Export earnings hit record $40.5b

The country fetched record $40.53 billion export earnings in the last fiscal year (FY2018-2019), up by 10.55 percent over the previous fiscal. The inflow was $36.66 billion in fiscal 2017-18. The export earnings beat the strategic target of $39 billion set for the last fiscal by 3.94 percent. Experts have attributed the healthy growth in the country’s export earnings to strong dollar rate against Taka, quality products and time-befitting measures adopted by the government to support the industrial sector.

The experts said foreign buyers are slowly switching to Bangladesh as the country is shifting towards making high-value products. They, however, urged the government to ensure a more business-friendly environment. Besides, the country needs some fiscal supports including reducing time of discharging export items from ports as well as improving communication systems which can help boost the export flow further, they added.

Official data show export earnings from readymade garments, which accounts for more than 84 percent of the total export earnings, went up by 11.49 percent during the FY19 from $34.13 billion in the previous fiscal. On the other hand, export earnings from agricultural products stood at $908.96 million during the time, up by 34.92 percent against $673.69 million earned in the previous fiscal.

Besides, the plastic sector also witnessed a positive growth of $119.8 million during the time, which was 21.65 percent higher from $98.48 million in the previous fiscal. Meanwhile, export earnings from chemical, Petroleum bi Products, cotton and cotton products, furniture, ceramic products and handicrafts also saw a positive growth. Export earnings from the respective sectors were $205.18million, $203.74 million, $152.16 million, $74.89 million, $68.97 million and $19.95 million respectively.

However, the leather sector needs special care for a rebound due to its facing huge difficulties to compete in the global market. Export earnings from this sector stood at $1019.78 million during the last fiscal, which was 6.06 percent lower than that in the previous fiscal. During the FY18, the figure was $1085.51 million.

Besides, jute and jute goods and engineering finished products also decreased by 20.41 percent to $816.27 million and by 4.12 percent to $341.3 million during the time. Frozen and live fish, home textile and wood and wood products also witnessed a negative growth during the period. The figures were $500.4 million, $851.72 million and $3.91 million respectively.

Abdus Salam Murshedy, President of Exporters Association of Bangladesh (EAB), told Bangladesh Post that export earnings have been increasing gradually, which is a positive news for Bangladesh. Highlighting the government’s initiatives to establish the apparel sector in the global market, he said, “It is high time to extend similar support to other potential sectors like agriculture, ceramic and pharmaceutical industries.”

“This will reduce overdependence on the RMG sector,” he said. He noted that the country now is capable of making best quality products at low prices, which will help enhance export earnings even more from developed countries. Murshedy had suggested that the government should act promptly to reduce trade barriers with different countries, which will help enhance export earnings by diversifying the market globally.