The Bangladesh government urgently needs to invest over $380 million in the country’s apparel industry to improve safety and working conditions within the sector, according to a panel of experts debating the issues in Dhaka last week.
In a session titled “Post Rana Reform Roadmap,” the panel said the government needs to budget 30 billion takas, or $385 million, to improve the ready-made garment sector.
The seminar was spearheaded by the Policy Research Institute, a leading think tank in Bangladesh, which works closely with The World Bank, USAID, the International Monetary Fund and the United Nations Development Programme, among other groups. The seminar also had the Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which is one of the oldest trade bodies in Dhaka, and the Bangladesh Employers’ Federation as partners. BEF claims to have more than 90 percent of private company employers as its members.
That investment would be only a fraction of the amount needed, however. Noting that more than 1,000 factories needed to be relocated, the panel estimated that would cost an additional 100 billion takas, or $1.28 billion. According to the road map proposed by the panel, the government and property developers could initially fund that cost, with the amount paid back by the factory owners over time.
The relocation could be done in phases and in varied clusters, the recommendations noted.
Another solution might be for a small export tax of 1 to 2 percent freight on board, which could be earmarked for the factory refurbishment program.
Other recommendations included a continuation of unannounced fire drills after initial on-site fire training to the factories for at least three months, higher minimum wages for labor, a bimonthly exchange of ideas and training centers for skill improvement.
The discussion of funding for industry improvements came shortly before the Norwegian government stepped forward with a financial package to support labor.
The agreement for $2.5 million, signed between Heikki Eidsvoll Holmås, Norwegian Minister for International Development, and Srinivas Reddy, country manager, Bangladesh for the International Labor Organization, aims to promote workers’ rights and labor relations in export-oriented industries in Bangladesh. Although the money signed is for labor relations across export-oriented industries, the ready-made garment industry accounts for more than 70 percent of exports from Bangladesh. It is also the second largest exporter of apparel in the world, after China.
The presence of Secretary of Labour Mikail Shipar, Fazlul Hoque of the Bangladesh Employers Federation and a representative of the National Coordination Committee for Workers’ Education ensured local involvement in the agreement. Norwegian Ambassador Ragne Birte Lund was also present at the Ruposhi Bangla hotel, where the event was held Monday.
Reddy observed that the support of the Norwegian government was timely. “This support directly contributes to implementation of one of the commitments, on workers’ education and training of midlevel supervisors and managers on occupational safety and health and fundamental principles and rights at work,” he said.
A primary objective of the Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work in Bangladesh, to which the money will be available, is to have labor issues compliant with the ILO conventions on freedom of association and the right to collectively bargain.
The support for Bangladesh labor comes even though few Norwegian companies source from Bangladesh. The biggest Norwegian company importing textiles and ready-made garments from Bangladesh is the Varner Group.
My character, Dinah Madani, is just the coolest, [most] badass woman imaginable," says @amberroserevah. The actress stars in @marvel's newest series on @netflix, @thepunisher. To prepare for her role, Revah sat down with Homeland agents to get a real sense of with Dinah's day-to-day life is really like. Read our full interview on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
A scene from the 91st annual @macys Thanksgiving Day Parade. The parade, which boasts 50 million TV viewers and 3.5 million on-site spectators, is considered one of the largest and most watched parades in the world. (📷: Jason Szenes/EPA-REX)
The circus came to @bloomingdales 59th Street on Tuesday night and lit up Lexington Avenue with acrobatic dancers, death-defying knife throwing, sword swallowing and aerial acts with no net. The 45 minutes of theatrics built up to unveiling the holiday windows depicting @swarovski crystal-encrusted circus pieces and scenes from “The Greatest Showman” – songs from the soundtrack included. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Joshua Scott)
The psychedelic fashion that pervaded the ’60s is back with an exhibit at the @museumofcityny. “Mode New York: Fashion Takes a Trip” chronicles the changing styles from 1960 through 1973 and features designers such as @ysl, @oscardelarenta and more. The exhibition, which is on display through April 1, is organized into four periods: First Lady Fasion, Youthquake, New Bohemia and New Nonchalance. Pictured here is model Pat Bardonella during the Garvey Day Parade in 1968. (📷: @kwamebphoto) #wwdeye #wwdfashion
“People should be a lot more honest in expressing both the dark and light of themselves. We need to give each other the space to do that because it’s the only way we can grow and evolve,” says @noelwells of her new film “Mr. Roosevelt,” which is largely based on her own struggles. Unexpectedly leaving @nbcsnl in 2014 after just one season, Wells felt set back in her self-esteem and career trajectory. She quickly refocused her energy to more personal projects, which led to the completion of “Mr. Roosevelt.” Read the rest of WWD’s interview with the “Master of None” actress on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
@barbrastreisand is giving fans a chance to see her perform up close in a new concert series, which makes its debut on @Netflix today. From behind-the-scenes takes to her concert performance in Miami last December, the two-hour streaming special captures Streisand in her element. Pictured here is the singer/actress photographed for WWD in 1963. (📷: Palmieri Tony) #wwdeye #wwdarchive
@chanel and @pharrell dropped what’s being dubbed as the world’s most exclusive sneakers yesterday. The Adidas Originals NMD Hu, which Williams designed in collaboration with Chanel and @adidasoriginals, has a waiting list of over 120K people who pre-registered online at chanelatcolette.fr –– and only 500 pairs are on sale. The singer predicted the resale value of the shoes could reach $40K. Read the full interview on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdfashion (📷: Dominique Maître)
@imanshumpert is diving deeper into his creative endeavors and relaunching his clothing line, Post 90s, and is helping to raise money for the hurricane victims in St. Maarten with a jersey he’s designed with his brother. The Cleveland Cavaliers player talked to WWD about kneeling during the national anthem, working with fashion brands and how he wants to be more than an @nba player. Read the interview on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)