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Dhaka Apparel Summit opened Stay alert against conspiracy: PM

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pm_latestStaff Reporter
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has called upon all concerned, including the owners of garment factories and consumers, workers and foreign buyers, to remain alert against conspirators, both at home and abroad, trying to destroy the country’s highly potential RMG sector.
“Bangladesh is the world’s second largest RMG exporters. Several quarters, perhaps, do not like this… so they’re engaged in conspiracies against this sector. I’m urging the owners, workers, foreign buyers and consumers to stay alert against local as well as foreign conspirators,” she said.
The Prime Minister said this yesterday during inauguration of the first-ever ‘Dhaka Apparel Summit-2014’, organized by Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC) in the city.
The three-day ‘Dhaka Apparel Summit’ will showcase Bangladesh’s progress in the vital readymade garment sector and work out a plan to reach US$ 50-billion export landmark by 2021, the golden jubilee of the country’s independence.
The Prime Minister also inaugurated the ‘Centre of Excellence for Bangladesh Apparel Industry and International Trade Expo for Building and Fire Safety 2014’.
Hasina said if any problem arises, the government has the ability to tackle it. “But make sure that other quarters cannot conspire against our industries. I’m urging all, especially the owners and workers, to remain vigilant in this regard.”
BGMEA is hosting the event, replacing its annual show, BATEXPO, which is expected to help Bangladesh send out an impressive message to its partners in the global apparel market.
Currently, the apparel demand in the global market is about US$ 450 billion which will hit US$ 650 billion by 2021. Bangladesh needs 8 percent share of the total global apparel demand by 2021 as against the country’s current share of 5 percent.
Sheikh Hasina also urged the country’s exporters to find new markets and bring new designs in the products to further explore exports of RMG to world markets, saying her government will remain beside the exporters to this end.
She said the government has given highest priority to creating a congenial atmosphere for investment to ensure massive industrialization and employment opportunities in the country and build Bangladesh as a middle-income nation by 2021 and a developed one by 2041.
Terming the garment sector a pride of Bangladesh, Hasina said some 40 lakh workers, including 80 percent women, are currently employed in garment industries.
She said the RMG sector has been making progress overcoming various obstacles, and the Awami League-led government would continue providing its support in taking the sector ahead as it is the responsibility of the government.
Assuring of all-out cooperation to the RMG exporters, the Prime Minister said her government has undertaken a number of measures to expand markets for RMG products, and urged them to fully utilize the huge facilities provided by the government to further explore opportunities for the sector.
She said the RMG owners will have to further improve the quality and standard of their products to survive in the world’s competitive markets.
In this connection, she stressed implementation of the short-, medium- and long-term plans to increase the share of the country’s RMG exports in the global market.
Hasina expressed the hope that the leading buying organizations of RMGs will remain beside Bangladeshi exporters as the products of Bangladesh are the best in the world in all respects.
She said the government and the BGMEA as well as local and international organizations ensured setting up of safe, sustainable and compliant factories in a coordinated manner as Bangladesh wants security of the workers and safe production system in mills and factories.
Besides, she said, her government recruited inspectors for the garment sector and they have so far inspected 2,193 factories under Accord, Alliance and National Action Plan to keep garment industries safe and secure. “They found most of the mills and factories running without any trouble.”
Hasina mentioned that works on reforms are progressing fast in the remaining factories to improve the safety system and urged all concerned to show the mentality of cooperation to this end.
Underscoring the need for conducting research to further strengthen the RMG sector, she said there is no alternative to research and development for attaining advancement to make any industry sustainable.
In this regard, the Prime Minister expressed satisfaction over the initiative taken by the BGMEA in collaboration with the ILO to set up the Centre of Excellence for Bangladesh Apparel Industry.
She hoped the Centre would be an effective organization in improving strategic management and quality of the industries through continued research and training.
Describing various steps of her government for the development of the garment sector, Hasina said import duties on raw materials for pre-fabricated buildings in export-oriented garment industries as well as on fire extinguishing equipments have been withdrawn to create congenial working atmosphere.
She said the BGMEA has been given the authority to issue certificate of origin while BGMEA University of Fashion and Technology has been set up.
The Prime Minister also mentioned that her government increased the wages of the workers by 220 percent to Tk 5,300 from Tk 1,662 in five years.
The labor law has been made a time-befitting one, she said, adding that dormitories have been constructed for the female workers while a Tk 50 crore fund has been formed to enhance the efficiency of the workers.
Finance Minister AMA Muhith, Industries Minister Amir Hossain Amu, Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed, Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali, State Minister for Labour and Employment Mujibul Haque Chunnu, BGMEA President Atiqul Islam, CEO of HSBC Bank, Bangladesh Francois de Maricourt, Parliamentary State Secretary of German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development Hans-Joachim Fuchtel, Chairperson of the European Parliament Delegation for Relations with the Countries of South Asia, Jean Lambert, and Chairperson of the Alliance for Bangladesh Workers Safety Ellen Tauscher also spoke on the occasion. BGMEA’s first vice president Nasiruddin Chowdhury gave the welcome address.
At the function, a number of children who lost their parents at the tragic Rana Plaza building collapse in Savar presented a special show while a documentary, titled ‘A tale of a Dream’ was screened.
There will be nine seminars related to RMG industry in the Summit in which experts from home and abroad will take part.
The Summit will discuss the present business and investment trend, global sourcing dynamics and potentials for Bangladesh, priority issues to support the growth potentials, compliance issues, prudent commercial diplomacy and political stability, supportive policies and coordination between different government agencies, product and market diversification.