More low-cost fund sought from Alliance for small RMG factories

Staff Correspondent

Garment factory owners on Monday sought more low-cost financing from the North American retailers’ group for the remediation work of the small and medium factories.
In a meeting with high officials of Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety and factory authorities Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association vice-president Shahidullah Azim said a good member of factory owners had been suffering from fund crisis and the remediation work in their units were being progressed slowly.
‘I will request the Alliance to arrange more fund as the remediation work is very costly and small and medium factories could not bear the cost,’ he said.
The BGMEA arranged the meeting with the Alliance and factory authorities after getting a list of 110 factories that did not conduct Detailed Engineering Assessment in their factory buildings as per recommendation made by Alliance inspection teams.
Recently, the Alliance has sent the list to the BGMEA saying that implementation of Corrective Action Plan in the factories are going in a slow pace due to lack of DEA report.
The BGMEA informed the meeting that a total of 67 factories had completed the DEA and rest of the factories were in the process.
Following the initial safety assessment the Alliance has so far conducted remediation verification visits in 141 factories and found progress is not satisfactory, Alliance managing director M Rabin said at the meeting.
‘Even we found only one per cent progress in some factories,’ he said.
Rabin said 50 per cent of the Alliance member factories in Chittagong achieved remediation progress below 30 per cent in four months.
He said the Alliance was going to launch a new credit facility for the factory owners and the programme might be launched by end of April.
Rabin told New Age that the amount of the fund might be around $37 million.
After the accident of Rana Plaza building collapse in April 2013 that killed more than 1,100 people, mostly garment workers, the North American retailers established the Alliance.
The initiative launched inspection programmes in the Bangladeshi RMG factories from where their members procure products and completed primary safety assessments in its listed factories of more than 600 in number by July 2014.

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