Sherpa Hossainy's Blog

Ineffective SAFTA hurting South Asia’s economic growth

Posted in Bangladesh, Business, Dhaka, Economy, Export and Import by Sherpa Hossainy on June 29, 2011

Published in the Independent on June 29, 2011

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Inadequate trade liberalisation and slow execution of the South Asian Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) is resulting in a significant loss to consumers in the region, trade policy specialists said on Tuesday.

SAFTA came into existence in 2004 but it is yet to achieve its full potential as intra-regional trade is still minuscule compared to other economic blocs of the world, while external trade is rising briskly.

The experts were speaking at the “Cost of economic non-cooperation to consumers in South Asia” (COENCOSA) regional project review meeting in The BRAC Centre auditorium in Dhaka.

COENCOSA is implemented by Consumer Unity and Trust Society (CUTS) International, India, and Institute for Policy, Advocacy, and Governance (I-PAG), Bangladesh, with support from The Asia Foundation.

Mohammad Faruk Khan, minister for commerce, was present as the chief guest while Dr Gowher Rizvi, adviser on international affairs to the Prime Minister, was the special guest.

Syed Munir Khasru, chairman of I-PAG, said that although South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) came into effect in 1985, regional trade is yet to reach the level that could result in rapid economic development in the region.

“While intra-regional trade ranges between 20-60 per cent of total trade in other regional economic blocs, for SAARC it has been only about five per cent between 1995 and 2005,” Khasru said. Greater economic cooperation will ultimately enhance consumer welfare, he added.

Dr Gowher Rizvi said that there is an untapped potential for increased trade South Asian countries but infrastructural bottlenecks and tense political relations between SAARC nations is slowing down the economic integration process.

The commerce minister blamed politicians, bureaucrats and the civil society for overlooking the interests of common people and making SAFTA ineffective.

“When I seek advice from the bureaucrats, 90 per cent of the time they give me anti-people decisions, such as imposing more taxes,” Khan said. He said that the civil society is working for its own agenda.

The minister also expressed his dissatisfaction over the casual approach of his counterparts in other SAARC countries towards SAFTA.

“All the member countries were required to have reduced the negative-list by 20 per cent in the last SAFTA meeting. Except for Bangladesh, no one came up with the list; rather they asked for more time,” he said.

Khan said: “It goes to show that the political direction from other countries either is not very clear about SAFTA, or, it is very clear that they don’t want to implement it.”

The minister said that the South Asian countries are busy infighting while other regional blocks are increasing trade.

In 1967 intra-regional trade was 12 per cent of the total trade of the ASEAN countries, which rose to 26 per cent this year. Similarly, EU intra-regional trade went up to 55 percent in 2011 from 35 per cent in 1992; trade between NAFTA countries went up from 38 per cent in 1994 to 58 per cent in 2011. The African intra-regional trade also went up from 10 per cent in 1994 to 23 per cent this year.

“SAARC trade in 1995 was 2.28 per cent, and now it is 5 per cent. We are moving at snail’s speed,” Khan said.

The minister said that the increasing trade ties among South Asian countries will create a competitive business environment leading to higher standards of living, new investment opportunities, infrastructural development, better products and highly paid jobs.

SAARC members are still to initiate an institutional framework to take further steps toward full economic integration.

There has been no discussion about the possible next moves (following the implementation of FTA), such as to form a customs union, and eventually a common market and a regional currency with a common central bank.

Environment certificates in quagmire

Posted in Bangladesh, Business, Dhaka, Economy, Environment by Sherpa Hossainy on June 25, 2011

Published in The Independent on June 23, 2011

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Industry owners on Wednesday blamed deep-rooted corruption and bureaucratic bottlenecks as serious hindrances toward establishing sustainable and eco-friendly industries.

Corrupt practices while issuing environment clearance certificate (ECC) coupled with regulatory impediments and lack of inter-ministerial co-operation are affecting the country’s industrial growth, they said.

The industry leaders were speaking at a workshop on complexities in environment clearance certificate for industrial ventures and reducing corruption at Hotel Pan Pacific Sonargaon in Dhaka. The workshop was organised by the International Business Forum of Bangladesh (IBFB). Mahmudul Islam Chowdhury, president of IBFB, presided over the workshop.

Under section 12 of the Bangladesh Environment Conservation Act 1995, no industrial unit or project can be undertaken without obtaining an ECC from the Department of Environment (DoE).

ECC ensures that the industrial unit meets all the prescribed standards set by the Bangladesh government in terms of air, water, noise and other environmental components.

The DoE classifies all industrial projects in four categories: Green, which do not have any negative impact on the environment, Orange A, which produce such wastes that can produce moderate or significant impacts on environment but the impacts can be mitigated easily; Orange-B, which produce some adverse environmental impacts but not considered overly significant and impacts can be mitigated with no residual adverse impacts, and Red, which can have a significant impact on the surrounding environment and the adverse impacts must be properly managed or controlled.

A survey carried out by the research wing of IBFB among industry owners and service providers showed that submitting an application for ECC required 10 documents on an average for Red and Orange B category, which can get to a maximum of 14.

Another survey reported in Bangladesh administrative barriers review (2006) showed the average time taken to process an ECC application by service providers takes 105 days for Red category, which may even take a maximum of 420 days.

The survey also cited the total reported cost to obtain an ECC can shoot up to Tk 6,300,000.

The DoE did not perform any further inspection after taking unofficial money from industry owners, and only 20 per cent of the time they regularly visited the industry, the survey revealed.

The IBFB survey also revealed that 70 per cent of the respondents are not satisfied with the DoE services on ECC, while 20 per cent were satisfied and 10 per cent did not answer.

Besides unearthing the dominance of unofficial money the IBFB survey also showed that after getting the ECC, 40 per cent of the industry owners did not operate ETP (Effluent Treatment Plant).

Monowarul Islam, director general of the ministry of environment and forest, rebuffed the claim of not issuing ECC to the industry owners by saying that 2,245 new ECC was issued last year while 3,408 ECC was renewed.

However Islam admitted that attitude of relevant officials in DoE is sometimes unfavourable and there are some corrupt officials who are taking bribes.

“Performance based salary should be introduced to reduce corruption like Singapore, and policy conflict within the government has to addressed for the sake of national interest,” Islam said.

AK Azad, president of Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FBCCI), claimed that the country’s administration is completely corrupt.

Azad, speaking as the chief guest, said, “I had to pay bribe in the name of duty drawback system in the customs. If the FBCCI president has to give bribe, it is obvious what happens to the small business owners.”

ABM Mafizur Rahman, research director of IBFB, proposed some recommendations to get rid of corruption in the ECC issuance process: categorisation of industrial ventures, incorporating local administration, increasing manpower in DoE and the environment clearance committee, uniform validity period for ECC, changing the mindset of the people in the DoE, and publishing the news of issuance of ECC in the media.

Realtors demand urgent electricity connection

Posted in Bangladesh, Business, Dhaka by Sherpa Hossainy on June 25, 2011

Published in The Independent on June 22, 2011

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Real estate business owners on Monday urged the government to unconditionally provide electricity connections to the finished apartments to prevent investment stagnation and loan-defaulting.

“We request the energy ministry to provide the pending connections to the buildings and structures on an urgent basis,” Md Enamul Haque, executive member of Real Estate and Housing Association of Bangladesh (REHAB).

He was speaking at the closing ceremony of the REHAB summer fair 2011 at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in Dhaka. Md Enamul Haque, state minister for power, was present as the chief guest.

He said the government’s condition of producing 10 per cent of a building’s power requirement from solar panels is not possible now, as the existing structure will not allow it.

“If we can not sell those apartments our investments will become stagnant, and we will not be able to give wage to the labourers,” he said.

The Tk 70,000 crore ($9.59 billion) real estate industry employs over 1 crore people and contributes 15 per cent to the GDP.

“If REHAB does not survive, the related ceramic, rod and plastic industries will not survive also,” Md Enamul Haque, also a member of the parliament, said.

The REHAB executive member termed the recent tax on commercial space that has gone up from 2,000 to 20,000 as ‘absurd’, and said it is impossible to pay such high taxes.

The state minister said the REHAB members should abide by the existing laws towards planned urbanisation and work for the sake of people.

“Earthquake and other natural disasters have to be considered while building structures. The realtors also have to be socially responsible,” he said.

The minister said unplanned structures creates traffic tailbacks and makes life more miserable, but there is no way but to go for high-rises in Dhaka as land is scarce.

“The high-rises have to be built in other big cities too, possibly satellite cities can be built under the government’s PPP projects,” he said.

He also stressed on building eco-friendly structures to save fuel and energy.

The minister said a total of 823,000 applications are pending in PDB, DESCO, REB and DPDC, and those connections’ cumulative demand for electricity is 1,400-1,500 MW.

Murad Iqbal Chowdhury, general secretary of REHAB, said REHAB is satisfied on how the fair finished despite much negative propaganda against the realtors, and bad weather.

The total attendance in the fair was 27,229, while there were 264 participants and 19 co-sponsors. The participants sold 771 flats, 1049 plots and 19 commercial spaces worth Tk 1,170 crore ($160.27 million) and there was also additional prospective offers worth Tk 2,400 crore ($328.77 million).

Dairy industry seeks greater policy support

Posted in Bangladesh, Business, Dhaka, Economy by Sherpa Hossainy on June 20, 2011

Published in The Independent on June 20, 2011

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Bangladesh’s dairy industry owners on Sunday urged for greater policy support from the government with proper incentives to help the country become self-sufficient in dairy production.

They were speaking at a seminar titled “Dairy industry development requirements: budget reaction”, organised by Community-based Dairy Veterinary Foundation (CDVF), at Bangaldesh Agricultural Research Council (BARC) auditorium in Dhaka. Md Abdur Razzak, minister for food and disaster management, was present as the chief guest.

The minister said: “The dairy industry has a great role to play in eradicating poverty and it has the potential to ensure the people’s nutritional needs. It doesn’t require too much land, which is very scarce in our country.”

He said food security has three aspects — availability of food, access to food and nutrition. Almost 40 per cent of the people live under the poverty-line in Bangladesh and 35 per cent of them are malnourished.

In the past 46 years, rise in calorie intake in Bangladesh was 15 per cent, while in the same period China and Vietnam recorded 102 and 50 per cent growth respectively.

Razzak said that the farmers are not getting the proper price for the milk they produce as there is a lack of marketing and processing facilities.

He also stressed on the need for improving the quality of livestock feed and asked for greater initiative from the Livestock Department.

He said dairy industry is also a part of agriculture; hence the inequity in receiving budget allocation and other facilities has to be addressed.

“Agricultural sectors get loan on two per cent interest, but dairy industries have to pay eight per cent. The rate has to be equal or at least brought down to a reasonable level,” Razzak said.

The minister recommended extensive research to invent alternative livestock feed and said farmers has to shift from rice to corn, which is the best and cheapest livestock feed.

“Bangladesh’s climate is highly suitable for growing corn. We also have to protest in international forums against the use of bio-fuel, which is mainly produced from corn, as it is making corn costlier,” he said.

Md Shamsuddin, chair of CDVF, in his keynote paper recommended some steps for the government such as: recognising dairy as a separate sector in GDP, increasing livestock feed supply and providing cash incentives for dairy industries, and ensuring vaccination for livestock.

Shamsuddin also urged the authorities to establish a dairy development council and said that there should be separate budget allocation for livestock research.

Shamsuddin said that in order to be self-sufficient in milk production by 2021 Bangladesh has to produce 17,900,000 tonnes of milk, and to meet the customer demand against a 7 per cent growth rate the industry has to grow by more than 10 per cent. Currently the growth rate of livestock is less than four per cent.

Dairy industry’s contribution in GDP is 2.67 per cent, while the budget allocation for the sector is only 0.27 per cent. Bangladesh currently has a yearly dairy production of 2,686,000 tonnes against a demand of 7,227,000 tonnes.

The country imports 51,500 tonnes of powdered milk, equivalent to 640,000 tonnes of milk.

Wais Kabir, executive chairman of BARC, and MA Sattar Mandal, vice chancellor of Bangladesh Agricultural University, were also present.

ADB to fund 500 MW Bangladesh PV project

Posted in Bangladesh, Business, Dhaka, Finance, International publication, Renewable energy, Technology by Sherpa Hossainy on June 11, 2011

Published in the PV-magazine, Germany, on 9 June, 2011

Read the article on PV website

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has said it will provide funds for a 500 megawatt (MW) photovoltaic project in Bangladesh’s off-grid areas.

The top executives of ADB assured a high-level Bangladesh delegation of the grants on the final day of its three-day Asia Solar Energy Forum’s conference, held in Bangkok, Thailand at the start of June. The delegation was led by the Prime Minister’s energy adviser, Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury.

“The project needs an investment of about $3 billion, of which we proposed for 60 percent capital funds and 20 percent long-term soft loans,” a government source in the power division who attended the conference said. “The rest will be provided by the government and the private sector.”

He added: “But the exact amount of funds will be finalised after the project feasibility study by the ADB and Bangladesh Government.”

The 500 MW plan

The proposed 500 MW solar project aims to see photovoltaics installed in urban areas, and mini-grid solar plants in rural areas, officials who attended the conference said. Specifically, the plan includes social-impact projects where solar power will be delivered to rural health centres, schools and other important institutions.

The Bangladesh Government’s power division and state-owned Infrastructure Development Company Limited (IDCOL), along with private organisations such as Rahimafrooz Renewable and Grameen Shakti, will implement the project.

The nine ministries that would also help with its implementation, in coordination with the Power Division, are the ministries of railway, Local Government Engineering Department (LGED), housing and public works, health and family planning, religious affairs, education, industries and agriculture.

Among the ministries, the power ministry would install solar panels worth 100 MW, while the railway division will install 50 MW worth at railway stations. Meanwhile, the LGED will install solar panels totalling 70 MW in cities; the housing and public works ministry will install 100 MW on public buildings; the health ministry 50 MW; and the religious affairs ministry will install 10 MW of solar panels at different religious institutions.

Furthermore, the education ministry will set up 40 MW worth of solar systems at schools and colleges, the industries ministry will install 20 MW at different state-owned mills and factories, and the agriculture ministry will set up solar-based irrigation pumps worth a  total of 80 MW at different places.

The delegation officials claimed that the project would save about $100 million worth of fuel subsidies and will generate carbon credits of over $95 million.
ADB vice president Xiaoyu Zhao and senior members expressed their satisfaction with the proposed plan and assured all-out support to work with Bangladesh.

Investment fund

The ADB is also discussing with European countries about an investment fund of $500 million for solar projects in developing countries like Bangladesh, official sources said.

Germany, Spain and Italy are among the countries that have offered incentives to help bolster the solar-power generating capacity.

Every month more than 30,000 solar home systems are being installed in Bangladesh, thus adding 1.5 MW of electricity to the country’s national power generation.

The ADB arranged the conference as part of its policy to promote renewable energy, particularly solar-based power systems, in the Asian countries. It plans to introduce 3,000 MW of solar-based power systems in the region by 2013.

Delegations from most of the Asian countries, including India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, China and Maldives participated in the conference.

Bangladesh set to install 2,000 PV power plants

Posted in Bangladesh, Business, Dhaka, Economy, Finance, International publication, Renewable energy, Technology by Sherpa Hossainy on June 11, 2011

Published in the PV-magazine, Germany, on 10 June, 2011

Read the article on PV website

Bangladesh is set to install 2,000 photovoltaic mini-grid power plants by 2014 in a bid to bring its off-grid areas under the power network.

The Infrastructure Development Company Limited (IDCOL), a state owned financial institution, has reportedly said it will provide loans for the project.

“Plants with an average capacity of 25 kilowatts (kW) will be installed in the off-grid areas of Bangladesh, which will generate 113 kWh electricity every year,” IDCOL chief executive officer Islam Sharif said.

Sharif went on to explain that a 25 kW solar mini-grid can save the kerosene consumption of 60 households or small shops in the rural areas, each of which consumes eight litres of kerosene per month.

“This will save 11,520 tonnes of kerosene per year altogether, and cut dependency on fossil fuels,” he said, adding that “each solar mini-grid will generate electricity for four and a half hours and produce 113 kWh electricity. This will reduce the national grid demand by 82GWh per year.”

IDCOL will select some non-government organisations (NGO) or private entities as partner organisations to implement the plan on the basis of their management capacity, financial strength and micro-finance experience, Sharif continued.

“IDCOL will first assess the proposals submitted by the organisations, approve those based on some specific guidelines and then give out grants and soft loans,” the IDCOL CEO said.

“The organisations will select the plant areas and target consumers. They will be bound to operate the plant for at least the loan period,” he added.

Although Bangladesh boasts significant experience in installing solar home systems in remote and off-grid areas, the solar mini-grid project is the first of its kind here.

As of May 2011, 950,000 plus photovoltaic systems were installed in Bangladesh, supported by the government and financed by IDCOL under its Solar Home System (SHS) project, along with 30 NGO and private sector partners.

As another new addition to the energy sector, the Bangladesh Government recently has taken up a pilot project to use solar energy for irrigation pumps.

The country’s government has also lifted all sorts of tax and VAT on renewable energy equipments to encourage the use of sustainable renewable energy sources.

Marketing guru asks youth to go global

Posted in Bangladesh, Business, Celebrity, Corporate, Dhaka, Economy, Gurus by Sherpa Hossainy on June 11, 2011

Published in The Independent on 9 June, 2011

Read the article on Independent website

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Marketing legend Philip Kotler, on Wednesday, asked the Bangladeshi youth to embark into the global marketing scenario to enhance the brand image of the country.

“I want all of you to be crusaders in the international marketing field and create some pioneer Bangladeshi brands,” said Professor Philip Kotler.

He was speaking at a lecture session for the youth titled “Inspiring the future minds”, organised by Bangladesh Brand Forum in Mirpur Indoor Stadium in Dhaka.

“Doing your product’s marketing in a different country is risky and could become difficult. You should have the knowledge of the culture, language and the philosophy of that place. You might want a local partner to do business with,” said the professor of international marketing at the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University.

Kotler told some 2,500 future leaders to think out of the box and be involved in every aspects of marketing to promote quality products from Bangladesh.

“You should be able to think horizontally, not vertically. If you are not thinking horizontally, you are not thinking about your business as a whole. You’ll get stuck,” said Kotler, widely regarded as the father of modern marketing.

The marketing guru also advised the youth that he would like all of them to study finance besides marketing to move up the ladder in an organisation.

“Sometimes finance could be boring with all the numbers, but a blend of marketing and finance is the key to make a company successful,” he said.

Dr Philip Kotler giving his lecture to the youth at Mirpur indoor stadium, Dhaka on 8 June, 2011

Kotler said the major global companies are increasingly using social media like facebook and twitter for marketing and they need young professionals who can apply their skills there.

“Social media is especially important for companies that want to reach young people. You will be needed as social media experts because the youth are better at it than the seniors,” he said.

Although Kotler remained sceptical about 100 per cent social media based companies saying that would be “a disaster”.

“I would advise, 90 per cent advertisement based and 10 per cent social media based companies. They can research and learn the latter’s impact and make plans on how to use it effectively,” he said.

He predicted that there will be a certain point in the future when there will only be good companies, as the bad ones will be eliminated by the customers’ social media campaign.

Professor Kotler, consistently ranked amongst the top 10 business thinkers of the world, stressed the need for more customer engagement and structured customer relationship management.

“A brand is a promise, it is the way you manage expectations of the customers. So get close and know your customers, build customer database and focus on their needs,” he said.

Kotler said the previous marketing theory of infinite resources and infinite needs is redundant in the contemporary world. The theory has now changed into “finite resources and finite needs.”

Professor Kotler, the author of ‘Marketing Management’, which is the most widely used marketing textbook in graduate schools of business around the globe with 20 million plus copies sold, also stressed on poverty alleviation through social marketing.

“Besides product, price, place and promotion there’s a fifth ‘P’ now – ‘purpose’. You have to put together these five ‘P’s and implement them for social marketing,” Kotler said.

Kotler advises Bangladesh to set focal points for growth

Posted in Bangladesh, Business, Celebrity, Corporate, Dhaka, Gurus by Sherpa Hossainy on June 8, 2011

Published in The Independent on 8 June, 2011

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International marketing guru Philip Kotler yesterday advised Bangladesh to identify its priority sectors to become a developed nation.

“Study the best companies in each industry, chose industries that you want to be best in and then reach out,” said Kotler, revered as the father of modern marketing.

Philip Kotler said that Bangladesh is doing well in ready made garment products, pharmaceuticals and food production but it still has not worked out in which sector it wants to be a pioneer.

“It is up to the government to help figure out what industries are the future and which one should be nurtured,” Kotler, professor of international marketing at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, said.

Dr Philip Kotler, the father of modern marketing

Kotler cited the examples of Japan and Singapore’s rise as economic superpowers and advised Bangladesh to follow the same strategy.

“Japan started by copying US products, but they made them better and hence came the term ‘made in Japan’. Now the USA envies Japan as their products are superior.

“Singapore is only a city, even smaller than Dhaka. They decided they are good at three basic things: education, health service and finance. Now they have become a financial capital for the region,” the professor said.

He said Bangladesh has to promote the brand “Made in Bangladesh”. He also recommended making industries that can generate foreign currencies, and attract foreign companies.

Kotler said that Bangladesh should be included in the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) as it is a big country in terms of population.

He also asked Bangladesh to learn from the examples of India and China in poverty alleviation.

Kotler said: “Your neighbours India and China is working hard on finding ways how to make things cheaper so they can be afforded by the poor people. You should be doing the same.”

Kotler also expressed his keen interest in Bangladesh economy and market and lauded Muhammad Yunus and Grameen Bank for their efforts in social marketing.

ICAB for fresh tax ceiling

Posted in Bangladesh, Business, Corporate, Dhaka, Finance by Sherpa Hossainy on June 8, 2011

Published in The Independent on 7 June, 2011

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The government should bolster direct tax collections rather than relying heavily on indirect taxes, the regulatory body for chartered accountants suggested on Monday.

“To eliminate growing economic inequality the government should emphasise on simpler direct tax collection method,” said Parveen Mahmud, president of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Bangladesh (ICAB).

She was speaking at a press conference on the national budget 2011-12 at the ICAB auditorium in Dhaka, where she presented a summary of a 47-point proposal ahead of the upcoming budget.

Mahmud said, “Increasing the tax department’s efficiency and redefining slabs of income and scopes of tax is essential.”

The ICAB president informed that only 7 lakh people, among 22 lakh having Tax Identification Number (TIN), submit tax returns. The rest don’t as their income is under the minimum taxable level, she said.

She proposed an amount of Tk 2,500 to be imposed as renewal fee for the TIN certificate for such non-submission of the return.

“This is likely to increase the total tax revenue by Tk 375 crore ($53.57 million) a year,” Mahmud said.

She said that there are many NGOs who do not submit their tax returns. NGO affairs bureau can ask them to produce the current tax clearance certificate before renewing enlistment, she proposed.

Mahmud also proposed to raise the current tax-free income limit for male and female senior citizens (aged 65 years or more) to Tk 200,000 and Tk 225,000 respectively, which is now Tk 165,000.

“Minimum tax may also be increased to Tk 2,500 from Tk 2,000 taking the rising inflation into account.

“The limit of tax-free perquisites (house rent, conveyance and medical allowances) in case of salary income could also be increased up to Tk 400,000 from Tk 250,000,” she suggested.

Extending tax-holiday scheme, which is due to expire on June 30, for five more years, reducing corporate tax rates, single VAT registration for all business premises and developing a unique VAT software for NBR were among other proposals from the ICAB.

Reduction of import duties for raw materials and machineries to increase the competitiveness of locally manufactured products is also necessary, Mahmud said.
The budget for the financial year 2011-12 is going to be placed in the national parliament on June 9.

DFID to provide fund to improve textiles sector

Posted in Bangladesh, Business, Dhaka, Finance, RMG and textile by Sherpa Hossainy on June 8, 2011

Published in The Independent on 4 June, 2011

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The UK government’s Department for International Development (DFID) is going to fund a three-year project aiming to explore sustainable innovative practices to improve the textile sector’s competitiveness, which will eventually help to add value to its products.

The development partnership in higher education project (DelPHE) will bring together London College of Fashion (LCF), BGMEA Institute of Fashion and Technology (BIFT) and United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) to deliver a research scheme between Bangladesh and the UK.

“The project will form a strong dialogue between the job and the education sector that will create relevant industry training programmes and develop new curriculum,” said John T Smith, national coordinator of UNIDO, and one of the project managers.

The study will be based on the future challenges of sustainable fashion and apparel companies in the UK and Bangladesh, he added.

The project is managed by a team of international and local experts: Lynne Hammond from London College of Fashion, Munira Rahman, national coordinator of UNIDO and Rushmita Alam, head of fashion at BIFT.

Smith said: “The industry is evolving to higher value-added products through improving functions like fashion design, reducing lead time and improving compliance with health and safe working condition.”

DFID has invested up to £3 million a year in different countries in the DelPHE project, which aims to enable higher education institutes to act as catalysts for poverty reduction and sustainable development and contribute towards the UN millennium development goals.

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