percent than that a year ago.

Of the amount, merchandise export target has been fixed at $45.50 billion, which is 12.25 percent higher than the achievement of last fiscal year.

Meanwhile exports from services sector has been set at $8.50 billion, a 34.10 percent year-on-year rise from that attained last fiscal year.

Md Mofizul Islam, senior secretary to the commerce ministry, announced the target after a meeting with businesspeople and leaders of trade bodies and business chambers at his secretariat office in Dhaka.

The target for the new fiscal year has been fixed on the achievements of the immediate past fiscal year.

World economic outlooks, government policy supports, changes in the dollar exchange rate, market and product diversification, supply side capacity, improvement of safety standards in garment factories and effects of the US-China trade war have been taken into consideration during fixing of the target, Islam said.

Last fiscal year receipts from merchandise shipment amounted to $40.53 billion and services sector $6.33 billion.

Overall exports had registered a 14.30 percent growth, 10.55 percent in goods shipments and 46.06 percent in services sector.

As usually, the highest export target has been fixed for the garment sector in the current fiscal year. This year the garment export target has been fixed at $38.20 billion, which is 11.91 percent higher than the achievement of last fiscal year.

Of the amount, $18.85 billion has been targeted from knitwear and $19.35 billion from the woven sector. Last year Bangladesh exported garment items worth $34.13 billion, registering a 11.49 percent year-on-year growth.

With exports not diversifying at the expected pace, the contribution of garment items in national exports claimed a larger share last fiscal year.

The contribution of garment sector (knitwear and woven) increased to over 84 percent from more than 82 percent last fiscal year.

Diversification in exports is slow despite government initiatives on providing cash incentives to different sectors with potential.

Last fiscal year the garment sector even exceeded the annual target by 4.42 percent. The target was set at $32.68 billion, according to data from the Ministry of Commerce.

Apart from garment items, the leather and leather goods sector has been considered as one of the most important sectors having potential in the current fiscal year. The commerce ministry set the export target at $1.09 billion from receipts of $1.01 billion last fiscal year.

Leather and leather goods was the second highest earning sector after garments. Only leather and leather goods sector could exceed the one billion US dollar-mark after garment items last fiscal year. Replying to queries of journalists, Islam said the government has been providing incentives to some sectors like leather, footwear, plastic goods and light engineering to encourage product diversification.  The government has already taken a project to diversify the export basket, he said.

While Mohammad Ali Khokon, president of Bangladesh Textile Mills Association, was talking about the problems and prospects of the primary textile sector, Islam said the ministry would hold a separate meeting with businesspeople to know of their comments for taking future course of action.

If the current trend of export continues, it is very much possible to achieve the export target of $60 billion by the end of 2021, said Islam.

[Source: https://www.thedailystar.net/business/news/govt-sets-export-target-54b-1783357]