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বাংলা
Dhaka Tribune

EU, USA buyers to start apparel factoryinspection on September 15

Update : 28 Aug 2013, 08:27 PM

Buyers from Europe and America are going to start inspection of at least 2,000 apparel factories in the country from September 15 to ensure proper structural designs and fire safety of the buildings.

“It is good for the industry,” Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters’ Association (BGMEA) President Atiqul Islam told the Dhaka tribune Wednesday. “After getting certificates from the buyers, the manufacturers will be able to do business comfortably.”

The twin tragedies – fire incident at Tazreen Fashions and collapse of Rana Plaza – were the wakeup call for the industry as well as the buyers as they joined hands together to improve the labour safety and ensure workers’ rights.

To improve the building and fire safety situation, the government has announced a National Action Plan, a time-bound programme, while Europe and American buyers have accorded with the North American Alliance to inspect compliance issues.

The government is already working on formulating a Common Code of Inspection so it satisfies both European and American buyers, Atiq said. “We want uniformity. It will be difficult for us to comply with if Europe and America have different compliance requirements.”

Buet (Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology) is already working on it and BGMEA hopes the code would be concluded before the inspection begins, he said.

European buyers will inspect 1,500 factories under the agreement while American buyers 800 factories under North American Alliance programme, he said.

“There will be a overlapping of 200 to 250 factories as some factories supply goods to the buyers of both the regions,” he added.

The BGMEA president said it is very difficult to inspect building but after completion, Bangladesh would have a sustainable RMG industry. “It is a wakeup call for us and we want to have a sustainable industry.”

About 80% of the 3,200 factories already submitted their building documents to BGMEA, which would be sent to ILO for further scrutiny, Atiq said.

BGMEA and the government are preparing a list of garment factories, which are non-operational and existing only on paper, to get real figure of the factories.

The move came following the US action plan that imposed condition of appointing 800 inspectors to get the GSP facilities back.

There are about 1,300 factories exists only on papers and the number may increase to 1,800, said a BGMEA executive.

The government and the BGMEA are assessing the number of non-operational factories to prepare a complete list of factories, which are in full-fledged operations, before appointing inspectors, said BGMEA Vice President Shahidullah Azim.

He said the number of operational factories are about 3,600 and 2,000 of them are exporting directly while the rest are doing only sub-contract jobs. The number of BGMEA member factories is 5,400.  

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