Both the BGMEA and the BTMA leaders demand gas connections for the country's largest foreign currency earner on a priority basis as the readymade garment factory owners, especially those who want to shift their non-compliant units from the capital city and adjacent to it, are facing difficulties due to non-availability of gas for the last couple of years.
Some 64 non-compliant readymade garment factories, mostly located in shared or rented buildings, failed to relocate their units only because they are not allowed to shift their existing gas connection to the new destinations, according to the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA).
About 86 factories applied for increasing gas load while 83 more applied for new connections, the BGMEA said.
On the other hand, investment in 30 spinning mills remained unused while many more could not go for expansion due to gas scarcity for some years, according to the leaders of the Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMA).
They want to relocate their existing units mainly to improve its workplace and other safety requirements, he said. But the government does not allow transfer of their existing gas connections.
Industry insiders alleged that more than 250 textile and garment factories failed to go into production and expansion mainly due to non-availability of gas for the last couple of years,
Md Abdullah, managing director of Al Muslim Group alleged that he failed to shift one of his units located at a shared building at Savar. He explained that he can operate the unit where it is now but buyers have warned that they would not place orders unless the unit meets safety requirements.
But it is not possible to meet compliance issues in the existing place, he said adding, he don't understand why the government is not allowing them to shift the existing gas connection to the new place the distance of which is not more than one kilometre.
After the Rana Plaza building collapse, manufacturers frantically tried to relocate their units in shared or rented buildings to sustain business but scarcity of gas is hindering the process, he added.
The group shifted machines and workers to its another unit but failed to shift boiler and generator of its washing and dying units. They are paying Tk 0.35 million charge per month.
New investment is a must to achieve the $50 billion apparel export target but entrepreneurs now fail to make proper utilisation of the existing investment, said Siddiqur Rahman, another entrepreneur, who also applied for gas connection.
The BGMEA president said that 233 RMG units need 50.92 cft gas for relocation, expansion and to operate the new ones. These units can create employment for additional thousands of workers and $1.0 billion more to the export earnings.
Fazlul Hoque, vice president of the BTMA, said that many textile factories failed to go into production as they are not getting gas connection for the last few years, while some 30 spinning mills are waiting for gas connection though they have invested a huge amount of money.
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