Forum – a leading coalition of the country's apparel makers – has formally nominated Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association's (BGMEA) former vice-president (Finance) ABM Shamsuddin as the panel leader for the BGMEA Election 2021.
Forum confirmed his nomination at an event held at a city hotel on Saturday, participated in by current BGMEA President Dr Rubana Huq as a panel member.
Speaking on the occasion, Shamsuddin said, "Bangladesh's garment sector is now at a critical juncture. Although the anticipated Covid-19 vaccine is now available, 2021 will be a troublesome year for us."
"We have numerous hurdles to overcome. The first and foremost is addressing the fall in prices. To become sustainable, we have to fight together against it. We must not show any weakness that buyers can leverage on," he added.
He continued, "In the last four years, the price declined by 4.75% on average. We have seen a fall in prices in the EU [European Union], US [United States] and even in non-traditional markets. Despite owning green factories, we are not getting fair prices. We need sustainable buying practices to ensure sustainability.
"We have got to make buyers understand this. We need to keep in mind that the future is ours, because: Ethiopia is facing political uncertainty, Cambodia has lost GSP, Myanmar is also in turmoil, and Vietnam will not be able to set up a factory overnight. Bangladesh is therefore the ultimate destination for garments manufacturing," he added.
"We have got to be ready to reap the benefits," he pointed out.
A visual presentation describing success of the current BGMEA board under the leadership of Dr Rubana Huq was shown at the event, discussing the introduction of order cancellation monitoring portal, as well as speaking against order cancellation worth $3.18 billion.
The BGMEA's achievements also include: the formation of the RMG Sustainability Council (RSC) to replace Accord, creating awareness on barriers and challenges of the ready-made garment sector through social and international media, publishing BGMEA's Sustainability Report, and ensuring the disbursement of government incentives and assistance to survive the Covid-19 era, said the presentation.
Garments manufacturers and exporters reaffirmed their unity and cooperation to ensure the continuity of the achieved success.
Forum President Anwar-ul-Alam Chowdhury Pervez, former BGMEA President Anisur Rahman Sinha, former VP Benazir Ahmed, Director Khondaker Belayet Hossain, along with leaders and members of Forum were present at the programme.
Samsuddin is currently the chairman of Hannan Group – one of the leading sweater exporters in the country. In the garment exporters' polls slated for 4 April this year, he will run against Faruque Hassan of Sammilita Parishad.
Apparel entrepreneurs traditionally compete to elect their leadership for two years under the banners of Sammilita Parishad and Forum, the panels of BGMEA's registered members.
In October last year, Sammilita Parishad announced that Faruque will lead it in the election.
Faruque Hassan is a former senior vice president of the BGMEA. He also served as the president of the Dutch-Bangla Chamber of Commerce and Industries. Currently, he serves as the honorary consul general of Greece in Bangladesh.