Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association has temporarily stopped issuing utility declaration to 51 of its member factories for non-compliance.
After nine months of the government instruction to stop providing UD to 142 factories due to slow progress in safety remediation, the trade body on Tuesday decided to suspend issuance of UD to 51 factories.
Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments on September 20, 2018 issued a letter to BGMEA and Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association asking them to stop providing UD to the factories as the remediation progress in the units was not satisfactory.
In the letter, DIFE requested the trade bodies to stop issuing UD to the factories for the next three months to expedite remediation in the units inspected under a national initiative.
After one and a half months of the instruction, BGMEA on November 4, 2018 rejected the DIFE direction, saying that it would not be appropriate to stop issuance of UD before January 2019 as there were some export orders under implementation in the factories.
According to the industry insiders, BGMEA leaders on Wednesday held a meeting with the factory authorities to find out the problems of the factories in implementing corrective action plans.
In the meeting, BGMEA decided to stop issuing of UD to 51 factories for six months and asked the units to made required progress within the time.
BGMEA president Rubana Huq on Wednesday told New Age, ‘51 factories are now facing temporary suspension of utility declaration’. BGMEA gave the directive on Tuesday, she added.
‘Recently BGMEA informed DIFE that they would take initiative against the factories, which are unwilling to implement corrective action plan, with a further review. But we are yet to be informed of the latest development,’ Farid Ahmed, joint inspector general of DIFE, said.
He said that if BGMEA stops issuance of UD to the errant factories, it would be a good decision for expediting remediation work in the units.
Following the Rana Plaza building collapse in April, 2013 that killed more than 1,100 people, a total of 3,780 garment factories were assessed under three initiatives — European retailers’ platform Accord, North American buyers’ platform Alliance and the government-led and ILO-supported national initiative.
Of the 3,780 garment factories in the country, 1,549 have been inspected under the national initiative. Of them, 531 have been closed, 69
relocated and 193 transferred to Accord and Alliance lists.
The factories that came under the national initiative have completed 32 per cent of the remediation work, while 11 factories have fixed 100 per cent of their safety faults, DIFE officials said.
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