Refayet Ullah Mirdha
Many local knitwear manufacturers and exporters have complained that Malu NV, a Belgian buyer of readymade garment (RMG) from Bangladesh, is allegedly cheating them with charging heavy discount by conducting frequent inspections of the shipped goods.
Following such non-cooperation from Malu, some local manufacturers are losing their competitiveness in international trade, the exporters said.
However Malu NV has denied the allegation.
“I have sold my personal car to pay my workers”, said Mansoor Hamid, managing director of Marshall Knittex Ltd, which was supplying knitwear products to Malu NV.
He said the victims have already submitted their complaints officially to Malu NV and the local associations concerned demanding immediate solution to the problem as they are incurring losses from such anti-business attitudes from the Belgian buyer.
In the written complaint, Hamid said he was facing problems with his bank due to the Malu’s cancellation of shipment of 25,000 pieces knitwear products.
He alleged that all other buyers are doing fair business with them following the norms, but Malu is the only buyer, which has put the manufacturers under pressure of discount and other threats.
Hamid said after an order is finalised and once goods are ready for shipment, Malu takes the products to Chittagong Port and keep those at the port for 20-25 days unnecessarily.
When the goods reach Rotterdam port or Antwerp port in Belgium, Malu sends message to the suppliers that a pre-shipment test will be conducted for the final delivery, he said.
Aminur Rahman, managing director of GC Fashion Wear Ltd, another victim, alleged that Malu NV has deducted more than 20 percent from the value of its each delivery.
The buyer has taken away 40 percent from JR Knit Fashion’ delivery, 10 percent from Oaishe Composite Knit Garment Ltd, 10 percent from Tex Bay Ltd, 50 percent from Rising Sun Knit Ltd and 10 percent from Fourthway Knittex Ltd, officials of the companies alleged.
When contacted, Roger Van Craen, managing director of Malu NV, told The Daily Star that the claim made by the Bangladeshi suppliers was not true as the dispute was resolved through discussion.
He said Malu demanded discount from the factory owners due to delayed shipment and poor quality of goods of some suppliers.
“I have been doing business with Bangladesh for the last 10 years and I import garment items worth $35 million a year,” said Craen, the owner of Malu NV that has an annual turnover of $70 million.
“I am expanding the volume of business in Bangladesh as the country produces quality knitwear at cheaper price,” the Malu chief said.
Fazlul Hoque, president of Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association, said he was formally apprised of the situation.
“We will try to solve the problem through discussion,” Hoque said.
Source: The Daily Star, 30 June 2009