A 5-year initiative called Mapped in Bangladesh (MiB) compiled and mapped export-oriented ready-made garment (RMG) factory data across Bangladesh using the factory census approach. It has mapped 3,723 factories as of mid-March 2022.
MiB project is being implemented by Centre for Entrepreneurship Development (CED) of Brac University (BracU), funded by Laudes Foundation and the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and being coordinated by BRAC. Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) and Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) are the strategic partners of the project. The project is also supported by the Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments (DIFE) under the Ministry of Labour and Employment (MoLE).
According to the latest MiB data, there are 2,754 factories that are members of the BGMEA and BKMEA. However, there are no official statistics on how many export-oriented RMG factories are being operated in Bangladesh without having the membership of BGMEA and BKMEA, which countries these factories export to, what products these factories make, and which brands these factories work for.
These factories are termed as non-member factories which are exporting at least 80% of their productions to different countries. So far, it has added 969 (non-member) factories to the map in order to increase openness and accountability.
MiB, the digital mapping of the industry, shows that the country’s export-oriented RMG facilities employ a total of 2,77,8677 individuals, significantly less than the 4.0 million claimed by entrepreneurs. However, MiB followed certain criteria for selecting export-oriented RMG factories as per their factory definition, the main reason for differing claims.
MiB has completed the first ever transparency mechanism of digital data mapping successfully and the project will come to an end in March 2022.
MiB’s objective is to give accurate, authentic, and up-to-date RMG factory information to all industry stakeholders in a way that allows for increased efficiency, productivity, accountability, and transparency by following a thorough data verification and validation methodology.
In all 64 districts of Bangladesh, an RMG factory census was undertaken. The majority of RMG factories are concentrated in only four districts, namely: Dhaka, Gazipur, Narayanganj and Chattogram. As of February 2022, other RMG factories are spread around 17 districts throughout Bangladesh.
MiB offers a transparency mechanism enabling accountability of the sector and an evidence-based decision-making tool for the sector stakeholders in a participatory and collective action approach with public and private governance entities and is aligned with the nation’s mandated “Digital Bangladesh Vision 2021”.
According to Afshana Choudhury, Joint Director of CED and the Lead Operations Officer of MiB, Brac University; “The MiB has covered basic factory information essential to the industry, such as name, address, number of employees, brand affiliation, etc. into its digital platform. It also provided product-specific factory types, such as knit, woven, sweater, etc.”
“This information can also be used by the government to formulate policies and organize various development efforts involving manufacturers and workers in the RMG sector,” she added.