The RMG industry of Bangladesh has “immense potential for growth”, Shahidullah Azim, vice president of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers Exporters Association (BGMEA) has said, playing a crucial role in propelling the economic development of the country.

Speaking at an event in Dhaka last week, organised by the National Security Intelligence Training Institute (NSITI), Azim said, as a mainstay of Bangladesh’s economic success story, the apparel sector has continued its endeavours to seize every opportunity that lies ahead and contributes to the development of the country.

“The industry is increasingly focusing on product diversification, innovation, technology upgradation and skill development in a bid to enhance its capabilities and competitiveness in the global market in the coming days,” he added.

The BGMEA recently urged investment in the country’s readymade garment sector as it gears up for graduation from its status as a least developed country (LDC). The country is expected to graduate from LDC status in 2024, however, it will continue to benefit from duty-free access to the European Union, Canada, and Japan until 2027.

The country’s growth in recent years has resulted in a decline in poverty levels, stable inflation, moderate public debt, and greater resilience to external shocks.

In his keynote speech last week, Azim gave an overview of Bangladesh’s RMG industry, including its challenges, opportunities, and preparedness to realise its potential. He also briefed the audience about the RMG industry’s future priorities, including upgrading business capabilities and embracing innovation to address future challenges of the RMG industry, especially after LDC graduation.

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The industry is focusing on diversifying products, especially man-made fibre-based products as part of its strategy of shifting from volume to value and quantity to quality, he said.

“Globally the share of cotton textile and clothing consumption is 25% only, whereas 75% of Bangladesh’s RMG product is concentrated on cotton. This means we have tremendous opportunities in this segment,” he remarked.

He also briefed the participants about the strategic vision of the BGMEA that aims to accelerate the growth of the RMG industry in a sustainable manner.

Last month, the BGMEA announced a new sourcing event aimed at showcasing sustainability strides being made by Bangladesh garment makers and comprises 17 physical events including conferences, expositions, fashion runway shows, sustainable design and innovation awards, and factory tours.