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Friday, August 22, 2014

Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Editorial

Editorial

Global players in apparels eye Dhaka

We can ill afford to miss the opportunity

The arrival of a team of more than two dozen global players in garment business in the capital with the express desire to make Bangladesh their number one choice for sourcing garment products is indeed a resounding acknowledgement of our garment industry's goodwill and potential.

We welcome the international brand leaders in apparels trade in Bangladesh. It is worthwhile to note that these international companies alone account for around one-fourth of Bangladesh's total value of this year's worldwide readymade garments export worth US$ b5.7 billion.

Clearly, Bangladesh's huge army of low-cost labour force is a source of attraction for international buyers of garment products. Moreover, China switching from basic garments to other industries is another factor driving these big companies to look for other sources of supply with adequate opportunities. Definitely, Bangladesh, with its long track record as a producer of quality readymade garment products and the existence of its assured market in the USA, EU and in other international markets, provide them a viable option. The local garment industries, on their part, will have to increase the skill of their workers through better pay and working conditions to increase their productivity and thereby enhance their competitiveness in the world market.

Bangladesh can ill afford to allow this opportunity to pass by as there are also other alternatives for those seeking new sources, such as Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia and our next-door Myanmar, which has started to open up to the world.

To meet these challenges, Bangladesh will have to get its act together. The quality and capacity of the physical infrastructures like road, railway, waterway and especially the load handling capacity of our ports have to be increased. In this connection, the need to accelerate the work to expand the Dhaka-Chittagong highway and increae the efficiency of the railway calls for special attention. The situation in power and energy supply has to be adequately improved to assure these prospective foreign buyers and investors. Alongside these physical aspects of the bottlenecks, the red-tape in bureaucracy that impedes expeditious processing of investment proposals has to be removed.

The foreign companies willing to buy apparel products as well as relocate their production facilities in Bangladesh will also have to look into the issue of better pay and working condition for our garment workers, an overwhelming proportion of whom are women.

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Our workforce or general labour market is much more intelligent than those of the other four (4) countries. We have an extra-edge which guarantee better quality and hard working takes it even further when workload are much higher than the rest of the year. But the quality of life of our workers are so poor, it is a direct exploitation of labour force. We need to make sure that they have a salary structure, overtime rates are set, fringe benefits apply and must ensure weekly off-days along with annual leave with festival bonus. I hope BGMEA will play a much better role in the future and our human rights record in the sector need to be upheld. One last word: when the BGMEA bhaban will be demolished as it is sitting on a land which is totally illegal.

: Sheikh Monirul Islam, Opee

Low cost labour is great attraction for foreign buyers who refuse to pay higher cost for garments made in Bangladesh. Manufacturers are often forced to cut cost by depriving our labourers even though their skill and productivity are at par with their peers in other countries. We are a poor nation with a huge population that needs employment .Our competitiveness comes from cheap labour. Cheap labour does not come with good salaries and other amenities. It is a vicious circle that we choose not to recognise.

: niloufar sarker

 

 


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