Space For Rent

Space For Rent
Thursday, June 18, 2015, Ashar 4, 1422 BS, Shaban 30, 1436 Hijr

'Accord', 'Alliance' need to demonstrate compassion
Published : Thursday, 18 June, 2015,  Time : 12:00 AM,  View Count : 15

Finance Minister AMA Muhith at a post-budget view exchange meeting with business leaders on Monday remarked Accord and Alliance have turned into slipknots whose terms and preconditions, in ultimate analysis, amounts to strangulating the Readymade Garment (RMG) sector of Bangladesh. Accord and Alliance are groups of RMG buyers, the first represents European buyers and the later represents North American importers. Bangladesh government, after the Rana Plaza incident in 2013, welcomed these two organisations to inspect working conditions and fire safety measures provided by the RMG factories in the country and to deliver the authorities concerned with suggestive reports to 'earn the trust of the buyers of the USA and European countries', as disclosed by the FM. Hence, on its face the objectives of the two organisations were pious and supposedly were congenial to healthy development of the sector.
But from the beginning of their examination of factories different reports of these two agencies started creating confusion among the factory owners and their buyers. Although they were supposed to follow a uniform standard in scrutinising factories, their reports on the same factories often mismatched with each other. There have been some instances that a factory that was earlier approved by one organisation was later labelled as 'vulnerable' one by the other. Besides, there are allegations that they are compelling the factories to fulfil conditions which do not fall within the ambit of their jurisdiction. And to fulfil these conditions the factory owners have to increase expenditure up to four times resulting in increased production cost. They, to our utter dismay, even suggest buyers not to buy products from those who cannot comply with their conditions. And this undesired interference is being seen as their unfriendly intention to suppress the advancement of the largest contributor to the national GDP of Bangladesh.
RMG is a mainstay of Bangladesh economy. It employs the highest number of the working force of the country and the estimated number is five million of whom approximately 80 per cent or four million are women. In a Third World developing society such a good number of women's employment is definitely an appreciable phenomenon and should deserve admiration of all quarters. The sector earns the highest amount of foreign exchange for the country which accounts for around 8o per cent of total export earnings. Therefore, RMG is a life and death question for us and we would appreciate all constrictive criticisms and positive recommendations to improve its existing conditions. But any sort of negative interference that may disrupt the progress of the sector will be unwelcomed.
Our FM has very appropriately pointed out that the government has a soft corner for the RMG sector for its crucial contribution to the national economy and reassured the garment owners to protect the sector from adversities of any nature emanating from internal or external quarters. We fully endorse the view of our FM and urge upon the Accord and the Alliance to look at the matter compassionately and objectively.

Editor : Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury
Published by the Editor on behalf of the Observer Ltd. from Globe Printers, 24/A, New Eskaton Road, Ramna, Dhaka. Editorial, News and Commercial Offices : Aziz Bhaban (2nd floor), 93, Motijheel C/A, Dhaka-1000. Phone :9586651-58. Fax: 9586659-60, Advertisemnet: 9513663, E-mail: [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]