Sunday, 16 June, 2024, Reg No- 06
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BD jute, textile sectors facing backlash amid declining exports

Published : Sunday, 14 January, 2024 at 12:00 AM  Count : 140

Bangladeshs textile and jute sector faces stiff slow down mired by a set of challenges including declining exports, slow project implementation and lingering impacts of anti-dumping measures by the Indian government.

Development projects in textiles and jute ministry saw a merely 10.16 percent progress in the first five months of FY24 which is far below targets.
Despite the governments heightened emphasis on developing the industry and skill enhancement, progress in textiles and jute projects in the first five months of the current fiscal year remained slow.

The Annual Development Programme (ADP) for the current fiscal year initially allocated Tk370.39 crore to the ministry while the allocation fuehrer increased to Tk390.09 crore in the revised programe. The ministry spent only Tk37.62 crore in money term in five months period

A total of 21 projects received allocations in the original ADP for FY24. Three more projects were included in the revised ADP - two of them new and the other a previous project that had a nominal allocation.

An in-depth examination of the ministrys ongoing projects unveils a concerning pattern. Many projects, initiated in 2017-2018 and designed to be completed within three years, saw a progress of 50-60 percent.

Furthermore, projects launched in 2020-2021 show sluggish progress with their implementation rates falling considerably below targets. Several projects are slated for completion in the current financial year, but they remain disappointingly stagnant raising apprehension about meeting the deadlines.

Grappling with crisis, the jute sector has witnessed a decline in the exports of raw jute, jute yarn, jute bags, and other products.

The closure of government jute mills has not curbed the export downturn, and the sector bears the brunt of over-reliance on Indian market, where 60 percent of Bangladeshs jute goods go.

Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) data shows jute and jute product exports in the first half of FY24 decreased by 10.24 percent year on year, falling from $485.9 million to $436.1 million. Extension of Indias anti-dumping duty till 2027 has exacerbated the problems.

Secretary General of Bangladesh Jute Mills Association Abdul Barek Khan mainly attributes the sectors plight to Indias anti-dumping duties.

The jute sector has struggled to find alternative markets through products diversification, he said, adding that policy support and financial support from the government has been lacking while there are other complications, including a 2 percent VAT on raw jute collection.

Jute yarn exports witnessed a decline of over 3.14 percent in the first half of FY24 year on year to $250 million. Raw jute exports experienced the most significant fall in this period, plummeting from $110 million to $70 million, while earning from jute bark and sacks decreased to $56.6 million from $70 million.

As Bangladeshs textile and jute sector navigates internal and external challenges, the government faces the critical task of reinvigorating it to ensure sustained growth and global competitiveness, experts said.

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