The tremendous growth witnessed by the Bangladesh readymade garment (RMG) sector over the last few years has far outpaced the Government’s ability to inspect the manufacturing units for compliance of safety standards.
The garment industry in Bangladesh grew at a very fast pace compared to the Government’s ability to supervise and carry out inspection at factories, visiting Bangladeshi Commerce Minister Ghulam Muhammed Quader told reporters on the sidelines of a Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) Summit in Agra.
However, fresh inspections are now being carried out at all of the country’s nearly 5,000 clothing and textile units to ensure that they are complying with necessary safety standards, the Minister said.
The Minister’s comments have come in the wake of a fire incident at Smart Export Garment Ltd. last week that resulted in the death of seven female workers.
It is the second major fire accident following the Tazreen Fashions blaze in November 2012 that killed 112 workers and left several others injured.
RMG exports earn US$ 18 billion for Bangladesh in foreign exchange, making the country the second-largest exporter of apparels in the world, next to China. A part of the growth has been due to the rising costs of production in China, which has prompted some global retailers to move their production units to Bangladesh.
Many of the huge number of new apparel manufacturing units that have sprung up in Bangladesh in recent years have poor electrical wiring, lack sufficient fire-fighting equipment and even have lesser number of exits, which has resulted in death of over 700 garment workers since 2005.