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A high-level delegation of the World Bank led by Axel van Trotsenburg, Managing Director of Operations, called on BGMEA President Faruque Hassan at BGMEA Complex in Uttara, Dhaka on January 23.
The delegation included Martin Raiser, Vice President, South Asia Region, Abdoulaye Seck, Country Director for Bangladesh and Bhutan; Dandan Chen, Operations Manager for Bangladesh and Bhutan; Yutaka Yoshino, Lead Economist/Program Leader, Martin Holtmann, Country Manager, IFC Bangladesh; Elena Karaban, Manager, External Communication; Barbara Weber, Senior Operation Officer, Country Director’s Office; Mehrin Mahbub, Senior External Affairs Officer; Kimberly Versak, Senior External Affairs Officer; Ewa Sobczynska, Senior Operations Officer, Vice President’s Office; Hosna Ferdous Sumi, Private Sector Specialist, TTL Export Competitive for Jobs Project; Suhail Kassim, Senior Economist.
The present state of affairs in Bangladesh’s RMG industry including its challenges, potentials and the industry’s vision were discussed in the meeting.
They also had discussions on the possible impacts of Bangladesh’s LDC graduation particularly on the apparel sector and preparations to retain the industry’s competitiveness in the post-LDC era.
BGMEA President Faruque Hassan apprised the World Bank delegation about the future priories of Bangladesh’s RMG industry, including increased focus on moving up the value chain through innovation, product diversification, technology upgradation, and up-killing and re-skilling of the workforce to remain sustainable and cost competitive.
He also highlighted the tangible transformation of the RMG industry in the areas of workplace safety, environmental sustainability and workers’ wellbeing.
He spotlighted the importance of financing SMEs to support their development and as they often cannot avail regular financing schemes due to stringent due diligence.
Faruque Hassan called on the World Bank for supporting the SMEs with low-cost finance so that they could upgrade their capability and adopt sustainability practices, could thrive in the competitive market.
He also sought the support of the World Bank for the RMG industry in the areas of sustainability, skills development, technological upgradation, innovations.
BGMEA Directors Abdullah Hil Rakib, Neela Hosna Ara, Chair of BGMEA Standing Committee on Foreign Mission Cell Shams Mahmud and Chair of BGMEA Standing Committee on UD-Woven & Knit Md. Nurul Islam were also present at the meeting.