The budget should have three parts – short, medium and long-term measures to cushion the Covid-19 fallout. However, the overall budget for the apparel sector looks good so far. All the concern is over proper implementation.
We basically rely on foreign countries for both export and raw material import. You have to consider whether the factories get plenty of orders. Then you should calculate the earnings and expenditures of the apparel makers in the last few months.
Most of the people criticise the readymade garment factory owners for labour layoff. But, the reality is that no one can survive and continue business incurring losses again and again.
Many people have already lost their jobs. More may have the same fate with the poverty rate climbing up. The government will certainly not be able to tackle the situation alone.
Because the virus infection has jeopardised the worldwide business structure, many giants too are downsizing their offices.
Health safety has come to the spotlight in this crisis while purchasing new outfits is only an option. We already have 30 percent of our orders cancelled.
Fortunately, the government stimulus packages have relieved us briefly.
Us businessmen are no longer concerned about profit, rather we are struggling to survive. All of us are concerned over survival of the apparel industry. Other businesses are in the same condition because the virus has eaten up the breathing space for everyone.
The international market does not depend on our demand. Instead they think about their respective internal demand and sales. However, this crisis has taught us how to maximise the use of our internal resources.
This will make us better prepared next time so that we can thrive at home first by putting the economy on a strong base.
In the proposed budget for the 2020-21 fiscal year, the move to extend green garment tax for two more years is positive.
We must take the lessons and better prepare ourselves beforehand. Our light engineering sector is thriving and we can supply skilled and professional manpower to it. I think the sector could bring us a huge opportunity in the future.
We could have exploited the China-USA trade war if we had the light engineering sector developed.
The author is the President of Bangladesh Chamber of Industries (BCI)