Dhaka,  Wednesday
29 May 2024

Terry towel export

Customs making obstacles 

Jannatul Ferdushy  

Published: 09:31, 8 April 2024

Customs making obstacles 

Photo : Collected

The Customs, the government agency responsible for overseeing the country's exports and imports, is currently imposing additional hurdles for exporters during the clearance process. 

Exporters believe that Customs did not pose such challenges in the past. However, it seems that the agency is gradually escalating its demands for bribes. It has become increasingly difficult to release goods without paying bribes, according to exporters.

Shahadat Hossain, owner of Towel Tex told the Daily Messenger, after the withdrawal of the lockdown, the customs officials are getting desperate for bribes. During the release of the goods, they impose new rules. “But if we give bribe, they release goods.” 

He added, “If this situation persists, the sector is at risk of suffering a fate similar to that of the jute industry. The corruption within Customs and the Income Tax Office is making business operations prohibitively expensive. As a result, we are losing our competitiveness in the global market.” 

And the new fear is the Prime Minister’s office. As the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) is affiliated with PMO, the officials act like powerful persons. Their lowest demand is Tk 25,000, he said. 

This resulted, in the export of terry towels and home textiles declining by 25.98 percent from July to March of the 2024 fiscal year. 

According to the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) home textile sector fetched $636.53 million which was $921.57 million in the corresponding period last year. 

General Secretary of Bangladesh Terry Towel & Linen Manufacturers & Exporters Association (BTTLMEA) Mujibur Rahman told the Daily Messenger, that to improve the backward linkage sector the government should make policy. Still, the price of raw materials is so high. “We want duty exemption and bond-free import of yarn.”

Additionally, the rising value of the dollar and the corresponding depreciation of the Taka are further exacerbating our competitiveness issues. This trend is particularly concerning as it directly impacts our ability to compete with Pakistan, our primary competitor. 

“Despite receiving incentives ranging from 11 to 12 percent, we still struggle to compete with India due to the high cost of raw materials.”

The high operating costs have also deterred new investments, with no new companies launched in the past decade. A significant portion, around 70 percent, of our investment is allocated towards procuring yarn. Given that we primarily manufacture low-end products, it is imperative for Bangladesh to maintain competitiveness in the market.

Considering the ongoing global market, the government has decided to increase the price of fuel oils. We hope the government will provide as much assistance as it did during the COVID-19 pandemic so that the progress of the sectors is not disrupted due to the negative impact of the fuel price hike, BTTLMEA said.

In this scenario, the BTTLMEA in a letter to the parliamentary standing committee on the Jute and Textile Ministry this month proposed that the government allow for the duty-free import of 10 single, 16 single and 20 single open-end yarn (for towel production) through land or sea port from India or Pakistan, which would be 15-20 percent cheaper in price.