THE export-oriented readymade garments (RMG) industry of Bangladesh is faced with a serious and emerging threat to its existence. This is the effect of the rising political heat in the country, the growing confrontation course between the government and the main opposition party, the series of work shutdown that had been already enforced by the political parties and the prospects for such work shutdown political programmes and disruptive activities to intensify imminently.
The importers of Bangladeshi garments products are taking the present political situation very seriously. Many of them have already reached the conclusion that the ensuring political conflict in Bangladesh would be detrimental to maintaining smooth supplies of garments products from Bangladesh. Thus, many of them are considering the placement of their orders in other countries and some have already relocated in this manner. Needless to say, such a development is full of the worst economic implications for the country.
Political leaderships of both the ruling Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and the main opposition Awami League (AL) should well realise the impact of a downslide in the all too important garments sector. This sector is presently pivotal for the economy employing a record number and earning the highest amount of foreign currency. With foreign currency earning from this source threatened, the country would be facing great hazards in its balance of payments position, serious incapacity to conduct import operations, huge unemployment of garment workers to add to social and political destability, etc. In fact, the gamut of macro- and micro-economic operations could be threatened from the shrinking of the garments sector.
The association of garments exporters, the chamber bodies and other concerned groups have repeatedly voiced their deepest anxiety about the threat to the sector from the country's political developments. But it does not seem that the same had any effect on those who matter. The main opposition party is now too keen for toppling the government by any means. If in trying to dislodge the government it ruins the economy in the process, such an outcome will be no good for it if it comes to power.