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PM asks owners to ensure RMG workers’ safety

Inaugurates Batexpo 2012

Staff Correspondent

The prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, on Wednesday urged the owners of readymade garments factories to ensure highest level of safety measures for workers, compliances of buyers and implementation of labour laws in their respective factories.
‘I hope that the garment owners will pay wages to the workers as best as they can, obey the labour laws and fulfill the compliances of the buyers to expand the export market,’ she said, pointing out that the factory owners were making good money. 
The prime minister made the call while inaugurating the 23rd Bangladesh Apparel and Textile Exposition 2012 at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre.
The three-day Batexpo—the country’s largest apparel show—will be a reunion of foreign buyers and local manufacturers and help expand the global market for Bangladesh’s readymade garments.
She urged the workers to remain alert so that no one could exploit their simplicity and do harm to their garment factories. ‘I do believe a worker cannot set fire to or damage the factory where they work because its gives the bread and butter to him or her,’ she added.
Finance Minister AMA Muhith addressing the inaugural session advised apparel manufacturers to take issues related to labour interests and safety more seriously. He assured the entrepreneurs of considering their proposals.
BGMEA leaders including its president Mohammed Shafiul Islam proposed the government should scale down interest rates on bank loans, resolve problems related to loans rescheduling and set up of more industrial zones outside the cities.
At the start of the conference, a minute’s silence was observed in memory of the workers who died in the November 24 blaze at Tazreen Fashions factory.
The prime minister said that her government has taken steps for enhancing the wages of workers and supplying essentials to them at lower cost. ‘Around 78 thousand lactating mothers, mostly garment workers, were given allowances,’ she said.
About duty and tax rebates to the garment sector, Hasina said, ‘You (owners) need to think if the amount of rebate gets higher where from the government will give you the stimulus package?’
Hasina said her government was making efforts to explore new markets abroad for RMG exports and took steps to set up a RMG village on 300 acres of land in Gazaria in Munsiganj district.
Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith, Jute and Textiles Minister Abdul Latif Siddiqui, LGRD Minister Syed Ashraful Islam, Commerce Minister GM Quader and Shipping Minister Shajahan Khan, among others, addressed the inaugural function.
First Vice President of BGMEA Mohammed Nasir Uddin Chowdhuy, and Second Vice President M Siddiqur Rahman also spoke on the occasion while BGMEA President Safiul Islam Mohiuddin presided over the function.
Highlighting the contributions of female workers to the RMG sector, Hasina said about 40 Lakh workers are engaged in this sector of whom 80 per cent are women.
‘The involvement of women with the RMG sector is helping in women empowerment, improving woman and child health, poverty reduction, promotion of the services and expediting the country’s economic growth,’ she added.
The Prime Minister mentioned that the country earned about $ 24.29 billion through exporting RMG items of which $ 19 billion came from knitwear and woven garments.
Three seminars -- ‘Opportunities and Challenges in the Changed Global Sourcing Scenario,’ ‘Protection against prosperity Insurance’ and ‘Environment Friendly and Resource Efficient Production: The Context of Textiles and Clothing Industry in Bangladesh’ – will be held on the fringes Batexpo 2012.

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