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Gas shortage in textiles will only backfire

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10th-Feb-2018       
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GAS shortages have plagued the country's industrial sector as acute shortages and low supply have retarded production of the textile sector. It is observed that the expansion of the country's textile sector witnessed a slowdown in recent years due to lack of adequate gas supply, power delivery and required land.
News media reported that exporters in a Dhaka summit asked the government to ensure continuous gas supply for the apparel sector at the time when exporters are losing markets in many European and American countries. In the years, the government has increased gas supply manifold for power production but required volume of gas for the textile sector is still unmet.
Improvements have taken place in the power sector, but it is not enough to run heavy industries. To establish a strong backward linkage industry for country's apparel and clothing sector, the industrialists should come up. International exhibitions like Dhaka International Textile and Garment Machinery Exhibition could be excellent avenues for displaying the latest technological advancements in the textile and garment sector. Textile machinery manufacturers from 36 countries, including China, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Japan and Korea, are showcasing their latest products and technologies in about 1200 booths in the event.
The government repeatedly assured the businesses to provide all out support to the textile and garment industry as the sector has been considered the mother of the country's economy' since long but the prevailing situation is not satisfactory. Currently, Bangladesh has 425 spinning, 790 weaving and 250 dyeing mills that have an investment of about Tk 50,000 crore tied up. With existing capacity, the primary textile sector can supply 90 percent of the raw materials for the knitwear and 40 percent for woven sector.
In the first six months of the year, Bangladesh imported woven fabrics worth more than $2.11 billion and knitwear fabrics and yarn worth $527 million, up almost 15 percent year-on-year in both the categories. The import of fabrics is also rising as the garment manufacturers can now enjoy zero-duty benefit on export of apparel items to the EU and other major markets even if the garment is made from fabrics not manufactured in Bangladesh. Moreover, it is the main employment generating sector in the country.
The government raised the gas price to Tk 19.26 per cubic metre in 2016 from Tk 8.36 in the previous year for captive power plants. In 2015, the government had increased the gas price to Tk 8.36 from the previous rate of Tk 4.36 per cubic metre. The government plans to import 500 million cubic feet of gas a day and another 500 mmcfd from the middle of 2018 to ride out the existing gas shortage. We hope the shortage would be eased out and the apparel sector would be strengthened.

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