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Garment industry slipping into doldrums
16
Jun '09
Brunei's garment industry, which once was a second largest commercial sector of the country, is experiencing drastic situations. The industry, that used to have 17 factories and 20,000 workers three years ago, today remains with 4000 to 5000 workers and seven or eight garment factories.

These seven or eight factories too are scaling down. The garment exports of the country have tumbled down to between $30-$40 million per year, which once used to touch $100 million per annum. These garments specifically go to the US and Europe.

Brunei is an ideal place to work and there is still hope of reviving the garment industry of the country. The garments industry of Brunei is suffering from factors such as shortage of electricity and water supply, high factory rentals and heavy labour bank guarantee deposits.

More factors in this list are unreliable shipping schedules as well as they are unable to meet the tough delivery schedules from the US and European buyers as goods have to be routed through Singapore or Hong Kong.

Brunei garment manufacturers have to import raw materials either from Singapore or Hong Kong, which again takes two to three weeks to arrive. Then in order to export the garments to the US within the time frame, it must be manufactured mostly within 60 days, which makes the shipping schedule very stiff.

The economists here urged a detailed study to bail out this fast declining sector from such conditions. The government can look at garments industry in terms of job growth and diversification, said observers.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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