in the news on-line, 3-4 March 2013

07:49:29 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* In Wage Talks, Factories Refuse to Budge:

Negotiations for a minimum wage increase between garment factory owners and union leaders continued on Wednesday at the Ministry of Social Affairs with the factory owners refusing to top their initial offer of an $11 hike. 

During negotiations on Tuesday, factory owners offered to increase the monthly wage from the current $61 to $72, a far cry from the $120 figure the unions had asked for.
Though the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) refused to budge from its offer on Wednesday, the unions lowered their demands, asking for $100 instead.  read more.
The Cambodia Daily

* Cambodian govt calls for flexibility in wage negotiations:

The Government of Cambodia has urged the workers’ unions and garment unit owners to be flexible, after the wage negotiations ended in a deadlock this week.
Speaking to reporters, Mr. Sat Samouth, Under Secretary of State in the Ministry of Labour, said he has requested the union leaders to decrease their demand and also urged the representatives of the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) to increase the wage they would like to give, to reach an early compromise.
He said the Government is optimistic that both the sides would be able to agree on new minimum wage by April.
 At the two-day talks attended by representatives of several workers’ unions as well as the GMAC, garment entrepreneurs stuck to their stand of increasing the minimum wage from the current US$ 61 per month to US$ 72 per month.
On the other hand, representatives of garment workers’ unions were demanding that minimum wage be doubled to about US$ 120 per month at the start of the negotiations, and had toned down their demand to US$ 100 per month when the talks ended.  read more.

* ‘Historic’ deal for workers:

130304 04
Workers called on Walmart and H&M last week to help resolve their outstanding wage issue. Photograph: Vireak Mai/Phnom Penh Post

Labour-rights groups are lauding a “historic” deal that will result in about $200,000 in wages and benefits being paid to workers who were stranded when the Kingsland Garment factory in Phnom Penh closed unannounced in December.

In a meeting on Friday that took place as more than 80 workers continued a hunger strike, Saramax, which supplies retail giant Walmart, agreed to pay about 200 workers $100,000, and New Archid, which supplies Swedish brand H&M, agreed to put forward $45,000.

A government-sanctioned auction of the company’s assets is expected to raise about $60,000, which will also go towards settling the outstanding payments.
“When we heard the news, we all shouted. We were so happy,” worker Or Sokuong, who was among a group on strike outside Kingsland’s locked gates on Friday, said.

“We have power again knowing  we will get our salary and benefits after working here so many years.”  read more.

* Wal-Mart and H&M Suppliers Pay Workers at Closed Cambodia Plant:

Suppliers to Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) and Hennes & Mauritz AB (HMB) agreed yesterday to pay about $145,000 in back wages and severance to about 160 workers at a Cambodian factory that closed in November, a labor activist involved in the deal said.

The agreement, which followed a two-day hunger strike, was reached at a meeting yesterday in Phnom Penh that included representatives from Wal-Mart, H&M and their suppliers, Saramax Apparel Group Inc. and New Archid Garment Factory Ltd., said David Welsh, country director in Cambodia of Solidarity Center, a Washington-based international worker rights group.  read more.

20130302 KINGSLAND 2Photo by Heather Stilwell.

* Big Brands Step Up to the Plate:

Late last night, the owners of brands that supply Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) and Hennes & Mauritz AB (HMB) finally agreed today to cover back wages and severance amounting to around about $US145000 due to about 160 workers at the Kingsland factory in Phnom Penh that closed in November.

As often happens here in Cambodia, the factory abruptly closed its doors leaving its workers without their final wages or severance payments to which the workers are due.

The agreement was reached at a meeting today in Phnom Penh that included representatives from Wal-Mart, H&M and their suppliers, Saramax Apparel Group Inc. and the local contract manufacturer, New Archid Garment Factory Ltd, and followed a two-day hunger strike.

SaraMax will pay about $US100,000 to the workers and New Archid will pay about $US45,000, Welsh said. Workers will begin receiving the payments in the coming weeks, according to the country director of The Solidarity Centre in Cambodia, David Welsh, who helped negotiate the deal.  read more.

* Bundith Shot At Protesters, Police Officer Tells Court:

The Appeal Court questioned more than 20 witnesses on Thursday in the case of former Bavet City governor Chhouk Bundith and his alleged role in a triple shooting, with one witness claiming that he had seen Mr. Bundith shoot his gun into a crowd of pro­testing factory workers.

As of Wednesday, the hearing was once again closed to the public, with court officials explaining that it was an ongoing investigation and not an open trial.

Lawyers and court officials remained tight-lipped about the court’s proceedings, and declined to comment on whether the Bar Association of Cambodia’s recent gag order on its lawyers speaking to the media was the reason for their silence.
read more.
The Cambodia Daily

* Second-hand, first in imports:

Cambodia imported almost 10 times as many used clothes as new ones in the first 11 months of last year, according to statistics from the Ministry of Economy and Finance.

Some 79,217 tonnes of used garments worth $61.5 million were brought in during that period, compared with 8,134 tonnes of new garment products, worth $2.6 million.
The figure was a 2 per cent increase on the first 11 months of 2011.
According to industry players, the growth in the old garments market was fuelled by a growing middle-class interested in affordable, well-known brands.

“Second-hand items tend to be attractive and stylish and at a similar quality to new items, but much lower in price,” said one of the main importers of second-hand clothing in Phnom Penh, who declined to be named. She imports about 10 to 15 shipping containers of used clothes a month.  read more.

08:49:29 local time map of malaysia MALAYSIA

* MTUC opposes SME minimum wage deferment:

Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) opposes the request by businessmen in the small-and-medium enterprises (SMEs) to defer the National Minimum Wage Order.

MTUC president Mohd Khalid Atan said the request should be ignored as not all companies were experiencing low profits.
“They are asking for all 645,000 SMEs to be given deferment. That means there will be no implementation of minimum wage, therefore defeating the purpose of introducing minimum wages.  read more.
The Star Online

08:49:29 local time map of indonesia INDONESIA

* Samarinda weavers to get BI loans, training:

Bank Indonesia (BI) says it will provide loans and training to develop a weaving center in the East Kalimantan capital of Samarinda.

A memorandum of understanding to develop the center was signed in Samarinda on Thursday by the head of the central bank’s provincial office, Ameriza M. Moesa and Samarinda Deputy Mayor Samarinda Nusyirwan Ismail.
BI governor Darmin Nasution and East Kalimantan Governor Awang Faroek Ishak also attended the signing.

Ameriza said that the center, to be called the “Samarinda sarong weaving village” would be developed as a one-stop service tourist attraction.
The center would allow tourists to witness the making of the province’s famous sarongs, offering the garments and other locally made traditional handicrafts for sale.
read more.

* Insight: Productivity an absolute imperative for business survival in 2013:

The quadruple whammy businesses have been wary of for some time has come to fruition. Whopping increases in wages, electricity costs, port handling fees and transportation costs hit monthly cash flows hard in January.

The full impact is slowly being digested and in some cases there is more pain to come.
For example, with a sharp increase in minimum wages, there is unease down the employee ranks and irrespective of 2012 performance or 2013 business outlook an expectation of substantial wage adjustments.  read more.

* BetterWork Indonesia MediaUpdate:

1. RI industry ‘heading for higher technology’Read the full article here.
2. More People Died in Work-Related Accidents Than Car Crashes in  2012:Jamsostek. Read the full article here.
3. Ministry of Manpower and Transmigration prepare Draft of Wage Regulation.    Read the full article here (Article in Bahasa Indonesia)
Read the related article’s Google Translate English Version here.
4. Outsourcing Employers Sue Policy to Supreme Court.
Read the full article here (Article in Bahasa Indonesia)
Read the related article’s Google Translate English Version here.
5. Indonesian Inflation Forecast to Continue Rising. Read the full article here.
6. Asia Factory Growth Cools On Weak Global Demand.Read the full article here.
7. Businesspeople seek more say in city minimum wage policy.
Read the full article here.

BetterWork Indonesia verview here.
BW indonesia

06:49:29 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLA DESH

* Sweater factory burnt:

A sweater manufacturing factory was burnt by a big fire which broke out at Kaliganj of Keraniganj upazila on Friday.

Fireman of Keraniganj Fire Service Hafizul Islam said the fire originated from an electric short circuit at the factory on the fifth floor of an eight-storey building, Saddam Tower, in the area at about 10:00am and engulfed the whole factory soon.
On information, two fire fighting units from Kerniganj Fire Service rushed in and doused the flame after frantic efforts of one and half hours with the help of local people.
The affected factory owner claimed that the extents of loss from the fire could go up to Tk 1,50,000. Officer-in-charge of South Keraniganj police station Sakhawat Hossain confirmed the incident. to read.& read more.
BD new age

* Most Khulna jute mills lack fire safety:

Most of the private-owned jute mills and jute processing centres in Khulna are vulnerable to fire incident as they have no sufficient fire extinguishing tools.
In these mills, workers and employees are not given training on how to combat a fire in an emergency.

As a result, there is possibility of a big fire incident to occur any moment causing huge damage, according to a survey of the Fire Service and Civil Defence, Khulna.
After the fire at Tazrin Fashions in Ashulia RMG belt, a decision was made to assess the risks of fire in the garment factories across the country.
Since there is no garment factory in Khulna, the survey was conducted in other types of industrial units. read more.  & read more. & read more.
BD new age    

* Int’l RMG buyers threatening to cancel orders: Trade bodies:

The international buyers of readymade garments have started threatening to cancel their purchase orders in case of failure in making shipment timely, the trade bodies of the apparel sector said on Saturday.

“Many entrepreneurs are facing discounts, cancellation and deferred payment for failing to make shipments timely. It’s a matter of fear the buyers are threatening to cancel orders for delay in delivery,” the BGMEA and BKMEA said in a joint statement expressing concern over frequent hartal calls.
The BGMEA (Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association) and BKMEA (Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association) think the suicidal programme like hartal is pushing the RMG sector backward. read more.

* RMG export orders scrapped ahead of hartal:

Business leaders have said a number of garment export orders have been scrapped ahead of the 60-hour shutdown called for Sunday to Tuesday while some potential foreign buyers have cancelled their scheduled visits to Dhaka.

‘A number of buyers from Germany, the United States, Canada, and Spain have cancelled their visits to Dhaka this week due to the hartal, which means we also have lost a significant number of supply orders expected from them,’ Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers’ and Exporters’ Association vice-president Faruk Hassan told New Age on Saturday.
Faruk said he had a meeting with a group of Australian buyers in the morning, where they said, although they had been looking forward to placing some supply orders to Bangladeshi apparel manufacturers, yet the political volatility forced them to reconsider the matter.  read more.
BD new age

* Shutdown compounds RMG exporters’ woes:

Three trucks laden with garments for a US buyer were due to take off Sunday morning for Chittagong from Arunima Group’s Ashulia factory.

But the trucks never made it out of the factory premises, the reason being the three-day countrywide hartal called by the Jamaat-e-Islami and Bangladesh Nationalist Party.
“We are tensed right now. If the trucks do not reach the port in time, we might have to deliver the order via expensive air shipment,” said Mubarak Hossain, a senior commercial officer of Arunima Group.  read more.
daily star bd

* RMG sector counts Tk 35b addl production cost due to political turmoil last year:

Ready made garments (RMG) sector counted additional production cost of Tk 35 billion in last calendar year due to shutdown and strikes called by political parties and other organisations, BGMEA officials said.

They also expressed their concern over the ongoing political turmoil which is discouraging buyers to give orders for Bangladeshi RMG.

“The key export industry had to spend additional Tk 35 billion in 2012, due to strikes, shutdown and vandalism,” vice president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) Faruk Hassan told the FE Saturday.
read more.

* Political unrest forcing apparel exporters to open offices abroad:

With a view to avoiding the impact of the ongoing political turmoil, the country’s apparel (RMG) exporters started opening their liaison offices in Hong Kong and Singapore for negotiating with foreign buyers, industry insiders say.

According to them, more than thirty apparel makers have opened their offices abroad in last one year, and some others are in line for doing the same as most of the buyers, those who do not have their offices or agents in Bangladesh, prefer to sit with exporters abroad for business negotiations.  read more.

* Withdraw hartal, urge trade bodies:

Different trade bodies Saturday urged the political parties to withdraw three-day consecutive hartal to be enforced from today (Sunday), considering its adverse impact on the overall socio-economic development of the country.

A statement, signed by President of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) Kazi Akram Uddin Ahmed said, the import and export activities at Chittagong and Mogla sea ports and other land ports would be hampered severely following repeated hartals.  read more.

* Businesses, analysts concerned over deadly political violence:

Businesses and analysts have expressed deep concern at the sudden resurgence of deadly violence across the country following last Thursday’s verdict of the International Crimes Tribunal-1.

They have suggested an immediate dialogue among the leaders of political parties to get out of the serious stalemate. But they have lamented that the political stakeholders are not coming up to solve the major political problems.  read more.

* Turkey safeguard duty affects RMG export:

Despite a robust growth in non-traditional markets, export earnings from Turkey declined substantially during the first half of current fiscal (2012-13), mainly due to impose of safeguard duties on readymade garments (RMG) from Bangladesh.

According to data released by Export Promotion Bureau (EPB), the country’s apparel exports to Turkey declined to $162.04 million in July-December of the current fiscal year from $176.75 million during the same period in last fiscal. Export of RMG products had grown fast from the fiscal 2010-11 because of high demand of low-priced Bangladeshi products in Turkish market.
But latest duties of 17 per cent imposed by Turkey caused a decline in RMG exports to the country.  read more.

* Bangladesh and the EU: Moving forward together:

In 1994, the European Commission launched a new Strategy for Asia, founded on a development partnership and on political dialog.

This was approved by the Essen European Council in December 1995. The priorities of this strategy included – backing cooperation schemes aimed at safeguarding peace and security; improving Europe’s image in Asia and creating a conducive climate for the development of trade and investment.

There was also agreement in principle that steps would be taken to improve coordination in the management of development aid so that the region’s less prosperous countries experience economic growth and poverty is reduced. This new policy was launched at the Euro-Asia Summit in March 1996.This Summit also launched the Europe-Asia dialog also known as the ASEM process. This effort to engage with Asia was to prove very useful for Bangladesh within the next few years.
read more.

* Land acquisition work starts from April:

The acquisition work of 500 acres of land at Bausia in Munshiganj for setting up the ready-made garment (RMG) palli (village) will start from April at a cost of Tk 15 billion, sources said.

Members of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) will provide fund for the land acquisition.  read more.

* RMG exporters want Pranab’s help:

Lilliput, India’s largest kids wear retailer, did not pay the dues worth $5 million to the 22 Bangladeshi apparel exporters against their exports even after 16 months of scheduled date for payment.

The company missed several deadlines of payment and currently stopped communicating with the exporters, victims said.
The exporters have decided to seek cooperation from Indian president Pranab Mukharjee now visiting Bangladesh to get their payment, Mamun Islam, one of the 22 exporters, told New Age on Sunday.
‘Exporters are going to hold a press conference on Monday (today) seeking cooperation from Pranab Mukharjee so that they can get their money,’ he said.
read more.
BD new age

06:19:29 local time map of india INDIA

* Two women battle apparel company for justice:

Allege they were sexually harassed and forced to resign over a year ago; firm claims they left on their own

It’s been barely a week since the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Bill was passed by the Rajya Sabha, but B. Alamelu and Jhansi Rani, hailing from villages in Chengalpattu, do not know about it.

The women were employees of Tuk Tuk Exports, one of the 13 apparel companies in Mahindra World City, a special economic zone on the outskirts of the city.
For over a year now, the duo has been waging a war against their employer, demanding justice and their jobs back. The women allege that they were sexually harassed by their supervisor, and on complaining about it, were forced to resign.

Attempted suicide
The matter came to light when Alamelu, who used to work as an alteration operator, consumed rat poison and attempted suicide last year. The labour commission, acting on her complaint, forced the company to take action against a supervisor in the company, who, Alamelu says, had harassed her for four months.

“But I never realised that complaining about him would cost me my job,” said Alamelu (37), who is a single mother of two children, and a resident of Periyaputheri.
“The supervisor often spoke to me in obscene language, called me names and would ask if I had any desires. If I asked him for leave, he would tell me that I needed to ‘adjust’ with him for leave. He told me that even to go to the bathroom, I needed his permission,” she said.  read more.
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* Textile mill owners yield to striking workers’ demands:

The power loom workers of Ichalkaranji, a town situated in Maharashtra’s Kolhapur district, better known as the Manchester of Maharashtra, and home to one of the oldest textile industries in the country, on Thursday called off a historic 37-day strike on a triumphant note.

The strike also marked a rare example of unity among all the labour unions in the country, setting political differences aside. Interestingly, except for the Left parties, none of the political parties came out in support of the workers’ demands initially. It was only after a month into the strike that other parties took a note of it.
read more.
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* Unions flay Budget silence on social security for unorganised sector:

Trade unions have slammed the Union Budget for being high on rhetoric, and not reflecting even a minimum effort to address the serious concerns of the common people, such as rising food prices, growing unemployment and inequalities.They also said there was nothing for the unorganised sector workers, except for the announcement of ‘convergence’ of various welfare schemes applicable to them.

“The Finance Minister did not fail to boast of India being the fastest growing economy, next only to China and Indonesia. But his Budget contained nothing to address the mismatch between the satisfactory growth which has failed to provide employment or to address the deteriorating quality of employment,” said Tapan Sen, Rajya Sabha MP and General Secretary, Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU).
read more.
Return to frontpage

* Haryana hikes minimum wages for labourers:

The Haryana Government has increased the minimum wages of labourers by Rs 245 in the State and these rates would be effective from January 1, 2013 thus benefiting a large number of labourers.

Disclosing this here today, Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Pt Shiv Charan Lal Sharma said that the decision to increase the minimum wages would benefit lakhs of labourers working in factories, shops, dhabas, small undertakings and brick kilns. read more.
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* Textile sector happy:

The textile sector, which had sought Government intervention to control the rising price of cotton two days ago, is happy with the Budget announcements on Thursday.

Welcoming the announcement, S. Dinakaran, Chairman, the Southern India Mills’ Association (SIMA), said continuation of the Technology Upgradation Fund (TUF) Scheme, a blue-chip programme of the Ministry of Textile, functional since April 1999, has made the industry globally competitive. The allocation of Rs 2,400 crore under this scheme for the 2013-14 fiscal, would help attract more investments in the textile sector, and improve the industry’s export performance substantially.

A similar scheme from the Ministry of Textiles is the Scheme for Integrated Parks (SITP), which has attracted investments in 42 parks and approval for another 21 integrated parks. The continuation of the scheme in the XIIth Plan Period is a welcome move.  read more.
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* Textile traders meet Minister, seek withdrawal of VAT:

Textile traders from the town have urged Union Minister of State for Commerce D. Purandeswari to impress upon the State government for withdrawal of VAT on textile.

A delegation of textile traders led by Textile Merchants’ Association president K.Narasimha Rao and general secretary N.V.Satyanarayana called on her at Karamchedu in Prakasam district on Saturday and explained to her that in the interest of traders, six States which had introduced VAT on textiles had withdrawn it subsequently but for Andhra Pradesh.
They pressed for a uniform tax regime in the country and maintained that Andhra Pradesh was the only State at present that was having VAT on textile.  to read.
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* Textile industry rejoices as budget brings waivers, enhanced funds:

The budget has been rewarding for the textile and the hosiery industry as some of their major demands have been accepted. Their reasons to cheer include waiver of excise duty, continuation of the TUF scheme and enhanced fund for integrated textile parks.

“While other industries have not been able to get much, it would not be wrong to say that some of the concessions given to the textile industry are like the silver lining on a dark cloud. The measures will benefit the industry as well as end users,” said Harish Kairpal, treasurer, Knitwear Club.

He said the step would help bring down prices of branded garments for consumers. On the increase in funds for the integrated textile parks scheme, he said it would help in better development of the parks and eventually upgrade infrastructure and the manufacturing facilities.  read more.

* Textile sector gets a modernisation boost:


I propose to continue the Technology Upgradation Fund Scheme (TUFS) for the textile sector in the 12th Plan with an investment target of Rs 151,000 crore. The major focus would be on modernisation of the powerloom sector. I propose to provide Rs 2,400 crore in 2013-14 for the purpose.

Textile parks have been set up under Scheme for Integrated Textile Parks (SITP). It is proposed to set up Apparel Parks within the SITPs to house apparel manufacturing units. To incentivise such Apparel Parks, I propose to allocate Rs 50 crore to the Ministry of Textiles to provide an additional grant of up to Rs 10 crore to each Park.  read more.
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* Readymade garments to become cheaper:

Readymade garments are likely to cost less as the Union Budget has restored the optional excise duty regime to the garment and made-up sectors.

Readymade garments attract 12 per cent excise duty now. The budget has proposed zero excise duty on branded readymade garments and made-ups.
Further, the budget proposes an allocation of Rs. 50 crore for apparel parks. “It is a big boost to the entire apparel and fabric segment,” says Govind Shrikhande, Managing Director of Shoppers Stop.  read more.
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06:19:29 local time map of sri_lanka SRI LANKA

* Garments with GUILT : The plight of Worker X:

This is a true story. The people, the institutions and the laws are real. Only their names have been changed.

Slavery in our own backyard prevails. Worker X is a female garment factory worker who served a garment factory for 25 years. Her only crime was giving leadership to her union which led several strikes for the demand of the rights of the factory worker.

While the general and immediate sentiments of an economy reaching maturity with respect to union action would be that of a system that slows down progress, upon realizing the conditions within which the thousands of garment factory workers carry out their daily livelihoods contributing sweat and blood into their economy, amidst the constant fear of being sacked, one will immediately see unions or collective power of association in a new light.
In this case Worker X was a member of the Ceylon Mercantile, Industrial and General Workers’ Union, headed by the veteran unionist Bala Tampoe.  read more.

* FTZ apparel sector picking up – Trade unions:

Free trade zone trade unions warned of dire consequences for apparel sector workers if the government continues deviating investor attention to other sectors.

Speaking at a recent forum on investment development and workers rights, the Free Trade Zones and General Services Employees Union (FTZGSEU) said the sector is picking up fast after being stagnant during the past years.
A study on garment sector wage trends presented at the discussion revealed that, though the industry was stagnant from 2006- 2010, it boosted exports during the last few years.

However, the FTZGSEU stated that while exports had increased the number of factories in the free trade zones had reduced from 500 factories in 2005 to 314 factories this year. read more.

05:49:29 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* Powerlooms workers protest against owners:

The businessmen are exploiting poor labours while the Labour Department, Social Security and District Administration have failed to resolve problems being faced by the labour community.

Labour Qaumi Movement (LQM) District President Ch Tanveer Ahmed said this while addressing the participant of a protest rally taken out in front of DCO office here the other day.

The powerlooms workers took out a rally against the skyrocketing prices of essential commodities and aggravating unemployment among workers. He blamed that factory owners closed factories in violation of contract which was signed only two month back between workers and factory owners.  read more.
The Nation Newspaper Pakistan

* PRGMEA seeks collaboration to ensure full safety compliance:

Pakistan Readymade Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PRGMEA) is seeking a long-term collaboration of some credible international safety certifications providing companies for audit of its member companies’ policies, procedures and documentation to ensure a safe workplace.

PRGMEA Central Chairman Sajid Saleem Minhas while addressing the central executive committee meeting of the association, held here at PRGMEA North Office, observed that Association is engaged in talks and plans to ink agreements with some global compliance certification companies to hire their services for the audit of all its members.

He also mentioned that Association is endeavouring to ensure safety compliance hundred percent to avoid any untoward incident in future.
He said that following the international buyers’ concerns over credibility of Pakistani garment groups due to devastating inferno at a Karachi factory, PRGMEA has decided to make audit for every member company compulsory with a view to grant it international safety certifications.
In this way Pakistani exporters can satisfy international buyers that strong measures are being taken to avoid fire tragedies in future, he pointed out.
read more. & read more. & read more.
BUSINESSRECORDER The Nation Newspaper Pakistan

* Textile industry: Sector wants more gas as weather gets warmer :

Textile manufacturers of Punjab have pressed for an increase in gas supply to five days a week to their captive power plants, saying weather has started getting warmer compared to conditions in previous weeks.

In a media briefing here on Friday, All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (Aptma) Chairman Ahsan Bashir called on the government to increase gas supply from the current two days a week, which only started from February 6 after a two-month suspension.

Punjab’s textile industry got electricity for 16 hours a day from May 2012 until late December and gas for five days in summer. However, gas supply was stopped in peak winter and the industry came to a halt for 11 days when power ministry stopped providing electricity.  to read.
The Express Tribune

* Textile exports tilted towards few economies:

Exports of Pakistani textiles are vulnerable to a few world economies. The country exports 70 percent of its cotton yarn to China and Hong Kong, while United States and European Union account for 78.5 percent of its bed wear exports, 83.3 percent of knitwear and 79 per cent of readymade garments exports.

“We will have to expand our export markets to ensure a sustained and shock free textile exports,” said Gohar Ejaz group leader of All Pakistan Textile Mills Association. He said cotton yarn, cotton cloth, knitwear, bed wear and garments are the five categories in textiles that earn more than one billion dollar foreign exchange a year.

“Together these four categories accounted for $9.606 billion (78 percent) out of $12.357 billion textiles exports in 2011-12,” he said. Baring cotton cloth where exports are evenly distributed exports in other four categories are concentrated to few economies.  read more.

* FBR chief refuses to withdraw sales tax on textiles:

Ali Arshad Hakeem, chairman of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), has refused to withdraw the decision regarding imposition of two percent sales tax on all textile transactions, saying that the zero-rated scheme was misused.

Hakeem met the leadership of the All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (Aptma) at its Lahore office on Friday night and discussed issues regarding increase in the withholding tax on imports from one percent to five percent and bringing all zero-rated exports sector into the sales tax net at a low rate of two percent.

The deliberations continued till late in the night but the mill-owners failed to convince the FBR delegation for waiver of the sales tax on exports. The FBR chairman said that some big groups are involved in the fraud.  read more.

* Concern expressed over two SROs, withdrawal demanded:

Textile Association and Traders Organisations have expressed grave concern over the SRO 154(1)/2013 and SRO 98(1)2013 issued by Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and observed that both are totally unacceptable.

The leaders of the Association warned that if these SROs were not withdrawn within the next three days, every business activity would be choked in the Industrial city.

Addressing a protest meeting of all Trade Associations of Faisalabad, Mian Zahid Aslam, President, Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (FCCI) said that various clauses of these SROs were against the interest of the business community and detrimental to economic activities in the country. Both these SROs were rejected by all the stakeholders and it was unanimously decided that the Government should withdraw these SROs within three days.
read more. & read more. & read more.

* APTPMA concerned over withdrawal of zero-rating regime:

All Pakistan Textile Processing Mills Association (APTPMA) has expressed concerns over the withdrawal of sales tax zero-rating regime through SRO.154 (1)/2013 by Federal Board of Revenue (FBR).

Chairman APTPMA Mian Ajmal Farooq warned that withdrawal of zero-rating regime and imposition of 2 percent sales tax on textile sector would prove last nail in the coffin of the value-added and export-oriented textile processing industry, which is already facing liquidity crunch due to energy crisis.  read more.

* PTEA for reversal of decision to withdraw zero-rating:

Pakistan Textile Exporters Association (PTEA) has rejected the withdrawal of zero-rating of exports and termed imposition of 2 percent sales tax on textile and increase in withholding tax a detrimental to the overall business activities in the country and demanded immediate withdrawal of the notifications.

This was unanimously resolved in an emergent meeting of textile exporters here on Sunday.

Briefing the media, after the meeting, acting chairman PTEA Muhammad Asif said that sales tax notification SRO 154(I)/2013 and SRO 98(I)/2013 were detrimental to the overall business activities in the country.  read more.

* WHT on raw material import to put Rs 10b burden on textile exporters:

Federal Board of Revenue decision of increasing withholding tax on import of all textile raw materials and machinery from one per cent to five per cent through SRO140(I) 2013 would unnecessarily burden the textile exporters with Rs10 billion of refund claims, while billions of rupees in refunds were already pending with FBR for a long time.

All Pakistan Textile Mills Association Chairman Ahsan Bashir said that income tax on all exports was one per cent that the textile exporters pay at the time of export of consignment at the customs terminal.
He said the textile industry annually imported cotton worth $1 billion and man-made fibres worth $1 billion, which were basic raw materials for the industry that exported 80 per cent of the textiles it produces.  read more.
The Nation Newspaper Pakistan

* Zero-rating for export sectors withdrawn:

Furious over a massive tax fraud by some textile manufacturers on their sales for domestic consumption, the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has withdrawn the zero-rated facility of the five export-oriented industries and introduced two per cent sales tax on supplies to these sectors (except on utilities).

All the sectors outside the five zero-rated industries will continue to pay five per cent sales tax. The zero-rated industries will be allowed to claim sales tax refunds on their exports.

The FBR has already detected through its intelligence wing a sales tax fraud of Rs10 billion on sales for domestic consumption involving major textile groups from Karachi, Lahore, Multan and Faisalabad. On the basis of strong evidence gathered by it, the FBR has also registered FIRs against 12 companies owned by some “respected” names in the textile industry. Some of those who are facing legal action also include former chairmen of the All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (Aptma).
read more.

* FBR launches crackdown on textile mills:

FBR teams have started raids on textile mills in Punjab following the instructions of the Board in the tax evasion cases.

In an attempt to arrest some tax evaders, the Directorate of I&I IR on Monday conducted raids on five mills including Jamhoor Textile, Tribal Textile, Lahore Textile and General Mill, Shahzad Textile and Fazal Cloth. These mills have to pay over Rs340 million tax.
Officials told The News the raids were conducted at the residence of Kamal Pasha, director finance of Manu Group. However, the teams could not arrest the responsible officials from their offices or residence on Friday.  read more.


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latest tweets (& news)

Convention on the Rights of the Child
Universal Declaration of Human Rights

I wonder who they are
The men who really run this land
And I wonder why they run it
With such a thoughtless hand

What are their names
And on what streets do they live
I'd like to ride right over
This afternoon and give
Them a piece of my mind
About peace for mankind
Peace is not an awful lot to ask
    David Crosby

I wonder who they are
The people who are buying these clothes
I'd like to know what they've paid for it
How much the makers have paid for this
Fairer income is not an awful lot to ask
Better working conditions is not an awful lot to ask
    A. Searcher

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