No new spinning mills were set up in 2013 mainly due to political turmoil and a gas crisis although the sector has huge potential as the country has a thriving garment industry.
The number of such mills was 392 last year when two factories were closed down due to non-compliance. The number was 394 in the previous year and 385 in 2011, according to Bangladesh Textile Mills Association, a platform of the spinners.
Spinning mills are the main strength of the export-oriented garment sector, as they play an important role as a backward linkage industry for exports. In 2013, the number of fabrics manufacturing units rose to 782 from 777 in the previous year.
The number of dyeing, printing and finishing units also increased, to 240 in 2013 from 234 in the previous year, according to the BTMA.
“Entrepreneurs set up some spinning units every year, but last year was a difficult one because of political crisis,” BTMA President Jahangir Alamin said.
The primary textile sector was also struggling with the perennial gas and power crises last year, he added.
“The sector has a lot of potential as the country has already proven its strength in global apparel business,” he said.
All types of mills under the primary textile sector, such as spinning, dyeing, weaving, finishing and printing, need adequate supply of gas and power, Alamin said.
“Businesses invested around Tk 2,200 crore last year to expand capacity of the existing factories.”
Currently, the backward linkage industry supplies around 90 percent raw materials to the knitwear sub-sector and 40 percent to the woven sub-sector.
The rest of the demand is met through imports mainly from China and India. The total investment in the primary textile sector is 4 billion euros (around Tk 42,564 crore) now, according to the BTMA.
“We need political stability for investment to pick up,” said Kazi Akram Uddin Ahmed, president of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry.
The gas and power crises should be resolved soon to attract both domestic and foreign investments, he added.