Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi on Wednesday assured the apparel makers of taking steps to address various issues they are facing such as high bank interest rates, port-related problems and foreign exchange rate effects. The assurance came at a meeting with the country’s business leaders on existing problems in the ready-made garment (RMG) sector. After the meeting, the minister told reporters that the RMG exports are witnessing negative growth for the last three months. “At the meeting, we have discussed how to overcome this situation and increase competitiveness of the apparel sector.” It takes a long time to clear shipments of different goods in the ports, he said, adding that it is time to minimise such delays. He also said the National Board of Revenue (NBR) has been requested to resolve this issue. In response, the NBR said it would take required steps to this end.
About the difference between buying and selling prices of dollar, the minister said, “We have requested the finance division to take necessary steps in this regard.” “In its last meeting, the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) has discussed the issue of interest rate of the scheduled banks. We will now have to talk with the central bank on this issue,” he said.
The commerce minister pointed out that exporters are taking orders at ‘undercut’ prices, which are impacting the overall export growth. They have been reducing prices just to get more orders. At the meeting, the traders placed some suggestions to overcome the existing problems, he said. “We have discussed the negative growth of the RMG export for the last three months. The government will take steps to ensure positive growth of the apparel export,” said the minister.
At the meeting, BGMEA leaders sought more government incentives to enhance the capacity of the apparel sector. They also demanded a cut in the bank interest rate, tax waivers, more facilities at the port and devaluation of taka against dollar, a meeting source said.
Source: The Financial Express, 07.11.2019