Speakers at a programme underscored Friday the need for enhancing Bangladesh’s images among foreign buyers while creating more skilled professionals to ensure the apparel sector’s desired growth. They also said that the sector now needs to focus more on high-value apparel items and explore new export destinations for achieving the goal of $50 billion export income by 2021. The suggestions came at the inaugural ceremony of a day-long ‘Textile Youth Leadership Summit 2018’ in the city’s IDEB. Textile Today, a specialised magazine devoted to the readymade garment (RMG) sector, organised the event marking its 10th founding anniversary. President of Institution of Textile Engineers and Technologists (ITET) Shafiqur Rahman attended the opening ceremony as the chief guest, while Pro-Vice Chancellor of BGMEA University of Fashion and Technology (BUFT) Ayub Nabi Khan chaired the function. Ex-vice president of the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) Mohammad Hatem, Managing Director of Dysin, a chemical solution providing company, Md Amanur Rahman and Executive director of Akij Group M R Jamil Tipu spoke at the event among others. Speaking on the occasion, Shafiqur Rahman said that while the country’s economy is now mostly dependant on the apparel sector, the country still lacks required number of skilled professionals including textiles engineers. For this reason, he added, the sector has to spend millions of dollars on employing foreign experts. “It is high time we produce more textile engineers and other experts to bridge the gap,” he said. He urged the participants to develop their skill in line with the industrial demand. Hundreds of textile engineering students and young professionals attended the summit. In his speech, Amanur Rahman said the growth of the country’s apparel sector had been slowing down in recent years due to several reasons. “Transformation in terms of various issues including productivity, competitiveness and innovation is required to sustain the growth momentum,” he said. Mohammad Hatem said the development process in most of the wealthy countries began with the progress in the apparel sector. He also underscored the need for further development of infrastructure including a deep-sea port to facilitate the country’s international business.