The government on Thursday extended the deadline for completing remediation works in the readymade garment factories, which are being inspected under the joint initiative of the Bangladesh government and the International Labour Organisation, up to December this year.
Earlier, the government had set April 30, 2018 as the deadline for completing the factory remediation works but almost all the factories missed the deadline.
‘I will request you to complete the factory remediation within December this year as we are in pressure in national and international arena due the slow progress in fixing safety faults in the factories,’ state minister for labour Md Mujibul Haque said in a meeting with the authorities of the garment factories which have been failed to maintain deadline.
The state minister said if any factory failed to complete remediation by December that must face closer.
In the meeting, held at the conference room of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association in Dhaka, Mujibul instructed factory owners to complete the remediation works by December next saying that ‘otherwise strict measures will be taken in January next year.’
‘You have got four years for remediation but progress is very poor. We made commitment to the international stakeholders to complete the task within December this year. For shake of the country as well as RMG sector you have to complete the work in time,’ the state minister said.
Mujibul said that non-compliant factories might be threat for achieving export growth as buyers would skip Bangladesh if the factory authorities failed to fix safety faults in their units.
Factory representatives in the meeting said lack of fund was the key challenge for remediation.
Many of them said that they could not start remediation work as their factories housed in rented buildings and building owners were not willing to fix problems.
In the meeting the junior minister asked the DIFE officials to give feedback to factory authorities within three weeks of submitting detailed engineering assessment as a factory representative complaint that they were yet to get any response from DIFE even after seven months of DEA report submission.
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 the three initiatives: European retailer platform Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, North American buyers’ platform Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety and the government lead and ILO supported national initiative.
About 85 per cent and 89 per cent remediation works were completed in Accord and Alliance listed factories.
Shamsuzzaman Bhuiyan, the inspector general of the Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments, said out of 3,780 garment factories, 1,549 were inspected under the national initiative, from which 573 were closed down, 79 relocated and 130 units were shifted to the Accord and Alliance lists.
Currently, the DIFE monitors remediation works in 755 factories through the ‘remediation coordination cell’ formed in May last year.
Out of 755 factories, a total of 165 units are yet to start remediation work, while 192 factories made progress below 20 per cent.
Shamsuzzaman Bhuiyan said only seven factories out of the 755 fixed all the safety faults.
Labour secretary Afroza Khan, additional secretary Khondaker Mostan Hossain, and BGMEA president Md Siddiqur Rahman, among others, were present in the meeting.