Prime minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday said her government is highly committed to ensuring compliance with regard to the readymade garment industry.
‘The contribution of apparel and textile industry to our economy is immense. We are highly committed to ensure compliance with regard to labour rights, workplace safety and environmental standard in the industry,’ she said.
The prime minister also said Bangladesh's readymade garment industry has achieved higher compliance standards in terms of wages, workplace safety, norms, practices and harmonious industrial relations.
‘There has been a 77 per cent increase in basic wage. Assessment of all the 3,780 factories as recommended by global brands and retailers has been completed,’ she said.
The prime minister said this while replying to questions at a workshop titled ‘Shaping a New Water Economy’ in the 47th Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum at Congress Centre in Davos, Switzerland.
President and CEO of World Research Institute Andrew Steer moderated the workshop attended by heads of state and government of different countries participating in the WEF.
Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh is the second largest apparel and textile exporting country in the world. ‘The sector employs 4.5 million workers, of which 80 per cent are women. The industry accounts for 83 per cent of our total exports,’ she said.
She said the factories are now working hand in hand with global brands and retailers to ensure international standards. Every factory has Occupational Safety Committee where employers and workers are working together, she said.
‘We are supporting the industry to 'go green'. Today, Bangladesh has LEED certified 38 factories. Out of the world's top 10 ranked green factories, seven are in Bangladesh.’
The prime minister said since 2015, Bangladesh government has been working with 2030 Water Resources Group, more specifically, to achieve 100 per cent wastewater treatment and increase water use efficiency as per international benchmarks in our apparel sector.
She said, ‘Our work with 2030 WRG’ is focusing on the following areas: mobilising and facilitating large-scale finance for wastewater treatment infrastructure; enhancing fiscal and non-fiscal incentives for wastewater treatment, recycling and efficient use; establishing a valuation methodology for water use across Bangladesh; improving institutional setup for water resources management; increasing private sector and civil society participation in water governance.
As a member of the High-Level Panel on Water, she said, she is committed to innovating frameworks like 2030 WRG.
The 2030 Water Resources Group was formed in 2008 to contribute new insights to the increasingly critical issue of water resource scarcity. Members include McKinsey & Company, the World Bank Group, and a consortium of business partners: The Barilla Group, The Coca Cola Company, Nestle, SA, New Holland Agriculture, SAB Miller PLC, Standard Chartered and Syngenta AG.
While elaborating her government's various steps for industrialisation, the prime minister said construction of effluent treatment plant has been mandatory for all industries and factories in Bangladesh.
‘We have directed the big housing companies to set up ETP in their projects,’ she said.
The prime minister said there is no problem of waste management in Bangladesh as it has plenty of water.
‘If we can manage the water that comes in monsoon season, there won't be any crisis of water,’ she said.
In this connection, she said government has taken different projects for excavation and dredging of rivers to preserve water.
The prime minister said her government has ensured almost hundred per cent safe drinking water and sanitation. ‘We are trying to ensure that nobody is left out of safe drinking water and sanitation facilities,’ she said.
Sheikh Hasina said the government is innovating drought and salinity tolerant varieties of crops to boost food production.
‘We are also innovating various species of vegetables that need less water,’ she said.
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