Export earning growth in April of the current financial year hit lowest in six months to 9.95 per cent due to the ongoing political turmoil, said exporters.
The $21.78 billion export earning in the first 10 months of the current FY also indicates that the country is set to miss its $28-billion export target for the year, they said pointing to the data released by the Export Promotion Bureau on Tuesday.
EPB data showed that the export earning in April stood at $2.07 billion, growing by 9.95 per cent from the same month of the previous FY but 11.19 per cent lower than the government set target for the April.
Although the April earning figure is much better than the same month of the previous year which saw a 7.13 per cent negative growth, export earning growth in each of five months prior to this April was double-digit.
‘Export growth in April slowed down as the frequent political unrest started to take toll on shipments of products, especially readymade garments, which account for more than 80 per cent of the total export of the country,’ said Abdus Salam Murshedy, former president of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association.
He warned that export would be hampered further in the coming months because of the political unrest.
The export earning from woven garments was $8.92 billion with 13.98 per cent growth in July-April against 16.90 per cent in the same period of the last financial year.
The export earning of knitwear in July-April of the current FY amounted to $8.38 billion with 8.93 per cent growth against 2.99 per cent growth during the same period last year.
Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association vice-president Mohammad Hatem said that the RMG export growth in 10 months was relatively better but the situation would deteriorate in the coming months.
‘We will have to pay for the political unrest and the Rana Plaza collapse [in which more than 700 garment workers were killed],’ he said.
Mustafizur Rahman, executive director of the Centre for Policy Dialogue, however, said that it was too early to say whether the political unrest was the major reason for the slow growth of export in April.
‘The affect of the current situation including political unrest will be reflected in next few months’ export,’ he said.
He said that it would not be possible to achieve the export earning target in the current FY.
The 10-month export earning is 3.31 per cent lower than the target set by the government for the period.
Exporters estimated that the country’s export figure might be around $26 billion in the current FY against the target of $28 billion as the country on average exported goods worth $2.18 billion a month in the first 10 months.
During July-April the export growth was 10.14 per cent from the same period of last FY when the figure was 8.41 per cent.
Among all the sectors, earnings from frozen food and home textile sectors were most disappointing during the period with a negative growth of 14.38 per cent and 11.78 per cent respectively.
The frozen food sector earned $433.86 in 10 months against the target for $506.72 million during the same period of last year while home textile sector earned $648.26 million against $734.84 million target.
The earning from other major sectors like jute and jute goods was $860.16 million in July-April with a growth of 6.74 per cent year-on-year, footwear sector earned $340.56 million with a growth of 21.72 per cent and leather product sector got $316 million with a growth of 19.61 per cent.
-With New Age input