To make the Ready Made Garment (RMG) sector safe at international level numerous steps have been taken already. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina urges various brands and buyers to support the RMG factory owners in this regard as the government would continue to provide its support. The premier also asked all concerned to expand Bangladesh’s export market with diversified products in the world market and thus boost export earnings. She said those while inaugurating Dhaka Apparel Summit 2017 on 25th February at Hotel Sonargaon in the capital.
“Under the initiative, 3,869 factories have been inspected. Among those, faults have been found in only 39 factories and they were closed down. Huge funds are required to overhaul the factories. So, various brands and buyers can come forward to assist the Bangladeshi factory owners,” she said.
The premier said after the Rana Plaza accident, building a risk-free and compliant apparel sector had become a great challenge for the government. “We have overcome the challenge with the help of all,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina said that Bangladesh’s export market for RMG products is not healthy. There are many opportunities to increase the export market.
“We’ve to diversify our products and expand our market for boosting our export earnings. Alongside, we have to learn how to add value in our products. Our export list is not long rather it is heavily RMG-dependant. Again, our export is also limited to a few countries of North America and West Europe,” She added.
The premier said nearly 80 percent of Bangladesh’s export income comes from the garment sector. “It employs more than 4 million workers, of whom, 80 percent are women. Indirectly, nearly 40 million people are dependent on this sector,” she said.
The summit is intended for opening discourse on framing strategies to secure a more sustainable apparel supply chain from local and global perspectives to attain the target of earning US$ 50 billion dollar from RMG sector marking the country’s fiftieth anniversary of Independence. As a sequel to the success of the first Dhaka Apparel Summit, which was held in 2014, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) in partnership with Bangladesh Apparel Exchange (BAE) organized the event.
The Summit featured three panel discussion sessions with allowing full audience participation and the opportunity for a valid exchange of ideas where representatives of the government, international organizations, economists, brand representatives, development organizations, employers, workers’ representatives, civil society members, academics, and media from home and abroad attended.
BGMEA President Siddiqur Rahman delivered the welcome address in the summit, where he said, “With the support of government, ILO, brands led initiative ‘Accord and Alliance’ we have completed inspection in all export oriented garment factories.”
Already 68% safety issues in Alliance factories and 75% safety issues in Accord factories have been corrected. Our estimate is that by the year the remediation works of factories under Accord and Alliance will be completed, he added.
Putting highlight on remarkable progress in green industrialization issue he expressed dissatisfaction on recent workers unrest issue.
Finance Minister AMA Muhith, Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed, Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali, State Minister for Labour and Employment Ministry Mujibur Huq, the EU Ambassador to Bangladesh Pierre Mayaudon and BGMEA First Vice President Mainuddin Ahmed also addressed in the inaugural session.
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