In deed, going by a report prepared by te Directorate of Textile (DoT), Bangladesh had a shortage of about 110,000 people in RMG in 2014 and this gap is set to increase to about 180,000 by the year 2021. Reportedly, the RMG sector employs some 20,000 foreign nationals in various positions in the sector and they are mostly from India and Sri Lanka. As the shortage increases in the coming years, it is expected that the bulk of the shortage will be addressed by employing more foreign nationals. Needless to say, this hardly a satisfactory state of affairs..With Bangladesh emerging as the second largest apparel producer in the world, expansion of the manufacturing base has not been matched by growth in human resources. This is all too evident in the slow pace of implementing a government plan to set up around two dozen textile engineering colleges and vocational institutes, which once operational, would go a long way to producing the requisite number of textile engineers and technologists the textile industry requires. Given that a dearth of 25 percent exists in the skilled category, the RMG sector has had to resort to employing foreign workers. This in itself is a stop gap measure and ends up costing the industry much more than it would, had there been local talent available.”.Without an abundant pool of trained workers, the industry cannot evolve and it cannot upgrade. Although it has been pointed out by RMG industry leaders that it will take Vietnam (currently in third place in the RMG world order) another decade to match Bangladesh in manufacturing prowess and contest our position, one cannot forget that Vietnam is party to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Bangladesh is not. If we are, for whatever reason, unable to get on board the TPP, which is coming up for renegotiation with the United States at the end of the month, we will have to contend with Vietnam in 5 to 10 years time Since that country will have duty free access to the US market and we will not). We should not, however, take comfort in that timeline and take a breather from what needs to be done today.


Source:The Times of Central Asia