Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina urged the owners of the apparel industries to give salary to the workers as much as possible and comply with the requirements of the buyers to materialize the prospects the industry has created in the global market.
“Prospect of our readymade garments is being discussed globally.., We should not miss the opportunity,” she said adding garments owners should improve the working condition in their factories and enhance the salaries of the workers to keep the prospect alive.
She said this while inaugurating the 23rd Bangladesh Apparel and Textile Exposition (Batexpo-2012), country’s largest apparel show, at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC) here today.
The Prime Minister said her government is making efforts to explore more markets abroad for RMG, particularly duty free access to US market. “Steps were taken to set up a RMG village on 300 acres of land in Gazaria of Munsiganj district,” she said.
“I hope that the garment owners will give salary to the workers as best as they can and obey the labour law and fulfill the compliances of the buyers to expand the export market ,” she said.
Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhit, Jute and Textiles Minister Abdul Latif Siddiqui, LGRD Minister Syed Ashraful Islam, Commerce Minister G M Quader and Shipping Minister Shajahan Khan addressed, among others, on the occasion.
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 was in the chair. Sheikh Hasina said the government has empowered BGMEA for issuing ‘Country of Origin’ certificate. The government is ready to give the association more responsibility provided it can build up its capacity, she announced.
Pointing out the contribution of RMG sector in the country’s economy, she said, due to this reason, the present government has taken measure for welfare of both the owners of the industries and workers as well.
The government is providing duty and tax facilities to the garment owners and iindustrial police was also constituted for protection of the industries, she said.
The Prime Minister said her government has taken steps for enhancing the wages of workers and supply of essentials to them at lower cost. “Around 78 thousand lactating mothers, mostly garment workers, were given allowances,” she said.
She particularly praised the involvement of women with the RMG sector saying their broad participation is helping in the women empowerment, improving woman and child health, poverty reduction, promotion of the services and expediting country’s economic growth.
“Dormitories for garment workers are being constructed in Chittagong and Ashulia where females would get priority,” she said.
The Prime Minister said she firmly believes that no garment workers can set fire or carry on destruction in a factory, as the factories are their source of livelihood and home for building prosperous future.
“Everybody should remain careful so that none can take advantage of their honesty and simplicity,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina said her government wants to take the garment owners onboard in its expedition to accelerate the country’s economic growth and build a poverty and hunger free country by 2021.
She said, the Awami League government during its office in 1996-2001, gave 61 special facilities for garments sector including 30 percent cash incentives, waiver of double LC charge on export, bonded warehouse facilities, and reduction of advance income tax.
The Awami League government also resolved the stalemate over export to European markets caused from manipulation of the GSP facilities and adoption of unfair means in shrimp exports during the BNP regime, she said.
The Prime Minister said, Export Processing Zones (EPZs) in Dhaka and Chittagong were expanded along with setting up more new EPZs to attract more local and foreign investments.
“Now, we have taken steps for building up Economic Zone in the prospective areas of the country giving priority to public- private partnership,” she added.
The Prime Minister said her government has implemented two packages for exporters to overcome the global economic crisis. “License fee of captive power plants has been reduced to Taka 5,000 from Taka 5 lakhs,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina said, Value Added Tax (VAT) has been waived by 15 percent for hiring floor space for garments and industries were allowed tax-free import of the machineries and chemicals for waste management.
The Prime Minister assured the RMG owners to provide further support for the largest foreign exchange earning sector. In view of this she said steps were taken for improving power and gas supply in factories, put in place better communication system and train up efficient manpower for the sector through establishing academic institutions on this specialized trade.
Batexpo- country’s largest apparel show, began with a high hope to draw larger number of foreign buyers despite global economic crisis. The three-day event will be a reunion for both foreign buyers and local manufacturers, and the fair would help expand global market for Bangladesh’s readymade garments.