The country’s export earnings in the July-March period of the financial year 2015-16 grew by 8.95 per cent to $24.95 billion from $22.90 billion in the same period of FY15, riding on an excellent performance of the readymade garment sector. Experts and exporters found the export earnings growth in the first nine months satisfactory and estimated that the government’s export target set for the current fiscal year would be achieved. They said the export earnings growth is mostly RMG-driven and the sector would exceed its fiscal target as Bangladesh has gained the confidence of buyers through developing workplace conditions. The Export Promotion Bureau data released on Tuesday shows that the export earnings in March of FY16 grew by 9.20 per cent to $2.83 billion from $2.59 billion in the same month of FY15. According to the EPB data, export earnings from readymade garments in the July-March period of 2015-16 grew by 9.73 per cent to $20.44 billion from $18.62 billion in the same period of 2014-15. ‘The export earnings growth in the first nine months are satisfactory and prove that the Bangladesh readymade garments are still competitive in the global market,’ said Ahsan H Mansur, executive director, Policy Research Institute of Bangladesh, to New Age. He said by the end of the fiscal the growth would reach to near 10 per cent due to the performance of RMG products, as global buyers are now confident about compliances in the sector. Mansur said, ‘Due to the improvements in compliances in the readymade garment sector, exports are increasing to the US and other markets,’ adding, ‘The stakeholders in the sector as well as the government will have to take initiatives to sustain the growth.’ He, however, found it alarming that, except the RMG export, earnings from most of the other sectors have witnessed negative growths. The EPB data shows that in the July-March period the woven sector earned $10.76 billion, posting a 12.64 per cent growth, while the knitwear sector fetched $9.67 billion, showing a 6.68 per cent growth. Shahidullah Azim, former vice president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, said the RMG export earnings in the last nine months totalled $20.44 billion, which means $2.30 billion earnings per month on average. ‘We will have to achieve the $27 billion export target set by the government for FY16 and we have three more months. We are hopeful to exceed the target,’ he said. Echoing Mansur, Azim said, due to the initiatives of western buyers’ groups and the government, the workplace conditions have improved a lot, which has attracted buyers to place orders in large volumes from Bangladesh. According to the EPB data, leather and leather products exports in the first nine months of FY16 grew by 2.77 per cent to $851.33 million from $828.36 million in the same period of FY15, while leather footwear posted a 0.06 per cent negative growth to $354.02 million in the period. Frozen food and fish exports in the period fell by 12.99 per cent to $402.47 million from $462.53 million. Earnings from jute and jute goods in the July-March period of FY16 fell by 1.72 per cent to $641.58 million from $652.84 in the same period of FY15. Export earnings from pharmaceuticals in the first nine months of FY16 grew by 13.78 per cent to $61.66 million from $54.19 million in the same period of FY15, the EPB data shows.