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Commerce Minister urges buyers to raise apparel price

TofaelCommerce Minister Tofail Ahmed has urged the buyers to increase prices of readymade garment products in line with the recent wage hike for the workers to help survive the industry.

“As the government has set the wage 77% higher, it would be really difficult for this sector to survive unless the buyers increase the prices of the apparel products,??? he said, emerging from a meeting in Dhaka yesterday.

Representatives from more than 40 buyers attended the meeting titled “Strengthening Business Environment in the RMG sector of Bangladesh,??? organised by Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA).

The meeting was attended, among others, by Commerce Secretary Mahbub Ahmed, Labour Secretary Mikail Shipar and Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque, and representatives from Accord, Alliance and ILO.

Tofail assured the buyers’ representatives of a congenial atmosphere in the country, saying “Stability has now been totally restored in the country as the political situation improved further after the polls and there will be no political unrest anymore as the opposition political parties have realised their faults for doing politics of violence.’’

BGMEA President Atiqul Islam requested the Accord and Alliance to take realistic and pragmatic measures in the process of inspection of the garment factories as a good number of garment units are still located at the shared and rental buildings.

“I don’t know what would exactly happen after the inspection, but I can cast my doubts whether the sector will survive or not if they inspect all the factories as per their plan,??? he said, expressing concern.

He urged the buyers not to make public any report of their inspection before ensuring the remedial measures and to refrain from withdrawing orders from those factories.

Srinivas Reddy, Country Director of International Labour Organisation (ILO) opined that the concerns of the apparel makers on the standards and inspection process should be listen carefully as they are valid ones.

“There will be no compromise on safety and workers rights issues and the steps should be pragmatic,??? he added, urging quick disbursement of the compensation as proposed by the retailers for the victims of Rana Plaza incident.

“The spirit of the Accord and Alliance initiatives is very positive as these are the long term project aiming at developing the RMG sector with check and balance, not for creating any panic,??? said Roger Hubert, country director of H & M. These initiatives are going forwards, he said stressing on actions rather talking.

“The buyers are here in Dhaka to do business and they have assured us that they will raise the price hike issue to their respective headquarters,??? BGMEA vice-president Shahidullah Azim told the Dhaka Tribune quoting the buyers.

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Source: Dhaka Tribune

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