From an average of 51 BDT Billion in the year 1972, Bangladesh has recorded an all-time high exports in 2019 with the figure amounting to around 280 BDT billion. Today, amid the pandemic, with many companies tapping the global PPE market, the exports have increased significantly. However, as usual, it is mainly the garment sector that has been exploiting the PPE and face mask market while the others have not been able to contribute as much.
Therefore, the government has recently signed an agreement to establish two technical centres under an Export Competitiveness for Jobs (EC4J) Project. During a virtual meeting organised by the commerce ministry, Salman F Rahman, Private Sector Development Advisor to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina emphasised on the need of other sectors to stay at par with the garment sector in terms of exports considering the fact that the government has also been incentivising the same every year.
The technology centres slated to be established are a part of the government’s strategy to harness modern technology to raise productivity all the while fulfilling the skill gaps in different sectors. In addition to this, they will facilitate skilled manpower for producing biotechnology and health technology products. With RMG sector contributing the most to the country’s GDP, it has become crucial to diversify exports and generate job opportunities in other sectors as well. This can in turn help in boosting ‘Vision 2021’ of the government and transform Bangladesh into a middle income country.
Furthermore, though the increasing demand of PPE exports has opened new avenues for many companies, Salman F Rahman said that the local suppliers have been struggling to tap the lucrative market and meet the global standards due to the lack of testing facilities. In this regard, in addition to the establishment of technology centres, the government is also in talks with international testing companies to create more testing facilities in the country soon for the local manufacturers.