PM urges brands to help overhaul garment units

February 26, 2017

Putting emphasis on adopting short, medium and long-term plans to boost the demand for Bangladeshi garments in the world market, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday called upon brands and buyers to help the apparel industry owners overhaul their factories.

"Huge funds are required to overhaul the factories. So, various brands and buyers can come forward to assist the Bangladeshi factory owners. The government would continue to provide its support in this regard," she said, while inaugurating Dhaka Apparel Summit 2017 at Hotel Sonargaon.

"We have to work on increasing our share in the world market ... we have to formulate short, medium and long-term plans in this regard."

As a sequel to the success of the first Dhaka Apparel Summit that took place in 2014, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association organised the daylong second edition under the theme 'Together for a better tomorrow'.

The aim of the summit is to explore priority areas to turn Bangladeshi garment industry into a sustainable sector. The summit featured discussions on how to establish a more sustainable apparel supply chain and focused on setting the next course of action for achieving the $50 billion export goal by 2021. Highlighting the government's steps in developing the sector, Hasina said a number of measures have been taken at the international level to make the sector safe.

"Under the initiative, 3,869 factories have been inspected. Among those, faults have been found in only 39 factories and they were closed down. The remaining factories are being renovated to improve their safety," she said.

The premier also stressed diversifying products and expanding markets to boost export earnings.

"Alongside, we have to learn how to add value to our products. Our export list is not long, rather it is heavily apparel-dependent. Again, our export is also limited to North America and West Europe," she said, adding that such a situation in the export market is not healthy.

Hasina said there are many opportunities to diversify the export basket and expand the export market. "I would like to draw the attention of our exporters in this regard. The government will extend all out support to boost export earnings."


Finance Minister AMA Muhith, Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed, Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali, State Minister for Labour and Employment Mujibul Haque Chunnu and European Union Ambassador to Bangladesh Pierre Mayaudon also spoke.

BGMEA President Siddiqur Rahman delivered the welcome address, while BGMEA First Vice President Mainuddin Ahmed gave the vote of thanks.

The premier said nearly 80 percent of Bangladesh's export income comes from the garment sector. "It employs more than 4 million workers, of whom, 80 percent are women. Indirectly, nearly 40 million people are dependent on this sector," she said.

The premier said after the Rana Plaza accident, building a risk-free and compliant apparel sector had become a great challenge for the government. "We have overcome the challenge with the help of all."

Source: The Daily Star