Dhaka, Bangladesh
Waste working wonders

Editorial

Waste working wonders

The truth of the pithy saying that ‘small is beautiful’ is rarely recognized as in this modern age we are used to think of megaprojects instead of small ones. We are apt to forget the fact that big oaks from little acorns grow. Small entrepreneurship can work wonders if tenacity and innovation act in unison behind it. One glaring example is a number of small factories set up by marginal people in villages of Pabna. These people are making attires from apparel waste. It may sound incredible that waste can fetch foreign currency; but the small factories in villages show us that even the waste can be used for foreign exchange earning. According to a report run by an English daily, one Abdul Momin used to work at a garment factory in Dhaka a couple of years ago. Now he runs a small factory at his village of Banglabazar. Starting with a skimpy amount of TK 10,000 only, his factory is now valued at Taka five lakh. This can well be called ‘from rags to riches’ for a man who lived a hard-scrambling penurious existence. He now produces T-shirts to export those to a neighbouring country. In fact Momin acted as a role model for a large number of small entrepreneurs. They annually produce at least 20 crore pieces of garments, mostly T-shirts worth about TK1,500 crore. The primary source of raw material of the business is ‘Jhut’, the leftover fabrics and other accessories of export-oriented garment factories in Dhaka and Gazipur. Now T-shirts are exported to India, Malaysia and Bhutan. Besides, these entrepreneurs have created jobs for about 30,000 people. We think, this is no mean achievement, rather it is a significant contribution to the reduction of poverty and to the economic growth. Some T-shirt producers have recently got orders from Malaysia and have expanded their factories for smooth supply. Workers are also reaping benefits as each of them earns TK500 to TK600 a day and they can save some money. But the factories are now facing a major challenge of increasing prices of ‘Jhut’ resulting from monopoly of the business by a cartel. A big-hurdle is that these factory owners are deprived of soft loans or cash credit loans. They borrow money from other sources at a high rate of interest. The small industries are given liberal fillip in other countries. In recognition of the contribution of the small entrepreneurs the authorities should grant them adequate soft loans and other stimuli to help flourish the small industries.

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