Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) has initiated a move to conduct researches on select topics like innovation, product development and value addition for future sustainability of the readymade garment (RMG) sector, sources said. The trade body in a proposal to Commerce Ministry sought Tk 55 mn from the enhanced integrated framework fund Bangladesh received from the World Trade Organization (WTO) as a least developed country, they said. The BGMEA President and its office bearers placed the proposal in a meeting with Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi at his secretariat office recently. “Bangladesh being the LDC received fund from WTO for trade facilitation. We have requested the government for providing financial support from the fund to do some researches and other works in some segments,” BGMEA Vice President Arshad Jamal Dipu told.

The BGMEA wants to do researches on trade policy preparedness, the impacts of graduation from LDC status, exchange rate policy, the economics and business of wageproductivity- skill relationship, value addition etc., he said. He added that the trade body also wanted to establish a productivity centre to raise awareness, provide training and consultancy round the year, and monitor the productivity standards of the member factories at regular intervals.

BGMEA had a Productivity Improvement Cell supported by GIZ which could not be sustained in absence of fund, he mentioned. Many garment factories are using different software which vary from one factory to another and they are also very costly, Dipu explained. BGMEA has proposed to develop local, low cost and harmonised planning software for the entire industry, he pointed out. According to the Ministry sources, BGMEA demanded Tk 20 mn for the purpose of research and development for future sustainability of RMG sector, Tk 7.5 mn for establishment of a productivity centre, Tk 7.5 mn for the development of harmonised and unified planning tools for the sector and Tk 20 mn for product innovation and moving up to the value added segment.