Faruque Hassan, President of BGMEA
The official export data for the period of July-October of 2023-24 has been published by the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) today, the 2nd November 2023. The data has been compiled by BGMEA to analyze the performance of RMG export during the mentioned period.
As per the export data, RMG export declined by 13.93% in October, from 3.68 billion dollars in October 2022 to 3.17 billion dollars in October 2023. This means export has gone down by 513 million dollars in this single month, which is equivalent to around 5,643 crore Taka.
The overall export of the country in October 2023 has declined by 13.64% compared to October 2022. And comparing with the strategic export target for October 2023, the actual export performance fell below 28.35%.
We have been sharing the forecast of such downtrend in export for quite a long time. In fact the pulse of the global market is showing depressed sales and demand caused by historic high inflation followed by Russia-Ukraine war. To curb inflation advanced economies increased bank interest rates which is limiting the purchasing power of consumers and demand for goods. The ongoing Israel-Hamas war has added further fuel to the crisis. Our analysis suggests that the year 2023 will not be able to sustain the trade level of 2022. There will be some decline in apparel trade in 2023 and we will have to face the heat of it to some extent.
Nevertheless, the ongoing labor unrest, which has allegedly sparked around the minimum wage issues, has seriously interrupted the industry and export for the past one week. This has led to such decline in export in October. While the minimum wage review is under process and the Minimum Wage Board is working within its given time, such violent protest is unfortunate, and this affects the activities of the wage board.
We know all the workers representatives and government are working hard to contain the situation, we need wholehearted support from all to restore discipline in the industry for our common interest.
While we are passing through a turbulent time globally, such incident will not be helpful to bend the export growth curve up, and we cannot afford any adverse impact on employment and foreign exchange earnings caused by anarchy in the industry.