, dyeing-printing-finishing, hosiery, home textiles, terry-towel, export oriented RMG, handloom sector, silk industry etc. for the sustainable development of the primary textile sector.
  • To emphasize on market diversification by acquiring duty free market access, most favored nation status and by national treatment in different countries.
  • To make short-term, mid-term and long term strategic plan to create knowledgeable and skilled manpower base for the installation and operation of value added products manufacturing textile industries. To establish university, college, vocational schools and training institutes in order to extend training and development in the sub sectors of textiles and apparel to full-fill the skill gap in the sector.
  • To promote waste management technologies in the polluting and waste generating industries; especially to take necessary steps to build Effluent Treatment Plant (ETP) in the dyeing, printing and washing industries in order to check water pollution. Also to strengthen Department of Textiles’ monitoring cell to improve law enforcement.
  • To promote local fashion industries in order to develop the quality and design of the local garments designers and producers for the local consumers.
  • To assist private firms for infrastructural development, research and development and the usage of IT in the textile and apparel industries.
  • Emphasize on the production and marketing of high value added products.
  • To establish a Textile Industrial Park and make a strong multi-fiber base.
  • To integrate the local government concerns with the local entrepreneurs for effective business growth.
  • To make strong man-power base for the fashion design, specially designed cloths and allied sectors of RMG.
  • Take necessary steps to attract foreign direct investment in the textile and apparel sector.
  • To promote design and fashion institutes to make own fashion brands in the international market.
  • Establishment of compliance issues in the factories according to the demand of the international buyers.

Analysis of the Textile policy, 2017

Lack of a comprehensive policy and roadmap for the development of the textile and apparel sector of Bangladesh has been a great set-back for long. There have been policies from different concerned ministries and associations but the cohesion between them was always absent. Also the implementation part was poor.

The Textile Policy-2017 is to provide proper guideline and security to the textile and apparel industry. The mission and vision of the policy is to build an internationally competitive textile industry that will generate more employment, productivity and more exports. But the matter of remorse is that the policy is nothing exciting but a continuation work of the ministry as there is nothing new or innovative in the policy when compared to the policy that was published in 2015. However, there are some initiatives stated that are to be taken for the development of the different sub sectors of textiles and apparel industry which can be analyzed. The gist of such initiatives are stated here in a table.

01Analytic Facts and Critic

The Textile Policy-2017 has described all the initiatives that the government want to undertake to full-fill the vision of the policy which is to build a strong and internationally competitive textile and apparel industry. However, there is no indication in the policy on how the things will be done, who is responsible for doing them and when to take the initiatives. The same thing can be viewed in the policy published in 2015 or in the previous years as there was no specific indication on how the policy will be implemented.

As long as textile industry is concerned the biggest prevailing problem today is the lack of gas and electricity which is directly hindering the expansion of our primary textile sector. The policy has promises to improve the power crisis issue but there is no strategic time frame announced so that the investors can plan accordingly. There must be a short term, mid-term and long term design of solution so that the business can allocate their money and resources accordingly.

The backward linkage industry for the woven garments industry is still weak which results in draining of huge foreign currency, extended lead time and a huge business and employment opportunity. The policy says about initiatives to improve the quality and productivity of the weaving industries but there is no specific target or plan on how to do it. Emphasize on denim and linen production will be given which are the fastest growing industry in the country right now.

Knitting industries are quite self-sufficient as long as low end garment is concerned. That is why the policy has provisions for making value added products and establishing a ‘Knit village’ to help gain productivity.

The wet processing industries are also suffering with low investment and power crisis. Provisions for technological development is there in the policy but there is no specific guideline on how to do it. Expansion of all the primary sub-sectors are now completely dependent on the gas and power supply from the government.

Emphasize has been given to textile and apparel education and training in the policy in order to improve the quality of the institutes, colleges and universities to build a strong  and skilled manpower base. More encouragement and assistance will be provided to the research and development activities for value addition and product diversification.

In a nutshell the policy is a comprehensive manuscript addressing the prevailing problem of the textile and apparel sector with all the sub-sectors and the initiatives that are planned to be taken in the future. But as there is no specific time-span or implementation strategy mentioned, the important thing is to see how the government reacts to full-fill the vision and missions of the Textile Policy-2017.

However, the policy does have a provision to form an advisory committee teamed with ministers, state ministers and secretaries of the concerned departments, head of associations and respective development boards, planning department, education, environment and agriculture departments etc. for the implementation of the provisions described in the policy. The committee is to sit every six months to develop strategy and field level planning with the respective authorities to implement the things.

Full version of Textile Policy 2017