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Bangladesh RMG units advised to relocate to rural areas

Publication Date : 06-08-2012


Garment makers of Bangladesh have been advised to subcontract partial processes to rural areas to reduce the urban pressure.

“You do not need to bring all the workers to the city. You can dye, stitch and cut the garment items in the rural areas through subcontracting,” Finance Minister A.M.A. Muhith said yesterday.

Moving goods is easy in Bangladesh now, Muhith said as the chief guest at the inaugural of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) sponsored GORBO-2, a musical talent-hunt reality show for garment workers.

The minister also unveiled the CD album of the top 10 GORBO-1 singers from 2010 at the ceremony at the Radisson Hotel in Dhaka.

Begum Monnujan Sufian, state minister for labour and employment, said the government will make three dormitories for garment workers in Narayanganj, Ashulia and Gazipur to reduce the housing problem.

She suggested allocation of funds for dorms to individual factories from the under-utilised Prime Minister's Fund of 1 billion taka (US$12.25 million).

Strong partnerships between workers, owners and the government will help Bangladesh beat China to become the largest apparel exporter worldwide, said Dan W. Mozena, the US ambassador to Bangladesh.

Bangladesh should be the number one garment exporter in the world and the Chinese investment should also come to Bangladesh, he commented.

“I am pleased to see the government, workers, owners and representatives from the ILO (International Labour Organisation) working to implement the Better Work Programme of the ILO,” Mozena said.

Implementation of such programme at the factory level will help coming together of all stakeholders, he said.

Workers and managements of the garment factories have miraculously turned Bangladesh into the second largest garment exporter in the world, Mozena said.

Commenting that it is not possible to increase worker salaries every month or year, Israfil Alam, chairman of the parliamentary standing committee on labour and employment ministry, said: “Only assured global fair prices for cutting and making could ensure fair salaries for workers."

Ralf Matthias Reusch, charge d'affaires of the German embassy in Dhaka, said Bangladesh should also increase the social activities and compliances at the factory level to continue export growth of garment items.

He also echoed Mozena's comment about Bangladesh's opportunity and potential to become the largest garment exporter globally.

AK Azad, president of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) said the country needs political stability to achieve the export target of $28 billion during the current fiscal year.

David Sauman, country representative of H&M, said the readymade garment industry is vital to the Bangladesh economy, just as workers are to the industry. Programmes like Gorbo would increase sustainability of the industry, he hoped.

Abdus Salam Murshedy, president of the Exporters Association of Bangladesh, urged all the owners to pay salaries and arrears in time to avoid untoward incidents before the Eid festival.

He also urged the government to introduce rationing system for the garment workers so that they can buy the five basic commodities at rational prices.

Atiqul Islam, chief coordinator of GORBO-2, said the programme will play a great role toward a better industrial relationship in the sector.

The talent hunt will continue over the next six months to select 10 best singers among the garment workers, he said.

President of Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry Asif Ibrahim, representatives from ILO Dhaka office and GIZ also spoke.


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