The just-concluded 2022 was a year of turning around and rebuilding the economy, the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) said Saturday as revellers in major city centres across the world ushered in the first new year without Covid-19 restrictions, since the pandemic began in 2020, with countdowns and fireworks.
“Despite all the challenges created by the century’s biggest disaster, Covid-19, we proved our resilience and turned around,” BGMEA Director Md Mohiuddin Rubel said.
“We are in a new challenge – the advanced economies are heading towards recession while our economy has not fully recovered from the pandemic crisis yet. Due to the current geopolitical crisis, the prices of commodities, including fuel and food, are rising while the global inflation rate hit a record 8.8% in 2022 which was 4.7% in 2021.”
So, the demand for products and purchasing power in the international market is shrinking. All these are affecting the retail sales market as well as disrupting the global supply chain.
“However, in the 2021-22 fiscal, our apparel export stood at $42.61 billion. It was a landmark in the history of readymade garments (RMG) manufacturing as we exceeded the $40 billion mark in 40 years of journey,” Rubel said.
“Apart from the major markets – the European Union (EU) and US – our export share in non-traditional markets doubled – from 6.87% in FY09 to 14.96% in FY22. Among the major non-traditional markets, growth in Japan, India and South Korea was significant.”
According to the “World Trade Statistical Review” published by the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2021, Bangladesh ranked as the second largest apparel exporter in the world with a 6.37% share of the global market.
“Bangladesh has already become the top denim-sourcing country for the US and EU. Now we are in close competition with the largest apparel exporter, China,” Rubel said. “2022 will also remain a distinct year for us as we have exceeded $50 billion in exports.”
“In 2022, we realigned our vision with ESG priorities and the Sustainable Development Goal 2030. We have the highest number of LEED green RMG factories certified by USGBC. Currently, the number of LEED Green factories is 183, of which 60 are platinum,” the BGMEA director said.
One of the biggest successes in 2022 was “Made in Bangladesh Week,” he added.
“Going forward, not only in 2023 but also in the next decade, we have to maintain and continue all of these transformations. Achieving excellence in products, fibre, and market diversification and value addition are the key opportunities for this sector,” Rubel said.
“Also, we need to develop our capacity in the backward and forward linkage industries. At the same time, we need to focus on innovation, technological upgradation, design and skill development and overall business capabilities.”