Labour unrest hampers production, export in Oct, RMG export declines

Published : 10 Nov 2023 09:08 PM

The labor unrest, which allegedly sparked around the minimum wage issues, interrupted the industry and export in the final week of October, causing decline in RMG export in October and the consequential impact on overall export performance, said sector insiders.   

As per the export data, RMG export declined by 13.93% in October, from 3.68 billion dollars in October 2022 to 3.17 billion dollars in October 2023. This means export has gone down by 513 million dollars in this single month, which is equivalent to around 5,643 crore Taka. 

The July-October performance suggests that country’s RMG export reached US$ 14.78billion during the mentioned period, up from US$ 13.95 billion in July- October of FY 2022-23 indicating 5.59% year over year growth.  

During mentioned four months the growth of country’s total export earnings has shrunk to 3.52% and has fallen 9.31% behind the strategic export target for the same period.

 The overall export in October 2023 declined by 13.64% compared to October 2022. And comparing with the strategic export target for October 2023, the actual export performance fell below 28.35%.  

A release from BGMEA mentioned that in fact the pulse of the global market is showing depressed sales and demand caused by historic high inflation followed by Russia-Ukraine war. 

BGMEA President Faruk Hasan said to curb inflation advanced economies increased bank interest rates which is limiting the purchasing power of consumers and demand for goods. The ongoing Israel-Hamas war has added further fuel to the crisis. 

"Our analysis suggests that the year 2023 will not be able to sustain the trade level of 2022. There will be some decline in apparel trade in 2023 and we will have to face the heat of it to some extent", he added. 

Needless to mention that the RMG industry in Bangladesh is feeling the heat of the global inflation as cost of all the inputs has increased significantly including fuel, gas, electricity, transportation, etc. 

The Government of Bangladesh has declared the new minimum wages for the garment workers increasing the gross wage of the 7th grade workers by 56.25% and the basic wage by 63.41%. This growth in wage will escalate the cost of goods further. 

The ongoing political unrest around the national election issue makes the situation even more volatile and difficult for the industry, and we don’t see any hope to improve the situation quickly.