19:05:42 local time CHINA
* Wage increase suggested at 12%:
A 12 percent raise in staff wages is suggested for companies operating normally, the Beijing Bureau of Human Resources and Social Security said in a guideline on enterprise salaries Saturday.
For enterprises that have recorded a drop in profits but are still not posting losses, the wage increase can be 5 percent, the bureau said.
The guideline is a means for the government to redistribute social wealth, but is not obligatory.
18:05:42 local time VIET NAM
* Minimum wage less than half of the lowest standard of living:
According to the Committee for Social Affairs of the National Assembly, the current minimum wage in the public sector satisfies about 38.4 percent of the minimum living standard. The increase in the minimum salaries of the public sector and enterprises last year failed to reach the goal.
The NA Committee on Social Affairs has sent NA deputies a report on a number of labor and employment issues. According to this agency, said that in 2012, economic growth did not reach the target, resulting in the adjustment of the minimum wage increase for the public sector at only VND1.15 million ($50) per month, while it was expected at VND1.3 million. This level meets only 38.4 percent of the minimum living standards of workers.
The minimum wage for workers in the private sector and cooperatives in 2012 only increased by an average of 17.4 percent, also lower than the expected rate of 36.4 percent.
In 2012, the employment target was also not achieved. The unemployment rate for working-age people in the urban areas is 3.25 percent.
* Vinatex undecided on strategic foreign partner ahead of IPO:
The first initial public offering (IPO) of Vietnam National Garment and Textile Group (Vinatex) will be launched this July but Vinatex has yet to decide on the selection of a strategic foreign partner.
According to Vinatex chairman Vu Duc Giang, the date of the IPO has been rescheduled from early July to the end of that month or the third quarter. However, Vinatex is still in talks with a couple of investors, so no strategic foreign investor has been named.
Giang said that with the group’s strong capability, quite a few investors had shown interest but selecting an investor that the group could work with had proved to be a tough job.
Vinatex has set three criteria; first, investors must be active in the same sector as Vinatex and have good governance; second, investors must have flexible financial management suitable to the group; and third, investors must be keen on the sector.
read more in BUSINESS IN BRIEF 3/6 (22th item).
* $4m project to better labour relations:
A US$4 million project was launched yesterday in Ha Noi to develop industrial relations in Viet Nam, making the new Labour Code and Trade Union Law beneficial to both employers and workers.
The four-year project “Support to development in industrial relations, wage fixing, and labour law implementation institutions and capacity in Viet Nam” will be implemented by the International Labour Organisation(ILO), the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs among other relevant agencies with financial support from the US Government.
The non-refundable official development assistance aims to help Viet Nam effectively enforce the new labour laws.
* Non-reregistered FIEs seen getting lifeline:
Nearly 3,000 foreign-invested enterprises (FIEs) missing the deadline for renewing their investment certificates may escape shutdown as a proposal to annul the re-registration requirement for FIEs has gathered support.
Most deputies of the National Assembly (NA) at a group discussion this Tuesday agreed with the Government proposal for amendments to Article 170 of the Enterprise Law, according to the Government web portal.
The fact that multiple FIEs have failed to timely renew their investment certificates has caused a negative impact on the investment environment. With a lot of FIEs to be closed, a considerable sum of capital might be withdrawn from Vietnam and thousands of workers would lose their jobs, giving rise to social problems.
18:05:42 local time THAILAND
* Working hours will continue to skid as exports wane:
Average working hours for factories are unlikely to rise in the second quarter, with export prospects still bearish despite easing pressure on the baht.
The National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB) said signs point to continued cuts in private-sector working hours after they fell by 1.3 hours to 46.2 hours a week in the first quarter.
Manufacturing hours fell by 2.9, while construction and service hours fell by 0.6 each, according to an NESDB report.
Tanit Sorat, a vice-chairman of the Federation of Thai Industries, said a cut in average working hours is likely in the second quarter, especially in manufacturing, which accounts for 60% of exports.
He cited several factors curbing Thai exports _ the continued slowdown of the EU economy, reduced imports by Japan, the baht’s appreciation and higher costs stemming from the new 300-baht daily minimum wage.
* Not thinking things through:
Prime Minister Yingluck should think things through before implementing them. In Parliament, the Democrats allege that the government’s economic policies have caused the people to suffer from the rising cost of living, while the government warns the poor to brace themselves for further price rises.
Instead of raising productivity first, which would have led to higher incomes because people had more output from the same input, she upped the minimum wage by as much as 40 per cent by simply legislating it. Economics 101 teaches that suddenly increasing demand without a rise in supply leads to – surprise, surprise – higher prices, and that’s precisely what’s happened.
18:05:42 local time CAMBODIA
* Wing Star widow in limbo:
Government officials have suggested the widow of the man crushed to death last month at the Wing Star Shoes factory, a supplier to Asics, will still be denied compensation from the National Social Security Fund (NSSF), a labour rights worker said yesterday.
American Center for International Labor Solidarity country manager Dave Welsh said that in a meeting on Friday NSSF officials had told him Nuon Chhorvy, 21, was unlikely to receive support from the fund without a valid marriage certificate.
Officials had previously said they were considering accepting a letter from a commune chief in Kampong Speu province confirming Nuon Chhorvy, 21, had been married to Rim Roeun, 22, who died in the ceiling collapse.
“On Friday, they reneged on what they had talked about,” Welsh said. “The marriage certificate thing is a real issue, as they’re not issued in a widespread [way].
“Every worker and every factory is supposed to pay into the [NSSF] . . . [The government] should be making an example of this case.”
* Duty-free agreements worry minister:
Duty-free agreements between regional competitors and foreign importers would put the Cambodian garment industry at risk, Commerce Minister Cham Prasidh said last week.
Speaking to reporters after a meeting, Prasidh warned that the Kingdom’s garment sector would not be able to maintain its competitive edge over the industries of neighbours such as Vietnam and Myanmar should those countries implement free-trade agreements with the US, EU and regional trade partners.
“The big risk for us is that I start to see Vietnam negotiating a free-trade area with the US, and Vietnam will push garment products entering the US to be duty-free, while Cambodian garment products are still charged,” Prasidh said.
“Investors in the Cambodian garment industry would move into Vietnam; it is a big risk and a big challenge.”
According to Prasidh, the EU and US have recently engaged in talks with the Myanmar government about instituting a trade agreement similar to the “Anything But Arms” initiative under which Cambodian imports to the EU are duty- and quota-free.
Myanmar’s garment industry is at an advantage to Cambodia’s, Prasidh said, as it enjoys cheaper electricity costs and encounters fewer strikes and protests.
* Pirated Software May Threaten Garment Firms:
Garment factories run the risk of having their cargo confiscated by U.S. customs authorities if they continue using pirated computer software in their administrative operations, and may be prosecuted under a law that requires all manufacturers to use licensed digital software, according to a local technology business association.
In a statement issued Thursday, the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Business Association—a Cambodian organization whose mission is to represent the country’s information and communication technology sector internationally—informed the country’s more than 400 exporting garment and footwear factories that the Unfair Competition Act (UCA), passed in various U.S. states in 2011, could severely impact the garment industry’s annual exports of more than $4 billion because of the country’s breach of intellectual property rules.
* National silk board planned:
A national silk board (NSB) under the Ministry of Commerce is being planned to weave tighter regulations into the Kingdom’s silk industry, the lack of which has deterred investors and hurt its export potential, according to industry representatives.
Minister of Commerce Cham Prasidh said last week that he aims for the NSB to be ready after the Kingdom’s general elections in late July. The NSB hopes to look into areas such as creating a certification process to boost the quality of silk produced, coordinating public-private partnerships, and collating information related to the industry.
“Right now, we have silk in one of the important points in the Trade Sector Wide Approach,” he said. The Trade Sector Wide Approach, known as Trade SWAp, is an initiative implemented by the government in 2008 to boost trade development in Cambodia.
19:05:42 local time INDONESIA
* BetterWork Indonesia Media Update:
1. ILO Prepares Building Safety Guidelines for Indonesian Garment Factories. Read the full article here.
2. Could Indonesia’s garment industry guide Bangladesh? Read the full article here
3. Indonesia to be free of child laborers in 2020: Minister. Read the full article here.
4. Businesses told to respect human rights. Read the full article here.
5. Textile and footwear industries main contributors. Read the full article here.
6. Economic growth target to remain at 6.2 pct. Read the full article here.
7. Indonesia Sees 6% Decline in Textile Export Value. Read the full article here.
BetterWork Indonesia overview.
16:50:42 local time NEPAL
* CPN-Maoist against new minimum wage:
The Communist Party of Nepal (CPN)-Maoist has threatened to protest against the government’s decision to hike the minimum monthly salary from Rs 6,200 to Rs 8,000. The government must revoke the decision and enforce Rs 15,000 as monthly salary and Rs 700 as daily wage, it said.
The Minimum Wage Determination Committee — a tripartite committee commissioned by the government — hiked wages by 29 per cent — 43.66 per cent in basic salary and 9.44 per cent in dearness allowance — on Monday. Similarly, it also raised the daily wage from Rs 231 to Rs 318.
According to the CPN-Maoist, if the government does not withdraw the decision and ignores their demand, they will start protest programmes. “We have given the government five days to address our demands,” said coordinator of the Federation of All Nepal Revolutionary Trade Unions Ramdip Acharya.
17:05:42 local time BANGLADESH
* Garment sector braces for ‘more troubles’: Report:
The workers’ unrest that was sprouting in the country’s readymade garment (RMG) sector recently may take a serious turn if steps are not taken immediately to meet their demands, says an intelligence agency report.
In a recent letter to the Labour and Employment Minister, the intelligence agency recommended the ministry to take necessary steps beforehand, a source at the ministry told UNB.
The report referred to the recent protests staged by RMG workers at Ashulia on the outskirts of Dhaka City to realise their demands, forcing owners to shut down many factories over the last several weeks.
There are a total of 320 garment factories at Ashulia industrial belt, which manufacture about 20 percent of the country’s total RMG exports.
read more. & read more. & read more.
* Garment workers stage demo in Gazipur for wage hike:
Workers of three garment factories here observed work abstention and staged demonstration on Saturday demanding hike in their wages and other allowances.
Police and locals said workers of Li-Novotex garment factory in Borobari area began work abstention in the morning to press for various demands including an increase in attendance bonus and overtime bill.
They also stage demonstration in the area to press the factory authorities to meet their demands.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
* RMG factory shut amid workers protest:
At least 30 workers were injured in police action as Readymade Garment workers started demonstration at different places of Savar on Saturday morning to press home their demands.
Sources said agitated workers of Linda Fashion Limited of Jagora area took to the streets and blocked Baipail-Abdullahpur road protesting supply of toxic food in a factory that fall sick 100 workers.
Later, police charged baton to disperse the workers while they trying to vandalize vehicles, leaving 20 injured.
The authority, however, shut the factory to keep the situation normal.
On the other hand, workers of Window factory of Ganakbari area are observing work abstention demanding salary hike and work place safety.
Apart from this, the workers of Dynasty, a factory in Gouripur area, brought out protest procession to press home their 7-ponit demand including reopen the factory.
* 20 RMG workers hurt in police action:
At least 20 workers of a garment factory were injured as police charged baton on them at Jamgara in Ashulia on Saturday morning.
Police said about 50 workers of Linda Fashion fell sick after taking food provided by the authorities while they were working at night on Friday.
Angered at the matter, about 300 workers staged demonstration this (Saturday) morning and later they tried to vandalise vehicles on nearby Bypile-Abdullahpur road.
At that time, police dispersed them by charging baton, leaving the 20 workers injured.
* 20 workers injured in Ctg fire panic:
At least 20 garment workers were injured when they were hurrying down in fire panic in a factory in East Nasirabad area under Bayezid Bostami Thana of the port city on Saturday morning.
Confirming the matter to banglanews, operator of Agrabad Fire Station Control Room Bishu Das said, “The workers of a factory of UNI Group became panicked seeing electric spark on second floor of the factory and they tried to come down hurriedly, leaving 20 of them injured.
14 of the injured were rushed to Chittagong Medical College Hospital, said police outpost Nayek Abul Bashar.
to read. & read more. & read more.
* RMG workers agitate in Gazipur:
Workers of two garment factories here on Sunday staged demonstrations to press their several demands, including wage hike.
Police said workers of Novotek and Ananta Casual Wear Limited at Barobari in the city abstained from works in the morning and held demonstrations to realize their demands.
Later, the authorities of the two factories declared leaves for all the workers for the day.
Additional police have been deployed in the area to maintain law and order.
* RMG workers to get payment within 10 days: cabinet committee:
Pay workers by 10th of each month, or face action : Govt
The government will take legal actions against ready-made garment (RMG) owners if they do not pay their workers within 10 days of the beginning of a month.
Labour and Employment Secretary Mikail Shipar said this after the third cabinet meeting on RMG at the conference room of the ministry.
Chaired by Labour and Manpower Minister Rajiuddin Ahmed Raju, the meeting was attended by Textiles and Jute Minister Abdul Latif Siddiqui, Home Minister Dr Mohiuddin Khan Alamgir, Foreign Minister Dr Dipu Moni, Industries Minister Dilip Barua, Disaster and Relief Management Minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali, Shipping Minister Shajahan Khan, State Minister for Labour and Employment Monnujan Sufian and concerned secretaries and officials.
The meeting was discussed setting up a taskforce for the garment industry.
to read. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
* BD workers to protest Walmart meeting:
A survivor of a deadly Bangladeshi garment factory fire and a former child labourer will make their way to Bentonville, Arkansas, next week to protest at the annual meeting of retail giant Walmart.
Lobby group Making Change at Walmart raised over $9,000 on the crowdsourcing site Indiegogo this week to bring the two former garment workers over from Bangladesh.
Sumi Abedin, a survivor of the deadly fire that killed at least 112 garment workers at the Tazreen Fashion factory on the outskirts of Dhaka, Bangladesh in 2012, and Kalpona Akter, a former child worker, will join a growing protest against the retailer`s work practices and buying policies.
* Instability in garments sector:
The country’s garments factories continue to be a hot bed of commotion and upheaval. Media reports speak of a volatile situation existing in the country’s largest employment generating sector.
We are scared.
Last Monday’s media reports spoke of unrest in a number of garments factories on the capital’s Rokeya Swarani and in Kalabagan and Ashulia area. The workers demanding attendance incentive and wage hike, staged demonstration by blocking the busy Rokeya Swarani. Workers also took to the streets of Kalabagan and blockaded roads for nearly three hours demanding attendance incentive and in protest against relocation of a unit.
As a result of the demonstration the traffic movement on the roads came to a halt. Hundreds of vehicles were stuck up in long queues that stretched several kilometres. The labour unrest also compelled the authorities to cancel operation for the day.
* Making garment factories trouble-free:
Bangladesh is the world’s second biggest apparel exporter with overseas garment sale topping $20 billion last year.
The amount is 80 per cent of the total exports of the country. Most of our garment products go to the United States and Europe. The garment industry employs over four million people, many of them young women.
The industry is crucial to the national economy as a source of employment and foreign currency. Some social organisations and trade unions emphasise that our manufacturing formula depends on keeping wages low and restricting the rights of workers.
The minimum monthly wage was fixed at Tk 3,000 in November 2010. Labour unions are almost non-existent. Garment workers have taken to streets in recent years in sometimes violent protests over wages and safe working conditions. Some trade unions want the basic monthly wage rate to be raised to around $100 or around Tk 8,000.
* Tk 100cr BB scheme soon for improving factory conditions:
Bangladesh Bank (BB) has decided to launch a Tk 100 crore refinancing scheme soon for the infrastructural development of weak readymade garment (RMG) factories and improving working conditions with financial support from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
“The decision has been finalised… both the central bank and JICA agreed on it. The refinancing scheme of Tk 100 crore will soon be launched,” BB assistant spokesperson AFM Asaduzzaman told UNB on Friday.
He said the aim of the scheme is to help weak RMG factories improve their infrastructural and working conditions to fulfill the buyers’ demand.
read more. & read more. & read more.
* JICA to loan BB for RMG sector dev:
The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) will provide Tk 1 billion loan to Bangladesh Bank for the development of country’s garments sector.
The central bank will allocate the money through Bank and Financial Institutions with five percent interest by launching re-funding scheme. Later, businessmen can collect loan with 10-percent interest from the banks.
Bangladesh Bank governor secretariat general manager AFM Asaduzzaman confirmed it to banglanews.
BB governor Dr Atiur Rahman told banglanews over phone, “JICA is one of development cooperation agencies to Bangladesh. They provide loan and aid in different sectors including infrastructure. In line with the cooperation, the Japanese company will provide TK 1 billion to ensure apparel worker’s security considering the factory building risky.
* BB to create Taka 100 crore fund for development of RMG industry:
Bangladesh Bank (BB) is going to create a re-financing fund involving Taka 100 crore for infrastructure development of the country’s readymade garment (RMG) industry.
The fund will be created with the financial support of Japan
International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to help development infrastructure of the garment units housed in vulnerable buildings, general manager of governor’s secretariat of the central bank AFM Asaduzzaman told BSS today.
He said an agreement to this effect would be signed between the two sides soon.
* BGMEA, BKMEA to stop giving services to defiant RMG factories from today:
The two apex apparel bodies — the BGMEA and the BKMEA — will stop providing all kinds of service from today (Sunday) to its members who failed to respond to their directives to submit their factory structural designs by May 31.
“We informed on Saturday all the members who did not submit their factory building structural designs within the stipulated time that they would not get any service from the BGMEA from today (Sunday),” Md Shahidullah Azim, Vice President of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) told the FE.
read more. & read more. & read more.
* Poor response from RMG owners:
BGMEA, BKMEA deadline for submitting structural design of factory buildings expires
More than 70 per cent apparel factories out of 5000 across the country have not yet submitted their structural designs and soil test reports to the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters’ Association though the deadline expired on May 30.
After the collapse of Rana Plaza on April 24, which left at least 1,127 people, mostly apparel workers, dead, the BGMEA and the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters’ Association asked their members to submit structural designs, layouts and soil test reports of the factories by May 30.
The BGMEA has so far received more than 1,300 structural designs and soil test reports. The BGMEA could extend the deadline as the majority of factory owners had sought extension of time limit BGMEA Second Vice-President S A Mannan Kochi told The New Nation on Saturday.
* Apparel trade bodies rightly turn tough on safety issues:
Epitomising the aphorism that it’s better late than never, apparel trade bodies of the country—the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association and the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association—have adopted a strict stance by declaring that factories which failed to provide structural designs and details within the May 30 deadline, would not be given any assistance, including the utilisation declaration certificates.
With the deaths of more than 1,000 garment workers very much fresh in the nation’s psyche, such a stringent stance is indeed welcome, in view of saving the industry as well as millions of workers engaged in it.
Suffice to say, the Rana Plaza tragedy has thrown the garment industry, the sector earning the highest foreign currency, into a vortex of confusion, anarchy and recrimination. With so many dead bodies, the practice of finger pointing goes on, though it is apparent that no one party is solely responsible for the catastrophe.
The truth remains that manufacturers, buyers and overseeing authorities all were complicit in a system that selfishly prioritised profit while neglecting human safety.
Be that as it may, now that the issue relating to lack of safety, topped by the injudicious conversion of residential buildings into factories, has come to the fore, it is only natural that all garment owners will be asked to submit original documents related to the buildings, housing their factories.
* Unions press to end BD special trade status:
After several deadly factory disasters in Bangladesh — including the collapse of an eight-story garment factory last month that left at least 1,127 people dead — labor advocates are stepping up pressure on the Obama administration, calling for it to convey its disapproval of working conditions in the country by revoking its special trade status.
But federal officials remain conflicted over the American government’s responsibility for safer labor conditions overseas, and in meetings in recent weeks they disagreed over what combination of carrots and sticks would work best to achieve this goal, reports The New York Times.
Some officials, particularly in the State Department, say that if trade status is revoked, Washington will lose its leverage to pressure Bangladesh to improve building codes and labor rights. Labor advocates and officials from the Labor Department counter, however, that this leverage is lost anyway if the administration is never willing to use it.
“By failing to take serious action before now even in the face of phenomenal, unprecedented death of workers, US trade officials have already sent the wrong message to Bangladesh,” said Brian Campbell, policy and legal programs director of the International Labor Rights Forum, a workers advocacy group. “It’s time to send a strong signal.”
read more. & read more. & read more.
* US in touch with Bangladesh on garment factory safety issue:
The United States officials are in touch with their counterparts in Bangladesh over the safety conditions in country’s garment factories, a US official said in Washington on Thursday.
“I will tell you that our officials are, of course, in touch with officials in Bangladesh about the conditions in the factories there,” State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki said while replying to a question regarding safety issues at the garment outlets.
* EU reassures Dhaka of continued support:
The European Union (EU) has reassured Bangladesh of its continued support in trade and development sectors and said it has no interest in stopping programmes in Bangladesh.
EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton conveyed the assurance while meeting Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dr Dipu Moni in Singapore on the sidelines of Asia Security Summit, popularly known as Shangri La Dialogue.
Catherine Ashton said, “We’ve no doubt about your commitment. We want trade and investment to flourish in a stable environment. Therefore, the EU has no interest in stopping programmes in Bangladesh.”
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
* EU lauds RMG sector reform plan:
The European Union has reassured Bangladesh that it would continue to support trade and development sectors in the country.
This was stated by EU high representative for foreign affairs and security policy Catherine Ashton at a meeting with foreign minister Dipu Moni in Singapore on the sidelines of Asia Security Summit, known as Shangri La Dialogue.
Both the ministers discussed initiatives undertaken by the government to address the problems in the RMG sector.
* European companies buying BD apparels ‘must share responsibilities’:
Chair of the Committee on Foreign Affairs (AFET) Elmar Brok (CDU) has reminded that the European companies purchasing readymade garments from Bangladesh must share the responsibilities, and exercise control and promote acceptable standards in factories.
He made the remark during a meeting with Foreign Minister Dr Dipu Moni, now in Brussels to have talks with officials to retain DFQF facility for Bangladeshi products in the EU market.
The AFET Chair reiterated that he wished to see the government of Bangladesh implementing measures in the readymade garment industry, which would ensure concrete improvements in workplace safety and labour rights.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
* Savar tragedy brings other areas under EU, US surveillance:
The leather, shrimp and ship-recycling sectors — the former two are the country’s major export items after apparel and the latter is a leading source of backward linkages for infrastructure facilities — are facing great pressures from both the European and US buyers and stakeholders to follow properly the compliance-related standards, after the Rana Plaza collapse.
Some of the top European buyers have started making enquiries about safety of both building and workplace, involving the leather factory workers. The owners have already set a target to shift their existing factories from Hazaribagh in the heart of the capital city, mostly operating now under unhygienic conditions, to its outskirts in Savar by December this year, for this purpose.
“Some of our buyers have sought the design of our factory buildings, fire safety arrangements and some other compliance standards, most of which are now absent in Hazaribagh,” Abdul Hai, general secretary of Bangladesh Finished Leather and Leather Goods Association (BFLLGA), said.
* EU leaders urge buyers to stay in Bangladesh:
Leaders from the EU and Bangladesh have urged fashion buyers and retailers to continue sourcing from Bangladesh and have also pledged to safeguard the ‘everything but arms’ preferential export benefits which the country currently receives.
Karel De Gucht, EU trade commissioner; Elmar Brok, chair of the committee on foreign affairs of the EU Parliament; and Catherine Ashton, EU high representative for foreign affairs and security policy, reassured EU’s continued support in trade and development sectors in Bangladesh in their recent meetings with Foreign Minister Dipu Moni.
“We have no doubt about your (government) commitment. We want trade and investment to flourish in a stable environment. Therefore, EU has no interest in stopping programmes in Bangladesh,” said Ashton.
She spoke in a meeting with Dipu Moni in Singapore on the sidelines of Asia Security Summit, popularly known as Shangri La Dialogue, on Saturday.
* Canada concerned at risky working condition:
Canadian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Heather Cruden expressed concern Saturday over the dangerous working condition in the apparel sector.
She said that the country may face a potential threat on its way to social and economic progress due to the recent tragedy and political unrest.
She also said the current political instability combined with the consumer reactions in Western countries is causing some companies to question whether they should move out of the country which could be very damaging for Bangladesh. “Many of us are very concerned that the impressive gains which Bangladesh has made in social and economic development could be threatened by the recent tragedy and the current political unrest,” said Heather Cruden.
* Bangladesh must upgrade worker safety to fix reputation crisis:
Bangladesh must take concrete measures to promote occupational safety at garment factories, Canadian High Commissioner Heather Cruden said yesterday.
Like many other countries, Canada remains concerned about dangerous working conditions in the garment sector, as evidenced by the recent factory collapse in Savar and the deadly Tazreen fire in November last year, Cruden said.
“Canada expects all of its trading partners to ensure safe working conditions consistent with international standards.”
* Norway, ILO to sign $2.5 mn deal to improve working conditions in B’desh:
Norway and International Labour Organization (ILO) have come forward with financial support for improving working conditions in export-oriented industries in Bangladesh.
Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and ILO will sign a US$ 2.5 million agreement on Monday, officials said here Sunday.
The Norwegian Minister for International Development Heikki Eidsvoll Holmas and ILO Country Office for Bangladesh Director Srinivas Reddy will sign the deal on their respective sides for promoting workers rights and improving working conditions in the export-oriented industry.
The signing ceremony will be held at Hotel Ruposhi Bangla in the afternoon.
to read. & read more.
* Norwegian minister due in city today to talk workers’ rights:
Norwegian Minister for International Development Heikki Eidsvoll Holmås arrives today (Monday) on a four-day visit to Bangladesh to discuss bilateral issues focusing on workers’ rights.
A Norwegian Embassy official said the Minister is likely to meet the Prime Minister, the Finance Minister, the Foreign Minister and the Labour Minister during his visit till Thursday.
read more. & read more.
* Dipu Moni says: BD tackling safety of factories:
Bangladesh is taking the necessary steps to improve factory safety, Foreign Minister Dipu Moni has told European Union lawmakers, adding, however, that consumers would also have to accept a “modest increase” in the cost of clothes.
Last month, more than 1,100 people died when a building housing multiple garment factories collapsed in Dhaka.
A boom in clothing manufacture had contributed to “the emergence of factories which are not compliant to environmental and various safety measures. These need to be corrected,” Moni said on Thursday.
“The Bangladeshi government shares the concerns of the EU, for every life is precious to us,” she added.
* Govt panel starts inspecting RMG units:
A government-commissioned panel started Saturday their drive to identify the country’s garment factories not complying with safety standards.
The efforts would help polish the bad image of the country’s clothing sector after the deadliest industrial accident at Savar in Dhaka recently, a panel member said.
On the first day the panel members visited only four readymade garment (RMG) factories in the city’s Gulshan and Banani areas and found all of them ‘non-compliant’ in terms of building construction and other safety standards.
The panel members attached more importance to structural designs of the factories, the fire safety measures and the rights and welfare aspects of the workers, said the joint secretary of the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief, Mizanur Rahman, who is also a member of the panel.
The panel members vowed to inspect around 2,000 to 2,500 factories across the country out of about 4,500 units, including those in greater Dhaka and Chittagong regions. The factories now running in rented spaces would come under the lens of the expert panel, another member said.
* A day out to find factory flaws:
Young Pinky was engrossed in stitching jeans on her workstation when a team led by Textiles Minister Abdul Latif Siddique walked in yesterday morning to the premises of Apparel Industry Ltd.
Her workstation, from where she was manufacturing wares for the American kidswear label OshKosh B’gosh, was an electric sewing machine — with wires cascading from the ceiling.
In fact, loose wires were spilling out of the entire ceiling, which would be at best one and a half yards away from her and her coworkers’ heads. Rules, however, say all electric wires must be concealed.
Looking around, it came to notice that Pinky sat just beside the column holding the fire extinguisher. When asked if she could use it, Pinky nodded in the negative. But fire officials recommend that employees with the knowledge to handle the device should sit next to it.
The factory, which sits with three others in the same building on New Airport Road, was cramped to its limit with sewing machines.
This was the first visit by Siddique and his team, formed by the government amid public outcry following the fatal Rana Plaza collapse that killed 1,130.
Most of the observations ended up on the wrong side of their checklist, designed to gauge the workplace conditions of the country’s 5,000 garment factories.
The checklist contains 69 questions in four categories — structural soundness of the building, fire safety, electric safety preparation and issues that are related to workers’ rights and welfare.
The minister stayed for a short while with the workers, many of whom were adolescents. Then out went the minister to visit another factory.
* More 6 retailers to join safety pact:
Inditex SA (ITX), Calvin Klein-owner PVH Corp. (PVH), U.K. clothier N Brown Group Plc (BWNG) and three other companies will team up with union members to oversee the implementation of the Bangladesh fire and building safety accord.
A representative from each of the companies will work with six members from the IndustriAll union for garment workers, the UNI global union representing retail workers and two non-governmental organizations, IndustriAll general secratary Jyrki Raina said. A separate steering committee to oversee governance, transparency and disputes is still to be decided.
* Factory Safety: North American buyers team up to help Bangladesh:
In an effort to address factory safety issues, leading North American retailers and brands have joined together in New York to develop and implement a new programme to improve fire and safety regulations in Bangladesh garment factories.
The meeting was organised by the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) and co-chaired by former US Senate Majority Leader and BPC Co-Founder George J Mitchell and former US Senator and BPC Senior Fellow Olympia Snowe.
This alliance includes representatives from retailers and brands, as well as participants from industry associations among them: American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA), National Retail Federation (NRF), Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA), and the Retail Council of Canada (RCC), according to a BPC web release.
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* New BD RMG Safety Pact- Walmart, Gap lead coalition:
Walmart and Gap are working on their own independent safety plan to prompt reform in Bangladesh after both retailers declined to sign the Accord on Fire and Building Safety, Women`s Wear Daily reported.
Forty other retailers, mostly European, have agreed to the latter pact.
Over the next 30 days, the two US companies will work together with a coalition of other firms and industry trade groups to come up with ‘a single, unified action plan,’ along with a schedule to implement it across Bangladesh’s garment industry.
* US buyers announce new plan for factory safety in Bangladesh:
Feeling pressure from consumer and labour groups for not doing more to ensure factory safety in Bangladesh, Wal-Mart, Gap and numerous other retailers along with the nation’s main retail federations are seeking to forge a new plan to promote safety in that country’s apparel industry, according to website http://www.nytimes.com/.
This effort, to be spearheaded by the Bipartisan Policy Center, a nonprofit group based in Washington, was announced on Thursday, two and a half weeks after dozens of retailers and apparel companies, almost all of them European, announced a far-reaching plan aimed at ensuring factory safety in Bangladesh.
Only a few American retailers signed on, however.
On Thursday, Sean John, the fashion company run by Sean Combs, announced that it would become the third United States company to join, following PVH, the parent company of Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger, and Abercrombie & Fitch. Loblaw, a Canadian retailer that produces the Joe Fresh clothing line, has also joined that plan.
* US retailers eye July release of BD safety plan:
A group of US based retailers and brands working towards a new programme to improve fire and safety regulations in Bangladeshi garment factories is unlikely to finalise its plans until early July.
First details of the intended Safer Factories Initiative were revealed earlier this month, with just-style being told at the time that a more detailed strategy would be available within days or weeks.
However, it has now emerged that the action plan and implementation schedule will not be released until early July.
* Wal-Mart meets over factory safety plan:
Wal-Mart, the world’s biggest retailer, has said it is meeting with retailers, industry associations and the Bipartisan Policy Center to work on a plan to improve fire and safety regulation in its subcontracted garment factories in Bangladesh, reports bdnews24.com.
The discussions in New York are part of the previously announced Safer Factories Initiative and are organised by the Bipartisan Policy Center, a nonprofit policy and advocacy think tank, the centre said in a statement on Friday Bangladesh time, according to Bloomberg.
The working group will release a plan by early July, it said. The talks are co-chaired by former US Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell and former US Senator Olympia Snowe.
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* Getting it wrong: Walmart and GAP run away from Bangladesh Accord:
As the number of retail companies signing up to the Bangladesh Fire and Building Safety Accord continues to grow, the garment workers of Bangladesh have been given a slap in the face by Walmart and GAP.
Not content with snubbing the Accord, they have now produced a code of their own where they will act as judge and jury.
Walmart, which has suffered further dents to its tarnished reputation this week with fines and class action suits brought against it, has taken GAP with it along the low road.
Shoppers everywhere will be angered that Walmart and GAP are making a concerted effort to misrepresent and undermine the Accord by conspiring to produce their own code, on their terms, in a sorry public relations exercise as they run for cover.
* US may need to revoke Bangladesh GSP status: congressman Miller:
US president Barack Obama should revoke Bangladesh’s beneficial trade status if the country doesn’t comply with US benchmarks to improve labour and safety standards, congressman George Miller, who visited garment factories in Bangladesh recently, said on Friday.
Bangladesh participates in a US programme known as the Generalised System of Preferences, which allows zero or reduced tariffs on some products imported from developing countries.
If Bangladesh doesn’t improve worker conditions, ‘we have no choice’ but to revoke the country’s preferred trade status, he said. Miller said he will wait for the results of the Obama administration’s review before considering legislation, reports Bloomberg.
* Safety for BD RMG factories Walmart, Gap seek separate standards:
Top US companies are now in negotiations to agree on new safety standards for their clothing-producing contractors in Bangladesh, a month after a garment factory’s collapse in Dhaka killed more than 1,100 workers.
The move comes after these companies, most prominently including Walmart and Gap, refused to sign on to a fire and safety standards agreement, announced weeks ago, that has received wide backing among European companies.
Yet labour advocates are disparaging the new talks, suggesting the results will likely not be binding and thus will not be able to ensure worker safety.
“Walmart is … undermining the constructive efforts of other companies,” Jyrki Raina, general-secretary for IndustriALL Global Union, an umbrella of unions with 50 million worldwide members that has led the European agreement process, said Friday. “The kind of voluntary initiative being put forward by Walmart and Gap has failed in the past and will again fail to protect Bangladeshi garment workers.”
* Slow, tragic march to a better life:
At a Gap GPS +1.57% store in New York City, shirts and pants from Vietnam, Indonesia and Bangladesh are selling briskly.
Do customers have qualms about buying clothes made in Bangladesh, where just last month 1,127 garment workers were killed in the collapse of a substandard building? “No,” says a salesman. “They don`t really ask about it.”
That may be a brutal truth, but it`s good news for Bangladesh. The best thing that could happen in the wake of last month`s tragedy is already taking place: Most global brands, despite an uproar over working conditions and fatal accidents in the country`s factories, are staying put. At least for the moment.
Whether that remains the case depends on what the retailers do next.
It`s a bad bet to believe that consumers will lead much change. They may (or may not) be aware of the death toll in Bangladesh. But don`t expect them to parse responsibility for the accident and decide whether it was the fault of a subcontractor, supplier, intermediary, building inspector, corrupt government or negligent brand.
In the 1990s, Nike NKE -0.49% was hammered by bad press about labor practices at factories run by its suppliers in Asia. Even during the worst of it, customers didn`t stop buying. “We had significant reputational issues, but we didn`t see that translate to consumer behavior,” says Hannah Jones, Nike`s vice president of sustainable business and innovation. Consumers liked the product—and the price, too.
* Bangladesh is still attractive for garment outsourcing:
Though the huge human tragedy caused by the fire accident in a garment factory in Bangladesh has raised questions about the country continuing to be favoured for garment outsourcing, it will not lead to flight of business from that country, according to an Indian industry source.
It is not only the competitive labour cost but the fact that the Government there under the direct supervision of the Prime Minister has made the job of entrepreneurs easy which weighs with the investors there, he said.
In an interview to Business Line, V.Ramachandran, Proprietor, Weearr Intercontinental, Bangalore, who has been in apparel outsourcing business for over three decades, felt that the garment buyers ‘will still do business in a big way’ with Bangladesh despite the unfortunate accident.
This was because the country offered several advantages like low making charges and duty free export opportunity to Canada, Europe/UK. He said the quality of the machinery and production there were ‘at par with rest of the garment manufacturing countries’.
Elaborating on the cost-benefit of doing business in Bangladesh, he said the cost of making a 5 pocket jeans there was approximately $1.30 to $1.40 per piece.
But in India, it costs $4 to $ 5 a piece. He reasoned that even if wages shot up in that country by 30 per cent, it would still retain its competitiveness in terms of final FOB price, apart from the duty advantage in importing nations, excluding the US.
* Vital RMG sector has to be saved, taking timely and pragmatic steps:
More than a month after the Savar ‘tragedy’, the readymade garments (RMG) industry of Bangladesh remains a matter of discussions at both national and international levels for a variety of reasons.
It is only normal that the issue would be hotly discussed and debated in various forms for the simple reason that so many valuable lives were lost because of the collapse of a building that housed several garments factories.
The number of deaths and severely injured ones is galore, to the extent of a staggeringly unbelievable figure. Unquestionably, the tragedy is, too, deep for a country like Bangladesh – from both humanitarian and economic points of view.
For, there are hardly few such parallels in the countries across the world in a situation where too many people perished in a single disaster in one such sector. No less importantly, the country’s burgeoning RMG industry received a big jolt because of the accident of such a colossal proportion.
Evidently, the disaster was the result of human negligence, if not caused by any other error. It is precisely for this reason, the Savar ‘tragedy’ that has claimed several hundred workers is being generally described at both national and global levels as a “man-made disaster”.
THE SAVAR BUILDING COLLAPSE
* Savar survivors: supports poured in; coordination a big problem:
‘They desperately need cash and jobs’
Though various government and private sector organisations promptly came forward with their various supports for the survivors of the Rana Plaza collapse, lack of proper coordination is likely to take its toll on the good gesture, says a survey report on the human tragedy.
The report said the major challenge could be to ensure proper coordination among these agencies and organisations for smooth and sound management of these aid and supports.
It says workers’ federations or associations could be engaged for ensuring proper coordination as there have been overlapping in selection of the survivors and package design.
ActionAid Bangladesh, Concern Universal and Concern Worldwide on behalf of National Alliance for Risk Reduction Initiatives conducted the survey titled ‘Rapid Need Assessment on Survivors of Savar Building Collapse.’
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* Compensation money eludes families of Rana Plaza collapse victims:
Frustration and uncertainty have gripped families of the Rana Plaza collapse victims as no clear announcement over giving compensation to them has been made even five weeks after the deadliest industrial incident.
The worried relatives have been moving desperately from here and there after the apparel factory owners promised giving adequate compensation to the family members who lost their near ones in the Rana Plaza collapse.
The eight-storey commercial building that housed five garment factories collapsed on April 24 last in the capital’s nearest industrial area Savar. The accident claimed at least 1,127 lives, mostly garment workers.
Several hundred others were critically wounded in the country’s worst-ever industrial incident that shocked the whole nation and brought the issue of workplace safety under spotlight at home and abroad.
The ill-fated families moved to the BGMEA (Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters’ Association) headquarters, the site of Rana Plaza, upazila headquarters and the National Press Club on wrong information about their enlistment for compensation.
“I went to the BGMEA head office, the Adhar Chandra High School and the National Press Club to inquire about compensation but found nothing,” Rabeya Akhter, sister of Aklima Khatun who was killed in the man-made disaster, said.
* Rana Plaza rescuers set example: speakers:
Politicians and a journalist and a physician on Friday said that people from all walks of life risked their lives to rescue the people trapped under the collapsed Rana Plaza at Savar creating an unique example of humanity.
At a reception of the rescuers, they mentioned that the rescuers efficiently saved the lives of more than 2,000 people, while more than 1,100 bodies were recovered from the debris of the eight-storey Rana Plaza that collapsed on April 24.
The disaster management unit of the Workers Party of Bangladesh organised the reception programme at Planning and Development Academy auditorium at Nilkhet where more than 10 organisations and 200 rescuers took part.
* Waiting for mother:
As five-year-old Kamrul opens his eyes in the morning, he begins nagging his father and grandmother to take him to the site of the Rana Plaza collapse, where he hopes to see his mother.
Since the nine-storey building crumbled on April 24, Kamrul has been told that his mother Kamona Begum, who worked as a sewing operator at a garment factory on the fourth floor, is there at the site and will be found soon.
“She used to bring him [Kamrul] something every day on her way back home,” Kamrul’s grandmother Morsheda Begum, 55, says, gazing at the place surrounded by a barbed wire fence.
On the day of the incident, Morsheda, a cleaner, was working on the third floor. She was lucky to be rescued within hours of the collapse with minor injuries to her feet and chest. But the family did not find Kamona, not even her remains.
“Kamrul believes his mother can still be found here and throws a tantrum if I don’t take him to this place,” says Morsheda.
* The Savar disaster, and what next? :
After the tragedy of Rana Plaza a pall of gloom had descended on Bangladesh. It led to the untimely deaths of 1,127 garment workers. Such an incident could be compared with only a massive catastrophe.
When the news of the accident emerged with its large-scale horrifying magnitude, none could still then realise its extent of destruction, loss of lives and properties. The final picture began to be clear as the salvage and rescue work was coming to a close.
Many people at one point began to ask: Is the disaster a result of the apathy of the people who run the ready-made garment (RMG) industry, their seemingly endless greed or the “dirty game of politics”? Is it the inevitable mark of dehumanisation? Is it the summation of discharging duties in a gross negligent manner in the sector?
Even a common passenger in a bus faces mechanical disorder when he is halfway to his destination. It gives him much irritation. Almost all of us have the bitter experience of falling in such an unpleasant situation, when we are out of home to travel to somewhere. But why does it happen?
The staff ought to ensure that the bus is in good condition when it is on road just before it starts for its desired point.
Needless to say, ensuring fitness of the total mechanical system can only make a travel free and safe, as there will be no further annoyance or trouble caused to the passengers in it, and consequently they may enjoy an uninterrupted and smooth travel.
* Mourners build temporary memorial:
Mourners, including colleagues and relatives of the workers killed, maimed and missing in the Rana Plaza collapse, set up a memorial at the site of the disaster to pay homage to the dead.
Locals, including teachers and students of educational institutions, joined the workers in erected the temporary four- feet high memorial on Thursday morning and placed wreaths there.
They demanded construction of a permanent memorial at the site.
* Savar tragedy: An emblem of poor governance:
On April 24, a nine-storey building collapsed in Savar which is on the outskirts of Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh. More than one thousand garment workers had died in the incident.
And also hundreds of workers most of whom were the only earning members of their families, lie injured in the hospital beds with frustration and insecurity. The gruesome images of the dead bodies that we have seen on internet and newspapers will haunt everyone. The total account of losses is still to be made.
The rescuers could not control their tears finding the continuous groaning of trapped workers, mostly women. People from all walks of life, irrespective of affiliation to any party or religion, rushed to associate with the rescue operation organised by the Army, Border Guard Bangladesh, Rapid Action Battalion and Police.
But is this a tragedy or carnage? The owners knew about the cracks in the building on the previous day only to put a blind eye to it. There was also absence of any initiatives to evacuate the building. Moreover, it was found out later that the owners of the building and garment factories forced the workers to enter into the building. So it appears to be a cold blooded murder of a large number of innocent people.
* A long wait, all in vain:
Since eight in the morning yesterday, Amena Begum, with her fractured hand, was waiting outside the capital’s Sundarban Hotel, with high hopes that someone would come out with some financial help.
She was not alone — hundreds of others like her were gathered there, as well. They were all workers of garment factories housed in the ill-fated Rana Plaza, which collapsed on April 24, killing 1,130 people dead and thousands injured.
Jobless and facing mounting medical bills, they are now desperate for financial assistance.
“One of my neighbours informed me yesterday that they have received financial help here from an organisation. That’s why, we’ve come,” Amena said.
None of them, however, knew the name of the organisation.
“We all left the city around 3:30 pm, as no one came out of the hotel with help. Nobody assured us of anything, either,” said Zahid Hossain, who waited with Amena at the spot under open skies.
Primark, the British retailer whose clothes were made at one of the factories at the collapsed building, registered names of around 300 garment workers at that spot on Friday, according to Amirul Haque Amin, president of National Garments Workers Federation.
* Rana Plaza Tragedy: 4 accused on remand:
A Dhaka court on Sunday placed four accused, including three garment owners, on a four-day remand in a case over much-talked-about Rana Plaza collapse.
Senior Judicial Magistrate of Dhaka Toybul Hasan passed the remand order after hearing on the case.
On May 26, investigation officer of the case, CID inspector Bijoy Krishna Kar sought remand against the accused.
The accused are Anisur Rahman, Bazlur Samad, Aminul Islam and Mahmudur Rahman Taposh.
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* BGMEA report still not submitted:
The committee the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters’ Association set up on April 28 to investigate the Rana Plaza collapse of April 24 has failed to submit the report even about a month after the May 7 deadline.
BGMEA leaders also could no say when they would be able to submit the report. ‘The committee members are doing their job and we are waiting for some test reports from experts,’ the association president, Md Atiqul Islam, said.
Without giving any date, he said that the report could be submitted shortly after they received reports of the text on building materials which are pending with Bangladesh University of Engendering and Technology.
16:35:42 local time INDIA
* Powerloom workers’ bid to distribute gruel foiled:
Efforts to prepare gruel for distribution among jobless powerloom workers here were thwarted by the police on Saturday. The police arrested 38 women as they prevented them from discharging their duties, and released them later.
According to sources, powerloom workers have been on strike since May 4 seeking enhancement of wages from Rs.95 a day to Rs.250. There are about 600 powerloom units manufacturing surgical gauze and surgical bandage cloth in this town. About 10 units are engaged in export of these goods to various international companies while 90 others are sending them to other States.
The wages of these workers are fixed once in three years.
* Aruna Roy presses govt for pension to all unorganised labour:
Having quit the National Advisory Council (NAC), Aruna Roy of the Mazdoor Kisan Sangharsh Samiti (MKSS) will intensify the movement to get minimum wages countrywide under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act and a Rs 1,000 a month pension for unorganised labourers.
She will also press the government to make it mandatory to have a pre-legislation process for all bills that the government proposes to introduce in Parliament. Roy is enthusiastic about the pre-legislative process.
According to the proposal that is being discussed in the NAC, the only opportunity that Indian citizens have to present their views on legislations in the making is either through the Members of Parliament (MPs) or if they are called to the Standing Committees. The discussion paper says that of the 157 Bills introduced in the 15th Lok Sabha (July 2009 till Budget 2012), 51 were not referred to the Standing Committees for consideration.
* CITU to protest against price rise on June 14:
Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) has planned a protest in all of its taluk centers on June 14 against inflation.
CITU State general secretary H. Prasanna Kumar told presspersons here on Saturday that the union would protest against the “irresponsible policies of State and Union governments, which have resulted in the hike in prices of essential commodities.”
“A hike in diesel prices won’t be confined to diesel alone; it will result in a hike in the prices of essential commodities. The Union government cites the rise in the price of crude oil in the international market as a reason for the hike in oil prices in the domestic market; this is just an alibi. The taxes imposed by the government comprise 60 per cent of the price at which oil is sold,” he alleged.
* SIMA demands continuation of TUFS in 12th Five-Year-Plan:
* Cotton yarn exports may rise 7.7% to 1,150 million kg in FY’14:
Cotton yarn exports are estimated to rise 7.7 per cent to 1,150 million kg in the current fiscal on higher output and rising demand from traditional markets.
The Cotton Yarn Advisory Board ( CYAB) has projected a 14.2 per cent increase in cotton yarn production to 4,000 million kg in 2013-14, a source told PTI.
Cotton production was estimated to be around 340 lakh bales, according to the estimates of the Cotton Advisory Board (CAB) for the 2012-13 cotton season (October to September).
16:05:42 local time PAKISTAN
* Textile firms’ profit reaches Rs 23 billion:
The profit of textile companies have grown to Rs 8.9 billion in third quarter of fiscal year 2012-13, depicting growth of 7 per cent quarterly and 180 per cent annually. Cumulatively, textile profits have reached Rs 23 billion in 9MFY13 versus Rs 4.5 billion in the same period last year.
According to industry, the upward trajectory of profits is also because of cheaper financing and continuous Pak rupee depreciation in addition to firm cotton prices and strong regional demand.
With the continuation of these factors, experts believe textile profits will remain strong in coming month. Further, expected GSP Plus status for Pakistan by EU will further push Pakistan’s textile to European countries.
* Pakistan exporters’ demand revival of textile sector:
The textile exporters’ fraternity has suggested various measures to the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) for the revival of sinking indigenous industry.
The roundtable conference on Pakistan’s largest industrial sector’s revival held under the chair of Vice President FPCCI Gulzar Firoz on Thursday, has formulated recommendations to increase textile exports for the PML-N government to make part of policy decisions in the early days of its tenure.
Firoz while announcing the recommendations said that the Nawaz Sharif government would be strongly suggested to lobby in the European Union and USA to extend Pakistan additional market access and allow GSP Plus. He said that on request to the exporters DTRE (duty and tax remission on exports) and DLTL (drawbacks on local taxes and levies) laws should be reframed, textile ministry should not be abolished but if necessary a strong textile division should be established, commercial counselors should be trained at FPCCI before their posting broad and their performance report must be sent to the FPCCI every month.
* Exporters-cum-makers of textile products: PHMA proposes no payment, no refund system:
Pakistan Hosiery Manufacturers Association (PHMA) has proposed no payment, no refund system for the exporters-cum-manufacturers of textile products to check tax frauds and improve sales tax collection from next fiscal (2013-14).
According to the budget proposal of the PHMA to the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), here on Saturday, more than 80 percent of the exporters-cum-manufacturers are required to be under the Zero Rated Tax Regime.
In this regard, the association has proposed that input purchases by such exporters-cum-manufacturers of the previous year be capped and in case the purchases cross this limit such exporters-cum-manufacturers to be asked for justification of extending the limit of purchases as compared to previous year.
* Call to remove pests from cotton:
Cotton growers should adopt special measures to save their crop from juice sucking insects for good yield. Agriculture experts expressed these views while talking to APP on Sunday.
They said that thrips was the smallest insect among all juice sucking insects whereas whitefly harmed the cotton crop most.Whitefly weakens cotton plants by sucking juice and the insect also plays a major role in spreading the cotton leave curl virus CLVC from one plant to another, they added.