PM opens 3-day Batexpo in city

PM opens 3-day Batexpo in city

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Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday put emphasis on good coordination between garment owners and workers to foil any sort of
evil design for destroying this sector as the country is advancing to clinch the highest exporter title in the world. “There is conspiracy
and evil design. That’s why the owners and workers need good coordination between themselves for better production. It is necessary
to have good relations and unity between the owners and the workers,” she said while inaugurating the three-day 24th Bangladesh Apparel and
Textile Exposition (Batexpo)-2013 at a city hotel. Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters’ Association (BGMEA) organized the
exposition aimed at attracting the buyers and further expanding the market for Bangladesh’s RMG across the world. This exposition will
provide unique opportunity to the overseas buyers and sourcing agents of ready made garments for choosing their business partners from
Bangladeshi exporters and manufacturers. Terming owners and workers of a factory as complementary to each other, Hasina said the workers
of a factory must realize that their factory provides them job by which they buy bread and butter for their family members and arrange
their living place. “You’ve to remain alert that nothing could harm your factory or you never engage in any kind of subversive activities.
If you do so you’ll lose your job.” She also said that if the workers do their duties properly it would ultimately help the country
in strengthening its economic backbone. “But if you damage your won factory, instigated by someone, it will be a great disaster for all.
If there is no factory, you’ll have no job.” Turning to the responsibilities of the factory owners, the Prime Minister said the
owners must think about their workers. “If you wear one or two suit or tie less, it won’t bring any harm for you. But if your workers eat
properly they’ll engage themselves fully for your factory and it will bring good for you also.” She underscored the need to turn
Bangladesh into the number one readymade garment exporting country by 2021 taking short-, mid- and long- term plans. Hasina said new
markets should be explored along with setting up of forward and backward linkage industries to this end. In this context, she urged
the readymade garment manufacturers to be sincere in applying modern technology to improve quality and production management to the highest
level. “A labour intensive garment sector is very important to country’s economy. The industry has empowered our rural women, reduced
poverty, contributed to improving woman and child heath, and created scope for education of their kids,” she said. The Prime Minister
said: “A vested quarter is very much active to hinder women development. On many pleas, this quarter wants to disrupt the progress
of the garment sector. The government, workers and owners of the industries should remain united to foil their evil design and enhance
productivity.” Referring to the recent restless situation in the country’s garment factories, she said industrial accident is one of
the big challenges across the world. There is no alternative to taking preventive measures to face the challenge and keep the losses to the
minimum level. In this regard, Hasina mentioned that her government during its 1996-2001 tenure had made the provision of stairs
compulsory in all garment factories. She said the factories have built up their own firefighting capacity. Side by side, the Fire
Service and Civil Defense Department has been strengthened across the country with new and modern equipments. The Prime Minister paid her
rich tributes to the garment workers who died in many fire and building collapse incidents across the country including the Rana
Plaza collapse and conveyed her sympathy to the injured workers and prayed for their early recovery. Terming the Awami League as a
workers-friendly political party, she said her government is always careful about the rights of the working class people. Hasina said
the present government constituted a wage board for workers raising their minimum wages to Tk 3,000 before the demand was raised by
anybody. She said usually the wage board for workers is constituted every five years. But the present government has constituted new wage
board in only three years to provide more facilities to the garment workers. She hoped that the wage board will be able to announce a
wage structure soon to be acceptable to both the owners and workers.
The Prime Minister said it is not the job of the present government to do business, but it acts as a facilitator. In this context, she
mentioned the infrastructural development suiting industrial growth and said steps have been taken to increase power generation and gas
exploration. Road, rail and water transport systems also improved remarkably. Transport of goods has become easier due to the
construction of flyovers and bypass roads in Dhaka and Chittagong, she said. Hasina said her government has started to set up a Garment
Economic Zone on 531 acres of land at Baushia in Munshiganj and the plots will be handed over to the entrepreneurs in phases. She said
the present government has formulated an industrial policy giving priority to the private sector. Incentives are being provided for new
export items and new markets. Container Terminal Management System was introduced for modernization and increasing efficiency of Chittagong
port. The government has waived 15 percent VAT on use of floor space for garment industries. Duty-free import of ETP machineries has been
allowed to check environment pollution, she added. Recalling the Savar tragedy, the Prime Minister said the rescue operation led by the
Army immediately after the incident has received acclamation from the global community. The government has distributed financial
assistance of Tk 12 crore to the families of the victims and Tk 7 crore were given for the treatment of injured workers and other
purposes apart from taking measures for their rehabilitation, she said. For the first time, she added, the present government has
initiated giving Tk 400 as monthly allowance for poor lactating mothers including those working in the garment factories. Hasina
hoped that the owners of the factories will offer more incentives to the workers for increasing their productivity and it will bring more
benefit not only for the workers and owners, but for the country as well. She said the labour law has been made time befitting through
amendment in the light of ILO conventions. Both the workers and owners should remain careful against any provocation to shut down the
factories. The Prime Minister said the industrial police have been formed for protecting the interest of the industries. In case of need,
workers and owners can take their help. Nobody should be allowed to cause any damage to the industries. Textiles and Jute Minister Abdul
Latif Siddiqui, LGRD Minister Syed Ashraful Islam, Commerce Minister GM Quader, Civil Aviation and Tourism Minister Faruk Khan, Shipping
Minister Shajahan Khan and BGMEA president Atiqul Islam also spoke on the occasion. Later, the Prime Minister went round different stalls
at the exposition. There are some 80 stalls in the exposition with the participation of local and foreign companies, banks and financial
institutions. Meanwhile, during the three-day exposition, there will be three seminars – Reinventing the RMG Sector: Emphasizing Social
Accountability and Security; Taking the RMG Sector Forward: the Role of Media in Sustainable Development; and Eco Friendly and Compliant
Factory – A pre-Condition for Future Business. – UNB

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