Bangladesh RMG still reliant on foreign expertise: Study

by Apparel Resources News-Desk

01-September-2018  |  2 mins read

Speakers discussing the findings of the study
Speakers discussing the findings of the study. At the centre is Rehman Sobhan, chairman of Centre for Policy Dialogue.

Despite significant improvement in the sector, Bangladesh’s readymade garments industry is still reliant on foreign expertise at the management level, a study of local independent think tank Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) has revealed.

According to its study, around 13 per cent of the total garment sector hires foreign professionals, who are remitting away US $ 5 billion worth of what the biggest export sector worth US $30 billion is fetching, at the crucial management levels.

Within the chunk of the big groups, owning several factories and raking in the majority of the earnings, the percentage of foreign professionals working at the top-level management is around 47 per cent, CPD said in its study which was disclosed at a press briefing Khazana Gardenia Grand Hal on August 30, 2018.

The study included findings from 226 enterprises and interviewed 2,346 garment workers. The think tank found there are 3,856 active garment factories in the country that employs around 3.6 million workers. Among these factories, 7.4 per cent are large factories, 42.5 per cent are medium-sized and the remaining 48.9 per cent are small.

Among the workers, 53 per cent are female and 47 per cent male. Some 98 per cent factories are located in four districts: capital Dhaka (38 percent), its adjoining districts Gazipur (28.9 percent), and Narayanganj (14.7 percent), and in the port city of Chittagong (16.1 percent).

Faruque Hassan, senior vice-president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), who attended the programme, said number of foreign professionals did not increase despite the rampant growth of the garments sector. “If 10 foreign experts can train up 4,900 fashion designers in Bangladesh, then it is ok. We can afford it.”

Khondaker Golam Moazzem, project director of the study and research director of CPD, and Abeer Khandker, a visiting research associate at the CPD, presented the findings.

Rehman Sobhan, chairman of CPD, called for holding a global consultation to minimise the discrimination in the value chain. “They [retailers and brands] sell every $5 worth short at $25-$30 in retail establishments in New York, Europe and other various places,” he said as an example of the discrimination.

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