Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) wants a separate ‘Ministry of Apparel’ in the Bangladesh Government that is exclusively dedicated to the country’s readymade garment (RMG) sector.
A separate apparel ministry is necessary for proper representation and coordination of the country’s garment industry and a proposal for the same would soon be submitted to the Government, BGMEA president M Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin told BSS, the national news agency of Bangladesh.
In the absence of a separate ministry, garment factory owners often lack enough knowledge about which particular ministry is to be approached for their problems. Sometimes, they take the matter with the Ministry of Labour or the Ministry of Commerce and at other times they directly approach the Prime Minister, Mr. Mohiuddin said.
He said there should be one stop service for the country’s largest foreign exchange earning industry.
Sharing similar views, Mr. M Atiqul Islam, coordinator of BGMEA’s Crash Programme on Fire Safety, said the recent devastative fire incident at Tazreen factory could have been prevented if there was proper coordination amongst various ministries.
He added that the relevant ministries are busy doing their own work and hence sufficient focus is not given to the issues pertaining to the RMG sector.
The setting up of a separate apparel ministry has also become necessary for other reasons such as protection of buyers and labour federations and for addressing issues related to customs, ports, infrastructure, etc., he said.
At present, Bangladesh is the second largest clothing exporter in the world, next only to China. The garment sector contributes nearly 80 percent to the country’s total foreign exchange earnings.
From mere 47 RMG factories in 1982, the number of apparel manufacturing units in Bangladesh has today gone up to more than 4,000. In the process, over 4 million new jobs have been created, with 80 percent of them being women.