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'B'desh should prioritise Chittagong port development'
22
Sep '15
A leading Bangladeshi economist has declared that the country will not be able to emerge as a middle-income country and achieve the $50 billon garment export target without prioritising development of Chittagong, according to media reports in Bangladesh.

“We cannot achieve the $50 billon export target without opening and widening a second hub for the sector in Chittagong after its huge growth in Dhaka and its adjoining areas,” said Hossain Zillur Rahman.

Rahman made the comments while addressing a roundtable on “realising $50 billion target for the garment sector: the Chittagong mission”.

Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association or BGMEA and the Chittagong Research Initiative jointly organised the event.

Chittagong has the growth potential to attain such goal, he said.

Plans are underway to build alternative ports in Payra and Matarbari, although the Chittagong port still has comparative advantages, said Salehuddin Ahmed, former governor of Bangladesh Bank.

Ahmed thinks it will be difficult for Payra port to reach the same level as the Chittagong port. Payra would rather serve only the southern region, he said.

Saifuzzaman Chowdhury, Bangladesh's junior minister for land, described proper connectivity as the key to Chittagong's development.

“Chittagong would remain technically isolated from the capital if connectivity is not properly improved. We cannot just let it go like that.”

While presenting his keynote paper, Rahman emphasised improving productivity of garment factories, including enhancement of workers' skills.

Bangladesh should go for a twofold market strategy: wider access to the existing primary markets in the US, UK and Canada and looking for new markets in China, Japan and India, he said.

Deep-sea ports and other ports like the one in Payra will become a reality after 20 to 30 years, he said.

He stressed the need for capacity enhancement of Chittagong port, as it would be a core part to boost garment exports. (SH)

Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India

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