Garment exporters want shutdowns called off

The country’s apparel businesses have urged the BNP and its partners to call off their planned shutdowns for Monday and Tuesday.In a joint statement, the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) and Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) said on Saturday frequent strikes were hampering the export of garment products and import of raw materials.
“It is not possible to clear the shipment of imported raw materials from the ports eventually affecting our production,” the statement said.
It said that the strike would impede growth, discourage investment and slow export putting employment at risk. The apparel sector directly employs more than 2 million workers.
“If such destructive political programmes continue the country’s economy would face a serious setback,” it said.
The statement said foreign buyers were threatening to cancel orders for not exporting goods in time while the exporters were being forced to give discount to the buyers.
Sometimes, the statement said, the exporters were facing cancellation and deferred payment due to failure in maintaining shipment time.
The statement noted that the export-oriented garment industries in the country had already been affected badly due to the global economic downtrend and gas and electricity shortage.
It said the economy would be hit hard by frequent strikes and it would not be able to overcome the losses.
“If the ongoing political instability continues, the target of achieving 7.2 percent economic growth will be hampered,” it said.
BNP has planned the shutdowns to demand release of its leaders and activists detained in a raid on their party headquarters after a recent rally ended abruptly amid explosions of homemade bombs and clashed with police.
Bangladesh earns $20 billion a year from garment exports, mainly to the United States and Europe. The amount accounts for nearly 75 percent of the country’s total earnings from exports.

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