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BGMEA to involve buyers to avoid Savar like tragedies
03
May '13
Global apparel buyers expressed their concern over frequent accidents in the country's apparel sector, including the latest Savar tragedy, and demanded coordinated efforts from the government and apparel leaders to ensure safety.

We are concerned over Bangladesh issues, vice president of Li and Fung, Bangladesh Roger Hubert said at a meeting with the leaders of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) at the latter's head office.

Representatives of over 40 buyers including H&M, Jc Penny, C&A, Gap Inc, G-Star, Inditex, Levi's, Marks & Spencer, Tesco, Target, New Wave, Nike Inc, Primark and New Look were present in a meeting with the BGMEA leaders, held against the backdrop of the Rana Plaza collapse at Savar on April 24.

The collapse has already left over 377 people dead, drawing extensive attention from international media.

I am at loss, Mr Hubert said, expressing his reaction over the building collapse.

The tragedy took place due to wrong approval, he said.

Buyers are now concerned regarding their sourcing of RMG items from Bangladesh. They are thinking whether the local manufacturers can make timely shipment of products following the fire incidents at Tazreen and Smart, Rana Plaza collapse, and recent political turmoil.

"The reality is that buyers are seriously thinking about their sourcing from Bangladesh," said Jenefa Jabbar, regional director of JC Penny.

"Bangladesh government has laws, but there is no implementation of those laws. Buyers' community wants to see credible action," she said.

After the Tazreen fire incident in November last, some action has been taken, but many of them still remain on paper, she said, suggesting baseline survey on building structure and electrical safety.

"It is the government's duty to make the buildings safe," Mr Hubert said.

He also suggested concerted efforts, involving the government, the BGMEA and the BKMEA, and to decide who is responsible for what.

They also raised question about the government officials who kept their 'eyes shut' in time of giving approval of the flawed buildings. They also stressed on immediate actions to avert such incidents in future.

After the meeting BGMEA president Atiqul Islam said, We have decided to form a committee including representatives from buyers to determine the terms of references regarding assessment of all the safety-related issues of the RMG units, including their building structure.

The buyers will give a list of the names of their representatives within a week for formation of the committee to the BGMEA to decide the future course of action.

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