Prime Minister urged to stay alert against conspirators to save RMG industry
DHAKA, Dec 7, 2014 Nirapad News – Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today called upon all concerned to remain alert against local and international conspirators who are out to destroy highly potential readymade garment sector of the country.
“Bangladesh is the world’s second largest readymade garment exporting country. But many don’t like it and they are engaged in plotting against the sector,” she said.
“If any problems arise (in the sector), we have an ability to solve those. So I urge all including garment owners and workers, foreign buyers and consumers to remain vigil against these local and international conspirators to save the sector,” she added.
The Prime Minister made the call while inaugurating the first-ever “Dhaka Apparel Summit” at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC) here.
She also opened the International Trade Expo for Building and Fire Safety 2014 and the Center of Excellence for Bangladesh Apparel Industry to chalk out a future roadmap for the country’s RMG sector.
Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) has organized the Dhaka Apparel Summit-2014 and the International Trade Expo for Building and Fire Safety 2014.
Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith, Industries Minister Amir Hossain Amu, Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed, Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali and State Minister for Labour and Employment Mujibul Haque Chunnu spoke at the function as special guests.
The Parliamentary State Secretary of German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development, Hans-Joachim Fuchtel, the Chairperson of the European Parliament Delegation for Relations with the Countries of South Asia, Jean Lambert, the Chairperson of the Alliance for Bangladesh Workers Safety, Ellen Tauscher, and the CEO of HSBC Bank, Bangladesh, Francois de Maricourt, also addressed the function.
BGMEA President Atiqul Islam chaired the function, while BGMEA First Vice-President Nasiruddin Chowdhury delivered the welcome address and Second Vice- President SM Mannan Kochi gave the vote of thanks.
The Prime Minister requested local and international buyers to raise the prices of garment products to make the life of the RMG workers more comfortable.
“Many buyers and their representatives remain present in today’s function. It is my request to them, increase the prices of the products. Then, our worker brothers and sisters could lead a more comfortable life and all would become an equal development partner,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina urged the country’s exporters to explore new markets to further boost exports of readymade garments as she assured that her government would remain beside the exporters to this end.
She said her government has taken a number of steps to expand the market of the readymade garment. As a result, she said, the European Union, Norway, Switzerland and Japan have relaxed the rules of origin of the GSP.
Due to these steps, Sheikh Hasina said, Bangladesh is getting duty-free access of 46 products to India and duty-free access of 98 percent goods to China.
“So, I call upon the garment exporters to ensure complete utilization of these opportunities. The government would remain beside you,” she said.
Putting emphasis on boosting productivity in the RMG sector to sustain in the world competitive market, the Prime Minister said diversification in design will have to be brought side by side with expanding markets.
Sheikh Hasina hoped that leading buying institutions of the world would remain beside Bangladesh. “Because, the garment products of Bangladesh are the best to them and the BGMEA will have to take more initiatives to retain this position,” she said.
In this connection, she stressed the need for implementation of short, medium and long-term plans to increase share of the country’s RMG export in the world market.
“We will have to boost share of our garment products and we have that capability. To materialise it, we will have to execute short, middle and long-term plans,” she said.
Stressing the need for conducting research to further strengthening RMG sector, the Prime Minister said there is no alternative to research and development for making advancement of any industry sustainable.
In this connection, she expressed satisfaction over the initiative taken by the BGMEA in collaboration with ILO to set up the Center of Excellence for Bangladesh Apparel Industry.
Sheikh Hasina said her government has given highest priority to create congenial atmosphere to invest in the country and called upon the local and foreign investors to utilize that scope.
“The aim of the present government is to upgrade Bangladesh as middle income country by 2021 and a developed one by 2041. And for this, a scope for massive industrialisation and employment will have to be created,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina said the RMG sector is advancing since the 90s and the Awami League government always remained beside the sector.
“We would continue this supportive role and it’s our responsibility as the government,” she said.
Spelling out her government’s steps for development of the RMG sector and ensuring security of the garment factories and welfare of the workers, the Prime Minister said officials concerned have already visited 2,193 factories under the accord, alliance and national action plan.
“Most of the factories are being run without trouble. The reform work in other factories is progressing fast,” she said, urging all concerned to come forward with a mind of cooperation.
The Prime Minister said her government wants to ensure security of the workers and safe production of the factories. “That’s why the government with the support the BGMEA as well as local and international organizations ensured setting up of safe, sustainable and compliant factories in a coordinated manner,” she said.
“The government has appointed inspectors to garment factories and we firmly believe that we could face this challenge,” she further said.
Sheikh Hasina said import duties on raw materials for pre-fabricated building in export-oriented garment industries as well as import duties on fire extinguishing equipments have been withdrawn to create safe working atmosphere.
She mentioned that her government increased wages of the workers by 220 percent raising minimum wages to Taka 5300 from Taka 1662 in five years.
The Prime Minister said the labour law has been made time befitting while professional health and safety for the workers have been ensured side by side with setting up a Taka 50-crore fund to enhance efficiency of the workers.
“A number of dormitories have been constructed for the female workers,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina said the work on establishing 18 special economic zones has begun, while initiatives have been taken to set up a garment economic zone in Munshiganj.
“We have increased power generation to 11,000-MW from 3200-MW and daily gas production to 2500 million cubic feet from 1700 million cft,” she said.
Later, the Prime Minister visited different stalls set up at the BICC on the occasion of the Dhaka Apparel Summit-2014 and the International Trade Expo for Building and Fire Safety 2014.