Home Apparel Keraniganj apparel business nosedives

Keraniganj apparel business nosedives

The booming garment trade is just a near-forgotten past, so said the garment traders in the area who now count losses, but still sticks to their business legacy. Talking to the traders, it was evident that the sale has recently plummeted which has forced some shop owners to close their shops as they fail to pay their employees. They attributed an unfavourable business environment to the decrease in sales. Abdul Aziz Morol, proprietor of MR Garments and Chistia Garments, said: “I have been in the business over the last 25 years, but never faced such a situation.” “Once we made a sale of around Tk2-Tk5 lakh a day, but those are bygone days now.” “In the past three days I could not make any sale while Tk1 lakh is spent per month on shop rent. The country is developing but people are still starving here,” narrated the trader. Keraniganj cloth business made a silent revolution in the country, and still it meets 70% of the local market demand. The product items include different denim and woven items, including T-shirts, jeans, shirts, panjabi, borqua, undergarments and children’s wear. On condition of anonymity, a south Kaliganj wholesaler said the government has increased tax on garment products, which ultimately has shot up the prices of garments. In the wake of high price, buyers don’t feel interest to buy from here, he said. Asked how long they are going through such recession, the trader said they have seen reduction in sale over the past two years. Visiting some apparel markets of the south keraniganj vicinity to justify their claim, it was noticed that businessmen were making chit-chat with others while some were taking a doze. Harassment of buyers by the leaseholders is another reason for the downturn in sale, said Md Mojibur Rahman, proprietor of Kader Garments. He said leaseholders harass buyers while they carry goods through the boat terminal at Sadarghat. This prevents them from visiting the market. On the other hand the buyers are also forced to pay for their freight. Even sometimes they are physically assaulted if they fail to comply with the leaseholders’ demand. Some buyers alleged that muggers steal their goods. Besides, communication system and security were not good. Asked about harassment of buyers, Hasan Ahmed, one of the leaseholders said: “We charge every commuter Tk2 to enter the area on the Buriganga river, and at least Tk10 for freight they carry as per the directive of Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Corporation (BIWTC). Officer-in-Charge (OC) of South Keraniganj Police Station, however, refuted the allegation of mugging. He, however, said security is tight here all the time. In and around the capital, prominent shopping centres are also selling clothes made in Keraniganj. The apparel makers produce items targeting both lower and middle-income groups. “We sell a pair of normal jeans between Tk250 and Tk350 and quality ones at between Tk500 to Tk2,500,” said SK Jan-e Alam, proprietor of New Jetu Garments. The same products cost double or sometimes triple in various outlets in the capital, added the trader. “Actually we count on Eid ul-Fitr and Eid ul-Azha for making a good sale. Besides, winter session is also our target.” Traders also alleged that some local businessmen do not pay them on time. They purchase clothes on credit but later they do not communicate with the wholesalers. There are about 5,000 small factories and 5,500 showrooms in the apparel makets in Keraniganj and around two lakh people are employed there. The keraniganj products would become famous not only in the country but also in South Asia if the government patronised them. The trader demanded tax waiver, uninterrupted electricity and gas supply, easy loan and improved communication systems to make it happen. General Secretary of Keraniganj Garments Babosayee & Dokan Malik Samabai Somity Ltd Mizanur Rahman told the Dhaka Tribune that recession is actually going on across the world. “We are hopeful that our business will boom in the upcoming winter session.” Mizanur said foreign clothes from India and China are also affecting their business. “Some people in our country like foreign products but they don’t know what type of products they buy.”