You might be interested to know the insights of ready-made garments in Bangladesh if so, read this article. If you walk along the apparel aisle of any super shop in the world, one name will inevitably pop up in the collar tag-Made in Bangladesh. The boom in the ready-made garment (RMG) sector in Bangladesh expands its reach in both manufacturing and export worldwide.
Ready-made Garments manufacturers in Bangladesh, contributing a considerable amount in the GDP. With the 11.49% growth in 2018-19, the Ready-made Garments sector in Bangladesh is one of the key players in the development of the national economy.
History of Readymade Garments Industry in Bangladesh
Clothing manufacturers were famous in this region from the Mughal regime. The Bengal Subah (present-day Bangladesh and West Bengal, India) of the Mughal Empire was the midpoint of silk and Maslin trade.
Dhaka, the present capital of Bangladesh, was one of the most important centre of the Cotton trade from the 16th to 18th Centuries. However, the economic policy of the British government in the 19th Century lead to the deindustrialization of silk, muslin, and cotton industry.
The current boom in the ready-made garments industries initiated in the late 1970s’. Stimulus packages and duty-free advantages motivated manufacturers, wholesalers, and foreign buyers to develop the industry.
Insight of the Ready-made Garments Industries
Bangladesh is currently the 3rd largest exporter of apparel in the world. Some of the aspects like growth, global share, and technological advancements of the ready-made garment (RMG) sector are fascinating to review.
Growth in the RMG industry
The growth in the garment (RMG) industry has seen a roller coaster ride since 2013. It was expanding; however, the rate was fluctuating. The woven and knit garments industry had seen the lowest growth of only 0.2% in 2016. After that, the industry has expanded rapidly.
In the 2017-18 fiscal year, the growth was 8.76%. With total export earnings of $34.13 billion, the ready-made garment sector expanded 11.49% in the 2018-19 financial year. The target export earnings in 2019-20 were $42.53 billion. However, COVID-19 pandemic has changed the scenario.
Share in the Global Apparel Manufacturing and Export
The expansion of the Ready-made Garments in Bangladesh since 2016 was rapid. The trade war between the US and China opened up opportunities that have ignited the growth.
Along with the expansion, the global market for Bangladeshi ready-made and knit garments has also been expanded. Currently, the country has a 6.4% share of the worldwide Ready-made Garments exports preceded by China and the EU.
Introduction of Technology
In 1978, there were only nine “export-oriented” garments factories in Bangladesh. Now, the number has been increased to a staggering 5000. No wonder, the expansion was backed-up by the introduction of new technologies.
Throughout the last few decades, Bangladesh has offered investment opportunities for global retail brands. Moreover, the government also ensured quality compliance parameters. These steps helped to introduce new technologies in the Ready-made Garment (RMG) sector.
After China, Bangladesh is the only nation that has built excellent vertical capacities. It has ensured more combinations and transparencies in the industry. The government makes the import of sophisticated apparel manufacturing instruments and management technologies easy.
Availability of Labor
The availability of cheap labor in a vast amount is the most crucial factor of the RMG boom in Bangladesh. Despite the unorganized start in the late 1970s’, the garments workers now are more skilled and educated.
Around 37 public and private universities are producing textile engineering, merchandising, and RMG related graduates every year. They have also contributed to the labor force of 4 million people. Nevertheless, the general garment workers have the lowest wage among all the top exporters.
The present status of workers in the Ready-made Garments industries in Bangladesh is a little shady. According to the 2017 data, the average monthly wage of a garment worker in Bangladesh is $197, whereas the amount is $270 in China, $248 in Vietnam, and $255 in India.
However, the average Bangladeshi wage is highest (65%) in reference to the percentage of the national average wage among the competitors.
Bangladesh enjoys duty-free or reduced-tariff market access to at least 52 countries because of her Least Developed Country (LDC) status. Thus, a product from the Bangladeshi RMG industry not only saves due to the least labor cost but also from the reduced tariff.
This duty-free advantage attracts a vast number of investors every year to expand the RMG industry. Moreover, the government also offers reduced tariffs and taxes on RMG investments.
Limitations in the RMG sector
One of the main limitations of the RMG sector in Bangladesh is compliance issues. Out of the 5000 garment factories, only a handful was compliant with the international standard. The lack of compliance triggered the infamous Rana Plaza tragedy in 2013. Around 1,132 garment workers died in that disaster.
Political unrest is another limiting factor for the growth of the RMG sector in Bangladesh. Strikes, labor protest, and sometimes vandalism creates an environment of no-confidence among the investors.
Infrastructure and utilities were a major limiting issue. However, recent development in infrastructure and power generation has someway mitigated this factor. Nevertheless, it is still there in a bearable status.
What is the Future of RMG industries in Bangladesh?
The future of the Ready-made Garments industry in Bangladesh was expected to be bright. The industry estimated total export earnings of $49.71 billion in the coming 2020-21 fiscal year.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic hit the RMG sector globally, and as a leading exporter, Bangladesh can feel the heat. The industry has already seen a $2.5-billion loss in April and more to come.
Global Data has forecasted a 17.1% bounce back in the apparel spending in 2021. However, it will not be enough to mitigate the current loss.
From a modest nine “export-oriented” garments, the Ready-made Garments sector in Bangladesh become the third in the world in four decades. This journey indicates the potential of this industry in the future. Hope after reading this article now you must know the Insights of ready-made garments in Bangladesh.
In the post-pandemic world, Bangladesh has to think out of the box to maintain its position in the global RMG market. There are still ways to both mitigate the loss and regain the market share.