20:26:59 local time CHINA
* Concerned parents take kids to hospital:
The scare involving tainted school uniforms has driven some parents to take their children to hospitals, which say the parents expressed worries about cancer-linked dyes, especially after finding a rash on their child’s skin.
Experts said parents needn’t panic. They suggested parents buy all-cotton clothing for their children and wash new clothes before they wear them. read more.
* Nation sees drop in labor force numbers:
China’s labor force aged between 15 and 59 declined by 3.45 million last year, the first drop in three decades, and an expert warned Sunday that a transformation of the country’s economic structure is urgently needed in order to deal with changes in the labor supply.
The number of workers aged between 15 and 59 fell to 937.27 million last year, accounting for 69.2 percent of the total population, 0.6 percentage points lower compared with the previous year, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said in a report on its website Friday.
“This is the first absolute decline for China’s labor population in a long time,” Ma Jiantang, commissioner of the NBS, was quoted by the Beijing News as saying Sunday. The country’s labor force will keep on declining “gradually” until at least 2030, Ma said. read more.
* Bosses try to woo workers as economy recovers:
Migrant workers who used to demand unpaid wages from their bosses before traveling home for a family reunion may find their positions reversed after the Spring Festival.
After the week-long national holiday, Wang Jiwan, board chairman of Qingdao Hengda Co., a shoe manufacturer based in eastern China’s Shandong Province lined up with 50 senior executives at the factory gate, bowing to welcome returning workers.
Meanwhile, Shandong Haosheng Group, a home textile manufacturer, is short of about 500 workers due to increasing orders from the domestic market.
19:26:59 local time VIET NAM
* Garment factory collapse kills one:
Ceilings in a factory owned by Ninh Binh Export collapsed yesterday, killing one of the construction workers and leaving three injured.
Ten workers of Hung Yen Construction Corporation were repairing walls in the factory when the ceilings fell down.
Witnesses said the building recently housed 500 sewing workers but they had been laid off.
Police directed rescuers at the scene and evacuated surrounding households and hazardous areas.
Ninh Binh Export is a branch of Hung Yen Garment Corporation of the Viet Nam Textile and Garment Group. to read.
* Workers unhappy with low wages:
Labour turnover is likely to be high in Viet Nam this year as workers express their dissatisfaction with insufficient salaries and unprofessional working environments, a survey conducted by Jobstreet.com has found.
The Malaysia-based Internet recruitment website, which focuses on the Asia-Pacific region, said that 79.5 per cent of 2,000 workers with experience of two years or more said they were not happy with their current jobs and hoped to get new ones with better working conditions and salaries.
More than 75 per cent of the respondents polled in January said they were actively seeking better jobs. read more.
19:26:59 local time CAMBODIA
* Unequal treatment at Cambodian factories:
Workers from the Kingsland Garment factory in Meanchey district protest in front of the US Embassy in downtown Phnom Penh in January 2013. Photograph: Vireak Mai/Phnom Penh Post
The ongoing story of garment workers left jobless by company closures in late December is fast becoming A Tale of Two Factories: one group of workers has everything before it, the other has nothing.
It’s this widening gulf between workers at Yung Wah Industrial and Kingsland Garment – accentuated by the government’s willingness to pay out wages and benefits in full at one factory and not the other – that has prompted calls for an insurance scheme to be established to protect garment workers hit by sudden closures.
“It’s a question of having a system in place,” Dave Welsh, American Center for International Labor Solidarity country manager, said yesterday. “There should be a proper insurance scheme. You could make it so that if you want to operate under [the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia] and be an exporter from the country, you have to be part of it.” read more.
* Kingsland situation escalating:
The Ministry of Social Affairs have increased their offer by around $20,000. This is nowhere near enough.
Workers protested at H&M office this week and blocked National Road #2 today (20130223)
Around seventy workers went to the Phnom Penh Tower this morning – the building in which both the H&M office and Swedish Embassy are located. The workers demanded that the Swedish Embassy support the case and that H&M ensure payment from Kingsland’s owner – or if the circumstances require it – from the brands that sourced from the factory. Staff from the Embassy arrived to accept a petition.
H&M’s local representative, Mr. Basirun Nabi circled the group before approaching a workers’ representative. He requested that local media cease filming the exchange, but assured that the document would make its way to the H&M head office.
A letter was passed on for H&Ms CEO Karl-Johan Persson. Worker’s message to the head of the giant retailer is honest and straight forward: ‘We worked very long hours to avoid insults from supervisors and to get your orders ready in time. Now that we’ve lost our jobs we are broke and some have already lost their homes. H&M says that our work is “unauthorized production”, but we were working for H&M and want you to take responsibility for the situation.’
* Union says members beaten for second time:
Seven members of the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union (C.CAWDU) say company-hired thugs beat them after a protest Thursday evening outside E Garment factory in Kandal province’s Sa’ang district, making it the second time this month that demonstrations at the factory have turned ugly.
The union filed a complaint to commune police authorities on Friday, and the injured union members were treated and released from hospital that day and over the weekend. Police are still searching for the suspects.
Kong Athit, vice president of C.CAWDU, said yesterday that there were about 20 people involved in the attack on the seven union members, who were set upon as they left the protest for the day. read more.
* BFC’s relevance slips in Cambodia: Stanford report:
* Factory group accepts and challenges report :
Better Factories Cambodia (BFC) has said it will consider changes to its program following suggestions last week its garment factory monitoring reports lacked transparency.
Monitoring in the Dark, a report by Stanford Law School and the Workers Rights Consortium, said BFC was failing to listen to workers’ complaints and was not transparent when reporting labour violations
“It is timely for the program to introduce changes in order to increase effectiveness,” a BFC statement released on Friday says. read more.
20:26:59 local time INDONESIA
* Massive layoffs inevitable: Businesspeople:
Extensive layoffs in Indonesia’s manufacturing and service sectors are growing inevitable as the businesspeople’s appeal to the government to suspend the rise in minimum wages goes unheeded, a senior businessman says.
Indonesian Employers Association (Apindo) chairman Sofjan Wanandi said that at least 500,000 workers in about 1,500 companies across the country might lose their jobs in March as the companies were no longer able to pay their workers in accordance with the new minimum wages. read more.
* Labor unions file lawsuit on minimum wage delay:
Major confederations of labor unions have filed a lawsuit against the West Java administration regarding the postponement of the 2013 regional minimum wage (UMR).
The lawsuit was filed on Friday at the Bandung State Administrative Court (PTUN) against West Java Gubernatorial Decree No. 561, which allows 257 companies in 11 regencies and mayoralties to postpone implementation of the 2013 minimum wage that was issued on Jan. 18.
Trade Union Rights Center activist Ari Lazuardi said his group filed the lawsuit because it felt the wage postponement process was not in line with procedures.
* Minimum wage increase not applicable to all industries: Ministry:
The Industry Ministry`s Director General for Manufacturing-based Industry, Panggah Susanto, said that the increase of minimum wage (UMP) could not be applied to all industries.
“Industries that high cost components would not be equally treated, because the increase will burden themselves,” he said in a phone talks here on Friday.
Such labor-intensive industries such as textiles, footwear and furniture will find difficulty in rising the minimum wage of their employees to a level of Rp2.2 million in Jakarta. read more.
18:26:59 local time BANGLA DESH
* PM hands over compensation to families of Smart Fashion fire victims:
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today urged all concerned to make their additional efforts to ensure welfare of the garment workers as well as their safety.
She said the present government is making constant efforts for welfare of the garment workers and their safety in working places. Minimum wages of garment workers in Bangladesh has been increased by 82 percent by the present government comparing to 60 percent increase in Indonesia over the last few years, she said. read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
* IndustriALL promotes rights of garment workers in Bangladesh:
A multi-stakeholder meeting in Dhaka convened by IndustriALL underlines need for urgent progress on workers’ rights, minimum wages and fire safety in order to secure a sustainable future for the garment industry in Bangladesh.
The meeting on 22 February 2013 was attended by representatives of all main players related to the Bangladeshi ready-made garment industry, including the Minister of Industry and the Secretary of Labour, representatives of major brands and buyers such as H&M, PVH and Tchibo, trade unions representing garment workers, employers’ association the Bangladesh Garment Manufactures & Exporters Association BGMEA, International Labour Organization (ILO) as well as national and international non-governmental organizations and partner unions.
After horrific fires at Tazreen Fashion and Smart Fashion factories in Dhaka area resulted in death of at least 120 garment workers and many more injured, IndustriALL addressed the Government of Bangladesh, national employers and international buyers in an urgent discussion on a concrete plan of action.
According to IndustriALL, such plan of action had to include strict health and safety regulations, efficient inspection and union participation in workplace cooperation, ensuring freedom of association in line with internationally recognized ILO labour standards, and a program to raise minimum wages to at least living wage levels in the country. read more.
* Setting up of no RMG factory to be allowed sans building code, safety measures: Barua:
Industries Minister Dilip Barua Friday said setting up of no readymade garment (RMG) factory would be allowed in the country without having required building code and other safety measures.
He was speaking at a meeting titled ‘Multi-stakeholders Meeting to Ensure Safety and Build Positive Image of the Garment Industry of Bangladesh’ as the chief guest.
Geneva-based IndustriALL Global Union and IndustriAll Bangladesh Council organised the meeting at a city hotel.
With IndustriALL Global Union President Jyrki Raina in the chair, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) President Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin, Labour and Employment Secretary Mikail Shipar, Asia and Pacific Region General Secretary of IndustriALL Global Union Sudesh Rao, IndustriAll Bangladesh Council President Nazrul Islam Khan and Secretary General Roy Ramesh Chandra also spoke at the meet. read more.
* Workers vandalise garments factories in Gazipur:
The workers of a ready-made garments (RMG) unit vandalised several factories at Kashimpur on Sunday and staged street protest to realise their 8-point-demand, including pay hike.
Police and locals said, several hundred workers of Cotton Club BD, a concern of Mandal Group, staged demonstration in the factory abstaining from duty in the morning.
At one stage they ransacked the factory damaging its machinery, accessories, furniture, cloth and fabrics from 8am to 9:30am.
Being informed police rushed in and used clubs, lobbing several rounds of tear gas shells to drive them out of the factory.
Infuriated by police action, the workers came out of the factory and swooped on several other adjacent RMG units of the Kashimpur Industrial zone, damaging at least six.
The angry workers also staged street protest in support of their demands, which also include an end to harassment of workers by the factory authorities, retrenchment and non-payment of their dues. read more. & read more.
* Garment workers, cops injured in clash in Gazipur:
At least 15 people including four policemen were injured on Sunday when garment workers, agitating for pay increase and other demands, clashed with the police at Sadar upazila in Gazipur.
The clash broke out as the workers of a concern of Mandal Group, Cotton Club BD Limited, in Kashipur area, went on strike and staged demonstrations to press their eight-point demand.
Gazipur industrial police inspector Syed Mannan Ali said the workers of Cotton Club BD began agitation after they came to the factory in the morning.
About 10:00am they came out of the factory, where they were joined by workers of Alim Knit and Montex, two other concerns of the same owner, and together they went to nearby factories of EMA garment, Ripon garment and Islam garment and called on the workers to join them. read more. & read more.
* RMG workers block Dhaka-Tangail highway:
Hundreds of readymade garments workers have blocked the busy Dhaka-Tangail highway following rumours of the death of a fellow worker in a road accident in Gazipur.
Police said a passenger bus hit a female worker of the APSFRL Limited factory in Mouchak’s Telirtala area around 8am on Monday.
Locals rushed the injured worker, who was on her way to work, to Matricchhaya Clinic in Konabari, said SI Saiful Islam of the Mouchak Police Outpost.
* Woven garment now biggest export earning product:
Woven garment once again emerged as the country’s biggest export-earning product, surpassing knitwear items during the first seven months of the current fiscal year of 2012-13.
The sub-sector of the $ 19 billion clothing industry has made a great leap outshining the growth of knit products during the current fiscal year as its demand surged due to the GSP facility offered by the EU, industry people said.
Export of woven garment fetched US$6.11 billion during the July-January of current fiscal year, according to the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB). read more.
* Jute bag export posts 45pc growth:
The export of jute sacks and bags witnessed a remarkable growth this year posting a 45.35 per cent growth in the first seven months over the same period in last fiscal.
The exporters pointed out that the earning from jute bags and sacks registered remarkable growth because of increasing demand for the item in international markets. “The export earning grew from the sector because of a growing popularity of natural fibre made products abroad. Besides, the jute handicraft enjoys the government’s cash subsidy against their export earning,” said Rezaul Karim, former president of Bangladesh Jute Association.
He told the independent that the jute bag export increased some new jute bag manufacturing units were set up in the country in private sector. read more.
* Hartal to discourage foreign buyers, investors: BGMEA, BKMEA:
* EU trade concessions back home prompting Pak investors to withdraw:
Pakistani investors in Bangladesh, especially those operating in readymade garments (RMG) are withdrawing their investments gradually to take advantage of EU concessions now being offered to their own country.
According to the Board of Investment (BoI) and the Bangladesh Export Processing Zones Authority (BEPZA), some Pakistani investors have already shifted their investment to their own country partially and some others are in the process of withdrawing.
The European Union (EU) last year allowed duty-free import of some 75 selected products, mostly textiles, from Pakistan to its market in an effort to offset the impact of 2010 floods there. read more.
* US team in city to discuss GSP issues:
A US delegation comprising its Department of Labour’s Acting Associate Under Secretary for International Affairs Eric Biel and International Economist Mike O’Donovan are in the city to have talks with the government officials and stakeholders on GSP issues.
The dignitaries are visiting Bangladesh to learn of the government and industry progress in addressing concerns outlined in the GSP petition prior to the upcoming USTR hearing in March, according to the US Embassy in Dhaka.
The American Center of the US Embassy will host a ‘Meet the Press’ event where Eric Biel and Mike O’Donovan will answer queries from the journalists.
The press conference is scheduled to be held at 3pm on Tuesday.
to read. & read more. & read more. & read more.
* Seven awards for garment firms:
The German government and Bangladesh Brand Forum (BBF) yesterday gave seven awards to garment factories in recognition of their outstanding performance in compliance and environmental protection.
The Social and Environmental Excellence Award 2012 — an initiative of BBF and GIZ, the German government’s international development activities arm — was given in three broad categories of social compliance, innovative idea and environmental standards.
“If you want to be the best, you should not only think about profit margins, but be more responsible as well,” said Albrecht Conze, German ambassador to Bangladesh. read more. & read more. & read more.
ASHULIA TAZREEN GARMENT FACTORY FIRE:
* Dutch co to help Tazreen fire victims:
A Dutch buying company–C&A – has expressed its willingness to help pay damages to the Tazreen fire victims, especially the injured ones, which includes contribution to the loss of income and expenses for treatment.
Caritas Bangladesh has already developed a project with assistance from C&A to help rehabilitate the fire injured, who are still suffering from injuries and become unable to work.
BGMEA has already identified about 50 fire injured out of 89 who were given treatment after the devastating fire. to read.
17:56:59 local time INDIA
* Garment exports could touch $30 billion in 3 years: AEPC:
Garment exports may touch $30 billion level in the next three years if government reduces import duty on synthetic fabrics to 5 per cent, Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC) has said.
“We have put up an ambitious plan for increasing garment exports to $30 billion in three years, provided import of speciality fabric, which is widely not available in the country, is allowed to be imported at five per cent customs duty,” AEPC Chairman A Sakthivel said here.
At present, import duty on synthetic fabrics is about 21 per cent. read more.
* Garment sector sees growth, plan to boost global trade:
The Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC), which has its headquarters in Gurgaon, announced a new proposal to boost international trade for the garment sector, which for the first time in the past eight months is reporting positive growth.
The list of recommendations have been submitted to the Union textile ministry, with one of the demands being curtailment of custom duty on selected fabrics.
“The AEPC has put up an ambitious plan for increasing the total garment exports to $30 billion in the next three years,” said a representative of the council. Garment manufacturing and export houses constitute the largest chunk in Gurgaon’s industrial belt and account for the high revenue and employment generation in the region.
* Indian textile & garment industry on a revival track:
* Indian textile sector seeks relief in Union Budget 2013-14:
* Maharashtra may delink its Textile Policy from TUFS:
* Indian govt to continue with existing cotton export policy:
* AEPC asks govt to reduce customs duty on manmade fibre:
Apex apparel body AEPC today asked the government to reduce customs duty on manmade fibre and cotton fabrics to boost the garment export of the country.
Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC) Chairman A Sakthivel said that the move would help in doubling exports to USD 30 billion in the next three years.
“In this regard, we have submitted a proposal for reducing the custom duty at a flat rate of 5 per cent on selected speciality manmade fibre and cotton fabrics,” Sakthivel said in a statement here.
The speciality fabric is not widely available in India, “therefore we are urging the government to reduce duties on this”. read more.
* Ramraj Cotton to invest Rs 100 cr for setting up weaving unit:
The group has so far invested Rs 300 cr, has five manufacturing units at Erode, Madurai, Tirupur, Coimbatore and Bangalore
Tirupur-based Ramraj Cotton, which is into dhotis, shirts and innerwear segment, is planning to invest Rs 100 in setting up a weaving unit in Sankagiri, Tamil Nadu, this calender year.
The group has so far invested Rs 300 crore and has five manufacturing units at Erode, Madurai, Tirupur, Coimbatore and Bangalore. It has production capacity of 250,000 metre cloth, 100,000 pieces of innerware and 20,000 shirts per day.
* 500 tonnes of cotton destroyed in fire:
Nearly 500 tonnes of cotton was destroyed in fire at a ginning mill at Amminabhavi village near here on Sunday.
The fire broke out at around 5.30 p.m. Fire service personnel took a long time to douse the fire. The cause of fire is yet to be ascertained. The police said that nearly 40 per cent of the cotton stored in the mill was reduced to ashes. The loss is estimated at Rs. 2 crore. Superintendent of Police Ravi Kumar Y.S. and Dharwad tahsildar Shivanand Bhajantri visited the spot. to read.
* Kejriwal takes up the issue of contract workers rights:
Moving away from the issue of corruption, anti-graft activist Arvind Kejriwal on Monday took up the issue of contract workers’ labour rights. He said power companies in Delhi flouted labour laws and that there was rampant violation of the Minimum Wages Act and Factories Act.
Kejriwal alleged these companies turn a blind eye at the exploitation by contractors, who deny workers their minimum wages, leave and accident compensation. He also accused Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit of protecting the interests of these companies by not enforcing the labour laws. He alleged the chief minister was hand in glove with the power companies.
The context was a dharna organised by some of the 30,000-odd contract workers of the power companies in Delhi — BSES Yamuna Power, BSES Rajdhani Power, Tata Power Distribution Co, Delhi Transco, Indr-aprastha Power Generation Co and Pragati Power Corporation Limited — under their union DESU Mazdoor Sangh.
* IPL apparel merchandise takes a hit:
While the sixth edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) is over a month away, the cricketing event is witnessing a diminishing popularity as far as its apparel merchandise is concerned. According to Mumbai, Tirupur and Ludhiana knitwear manufacturers, the orders for IPL apparel merchandise have dwindled from last year by at least 20-25 per cent.
For instance, Mumbai-based SVG Fashion, which received orders to the tune of five million pieces of knitted apparel from brands like Adidas, Nike and Reebok, has witnessed a dip in orders. The IPL merchandise usually includes knitted jerseys, caps, wrist bands and other accessories, along with branding of sponsors. This year’s edition of the cricket tournament will start on April 3.
“The craze over IPL seems to be dwindling, coupled with a dull retail market. This may have led to apparel orders meant for the IPL season declining 20-25 per cent at least. The trend of decline had anyway begun a couple of years ago,” said Satyanarayan Agarwal, founder of SVG Fashion. read more.
* Withdraw FSA charges to save powerloom sector: TRS:
Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) MLA K.T. Rama Rao has requested Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy to save the ailing powerloom sector by withdrawing fuel surcharge adjustment (FSA) charges being collected from them.
In an open letter addressed to the Chief Minister on Saturday, Mr. Rama Rao stated that the power-based cottage industry was on the brink of collapse due to multiple problems with power charges being the major one.
Of the 78,000 powerlooms working in the State, 38,000 were in Karimnagar district with 36,000 concentrated in Sircilla town and its surroundings, he explained.
* If unions are not engaged in talks, another strike will follow: Dasgupta:
The two-day strike by the Central trade unions against the government’s “apathy” towards the working class came up in the Lok Sabha on Friday, with some members warning that there could be another agitation if trade unions are not engaged in talks.
Raising the issue during zero hour, Gurudas Dasgupta (CPI), who is also leader of the All-India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), said 44 crore workers, who were the mainstay of production in the country, were not getting appropriate remuneration and the government was neglecting them.
Referring to the two-day strike, he said the trade unions did not want to resort to such actions but were forced to do so by the government. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh made an “innocent appeal through press” for talks. “The Prime Minister offers talks to trade unions through the press. Does he talk to the corporates also through the press?” read more.
* After the strike, unions expect some budget sops for working class:
The central trade unions, which organised a two-day general strike which ended on Thursday, just before the budget session of Parliament, expect some sops from the government for job protection and social security for the working class.
“This government has a pro-capitalist and pro-rich policy. It simply wants foreign direct investment, making rich richer at the cost of the working class and the poor and we cannot expect much in budget 2013-14,” G. Sanjeeva Reddy, president, Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC) said.
It is interesting that this statement comes from the leader of the trade union, which is the labour wing of the ruling Congress. “We want a budget in support of the people and the working class,” he said, warning that addressing only the concerns of capitalists would leave the workers in the lurch and ultimately harm the nation.
* 300 tanneries, textile dyeing units ordered to down shutters:
Over 300 Textile dyeing industries and tanneries functioning here was today ordered to down shutters following complaints about effluents being let out in the water bodies, officials said.
Farmers belonging to various Associations had appealed the district administration to take stringent action against the polluters, especially those tanners and dyers discharging untreated effluent in the water courses mainly into the Cauvery River and Kalingarayan canal.
The District Revenue Officer R. Ganesh said the district administration had already taken stringent action against such polluters and closed more than 150 unauthorised and unlicensed textile dyeing and bleaching units. read more.
* Call to textile industry: Ethiopia:
We want investments from India and Turkey in the textile value chain
Ethiopia plans to sign agreements with some of the textile associations here to attract investments and expertise from the Indian textile industry.
Sisay Gemechu Edo, State Minister in Ethiopia’s Ministry of Industry held a meeting with members of the Southern India Mills’ Association (SIMA) here on Wednesday.
He also visited the vendor development programme organised by Coimbatore District Small Industries’ Association and the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Institute. Mr. Edo told The Hindu that the focus sectors in his India visit were textiles and commercial agriculture. “We are promoting textile and agro industries to invest in Ethiopia,” he said. read more.
* Weaving a soft cottony story:
If you began this story with ‘Once upon a time…’ it would sound fairly long ago and suitably fairytale-like. But the story of Mani Chinnaswamy and Vijayalakshmi Nachiar is not so distant, though at the end, everybody lived happily. It’s a story that travels between Pollachi in Tamil Nadu and H.D. Kote in Karnataka. It’s a story that travels between farmers here and weavers there. It’s a story that travels from the farm to boutiques.
At a time when the country is opening up to MNC clothing companies , Mani and Vijayalakshmi decided to go back to the fabric synonymous with India — cotton. Mani, a third-generation inheritor of the family’s cotton mill Appachi Cotton, in Pollachi, Tamil Nadu, decided in 2006 that they should be an “ethical” business. “So we quit our conventional business,” say Mani, an MBA graduate from the U.S.A. The couple were recently in Bangalore for an exhibition of their products. read more.
17:56:59 local time SRI LANKA
* Feeling the absence of GSP+ :
The loss of the Generalized Scheme of Preferences (GSP) + tax relief given to the export sector by the European Union (EU) has severely impacted the apparel sector leading to the closing of garment factories in Biyagama, Nittambuwa, and Katunayake investment zones. The GSP +, considered a boon to the Export Sector, given by the EU in the aftermath of the tsunami of 2004, was revoked in February 2010.
Speaking to Ceylon Today, the co- secretary Free Trade Zone Workers Union (FTZWU), Anton Marcus highlighted the negative impact on the industry, consequent to Sri Lanka losing the GSP+.
“When GSP+ was still available to the sector, we had the right to sell 4,200 different products to countries of the European Union (EU) at a lower rate of tax. With the loss of the benefits in February 2010 the apparel sector in Sri Lanka was crippled.
Once we were given the GSP+, we have been able to compete with countries such as China, Vietnam or India, in the global market,” Marcus said, adding even now, raw materials are imported into the country before being converted to finished products, which is a sign of the lack of a true and functional apparel sector in the country.
* Pakistani investor shuts apparel factories, over 1,500 lose jobs:
Pakistani investor, the ZM Group which ran three apparel factories in Sri Lanka have closed down the factories and left the island, employees said.
The Board of Investment-approved factories; ZM Vertiko PVT Ltd at Padukka, ZM Kasuals at Kottawa and ZM Vision at Kiriella, were closed with over,1,500 workers losing their jobs. The management had informed the workers that the company has lost all apparel orders recently and they are not in a position to continue the business.
A senior official of the Finance Ministry told the Business Times that the ZM group left the country, leaving behind unpaid loans of over Rs. 1 billion obtained from state and private banks. The three factories were set up between September 2003 and October 2006. The latest exit of a BOI loss-making investor with unpaid loans follows several other similar instances of unpaid dues with the Bank of Ceylon and People’s Bank, prompting a government investigation. read more.
17:26:59 local time PAKISTAN
THE KARACHI-BALDIA FIRE:
* 18 unidentified bodies to be buried:
The bodies of 18 unidentified people, who died during a deadly fire at a factory in Baldia Town area of Karachi, last year, would be buried today (Sunday).
The Sindh High Court (SHC) on February 20, 2013 ordered authorities to make arrangements for burials of 18 unidentifiable victims of Baldia Town factory fire, awaiting DNA test in the morgue of Edhi center near Sohrab Goth.
According to Deputy Commissioner of the city, the bodies would be buried at Karachi Municipal Corporation (KMC) graveyard in the city.
He further said that all arrangements have been made and the burial would definitely take place on scheduled time.
Garment factories in Karachi caught fire on 11 September 2012. The fires occurred in a textile factory in the western part of Karachi. The fires are considered to be the most deadly and worst industrial factory fires in Pakistan’s history, killing 315 people and seriously injuring more than 250 others.
to read. & to read. & to read.& read more.
* Five months on, 17 unidentified workers laid to rest:
Five months after an inferno engulfed the garment factory in Baldia, the remains of 17 unidentified workers were buried in KMC Graveyard amid tears and hopes that such an incident won’t happen again.
A deadly fire swept through the factory in September last year, killing over 258 employees in one of the world’s deadliest industrial disasters. No one knows for sure how the fire started and why so many people were trapped inside.
On Sunday, hundreds of people, including the owners of Ali Enterprises, which ran the factory, attended the funeral at Akhbar Shaheed Ground in Baldia Town.
The mass burial took place with the permission of the victims’ families, in compliance with the orders of the Sindh High Court. All the bodies and remains were charred beyond recognition. Several attempts to match DNA samples of the victims with that of family members failed.
“The saddest part is all these bodies have remained unclaimed,” said Nasir Mansoor, a social activist who is working closely with the families.
read more. & read more.
* Hoping for closure, families bury unidentified dead:
Five months after the Baldia factory blaze, the bodies of 17 unidentified victims were buried at the KMC graveyard near the Hub River Road on Sunday.
According to court orders, government officials had allotted a serial number to every body at the Edhi morgue so that when the DNA reports arrived, they could be identified. But the DNA reports never arrived.
“Seventeen coffins contain bodies. And one only body parts,” said Anwar Kazmi of the Edhi Foundation as volunteers put the sealed coffins in ambulances.
The coffins were taken to a ground in Baldia Town for the funeral rites and then to the government graveyard for burial.
The victims’ graves do not have tombstones with their names, but the serial numbers they were allotted.
The burial could have been carried out months ago if only the government had paid a little attention to the crisis, said Abdul Sattar Edhi, the founder of the Edhi Foundation.
read more. & read more.
MORE AND OTHER NEWS:
* Two officials arrested in crackdown against textile units:
Two officials were arrested on Friday in a crackdown launched by the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) against textile giants for alleged tax evasion worth millions of rupees, sources said.
The nabbed officials of the Sarhad Textile Mills have also been fined Rs51 million, sources said.
The sources said that the FBR found that an owner of a textile giant from Lahore allegedly make fraudulent transactions of multimillion rupees in the name of his driver.
“Yes, two employees of the Sarhad Textile Mills, including General Manager Finance Mohammad Asad Ullah Fatmi and Manager Accounts Faiq Ahmed Khan, have been arrested and efforts are underway to apprehend its directors,” a senior official of the revenue body told The News. read more.
* Revenue body slaps GST on textile sector:
Ali Arshad Hakeem, chairman of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has announced the imposition of two percent general sales tax on the textile sector after abolishing the zero-rated regime.
Hakeem was unveiling ‘Plan B’, after having failed to get the tax amnesty scheme passed by the Parliament. He said the revenue body will send notices to the 300,000 biggest tax evaders in a bid to broaden the tax base. He has also asked the FBR authorities to share the names of 100 big smugglers and to effect their arrest.
“The finance minister has approved the summary for abolishing the zero-rated regime for the textile sector and notification to this effect will be issued next week. The FBR will also implement Plan-B to bring 300,000 potential tax dodgers into the tax net for collecting Rs90 billion of which five percent will be given to the FBR staff as reward money,” said the FBR chairman while addressing the inaugural session of a two-day workshop jointly organised by the World Bank and FBR. Hakeem said that the tax authorities would go after evaders and fraudulent elements and arrest them if they continue deceiving the procedures and system. read more.
* Pakistan accounts for only 5.7pc of textile imports by 20 nations:
Pakistan fetches $10.2 billion of its $12.5 billion textile export revenue from 20 countries. However, it accounts for merely 5.7 percent of their total textile imports, suggested an analysis of the trade statistics of last fiscal year.
United States is the largest importer of textiles and clothing from Pakistan, importing $2.98 billion worth of textiles in 2011-12, which was 24.1 percent of total Pakistan’s textile exports. However, these exports were equivalent to only 2.98 percent of total US textile imports of $100.93 billion. read more.
* US concerned at cotton contract defaults:
The United States has expressed serious concern over the failure of Pakistani cotton suppliers to fulfil their contracts, document available with Business Recorder reveals.
Thomas J Vilsack, Secretary of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has informed the Ministry of Commerce and National Food Security and Research of Pakistan of US concerns and urged the federal government to take up the issue with textile mills and emphasised the importance of abiding by the contracts and honouring arbitral decisions.
In a letter written by Vilsack to Ministry of Commerce and National Food Security and Research, he stated that a large number of defaulters on cotton supply contracts in recent years is negatively impacting both the US cotton industry and the global cotton-textile value chain. read more.
* Gas allocation: Textiles win as govt moves captive power up priority list :
The federal government succumbed on Thursday to influence from the textile lobby as it moved the captive power industry up the priority list for gas allocation, contradicting the federal cabinet’s earlier decision.
In his capacity as chairman of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the cabinet, newly appointed Finance Minister Saleem Mandviwala took many decisions in Thursday’s meeting which supplanted the judgments of the federal cabinet and his predecessor Hafeez Shaikh.
According to key officials who attended the ECC meeting, the proceedings set the stage for influential lobbies to take advantage of the fluid situation and many more decisions are expected to come before the government completes its constitutional term in the next three weeks. Seemingly in a hurry, Mandviwala also called the next ECC meeting on Tuesday, officials confirmed. read more.
* Labour leader for basic rights to workers:
Senior labour leader Habib-ud-din Junaidi has called upon industrialists, commercial and privatised commercial banks to ensure welfare of their workers by providing them fundamental rights including good salary packages with timely payment.
He vowed that the struggle for the rights of workers in public and private sectors would continue in all weather.
Habibuddin Junaidi was addressing a gathering of labour leaders at a reception hosted for him by Habib Bank Workers Front of Pakistan (CBA) to celebrate his selection as a member of Sindh Workers Welfare Board. read more.
* Leading garment firm calls it a day!!! :
In a surprising move, Pakistan’s leading manufacturer and exporter of garment has suddenly closed its two companies, for unknown reasons depriving the country an export worth $35 million.
The closure of J&M Clothing, the largest garment manufacturing and export unit of Joe’s Fashion Export Group, at Export Processing Zone, Karachi has not only deprived around 3000 workers of their livelihood but also taken away a prominent company from the zone.
Though the reasons behind absconding of the leading exporter with abrupt closure of his firms are not clear, the development has shocked the fashion apparel industry of the country, exporters, workers and Export Processing Zone Authority (EPZA) which is now facing the thousands of unpaid workers of the company, sources at EPZA told Business Recorder.
The factory was recently locked up and left without fulfilling mandatory requirements to inform the workers or authorities or pay out accrued benefits to the workers, most of who have worked at the factories for more than 18 years. The company’s owner, according to sources, was also defaulting huge amounts to local banks. read more.