The garment industry has played a pioneering role in the development of industrial sector of Bangladesh. Though it took a rather late start i.e., in 1976 but it soon established its reputation in the world market within a short span of time. Resultantly garment is now one of the main export items of the country. Besides, enriching the country's economy it has played a very important role in alleviating unemployment. At present there are more than two thousand one hundred garment factories in the country employing more than 12 lack labors. 85 percent of the labor force is women.
Once Sri-Lanka was leader in this field in South Asia and India was its competitor. After a bloody civil war resulting in the quick demise of the garments industry of Sri-Lanka and India, the international buyers and investors diverted their attention towards Bangladesh. As a result the garments industry of Bangladesh expanded with unprecedented success. During the financial year 1993-94 Bangladesh earned 6199.8 cores Taka.
Contribution in the national economy
The role of the RMG sector in our national economy can hardly be over-emphasized. There has been a steady development in our RMG export field during at least the last decade and a half but in the last few years it has been unique. The export of RMG recorded an average growth of 21.53% since 1994-95, which grew to 76.05% by the year 1999.The table, is given bellow elaborates the growth. Development of the Export of RMG Sector
YEARExport of RMG (in Mln. US$)Total Export (in Mln. US$)Share of RMG's to Total Export 1993-941555.792533.9061.40
Source: Bangladesh Export Statistics, Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) (Compiled). The table below helps to understand the situation more clearly. Development of the Export (in Million Taka) of different Sectors from 1993 to 1999 Commodities1993-941994-951995-961996-971997-981998-99
Woven51 47.2150.977360.5352.857970.6550.209529.1850.6512900.1855.0914320.8056.18 Knit1052.5810.421577.3711.322447.1215.413250.1117.284266.1718.224967.6719.49 Total RMG6199.7961.408937.964.1710417.7765.6112779.2967.9317166.3573.3119288.4775.67 Frozen Food638.918.311225.938.801283.018.08365.657.261333.135.691316.175.16 Tea152.141.51131.540.94135.510.85162.390.8621 5.360.92184.990.73 Raw Jute227.232.25318.742.29371.122.34495.292.63488.942.09344.141.35 Chemical Product21 6.732.15431.653.10402.682.54461.892.46363.211.44380.191.49 Leather670.166.64810.525.82865.865.45832.354.42863.213.69807.203.17 Jute1130.8911.201278.629.181345.298.471353.457.191276.825.451457.785.72 Grand Total10097.59100.0013928.46100.0015879.09100.0018813.04100.0023416.37100.0025491.10100.00
Source: Bangladesh Export Statistics, Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) (Compiled). Back in the 80s, a large number of private sector initiatives were taken in manufacturing sectors like the RMG industry. The RMG industry has enjoyed a meteoric rise from less than 50 factories in 1983 to over 3000 in 1999. In between this period, the level of employment has increased from some 10,000 to approximately 1.5 million today (see Table: 3); with its share of employment in the manufacturing industry increasing from a mere 2% to over 15%.A table is given bellow, The number of the factories
No. of Factories5062993422683000
Source: Bangladesh Statistics, EPB
The reasons behind the huge success
The success story of the Readymade Garments sector of Bangladesh is based on employment generation and increasingly high value addition, thus smoothening the path for growth and...