Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) has proposed that a Garments Sector Governance Authority be set up to coordinate governance initiatives of multiplicity of actors and to ensure their transparent and accountable delivery against commitments.
At a press conference held last week to launch a follow-up study, TIB said key stakeholders, including the Government, various Government agencies, the BGMEA, factory owners and buyers, have made significant progress to cope with the multi-dimensional challenges of governance and corruption in the garments sector of Bangladesh that were responsible for exposing the sector to unprecedented vulnerabilities in the wake of the Rana Plaza tragedy of April 24, 2013.
TIB called for responsible and ethical practice of all stakeholders, particularly the relevant Government agencies, garments owners and BGMEA in the supply side and buyers and their representative bodies in the demand side, to protect the safety, security and rights of workers who are bound to be the worst victims of continued governance deficit and corruption in the sector.
The follow-up report “Governance Challenges in the Ready-made Garments Sector: Pledges and Progress” also highlighted the importance of sustaining the progress in a more strategic way and proposes that a Garments Sector Governance Authority be set up to coordinate governance initiatives of multiplicity of actors and to ensure their transparent and accountable delivery against commitments.
The study found that several industry stakeholders took a total of 102 initiatives of varying dimensions against 54 out of 63 types of governance challenges identified by TIB in its earlier report released on October 31 last year. Of the 102 initiatives, 31 percent were implemented completely, 60 percent witnessed varying degrees of progress while 9 percent remained unaddressed, the new report said.
Launching the report, TIB’s Executive Director Dr. Iftekharuzzaman said, “Governance challenges in the sector are multi-dimensional while collusive corruption has been pervasive, which needed extraordinary efforts and the stakeholders have shown the commitment to face those head on.”
However, these positive initiatives have only laid the necessary foundations which are far from sufficient to yield a sustainable change.