BGAPME Aarranged a Seminar “Strengthening Role of BGAPMEA in Export Growth and Competitiveness” and the Closing Ceremonyof the grant project under the INSPIRED project, at Auditorium of CIRDAP, on 18th August 2016.
Honourable Minister for Industries, Mr. Amir Hossain Amu, MP, graced the event as the Special Guest. Mr. Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan, ndc, Senior Secretary, Ministry of Industries, Mr. Sushen Chandra Das, Project Director of Bangladesh INSPIRED & Additional Secretary, Ministry of Industries, Dr. Nazneen Ahmed, Senior Research Fellow, Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS) were also present as Special Guests. Mr. Abdul Kader Khan, President, BGAPMEA, chaired the session.
Representatives from Government and other organisations, members of BGAPMEA Chambers of Commerce and members of other Trade Associations were also in attendance.
BGAPMEA, under the former president Mr. Rafez Alam Chowdhuryand under the current President Mr. Abdul Kader Khan, has been the ‘Champion of Compliance’bybringing the products and manufacturing process of their members in line with international requirements. For BGAPMEA, many of theirmembers are suppliers to the RMG sector and their accessories and packaging products must concur with the required standards of the RMG sector. In addition, Agro processing and Pharmaceuticals are both booster sectors and rely of packaging from BGAPMEA members so they too need to be compliant with the required standards. The members of BGAPMEA many of whom are SMEs represents a sector with potential growth and expansion into overseas markets. The global market for this sector is US$ 600 Billion with an annual growth rate of 10%. BGAPMEA has a target of US$ 50 Billion by the end of 2021, and has an export target of US$ 12 Billion by 2018 and US$18 Billion by 2025.
The key presentation of the seminar was delivered byProf. Dr. Feroz Iqbal Faruque, President and CEO, Trans World Resources Inc.A lively and thoughtful discussion was held on the topic. During the seminar session the following recommendations were proposed for development of Garments Accessories and Packaging Sector:
- There must be a Accessories and Packaging Training Institute in the country;
- There should be a AccessoriesandPackaging research center and well equipped testing laboratory;
- “Green Fund” should be created in theBGAPMEA and in the Ministry of Industries and Commerce
- Special and discounted rate of interest on loans for Green Industry;
- Green Industry should have Tax Holiday for 10 years;
- Preferential treatment by establishing g. Green Industry Commercially Important Person(GICIP);
- Green Industry Registration, implementation, monitoring & evaluation cell should be in the Ministry of Industries as an statutory body;
- Green Reporting should be a part of Annual Report, which should be audited by the Green Auditors (ISO-1400, 50001 SA 8000 etc.) only;
- Sustainability Reporting and Auditing should be another part of the Annual report;
- Facilitate the sector for exporting of high end packaging products as well as low end;
- Resolving trade barriers prevailing in the sector such as VAT, TAX, customs, bond, bank loan, high borrowing rate of interest;
- There must be packaging policy and exclusive accessories and packing industrial park;
- The global packaging market is about USD 600 billion and growth rate is 10% pa;
- The sector deserves cash incentives like other export sectors;
- Government must go for low cost power for lean/green industry;
- BPR to be a continual exercise for business performance improvement;
Loan conditions are not business friendly; they should be at par other export oriented industries.
During the Closing session, Mr. Rafez Alam Chowdhury, Immediate Past President and Advisor of the Association,presented the overall activities of the INSPIRED project. He sought cooperation from the Government as well as other International Agencies for financing the set up Training Institute and Testing Laboratory. Equipment for the Testing laboratory has been bought under the INSPIRED project but this representsjust the beginning of the laboratory and more is needed.Mr. Rafez Alam Chowdhury thanked the Senior Secretary, Ministry of Industries,Mr. Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan, ndc, forhis support to INSPIRED during the implementation of this project. He also thanked to the Project DirectorMr. Sushen Chandra Das, Deputy Project Director as well as the INSPIRED Technical Assistance (TA) Team for their cooperation and assistance for the smooth implementation of the project activities.
Dr. Nazneen Ahmed, Senior Research Fellow, BIDS supported the contention of Mr. Chowdhury. She also added that because this is a backward linkage industry of RMG as well as other export oriented industries and as a rising sector, BGAPMEA deserves all sorts of Policy support and cooperation from the Government. Currently, the Government is providing Cash incentives to some other export oriented industries but not to the industry members under BGAPMEA. So, this sector should be included in the list of booster sectors in order to get similar facilities.
In his keynote speech, Honourable Minister, Mr. Amir Hossain Amu, MP, acknowledged that the Accessories and Packaging sector needs to meet the same requirements as the RMG sector as well as other export oriented industries. Bangladesh continues to import Garments Accessories from abroad and as a result huge foreign exchange is drained out from the country. In his considered opinion, the Government should provide Cash Incentives for this sector in order to improve competiveness with other countries. It is a growing sector and requires some Policy support from the Government. The Honorable Minister reminded the audience that the Government has a vision to upgrade Bangladesh from LDC to Mid-level income country. Within this perspective, BGMEA (Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers Exporters Association) has a target to export US$ 50 Billion by the end of 2021. To achieve this target BGAPMEA will also have to increase their export volume proportionately.