When the country's economy is going through a tough ride due to the Covid-19 pandemic, SM Group, a leading conglomerate of ready-made garment (RMG) and textile sector in the country, is showing some sort of hope by opening an export-oriented accessories factory.
The group has come with an investment of Tk 1.3 billion to set up the factory in Gazipur to manufacture 20 types of garment accessories, said its officials.
The founding ceremony of SM Accessories Ltd was held at Keowa in Gazipur recently.
Chairman of SM Group, Syed A K Anwaruzzaman, told the FE that they are setting up the factory to generate employment as well as to boost export even during this pandemic.
He said the government has taken a dynamic decision to keep RMG factories and other industries open by following all health safety guidelines to continue the country's economic activities.
"We are strictly following the government-set health rules to maintain sound business during this corona period."
"And following this, we've dared to open a new accessories factory to help the country's economy during this tough time," he added.
Deputy managing director of SM Group Syed Mohammed said the factory is being built on 18 bighas of land, and they have a target to export products worth US$ 30 million (nearly Tk 2.55 billion) annually.
More than 2,000 people will be employed in the factory, which is expected to start production within this December.
The factory will make products including auto carton (SQM), woven label, poly, printed label/screen-print, auto screen print, twill tape, crochet elastic, jacquard elastic, drawstring, ribbon, sewing thread, offset, thermal, heat transfer, gum tape (roll), and printed gum tape (roll), etc.
Mr Mohammed noted that SM Group already has two knit factories in Gazipur, which have employed about 8,000 people. The Group exports garment items worth $90 million annually.
Apart from export, SM Accessories Ltd will also supply products to local export-oriented garment factories.
He also said local accessories and packaging makers now meet the requirements for 30 to 35 kinds of accessories needed for RMG exporters.
The domestic accessories makers are contributing to the country by saving a huge amount of foreign currency, he added.
According to the Bangladesh Garments Accessories and Packaging Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGAPMEA), some 1,744 factories in the country export accessories and packaging products worth $7.5 billion annually, which is 15-18 per cent of the total RMG export earning. The sector has provided employment to over 0.75 million.