25 April 2014
Government takes the lead in post Rana Plaza era
After Rana Plaza collapse, in last one year the government, buyers, ILO and workers joined hands in an extraordinary effort to improve the conditions in the ready-made garments industry in Bangladesh. The country has made 'considerable improvement' in workplace safety and labour rights, US Trade Representative's office says. Bangladesh government takes several steps like the massive increase of manpower at the Office of the Chief Inspector of Factories and Establishment.
Rana Plaza tragedy: One year on
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina says that Bangladesh will initiate mandatory insurance coverage for readymade garment workers. In a meeting with Mr. Gilbert Fossoun Houngbo, Deputy Director General for Field Operations and Partnerships, International Labour Organisation (ILO), on April 23, she recounted the steps taken by the government for garment workers' welfare and the recent increase of their minimum wages.
According to the opinion of Ellen Tauscher, the independent chair of the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety's board of directors, “a year after Rana Plaza building collapse, worker safety is improving”. Recently the alliance declared that it has finished inspections in more than 50% of the nearly 700 factories where its member company’s clothes are manufactured. Nearly half a million factory managers and workers have been trained on fire and building safety issues already. Alliance will continue its work in Bangladesh and hopes to train more than 1,000,000 by July 2014.
Bangladesh has taken necessary steps to renovate the ready-made garment sector and bring it to international standards of fire safety, secure working environment and workers' rights, says Dan Mozena, US ambassador to Bangladesh. He opines that Bangladesh is on track to achieve a strong and dynamic garment industry where workers are fairly treated.
Bangladesh government with its allies and long-term partners is responding to the disaster of Rana Plaza collapse in a coordinated, systematic and proactive manner. Altogether, 1134 people were killed and hundreds were injured due to this accident. After this devastating man-made disaster, Bangladesh government forms the basis for facilitating a convincing, independent and transparent system for distributing cash and other rehabilitation supports among the victims through ‘The Arrangement’ (Understanding for a Practical Arrangement on Payments to the Victims of the Rana Plaza Accident and their Families).
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina vows to launch a separate ‘industrial village’ soon for the country’s readymade garment sector in order to ensure workers’ safety in workplaces. She also urges the international buyers to increase the purchase price of garment products so that Bangladesh can provide required wages to the workers.
Bangladesh’s exports rise around 16 percent in the last one year despite industrial disasters like Rana Plaza collapse.
Trade and Investment
Hero MotoCorp Ltd, India's largest motorcycle maker by sales, expresses interest to build a manufacturing facility in Bangladesh.
Bangladesh has become an attractive investment destination because of its rising economy, superb growth and the young population, managing director of Nestle Bangladesh Stephane Norde says. He also unveils the Swiss company's plan to ramp up its investment and expand factory establishments in Bangladesh.
General Electric Co. (GE) feels interest to expand their business to Bangladesh. Gas-rich Bangladesh is likely to be the destination of choice of GE after India fails to supply enough gas to continue GE power project.
After China, Japan, India and Russia, the USA has expresses its interest to invest in the country’s power and energy sector.
Ensuring Social Justice and Equity
Bangladesh is hoping for a close collaboration with Malaysia in developing the new training module for children with autism, said Saima Wazed Hossain, Chairperson of ‘Global Autism’, a public health initiative of autism in Bangladesh. Since Malaysia and Bangladesh have close ties in many fields and similarity in cultural nuances, Ms. Saima would like to explore Malaysian contents for the education of Bangladeshi children with autism.
Bangladesh and the World Bank launched the ‘Municipal Governance and Service Project’ to benefit 3.4 million people in around 100 urban communities across the country by improving municipal governance and basic urban services in city corporations and municipalities. This project will create access to essential public services for the excluded yet urban slum dwellers.
Bangladesh Awami League