& Finance News
Compiled by SDNP
The Bangladesh Observer
The country’s garment exports may continue to hold on the ground in the
global competitive market and even grow further after the phasing out of
quota system from January next year, reports BSS.
This was the experts opinion at a roundtable discussion in Dhaka title,
“Surviving in a quota free world : will Bangladesh make it” held at
Sheraton Hotel on Thursday evening.
But most participants repeatedly referred to the growing political
tension, and hartal in particular underlining the need for peace and
stability in the country to face the coming challenge.
The Center for Policy Dialogue, Citibank and BGMEA jointly organized the
discussion at a time the phasing out of the MFA is only nine months away
giving out widespread speculations in different quarters as to what is
Commerce minister Amir Khosru Mahmud Chowdhury, commerce secretary Suhel
Ahmed, US ambassador Harry K Thomas, German ambassador Dietrich Andrew,
BGMEA president Anisul Haq and Citibank country office chief Mamun
Rashid were, among others, present.
Prof. Mustafizur Rahman, research director of the CPD told the gathering
made of representatives from the industry, banks, trade unions, buying
houses, members of parliament, diplomats, and such other stakeholders
that Bangladesh would remain and even may further in the market as a
major source of apparels supply.
“Importers will not abandon Bangladesh because of its high
competitiveness,” he said identifying China, India and Vietnam as its
major challenge in the post MFA period.
Harry K Thomas speaking on the occasion praised the garments sector
capacity to respond to the post MFA situation. “ You have this capacity
to achieve the goal and sustain it,” he said while reminding the need to
improve seaport, airport and other infrastructure, power supply and
Dietrich Andrew in the same vein praised Bangladesh’s garments
industry’s capacity to face the new challenge saying, at least now it
has a very high competitiveness and his country is buying at the highest
record level from here recently.
BGMEA president Anisul Haq sounded similar optimism saying in the post
MFA period Bangladesh may be rated as one of the five major suppliers in
the global market.
But the road to the global market may be more arduous, he reminded the
participants asking for both policy support and incentives to reposition
the industry facing the new emerging situation.
The most important is to reduce bank interest and service charges, he
said asking for more investment fund in the industry.
Mustafiz took China as the biggest challenger to Bangladesh in the
global market dealing with its recent export statistics. One
participant said, “as a friend we are not jealous of China’s
performance, but it needs to correct the value of currency which is now
about 40 per cent under valued.”
“We may be losing market to its under valued exchange rate,” he said.
Mustafiz made some recommendations including technological upgradation
of the garment industries, reduction of the lead time in executing
supply orders, zero tariff access in the US market, and foremost of all,
a public and private sector partnership in working out a new strategy
and market plan.
He said, the focus should go on now about how to contain, sustain and
expand the market in the new situation. It is not only bringing
challenge but also immense of opportunities for Bangladesh’s garments
sector, he argued.
Summing up the mode of the discussion on the floor, CPD executive
director Dr Debapriya Bhattachariya said, “there is no cause to be
panicked, we have room for cautious optimism.”
But he warned saying, “We should not turn this optimism into a
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The four winners of
Bangladesh Business Awards 2003
Business Person of the Year
The Daily Star
left) Mohammed Mizanur Rahman, chairman of the PHP Group, Monjulika
Chakma, proprietor of Bain Textile, Mirza Ali Behroz Ispahani, chairman
of MM Ispahani Ltd and Shafiq Uz Zaman, managing director of Coats
Mohammed Mizanur Rahman, chairman of the PHP Group,
received the 'Business Person of the Year 2003'. PHP (Peace, Happiness
and Prosperity) Group has 16 different business concerns. Being the
largest manufacturer of flat steel products in Bangladesh, it has
started exporting its products to the global market. PHP Shipbreaking &
Recycling Industries Ltd exported copper and other products to Japan,
South Korea, Taiwan and other countries. Some other products of the
group are exported to Myanmar, China, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and many
African countries. Total exports of the group amounted to Tk 98.27 crore
in 2003. Born in 1941 in Narayanganj, Rahman now is envisioning the
establishment of the country's first integrated steel mill to produce
finished goods (CI sheet) from iron ore.
"Divine blessings combined with hard work, backed by
good intention make this miracle," said Rahman while unveiling the
reason behind his success before the audience at the award giving
Outstanding Woman in Business of the Year
Monjulika Chakma of Rangamati-based Bain Textile was
awarded the 'Outstanding Woman in Business of the Year 2003'. Born in
1943 in Rangamati, Monjulika is the first tribal woman entrepreneur in
the country, who took bold and unprecedented initiatives to develop
traditional looms as an industry. Bain Textile has three showrooms in
Rangamati and one in Cox's Bazar. Besides, her products are sold in
selected outlets in Dhaka. Around 80 weavers, experts and helpers are
engaged in her handloom business, apart from the more than 100 tribal
women in four villages who produce handloom products for sale.
"My future plans include establishment of another
unit equipped with power looms to increase production volume," Monjulika
said at the function.
Enterprise of the Year
MM Ispahani Ltd was awarded 'Enterprise of the Year 2003'. Blessed with
a 184 year-old heritage, the House of Ispahani today is one of the most
respected business concerns in the entire subcontinent. The company's
historical roots can be traced way back to 1820 when its founder Haji
Mohammed Hashem moved from Isfahan, Persia to Bombay and started a
business that soon expanded phenomenally in both scale and coverage. In
Bangladesh, the first branch office was opened in Dhaka in 1888. After
1947, the corporate headquarters of M M Ispahani Ltd was shifted from
Calcutta to Chittagong. Today, the company is involved in numerous
sectors such as tea, textile, real estate, poultry, shipping and
internet services. It has corporate offices in Chittagong, Dhaka and
Khulna employing more than 20,000 people.
Mirza Ali Behroz Ispahani, chairman of MM Ispahani
Ltd, received the award and conveyed his thanks to the family members
and company staff for extending him all out supports in attaining the
Joint Venture Enterprise of the Year
This year's 'Joint Venture Enterprise of the Year', went to Coats
Bangladesh, where Coats Plc, UK has 80 percent share and the remaining
20 percent equity belonging to A K Khan & Co Ltd of Bangladesh. The
company began manufacturing industrial thread in Bangladesh when the
market was hundred percent dependent on imports and over the last 12
years. It expanded capacity every year and is now one of the largest
dye-houses in the Asia Pacific region. Coats Bangladesh now enjoys
double-digit sales growth. On the production side, Coats Bangladesh
established its first manufacturing plant in Chittagong in 1990 which
now has a capacity of 14 tons of sewing thread a day.
Shafiq Uz Zaman, managing director of Coats
Bangladesh, received the award. He acknowledged the supports he got from
the ministries concerned, National Board of Revenue, Board of Investment
and other regulatory bodies in doing business.
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