Besides, it has to concentrate on higher productivity and social dialogue to resolve workers-owners dispute.
Discussants comprised of researchers, trade analysts, economists, trade unionist and sector people came up with the recommendations at a launching ceremony of a research paper titled “Pains and gains of the ready-made garments sector: Post 2013” in Dhaka recently.
Bangladesh University in collaboration with the State University of San Francisco brought out the paper on which The Daily Star and Bangladesh University jointly held the discussion.
“The human capital and technology already exist in Bangladesh, and suppliers’ job is to tap into that local knowledge,” said the researchers.
Bangladesh has to ensure higher productivity, increase of wages for workers and more profit for the manufacturers for the sustainability of apparel sector, said Debapriya Bhattacharya, distinguished fellow of the Centre for Policy Dialogue.
Debapriya called for an effective social dialogue for resolving some outstanding issues in the garment sector and saving entrepreneurs.
He suggested sharing the remediation cost of factories by the retailers, suppliers and other stakeholders to reduce the burden only on manufacturers.
“We want to brand ourselves as the most compliant supplier of products. Investment in social dialogue is very crucial at this moment as manufacturers are spending millions of dollars for remediation and relocation of their factories,” said Rubana Huq, managing director of Mohammadi Group.
The recent labour unrest at Ashulia indicates that Bangladesh needs more engagement of stakeholders, she added.
According to Fahmida Khatun, executive director of CPD, said the garment manufacturers should also increase the wages of the workers.
“We are spending a lot on factory remediation and relocation to make the factory compliant, but buyers are not paying higher prices for clothing products made in Bangladesh, but they pay higher in China, India, Vietnam and Pakistan,” said Mahmud Hasan Khan, vice-president of BGMEA.
This is not a level playing field, he added.