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“Whatever we are doing with the same manpower, we can multiply the exports by upskilling and reskilling them”

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We had a conversation with  Mr. Abdullah Hil Rakib Director, BGMEAManaging Director,  Team Group where he described his journey to becoming a successful entrepreneur and about the Bangladesh textile and apparel industry. A synopsis of the conversation is as follows:

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Photo: Mr. Abdullah Hil Rakib, Managing Director, Team Group

Upcoming Industry Challenges

We all know that product-wise fashion is moving forward into manmade fiber. We have to understand the investment steps and how we build the capacity to support the need. The fashion industry is very challenging and the behavior of the customer changes with the changes in the situation. So, people’s lifestyle has to be rebutted and investment has to be proportionately invested. We see that in the next two decades people are becoming more health-conscious and they want to go to the gymnasium and engage in more activities as a result lifestyle active-wear comes into play.

If you see the pre-covid and post-covid scenarios, people are wearing more activewear, less denim, leggings, and joggers. So, this was not common even five years back. These changes in human lifestyle have changed the outerwear and active-wear market in the global industry. So, as a matter-of-fact investment in outerwear & activewear will be potential. Eventually market is growing and these are the products that are environmentally friendly because cotton-based products need more water and the world is having a crisis on natural resources. So, I believe that jacket will be an ultimate product for us to grow sustainably in this period of time!

How to Achieve the $80B Export Target by 2024

For achieving $80B by 2024 the industry has momentum, we can achieve the target if we can organize ourselves. Due to the geopolitical situation, people are coming out of China and they are looking for alternatives. All these things are creating a window of opportunity. Now it is up to us how much we are ready to take over these capacities and how we can support the capacities. Are we actually ready in terms of infrastructure and financial support? As an entrepreneur, we need to secure the investment. Firstly, we need support from the government in terms of policies to support the funding. We have the most expensive funding interest compared with Europe and America. The government needs to guide us regarding the funding and interest settlement. Secondly, we will have to be more focused on infrastructural development, which I believe most of the factory owners are doing already. We have more than 500 lead-certified factories and we are branding sustainability. In terms of people skills, I am sure the factory owners are individually working but we have a challenge in 4th IR and we are challenged with upskilling the current workers to advance level and managing technical support and automation this is how we will see the productivity within the same man-machine ratio. Whatever we are doing with the same manpower we can multiply the export by upskilling and reskilling the worker and we will have to do it otherwise we will lose our market