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Bangladesh: Achieving $50 billion garment exports by 2021 is possible

If Bangladesh can create an adequate number of skilled manpower in design and provide all kinds of apparel solutions to retailers, achieving $50 billion in garment exports by 2021 is possible. In fact, the country can go beyond this level also, believes David Hasanat, Chairman and CEO of Viyellatex Group. He shared his views while spresenting the keynote paper at a roundtable on '$50 billion export target and the role of CEBAI'.

The Centre of Excellence for Bangladesh Apparel Industry (CEBAI) was launched in December 2014 to provide training for creating skilled manpower. For starters, Bangladesh must produce an adequate number of designers as the majority of the garment manufacturers mass-produce the designs supplied by retailers.

Currently, less than one per cent of manufacturers provide design support to buyers, he said. Every year more than 20,000 expatriate experts are taking away $5 billion from Bangladesh only because of shortage of skilled and technical manpower in the country. The amount that foreign experts are taking away from Bangladesh every year is bigger than the net profit made by local garment exporters, Hasanat said. Apart from skilled manpower, he suggested addressing the challenges such as occupational safety, power and gas supply, improving port services and transportations, market diversification and political stability. Bangladesh is the second largest exporter of garment items in the world, with a 6 per cent share of the $450 billion global market. China is the number one exporter with a 39 per cent share.