Demand rises for separate Bangladesh Ministry of Garments

May 13, 2013 - Bangladesh

In view of the recent incidents in Bangladesh, including last week’s fire at a readymade garment (RMG) manufacturing factory in Mirpur near Dhaka, the Savar building collapse and Tarzeen factory fire accident, which have together killed more than 1000 people, the demand for a separate full-fledged Ministry of Garments is increasing in Bangladesh.
 
Speaking to fibre2fashion, former vice-president of Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) and managing director of Eastern Apparels Ltd, Mr. Nasir Uddin Chowdhury said, “The clothing industry should be brought under a separate ministry for the betterment of the industry because it will help the sector to grow more.”
 
Echoing him, Mr. Safiullah Chowdhury, chief advisor to board of directors of Bangladesh Garment Accessories & Packaging Manufacturers & Exporters Association (BGAPMEA), says, “There should be a separate ministry for the country’s garment industry, since it is the largest employment generating industry in the country with more than 4 million workers and the highest foreign exchange earner for Bangladesh.” 
 
Few months back, Mr. M Shafiul Islam Mohiddun, the then president of BGMEA had also raised the demand for a separate 'Ministry of Apparel' in the Bangladesh Government that is exclusively dedicated to the country's clothing sector.
 
According to Mr. Islam, 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. 
 
The demand for separate Ministry for Bangladesh’s garment sector is not new, as way back in 2005, the then BGMEA president Mr. Annisul Huq had also sought a separate ministry for Bangladesh RMG industry.
 
A separate apparel ministry would also help in addressing issues related to customs, ports and infrastructure, protection of buyers and labor federations as well as for the betterment of the clothing sector, according to exporters.
 
From mere 47 RMG factories in 1982, the number of apparel manufacturing units in Bangladesh has today gone up to more than 4,000. More than 80 percent of people working at these units are women.