B'desh RMG sector learns from Rana Plaza; grows well

26 Apr '16
3 min read

Bangladesh's readymade garment (RMG) sector with 9.7 per cent growth in the first three quarters of the current financial year (FY16), has made a significant headway on learning from the Rana Plaza tragedy in 2013, a top industry leader said.

"The RMG sector has made remarkable progress in the past two years with productively managing the challenges those emerged from the Rana Plaza collapse on April 24, 2013," Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) President M Siddiqur Rahman told the state-run BSS news agency.

Following the Rana Plaza building collapse, the BGMEA with strong support from the government and different international organisations and leading global buyers accomplished various activities to promote and ensure safe workplace in the apparel sector, Rahman said.

"Continuous efforts have been made by the government and BGMEA over the last three years to transform our apparel industry into a safe and decent workplace," he said while attributing the rapid growth of this sector to the post-Rana Plaza development initiatives.

According to the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB), RMG export during the first nine months of FY16 grew by 9.7 per cent against last year's 4.5 percent growth.

Moreover, the apparel export to the US market grew by 11.31 per cent in January when the total earnings from this sector was $497.66 million, according to the Office of Textiles and Apparel (OTEXA), a concern of the US Department of Commerce.

Recalling the factory collapse in Savar, Rahman said the tragedy gave us the ultimate courage to make strong commitment to take the country's apparel industry to the global safety standard.

Subsequently, the government, international organisations, BGMEA and global buyers took various initiatives for rehabilitating the victims and supporting their family members besides carrying out programmes and activities to enhance workplace conditions and ensure safety and security to prevent recurrence of such accident.

Referring to the governments' arrangement with European Union (EU) where Canada and US also joined aiming to ensure safety and security in the apparel industries, the BGMEA president said this deal brought significant development in the RMG sector.

He said the business-dominated Alliance (US-led) and the multi-stakeholder-oriented Accord (EU-led) are inspecting the RMG industries and working to ensure fire, electrical and building safety for creating workers' friendly environment.

"So far a total of 3,696 RMG industries have been inspected when only 38 factories were found risky," Rahman said, noting that these factories had already been closed.

"If the government continues all necessary supports as it did in the recent years, the country would achieve its goal of fetching $50 billion from RMG export by 2021," Rahman said.

He sought more policy support, including lowering corporate tax to 10 per cent, supplying adequate power and gas to the RMG factories, providing workers with more training and carrying out extensive research to help develop the apparel sector. (SH)

Fibre2Fashion News Desk - India

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