Bangladesh retains 2nd place in RMG export to EU
Apparel shipments to the European Union (EU) grew 41.76 per cent year-on-year to hit $19.40 billion in the January-October period of 2022, according to data from Eurostat, the statistics department of the EU. With this, Bangladesh retained its position as the second largest garment supplier for the EU after China, which holds a 29.39 per cent share of the trade bloc’s total apparel imports from 27 countries. During the first 10 months of last year, the EU’s imports from China reached $25.49 billion to register growth of 22.43 per cent year-on-year, the data shows. At the same time, imports from Turkey grew 12.82 per cent to stand at $10.12 billion while shipments from India ballooned 23.46 per cent to $4.24 billion. The EU imported $86.74 billion worth of apparels from different sources during the period, indicating growth of 24.41 per cent year-on-year. Among the top suppliers, shipments from Cambodia, Vietnam, Pakistan, Morocco, Sri Lanka and Indonesia increased by 39.69 per cent, 33.05 per cent, 28.55 per cent, 9.59 per cent, 18 per cent and 31.76 per cent respectively. In terms of volume, Bangladesh’s garment exports to the EU ramped up by 27.03 per cent to roughly 1,134 million kilogrammes (kgs) in the January-October of 2022 compared to 892.73 million kgs the year before.
Cashless BD campaign starts in Dhaka
The Bangladesh Bank (BB) launched ‘Cashless Bangladesh, Smart Bangladesh’ campaign from the capital’s Motijheel area on Wednesday to bring small/micro merchants, like street vendors, under a low-cost payment system. The campaign is part of the idea to popularise an interoperable Bangla QR Code across the capital that will help clients pay their bills for goods and services through mobile banking applications, mobile financial services (MFS), and payment service providers (PSP). Initially, the initiative will cover some 1,200 small merchants in the capital’s Motijheel commercial area. Later, it will be replicated in other areas of the country in phases. The central bank’s campaign will promote cost-effective, secured and card-less digital transactions in an economy that almost entirely relies on paper currencies. Ten banks, three MFS providers, and three card-based PSPs are taking part in it. When contacted, BB spokesperson Md Mezbaul Haque said people in many cases clear payment of their purchased goods through MFS as well as debit and credit cards. But a significant investment is required to develop digital payment infrastructure and maintain those. “It is too costly for the small merchants. That’s why digital payment system has not progressed yet at the remote level.”
Gas shock for industries
The government hiked gas prices on Wednesday by a staggering 179%, with an eye on eliminating subsidies and cutting the fiscal deficit. The massive hike left industry leaders and energy experts stunned which comes just a few days after an increase in electricity prices. Within a span of just six days, the government used its newly-acquired power – that allows it to set all kinds of energy prices bypassing the regulator’s jurisdiction at any time – to hike gas prices without any public hearing for the second time. The announcement for the gas price hike came on the concluding day of the five-day Dhaka visit by International Monetary Fund Deputy Managing Director Antoinette Monsio Sayeh. In November last year, following a meeting with an IMF delegation, Bangladesh Bank Governor Abdur Rouf Talukder had acknowledged that they got the suggestion for reducing subsidy on gas from the international lender. At the time, a finance ministry official, seeking anonymity, told The Business Standard that the IMF had set conditions for raising prices of electricity and gas alongside reducing subsidies. There have been talks about meeting the conditions before the first instalment is disbursed, the source said.