In a bid to diversify the export basket, the government is planning incentives for other export-oriented sectors to make them vibrant like readymade garments (RMG), said Salman F Rahman, private industry and investment adviser to the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, yesterday.
“However, we have to be careful. By over-emphasising on export diversification, we must not shift our focus from the RMG sector. That is still our main product,” he observed.
Rahman was speaking as chief guest at a workshop in the capital. Economic Reporters' Forum (ERF) arranged the workshop titled “Orientation of the members of the Economic Reporters Forum on Export Diversification for Economic Growth in Bangladesh” at its Paltan office.
Rahman said there has been a diversification in RMG products in the last couple of years. “We now produce different types of high-end RMG products,” he added.
He also said that the markets for garments have also become diversified over the years. “Previously, we used to export garments only to the US and the European market. But now, we export the same products to many other markets,” he added.
Rahman, however, said the inexperience of Bangladeshi entrepreneurs get exposed when they get out of their comfort zone. “We've achieved expertise in the RMG sectors. We've also achieved expertise in leather and pharmaceutical sectors.
But the picture isn't the same for many other sectors. When we try to achieve something in those other sectors, our inexperience becomes evident.
Even if it doesn’t get exposed at the labour level, it certainly gets exposed at the managerial level. That's why we hire so many managers from outside,” he added.
Emphasising the need to create next-generation entrepreneurs, Rahman said time is ripe now to reap the benefit of the demographic dividend of having a large repertoire of young people.
He said the government has completed selecting trainers for the budding entrepreneurs. “In all 64 districts of the country, new entrepreneurs will be trained by these skilled groups of trainers,” he added.
He also said new young entrepreneurs will live by the slogan “We don’t want jobs, we will give jobs”.
Rahman further said that Bangladesh’s global position in doing business ranking is likely to come down to below 100 from the existing 176 by 2021, as the government has taken various reform initiatives to improve the business environment in the country. “Bangladesh is a very business-friendly country. We're taking different reform initiatives to improve the business environment here. If we can implement all the initiatives, we'll be ranked below 50 within the next five years,” he asserted.
ERF president Saiful Islam and ERF general secretary SM Rashidul Islam also spoke on the occasion.