Challenges still remain for B’desh RMG sector: Dutch minister

Staff Correspondent
Commerce minister Tofail Ahmed speaks at a joint press briefing on ‘consultative meeting on support of development partners in the RMG sector’ organised by the commerce ministry and the Dutch embassy in Dhaka at Ruposhi Bangla Hotel in the capital on Tuesday. Dutch minister for foreign trade and development cooperation Lilianne Ploumen was present, among others. — Focusbangla photo

Commerce minister Tofail Ahmed speaks at a joint press briefing on ‘consultative meeting on support of development partners in the RMG sector’ organised by the commerce ministry and the Dutch embassy in Dhaka at Ruposhi Bangla Hotel in the capital on Tuesday. Dutch minister for foreign trade and development cooperation Lilianne Ploumen was present, among others. — Focusbangla photo

Dutch minister for foreign trade and development cooperation Lilianne Ploumen on Tuesday said that Bangladesh had made satisfactory progress in some areas one year after the Rana Plaza building collapse but challenges still remain in some specific areas.
In a joint press briefing on ‘consultative meeting on support of development partners in the RMG sector’ organised by the commerce ministry and the Dutch embassy in Dhaka at Ruposhi Bangla Hotel in the capital, the Dutch minister stressed the importance of quick  recruitment of inspectors for the remaining factories and the launch of a publicly accessible detailed database.
Ploumen urged Bangladesh to address the issue of harassment of labour activists in the readymade garment sector.
The garment sector is very important to Bangladesh and the growing industry has lots of challenges including lack of compliance and intimidation of labour activists, she said.
One year after the Rana plaza collapse that killed more than 1,100 workers, many achievements including reaching a common inspection standard have been achieved with the coordination of the International Labour Organisation and almost one-third factories have so far been inspected, Ploumen said.
She said that out of 1,500 inspected factories, only 19 had critical problems and had been closed or partially closed.
In a joint statement the Dutch minister and the commerce minister Tofail Ahmed emphasised the need for government stakeholders, employers and the trade unions in Bangladesh as well as the brands and the international community to continue to work together towards the realisation of a safer and sustainable RMG sector in Bangladesh.
Replaying to a question, the Dutch minister said that the issue of compensation to the workers of the Accord listed factories that had been closed due to safety ground during the inspection should be addressed and they would discuss the issue with the Accord signatories.
Giving compensation to the Rana Plaza victims is one of the key issues as only $17 million has so far been deposited to the fund against a requirement of $40 million, she said.
‘We will take initiative in coming weeks or months so that the brands and buyers, who were involved with the factories housed in Rana Plaza, make donation to the fund,’ the Dutch minister said.
‘One year after the Rana Plaza collapse a number of decisions, taken under the National Tripartite Committee, have been implemented and the global community and development partners expressed their satisfaction on the progress,’ commerce minister Tofail Ahmed said in the press briefing.
He said that the factory assessment report also satisfactory and only 19 factories out of 1,500 found having faults which are less than the global average of 2 per cent.
The government as well as the factory owners are careful so that further Rana Plaza and Tazreen Fashion disaster do not take place but all stakeholders will have to keep in mind that Bangladesh is a developing country not a developed one.
Tofail said that a total of 20,000 workers lost their jobs due to safety inspection but no labour unrest took place as the RMG sector was going forward depending on the combined effort of workers and owners.
Earlier the two ministers meet with the development partners at a consultative meeting with a view to reinforce the ongoing collaborative efforts aimed at improving and monitoring measures related to safe and dignified working condition in the RMG sector in Bangladesh.




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