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Inside Bangladesh’s new Textile Bill: Tall Claims, Taller Hopes!

by Apparel Resources

26-September-2018  |  8 mins read

Image Courtesy: dhakatribune.com

Bangladesh Government recently passed ‘Textiles Bill 2018’ – a new law that aims to further expand the country’s apparel industry through sustainable development of the sector with the objective to maintain and enhance the quality of textile products.

Apparel Resources has obtained the bill and has analysed its contents to find out that the bill indeed makes big promises to the growing apparel industry and its backward linkage – the textiles sector – which, if followed, can drive Bangladesh towards that US $ 50 billion target.

The law itself recognises the apparel and textiles sector as the major export sector of the country and sees potential and opportunity in its expansion. It is expected to modernise the sector, assist it to achieve international competency, draw investment, entail quality control, introduce research and development, and develop human resource.

TEXTILES & APPAREL

Perhaps the biggest gainer of this law has been the textile industry – the backward linkage industry that has grown in Bangladesh along with the development of the apparel-making. Currently, Bangladesh’s textiles sector can only supply about 35 to 40 per cent of the demand despite harbouring rapid investment and growth in capacity, according to insiders.

The ‘Textiles Bill 2018’ harbours enough juice to revitalise the old textile mills, many of which have suffered shutdown and others have been struggling due to various reasons. Under the new law, the Government can transfer the management of those mills to Bangladesh Textile Mills Corporation (BTMC) [Article 4 (2)].

This law will facilitate modernisation of old mills or setting up new ones through Public-Private Partnership (PPP), joint investment (local and foreign), state investment, or complete foreign investment [Article 4 (3)]. Also, the government will be assisting in luring investment (from home and abroad) and take steps for its development and expansion for the textiles and apparel sector [Article 5].

Notably, Bangladesh has already invited India to invest in its textiles industry. It has asked Thailand to invest in the production of synthetic yarn and fabrics, and Japan to invest in high-end textiles manufacturing in the country.

HUMAN RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT

In order of importance, the next big significant factor that has been upheld is the development of human resource for textiles and apparel. Bangladeshi manufacturers have been complaining that the country lacks skilled human resource and has long demanded a holistic effort in this regard. This law, if implemented properly, might deliver just the thing.

Article 11 of the bill entails 10 sub-clauses entailing in detail how the government plans to develop a skilled workforce base for the biggest export sector. It will be taking steps in ensuring necessary amounts of educational institutes and training centres for the purpose.

With the view, a number of universities, colleges, design institutes, fashion institutes, and textile training centres will be set up – all of which can be implemented via the provision of Public-Private Partnership (PPP) – which will be providing quality education and training as overseen by the textiles department.

Additionally, specialised trainings will be provided to promote fashion design, marketing, merchandising, management, and technical efficacy – if necessary, by hiring foreign experts, consultants or trainers.

FORMALISATION OF THE SECTOR

The third most important has been given to formalisation of the textiles and apparel sector and its affiliates. The law stipulates a mandatory registration under the department concerned, sans which, no factory of textiles or apparel can be operated in the country.

There will be a directorate formed, which will be headed by a Director General, overseeing the registration of these factories and units. Registration process and renewal of the registration will be subjected to a specific fee.

Also, a long-standing demand for getting the buying houses registered has also been incorporated in the law [Article 14]. Currently, in absence of formalisation, buying houses run rampant and under the radar, at times leading manufacturers to count big losses or even deceit.

DEVELOPMENT OF TEXTILES & APPAREL

A significant amount of importance has been given to the services involving textiles and apparel sector. Under the new law, a one-stop service centre will be implemented [Article 6] which will be conveying transparent and specific information to entrepreneurs or investors regarding infrastructural facilities, services, incentives, permits, waivers, license and other issues.

The new law mentions a testing facility [Article 15] which will work to ensure international standard textiles and apparel production. Also, there is a word of setting up research centres and information database [Article 16] which can be set up on the basis of PPP. The database will be an online-based database, aimed to serve the needs of the directorate. The directorate will be publishing database on the website.

STANDARDISATION

A monitoring body, which can include officials of the designated directorate or any other deputed officer, can carry out standardisation test for quality control of textiles and apparel items. They can take samples of imported dye, chemicals or any other ingredients before supplying to the market to see if any hazardous materials are being used. The directorate will make sure that the raw materials are compliant with the environment. Items or raw materials that pose threat to the environment will be barred.

Additionally, the law will restrict the use of imported raw materials – brought in with the purpose of being used in export items – in any production or supply of the material to the domestic market.

PURPOSE OF LAW

The ‘Textiles Bill 2018’ identifies itself as an instrument that will facilitate expansion of the biggest export sector in a coordinated and organised manner. It realises, that the targeted export sum for the readymade garments industry is US $ 50 billion by 2021.

It hopes that through the law, opportunities have opened up to modernise the textiles and apparel sector through research and development, human resource development, and rejuvenation of important state assets; all the while expanding employment opportunities and training the existing worker-base to a skilled force.