15:05:10 local time VIET NAM
* ILO urges Vietnam to raise age for domestic child workers to 18 :
The International Labor Organization (ILO) has urged Vietnamese authorities to stop children under 18 from working as domestic help, saying it puts them at risk of being exploited and abused.
The Labor Code allows children to be hired as domestic workers at 15 if the job is light and suitable for their age, but Gyorgy Sziraczki, country director of ILO Vietnam, said in a release Wednesday that child workers are “particularly vulnerable to discrimination, exploitation, and abuse,” since the job is often hidden from the public eye.
“It is time to identify hazardous elements of domestic work and to prohibit such work for children under 18 of age.”
* Lack of awareness leads to job deaths:
So far this year, 176 workers have died on the job, according to the Labour Safety Department under the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA).
The department attributed the occurrence of occupational accidents and fires to low awareness of labour safety regulations, as well as a shortage of State labour safety staff and inadequate punishments for violations.
There are currently 450 labour inspectors for the whole country, but only about 50 received training in labour safety and hygiene standards. Two are doctors.
Consequently, only 0.22 per cent of operating enterprises can be inspected by State officials each year.
According to MOLISA reports from 58 cities and provinces, nearly 13,000 enterprises and factories have been inspected this year. More than 1,000 were found violating labour safety regulations.
* China may increase its investments in textiles and garments in Vietnam:
Vietnamese textile and garment companies have warned that they would have more redoubtable rivals as China may increase its investments in Vietnam once the Trans Pacific Partnership TPP is signed.
A senior executive of Vinatex, the biggest Vietnamese textile and garment group, said China is always very “nimble-footed” in seeking investment opportunities. Meanwhile, they might have heard that Vietnam may enjoy the zero export tariff when exporting garments and textiles to the US, the biggest export market, within the framework of TPP.
More Chinese projects to be registered in 2013
The senior executive of Vinatex has predicted that the new Chinese investment wave would be mostly seen in the garment sector, while there would be fewer projects in the textile and dying sectors. This would put Vietnamese enterprises in a stiffer competition once the TPP implementation begins.
* Vietnam active at ILO’s 102nd session:
A Vietnamese delegation led by Deputy Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Pham Minh Huan is attending the 102 nd session of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in Geneva from June 5-20.
Themed “Building a future with decent work”, the event gathered over 5,000 delegates from 185 member nations who focused their discussions on sustainable development, green jobs for the most disadvantaged workers, social dialogue, collective negotiations and challenges posed by an aging population.
Granting an interview to a Vietnam News Agency reporter based in Geneva on June 14, Deputy Minister Huan said Vietnam has reaped considerable achievements in law and policy-making, enforcement and the promotion of sustainable jobs.
15:05:10 local time CAMBODIA
* Bandith trial ends with prosecutor accusing two:
The final day of former Bavet town governor Chhouk Bandith’s trial on Friday saw heated argument between lawyers and witnesses over who was responsible for shootings that injured three garment factory workers at a demonstration last year.
More than 20 witnesses testified during the three days of hearings, with a former deputy commune police chief telling the Svay Rieng court on Thursday that he saw his former boss shoot at workers.
Svay Rieng Provincial Court Judge Leang Sour said a verdict will be announced on June 25.
On Friday, lawyers for Sar Chantha, the Bavet town police chief who was also charged with the shootings, argued that pro-Bandith witnesses had given false testimony, Community Legal Education Center’s labour head Mouen Tola said.
16:05:10 local time INDONESIA
* Laborers Prepare for Massive Strike:
Said Iqbal, Chairman of the Indonesian Labor Union Confederation (KSPI), has threatened to organize a massive nation-wide strikes as a protest against fuel price increase.
“We will organize a massive demonstration during the plenary session. Five to 10 thousand laborers will surround the House of Representatives,” said said in a press conference on Thursday, June 13.
He mentioned that the strikes will take place on June 17 to 18 when the fuel price is implemented. Said also claimed that the strike will be done simultaneously across the nation.
He informed that there are six demands that will be made during the stirkes, including the cancellation of fuel price increase and Temporary Direct Aid (BLSM).
14:35:10 local time BURMA/MYANMAR
* EU reopens trade scheme for Myanmar:
The European Union (EU) readmitted Myanmar to its trade preference scheme on Wednesday, saying it wanted to support reform in Myanmar through economic development. The EU scheme grants developing nations preferential access to the 27-nation bloc for several products in the form of lower tariffs.
The President of the European Parliament, Richard Bruton signed the legislation on the same day confirming Myanmar’s readmission.
“Because of positive developments in Myanmar happening recently, it is important that the EU supports this by facilitating economic growth and development opportunities,” said Burton, who is also the Irish Minster for Jobs and Enterprise.
* Sixteen companies granted to operate the garment industry with CMP system:
Sixteen companies have been granted permission to operate garment industries with Cutting, Making and Packing – CMP system during five months of this year, according to the Directorate of Investment and Companies Administration (DICA).
Those companies will cooperate with not only local entrepreneurs but also other businessmen with the foreign investment assistance.
Moreover, local MK Company has agreed to cooperate with Thailand and Japanese-based Wacoal Company to operate in the garment industry.
The European Union last September reinstated tax breaks for imports from Myanmar under its Generalized System of Preferences, or GSP system, which had been suspended since 1997.
Garment industry in Myanmar will benefit from the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) of the European Union starting from 2013, according to the Myanmar Garment Association.
The tax advantages gained from GSP are attracting more investments from South Korea, Japan and Thailand.
The garment factories will be located in Yangon region, the commercial hub of Myanmar and industrial zones in Bago and Ayeyawady regions.
13:50:10 local time NEPAL
* 47 boys rescued from embroidery factories:
As many as 47 boys, aged between 10 and 17, were rescued today from nine different saree embroidery factories at Thankot.
Acting on a tip-off, a joint team of police, Child Workers in Nepal, Ministry of Labour, District Child Welfare Board, Central Child Development Board, Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare and other organisations working on child rights raided the factories near the Thankot Check Post at around 9:00am today. Most of the children are from Sarlahi and Mahottari, according to CWIN.
According to CWIN, the boys were brought to the sari embroidery factories by their own relatives to engage them as labourers. Preparations are being made to send children under 16 years of age to rehabilitation centres before handing them over to their respective families.
14:05:10 local time BANGLADESH
* RMG worker-cop clash hurts 22 in Gaziur:
At least 22 people, including two TV cameramen, were injured as readymade garment (RMG) workers clashed with police in Board Bazar area of Sadar upazila on Monday.
Police sources and workers said a group of RMG workers of ‘Unigears’ factory had been demonstrating for several days demanding that attendance incentive and Tiffin bill be included in their wage.
The workers took to the streets and blocked the Dhaka-Mymensingh Highway for one and a half hours in the morning as the authorities announced the factory closed from today (Monday) not accepting their demands.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
* Dr Yunus on RMG pay rise: Competitive edge won’t be harmed:
Nobel laureate Dr Muhammad Yunus said raising minimum wages in Bangladesh’s garment manufacturing industry wouldn’t push apparel companies to leave the country.
“The average wage is 25 cents an hour, making it 50 cents an hour won’t cost a leg and an arm,” Yunus, the founder of microfinance lender Grameen Bank, said Friday in an interview on Bloomberg Television.
Labor rights groups are pressuring companies from Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) to Fast Retailing Co. (9983) to improve wages and conditions in Bangladesh’s multibillion dollar garment industry since more than 1,000 people died in the April 24 collapse of the Rana Plaza factory — the worst industrial incident in the country’s history. Raising wages for Bangladesh’s 3 million or so garment workers would spur increases in other countries, according to Yunus.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
* Yunus meets CEOs of leading retailers:
Nobel laureate Prof Muhammad Yunus met the chief executive officers of top clothing retailers at the Consumer Goods Forum in Tokyo on June 11-13.
Prof Yunus was a keynote speaker at the conference, Yunus Centre said in a statement yesterday. (sunday)
He invited the CEOs of the top retail companies for a private meeting with him on the sidelines of the conference to discuss the situation of garment industry in Bangladesh.
The CEOs had an hour-long exclusive meeting with the Nobel laureate and briefed him about their support for Bangladesh.
Prof Yunus elaborated his proposals on voluntary international minimum wages for garment workers for each garment producing country and the use of “Happy Workers’ Tag” for offering workers’ welfare programmes by independent social business companies.
* “Politics for individuals, but industry for all”:
Asserting party for individuals, but industry for all, Shipping Minister Shahjahan Khan said workers would rebuff any forms of politics or conspiracy against RMG sector.
He came up with the remark while addressing a rally organized by Garments Shramik Samanaya Parishad in front of Fantasy Kingdom in Ashulia industrial zone Friday.
During the rally, the workers raised several demands including enactment of a democratic labor law, trade union rights, minimum wage of Tk 8,000, safety in workplace, appointment letter and ID cards and six months for maternity leave.
Shahjahan Khan urged the government for effective measures regarding the workers’ demand.
He also requested he workers to evade the tradition of vandalism and anarchy.
During the rally, RMG leaders said, “We are workers and left home for work in the town. We have no fancy to die inside the factory.”
“Owners could build other factories by benefits from one factory. But our fate will remain unchanged,” they added.
read more. & read more.
* Garments workers protests in the city:
Demonstration ended when police came to the place and meet with the garments owner about the workers demand
Thousands of Garments workers of MDL Garments Factory protest at Lalbagh in the city on Friday in demanding their unpaid salary.
Workers demonstrated in front of the garments from morning to afternoon.
Demonstration ended when police came to the place and meet with the garments owner about the workers demand.
Garments worker Kamal told Dhaka tribune, “We did not get our salary, overtime for the last three months. Addition to it owner of this factory announced shut down of this garments from 20th May. On that time they promised us to pay our due wages within 16th June. But today when they try to take their accessories from here to another place we the workers protest them.”
* 25km foot-walk to protest death of apparel workers:
Around 100 people staged a 25-kilometre ‘foot-walk’ programme Friday to protest the death of garment workers in industrial accidents like fire and collapse of buildings.
The foot-walk began from the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) at around 11.20am terminated at the site of the collapsed Rana Plaza building in Savar.
The foot-walk was held under the banner of the Bangladesh Garments Sramik Andolon and the Sarbostarer Chattra- Shikshak-Sramik, Peshajibi Janata.
The programme was also aimed at realising a seven-point charter of demands, which include capital punishment for those responsible for the death of hundreds of garment workers in factory fire and building collapse incidents.
* Police stop garment workers’ march:
The police on Saturday stopped garment workers’ march in front of the National Museum at Shabagh.
Garment Sramik Sangram Parishad, a combine of the seven garment workers organisations, were marching towards Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association Bhaban at Karwanbazar pressing for three-point demands including safety of the workers in the garment factories, Tk. 8,000 as monthly minimum wage for the garment workers and exemplary punishments for the people responsible for the collapse of Rana Plaza.
After holding a brief rally in front of the National Museum, the leaders and activists of the combine started their march and police stopped the marchers making barricade.
The marchers sat on the road and staged a rally there.
* Families of 41 knitwear workers get Tk 41 lakh as insurance claim:
Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) today distributed cheques for Taka one lakh each of the 41 families of workers died while performing duties at factories under the association.
BKMEA President AKM Salim Osman handed over the cheques at the association’s Dhaka office, said a release. Among others, vice-presidents Mohammad Hatem and AH Aslam Sunny and directors were present on the occasion. The BKMEA has already increased the workers’ insurance claim to Taka two lakh from Taka one lakh, the release added.
* Campaign for workers’ rights continues in Bangladesh:
The process leading to the legally binding Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh was not easy.
Still in March, as the world’s ten leading clothing brands and retailers accepted the invitation of IndustriALL Global Union to come and discuss in Geneva, there was an amazing level of complacency among them. I saw no sense of urgency, despite the deadly factory fires and building collapses in the past.
Then the Rana Plaza building came down on 24 April. Again, the first days of rescue work and death toll reports produced no change. Only after the tragic magnitude and circumstances around this industrial homicide attracted an unprecedented global public and media reaction, clothing brands and retailers started to feel the heat.
It was then, in the early days of May, when IndustriALL Global Union and our sister international UNI Global Union told the clothing brands that we would not accept anything but a legally binding agreement for producing a lasting change. After hectic negotiations, hope and despair, intrigues and watering down attempts, Sweden’s H&M and Spain’s Inditex opened the way and announced on 13 May that they would sign. All the others followed.
Well, not all. We knew that US retail giant Walmart was never going to sign anything with unions. With another US company GAP we tried hard, but the management finally said they could not accept paying for the necessary safety upgrades.
* Two garment factories closed after workers’ unrest:
Authorities at the two factories terminated a total of 249 workers for alleged vandalism and indiscipline during week-long protests to demand hikes in salaries and other facilities
Sacked workers of two garment factories clashed with police at Savar and Ashulia on the outskirts of the city on Saturday, forcing the closure of both units indefinitely.
Authorities at the two factories terminated a total of 249 workers for alleged vandalism and indiscipline during week-long protests to demand hikes in salaries and other facilities, said Zahirul Islam, deputy director of industrial police. According to witnesses, Saturday’s agitation began when workers of JK Group found a notice with the names of 84 sacked workers posted on the main gate when they came to work in the morning.
About 2,200 workers started demonstrating in front of the factory at South Dariapur of Savar Municipality. Factory staff and some local hired goons then swooped on the workers, leading to clash. Police charged batons to disperse the agitators, leaving at least 10 injured.
* 56-100-140 RMG workers fall sick in Gazipur:
Doctors suspect contaminated drinking water behind illness
Fifty six workers of a garment factory in Signboard area of Gazipur were hospitalised with stomach disorder on Sunday.
Doctors suspected that the workers of Alvin Fashion Sweaters in East-WestIndustrial Park might have fallen sick after drinking contaminated water from the reserve tank of the factory, said Syed Habibullah, the district civil surgeon.
Contacted, Aminul Islam Amin, assistant manager of the factory, said 56 workers have been admitted to GazipurSadarHospital and other local hospitals.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
* 300 garment factories unsafe : report:
Bangladeshi garment factories are routinely built without consulting engineers. Many are located in commercial or residential buildings not designed to withstand the stress of heavy manufacturing.
Some add illegal extra floors atop support columns too weak to hold them, according to a survey of scores of factories by an engineering university that was shown to The Associated Press.
A separate inspection, by the garment industry, of 200 risky factories found that 10 percent of them were so dangerous that they were ordered to shut. The textiles minister said a third inspection, conducted by the government, could show that as many as 300 factories were unsafe.
Taken together, the findings offer the first broad look at just how unsafe the working conditions are for the garment workers who produce clothing for major western brands. And it’s more bad news for the $20 billion industry that has been struggling to regain the confidence of Western retailers and consumers following a November fire at the Tazreen Fashions Ltd. factory that killed 112 people and the April collapse of the Rana Plaza building that killed 1,129 people in the worst garment industry tragedy. But the proliferation of inspections could signal the industry is finally taking its workers’ safety seriously.
* 2071 garment factories out of 8,220 remain close: GM Kader:
Commerce minister Golam Mohammad Kader on Sunday told the parliament that a total of 2071 garment factories remained close out of 8,220 factories across the country.
“A total of 8,220 garment factories are in the country. Of them, 6149 factories are operative,” the minister said this while responding to a tabled question of lawmaker AKM Mayeedul Islam (Kurigram-3).
Kader further said that 7520 factory owners are the members of BGMEA and BKMEA. Some 700 factory owners are not the members of the business associations, he added.
“A total of 47 scheduled banks have invested in the garment factories. The amount of total investment is Tk 34,644 crore,” the commerce minister said.
The garment factories which are not member with the BGMEA and BKMEA cannot export their products directly, Kader said, adding, “Those factories which are not member with the BGMEA and BKMEA are running their factories under sub-contract. We have ensured transparency and accountability in sub-contracting works.”
* Failure to ensure safety standards can affect overall export: Zutt:
World Bank (WB) country director for Bangladesh Johannes Zutt on Sunday said the failure of the government and the RMG factory owners in ensuring the safety standards in factories can largely affect the country’s overall export in the days to come.
Zutt said the reputation risk posed by the ‘unspeakable, preventable tragedies’ of Tazreen fire and Rana Plaza collapse is going to stay in the way of the RMG export for a long time, if no serious attempt is taken by the government and the private sector to address the challenges of the safety issues.
read more. & read more.
* Make labour law time-befitting for dev of garment sector:
Representatives of diplomatic corps at a hearing on Saturday on the proposed Labour Law called for making it time befitting in accordance with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) standard for the sake of the development of garment industry.
They highlighted the sector’s importance on the economic development of the country, employment generation, per capita income and poverty alleviation and laid importance on continuation of the development trend.
* TUs approved in 22 RMG units:
The government has provided registration to trade unions (TUs) in 22 apparel units in line with changed stance on the issue of labour union in the country’s apparel sector.
The process of registering trade unions has begun with the objective of retaining the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) facility in the US market following pressure, which has deepened after two major industrial accidents, from local and international labour activists, official sources said.
The latest Rana Plaza collapse that claimed over 1100 lives, mostly women, further brought the demand for a bargaining platform at the ready-made garment (RMG) units in focus. The demand was also strongly highlighted at a recent meeting between the foreign envoys and the garment manufacturing sector leaders.
Labour rights organisations and Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) welcomed the government move saying trade unions would help the sector to go forward.
* Ensuring safety standards in workplaces:
Recently, a horrible tragedy occurred in Rana Plaza at Savar of Bangladesh where hundreds of workers lost their lives and many were severely wounded as the building collapsed onto the workforce. The incident has drawn global attention on safety standard issues in Bangladesh.
About four million workers work in Bangladesh’s garment industry. As a result, Bangladesh’s garment business is booming to $19 billion a year industry. It has been the world’s biggest exporter of clothing after China. Despite this fact, the wages of the Bangladesh workers are very low. Some of them earn $38 a month which Pope Francis labeled as that of ‘slave labour.’
Western as well as American retailers are concerned about the workers’ safety in Bangladesh. They are thinking to withdraw their orders to buy garments from Bangladesh. If it happens in the near future, it would jeopardise the garment industry of Bangladesh, render millions jobless and finally, it would have a negative impact on our national economy.
* Welfare package planned for factory workers:
Civil society members will develop a comprehensive welfare package for industrial workers to ensure their rights, Hossain Zillur Rahman, executive chairman of Power and Participation Research Centre (PPRC), said yesterday.
“The package will cover compensation, rehabilitation and rights,” Rahman said.
He spoke at a dialogue on the Savar tragedy at the National Press Club in the capital.
“An international trust fund will be formed with the help of international garment buyers to ensure long-term welfare for workers,” he said.
ActionAid Bangladesh Country Director Farah Kabir will coordinate among the international buyers, he added.
Rahman said Nobel laureate Prof Muhammad Yunus had also suggested such a trust fund.
The PPRC and Dhaka University Economics Department Alumni Association will finance to rehabilitee 100 families of the victims of the Savar tragedy, he said.
“A central database will be developed to compensate and rehabilitee the victims,” he added.
The collapse of the Rana Plaza building in Savar claimed 1,131 lives in April.
“None can come up with the exact number of dead and injured,” said Roy Ramesh Chandra, a member of International Labour Organi-sation’s governing board.
* Longer maternity leave for women garment workers suggested:
Experts at a mass hearing Sunday proposed to extend the maternity leave for the garments workers upto six months instead of four months and keep provision of punishing those owners violating the law on this.
The experts also suggested to include the domestic workers and agriculture labourers under the purview of the Labour Law 2006 by amending it. The recommendations came on the third day of the three-day mass hearing of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Labour Ministry held at the parliament building.
* BGMEA asks its member units to comply with 5-point instruction:
Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) has asked all its member factories to comply with a five-point instruction including approval from buyers and group insurance coverage to ensure fire and building safety.
The apex apparel body took the move after the deadly Rana Plaza building collapse and Tazreen blaze that had claimed lives of more than 1200 people mostly women workers.
The main buyers usually overlook the third-party manufacturing but following the devastating fire at Tazreen, Smart and Rana Plaza, sub-contracting has now become a concern for the industry, sources said.
* US announces safety grant for BD factories:
The US has said it will provide grants to help improve safety standards in Bangladesh garment factories.
The US Labor Department will give $2.5m (£1.6m) to help improve the enforcement of fire and safety standards and ensure better protection of workers.
The grants come amid concerns over safety standards in Bangladesh`s garment factories, one of the biggest employers in the country.
In April, the collapse of a factory killed more than 1,120 people.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
* US to cut GSP benefits to BD:
President Barack Obama could soon decide to cut off trade benefits for Bangladesh, in a largely symbolic response to tragedies in the country’s garment sector that have cost more than 1,200 lives in the past eight months.
The U.S. Trade Representative’s office, with input from other government agencies, is completing its recommendations in preparation for a White House announcement by June 30.
Even though the trade benefits affect less than 1 percent of Bangladeshi exports to the United States, its government has pleaded with the Obama administration not to cut them off.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
* US to companies: Maintain better working conditions in BD:
The United States expects its companies to hold to the highest standards of working conditions in Bangladesh, even it is up to the individual companies to work with the government on these issues.
“We believe that companies need to make their own decisions. We do have an ongoing dialogue with Bangladesh and internally in the interagency about the need to help Bangladesh and work with companies and work with the government on the working conditions and the situation there,” the State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said.
“We think companies should hold to the highest standards their working conditions, human rights conditions, absolutely. And that`s something we have an ongoing dialogue with Bangladesh about,” Psaki said in response to a question.
While several of the large European retailers have signed on to a binding fire and building safety code; the US companies have not.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
* House takes a step toward improving overseas garment-worker safety:
While U.S. retailers continue to debate what they can do to ensure garment worker safety in Bangladesh, members of the House of Representatives have taken action.
Apparel industry trade publication Women’s Wear Daily reported the House on Friday passed a comprehensive Department of Defense spending bill that includes a provision requiring that all apparel sold on military bases follow rules spelled out in an international, union-backed and legally binding accord on fire and building safety in the South Asian country. The bill passed on a vote of 315 to 108.
The bill, however, faces a veto threat by the White House and it’s still unclear whether the Senate supports the amendment, WWD said.
Dozens of mostly European retailers and brands have signed the accord, with most U.S. companies notably absent.
The exceptions were Calvin Klein parent PVH Corp., Abercrombie & Fitch ANF and Sean John.
* ILRF Applauds House Amendment: Apparel Sold at U.S. Military Bases Must Comply with Bangladesh Safety Accord:
The US House of Representatives today took an important step to make sure military exchange stores that buy apparel made in Bangladesh do their part to ensure safe and decent working conditions for garment workers.
The amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, offered by Rep. Schakowsky of Illinois and Rep. Miller of California, requires the exchange store system to become a signatory to the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh or comply with the requirements of the Accord. It also requires military exchanges to provide a purchasing preference to licensees and other apparel brands that are signatories to the Accord.
The Accord is an historic agreement between apparel brands and retailers and international and Bangladeshi unions under which the companies make a binding commitment to ensure garment workers’ safety. The Accord requires signatory companies to help finance renovations to make factories safe, and establishes a vital role for workers and their unions in the implementation and review of safety programs. So far, fifty apparel companies from a dozen countries have signed the Accord, among which are five US companies: Abercrombie & Fitch, PVH, Scoop NYC, Sean John, and Zac Posen.
* BD to join alliance of US’ GSP beneficiaries:
Bangladesh has decided to join an alliance of countries benefiting from the generalised system of preferences (GSP) in the United States (US) market, sources said.
“We have approved a proposal of our Washington mission regarding Bangladesh’s joining the forum of GSP beneficiary countries,” Commerce Secretary Mahbub Ahmed told the FE.
He said the alliance would work for quick renewal of the GSP scheme as well as inclusion of more new products under it.
* exports to US under GSP only 0.72 %:
Bangladesh exported goods worth $35million or 0.72 percent of the total to the USA under its Generalized System of Preference (GSP) programme, commerce minister GM Quader told the country’s parliament on Sunday.
“As per the statistics of United States International Trade Commission (USITC) programme the Bangladesh’s total amount of export to the USA was $4,878million in 2012.
Of the items, goods worth $35million was exported to the USA under the Generalized System of Preference (GSP) facility,” Quader said replying to a tabled question of treasury bench member Nurul Islam B.Sc.
The US government has been threatening to cancel the facility in an apparent bid to sensitize Bangladesh in labor issues.
US President Barack Obama could soon decide to cut off trade benefits for Bangladesh, in a largely symbolic response to tragedies in Bangladesh’s garment sector that have cost more than 1,200 lives in the past eight months, it is reported.
read more. & read more.
* Netherlands, France for BD factories’ betterment- Dutch Trade Minister due Sunday:
Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation for the Netherlands Lilianne Ploumen arrives here on a two-day visit to Bangladesh, mainly to discuss working conditions in the RMG sector.
The Netherlands will contribute 9 million Euro for the improvement of the working conditions in the garment industry.
Together with the private sector, associations such as BGMEA and knowledge institutes in the Netherlands as well as ILO, the Netherlands wants to support the industry to grow in a responsible manner, according to sources at the Netherlands Embassy in Dhaka.
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* Dutch minister for joint efforts to improve safety issue, labour rights in BD’s RMG sector:
Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation of the Netherlands, Ms Lilianne Ploumen has asserted for joint efforts to improve safety standards and labour rights in disaster-hit Bangladesh garment sector.
“It (recent disasters) signals the political urgency to act and to take our responsibility each in improving the labour conditions and safety in the garment factories of Bangladesh,” Ms Ploumen told a joint news conference with her Bangladesh counterpart Commerce Minister Ghulam Muhammed Quader on Sunday.
The Dutch minister said she did not want that buyers of her country stop sourcing their merchandise from Bangladesh rather they support the garment industry of the country to improve safety measure with decent wages for the workers.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
* Dhaka ready to sign TICFA:
Dhaka appears to be ready to sign much talked about Trade and Investment Cooperation Framework Agreement (TICFA) with the United States, as it will be placed in the Cabinet meeting on Monday for approval.
“According to the Cabinet meeting agenda for tomorrow (Monday), TICFA will be placed and it is highly likely that it will be approved by the Cabinet, paving the way for signing of the agreement,” according to a Commerce Ministry official.
Dhaka and Washington have been in negotiations for about four years to conclude TICFA, an official platform through which problems with regards to trade and commerce between the two countries would be resolved.
Following the approval of the Cabinet, both the countries will fix a convenient date for the signing of the agreement, said the official, adding that Bangladesh Commerce Secretary and Assistant US Trade Representative Michael Dellaney might sign the deal on behalf of their respective governments.
read more. & read more.
* Don’t leave, raise prices: PM to foreign buyers:
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday urged the foreign buyers not to ignore Bangladesh’s RMG products, but raise the prices so that the factory owners could pay their workers more.
She made the request when Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Minister of the Netherlands Lilianne Ploumen met her at her Sangsad Bhaban office in the evening.
“Leaving Bangladesh by the foreign buyers won’t be a good solution. It’ll affect the poor workers and increase their sufferings,” she said.
PM’s deputy press secretary M Nazrul Islam briefed reporters after the meeting.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
* RMG factory safety concerns: Tesco stops sourcing from BD:
Tesco, the world’s No. 3 retailer, has stopped sourcing clothes from a factory in Bangladesh after discovering serious problems with the safety of a building.
The move follows a survey the British-based supermarket chain conducted in the wake of the collapse of the Rana Plaza factory complex in Dhaka in April that killed 1,129 people.
“A structural survey of a site we source from in Bangladesh, owned by Liberty Fashions, has revealed serious problems with the safety of one of the buildings,” Tesco said in a statement.
“We immediately made the owners aware of our findings, and tried to find an alternative to ceasing production of Tesco products on this site. We are disappointed that this was not possible… “Our concerns about the structure of this building are so serious that we decided our only option was to stop taking clothes from this site with immediate effect.”
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
* Ignorance to death at Liberty Fashion Wears Ltd. in Bangladesh – TESCO in a fix:
Building number 2 of Liberty Fashion Wears. Ltd. in Zirani Bazar, Savar has been inspected by TESCO to be unfit for workers to be working there. It created a global drive to help create awareness among workers that they should not work in a building that is not suitable to work and might even collapse.
TESCO representatives have been into the factory since a few days.
The owner called in engineers into the factory under the guidance of TESCO, however the factory workers report that these engineers are only masking the factory cracks with sand and cement. The engineers reportedly said (as quoted by sources) “The building is OK, these problems are not so big and this building may last for several more years”.
The workers are scared, they are not confident on how much this move will protect the building from falling.
The workers, mid level management, and supervisors have been requested by the owner to keep working. The owner only informed them that there are some technical problem with the factory and that they are into repairing it.
* “Bata doesn’t care labour act”:
Salespersons of Bata showrooms alleged multinational company Bata pay deference to Labour Acts around the globe except in Bangladesh.
In a press conference with the demand for appointment letter, identity card, attendance register, weekly holiday, fixed pay and festival allowances Bata salespersons under the banner of ‘Bata Salesman Sramik Karmachari Union’ came up with the allegation at National Press Club on Friday morning.
Leaders of the organization claimed Bata salespersons do not have a fixed salary structure. They get 2.50 percent commission on the sale only which they have had to share even with the cleaners!
On the other hand, salespersons of another brand get commissions on every pair of shoes along with their monthly salary of Tk 5000.
* The vicious cycle in RMG sector:
The recent Rana Plaza tragedy drew attention of the government, different associations, buyers and the civil society members to the building and fire safety problems in the ready-made garment (RMG) sector.
Stakeholders from all related areas have come up with a lot of initiatives to avert any such deadly incident in future. It denotes the attitude-let the problem happen first and then take the attempt to address it. In every case the remedial measure is taken after the occurrence of such an accident.
The incidents like building collapse, fire incidents and labour unrest can easily be averted, if the factory owners are a bit alert. Now the question is: Are the factory owners serious about prevention of such failure?
Of course, they take a lot of initiatives for development of their factories, but they do it in the core areas of production, marketing etc.
Then what is the main problem keeping them away from taking any factory development initiative as an integral part of their business? It is because they are caught in a vicious cycle.
* RMG 10 point manifesto- Part-1:
by Irfan Chowdhury, Farhad Mahmud and Zia Hassan
Since the collapse of Rana Plaza that killed over 1100 garment workers, news reports, opinion pieces, analyses, recommendations and implacable public sentiment at home and abroad keep pressure on the government and the industry to act.
For its part, the government has set up a 10 member cabinet committee under its Labour Ministry which has announced a minimum wage board and has started discussions with Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) and the International Labour Organisation to deploy 200 inspectors to review at-risk factories, of which some are currently closed. The Cabinet also passed a new Labor Law to make unionisation easier in the RMG sector.
The BGMEA’s actions in the past and in the wake of Rana Plaza were extremely defensive and self-serving. However, perhaps as a response to intense pressure to do something, a set of recommendations from a group of eminent RMG owners has come out.
Titled Emerging from the Rana Plaza Tragedy: A 10 Point Reform Roadmap for a Sustainable Bangladesh RMG Sector , (Download here: RMG Sector 10 Point Plan) the report outlines a 10 point reform agenda/roadmap that the group believes should be implemented.
While there are suitable and sensible ideas in this report, at first sight appearing to be attractive and well-meaning, there are significant gaps, especially in relation to the owners’ financial contribution to reform agendas and promoting workers’ rights and entitlements. The proposed roadmap also fails to acknowledge the subsidies and export incentives already received from the government.
read more. ( & read more: comment.)
* RMG 10-point manifesto- Concluding Part :
by Irfan Chowdhury, Farhad Mahmud and Zia Hassan
6. Fund for Worker Welfare
IN IDEA no. 8 it is suggested that foreign consumers and buyers chip in 0.25% of Freight On Board and promises that the supplier would match the amount, but the concept is left at surface level without specific analysis and proposed mechanisms. Who will set up and administer such provident funds for vulnerable workers (some of whom could be old and illiterate)? It is certain, however, that this would open further funds for the keepers to play with. And when poor workers reach pension age who would guarantee that they will get superannuation?
Apart from the challenge of convincing foreign buyers to contribute, it is critical to ensure honest and sincere management of these funds so that all workers are entitled to the superannuation scheme. As wide spread corruption has been part of the economy, guarding this fund from abuse could prove to be yet another difficulty, unless of course the scheme can be guaranteed by government underwriting.
7. Progressing through the value chain and promotion of brand Bangladesh can be improved by real reforms on the ground, rather than by hollow promotional activities
MOVING up the value chain is mentioned in idea no. 9, indeed a noble and much needed action – but again, who will train and up-skill the labourers? A revamped Bangladesh Fashion Institute of Technology and a Business Development Studies Team could go some way, but it is unlikely to fully address this.
read more. ( & read more: “comment”.)
* Training on sewing ends:
A 15-day long training programme on sewing for the distressed women concluded at Gopalpur under Lalpur upazila of Natore district on June 10.
Financed by the European Union the programme was arranged by the renowned NGO Resource Integration Centre (RIC) under Food and Livelihood Project. On this occasion RIC arranged a discussion meeting. Upazila Nirbahi Officer of Lalpur, Md Amirul Islam, distributed sewing machines among 29 sewing trainee distressed women free of cost as chief guest.The meeting was addressed by Upazila Women Affairs Officer, Lalpur Nila Hafia and Project Manager of RIC, Dalilur Rahman, as special guests. A total of 29 distressed women from 10 unions under Lalpur upazila of Natore district participated in the training programme.
to read .
* A journey from Tazreen to Savar:
When labor rights activist Saydia Gulrukh closes her eyes, it isn’t the images of the ruined Rana Plaza building that haunt her. It’s the sounds.
“I can still hear people scratching on the inside of the walls, praying and reciting the Koran,” she says, her dark eyes downcast.
After the eight-story building collapsed in April, killing 1,127 people in the worst industrial disaster in the country’s history, Gulrukh rushed to Savar. She comforted gravely injured garment workers sandwiched between broken slabs of concrete before heading to the Savar Enam hospital to assess the damage.
“My initial impulse is always to go to the hospital,” she said. “The government will steal bodies to minimize the loss.”
At the hospital, wards were so overbooked that family members were not allowed in. But Gulrukh ferried people into the hospital for hours, connecting injured workers with their loved ones and collecting flyers of those still missing.
How did the day end?
“It didn’t,” says Gulrukh. “It’s still going on.”
Six months to the day after a fire at the Tazreen factory that claimed more than 100 workers, the fall of Rana Plaza has turned Western retailers and consumers’ attention back towards Bangladesh.
THE SAVAR BUILDING COLLAPSE
* The victims of Rana Plaza Bangladesh:
The collapsed building in Bangladesh had a death toll of 1139 plus 2 rescue workers.
Lots of victims, mainly women, are now trying to recover from their injuries. They are suffering, because they can not get the proper health care. They have no income and some are not able to work again for the rest of their lives. What is being done for these women?
see more (video).
* Lack of proper database deprives Rana Plaza workers of benefits:
Speakers at a discussion Saturday alleged that lack of coordination and proper database deprived the hapless hundreds of families of Rana Plaza workers getting any kind of aid and rehabilitation facilities.
They said the injured workers that are taking medication in city’s large hospitals and only a portion of identified dead workers’ families got aid from Prime Minister and other sources.
But the large number of workers those who were released from the hospitals after taking first aid or singed medication and those that left Dhaka after the incident and now taking medication from different hospitals in Dhaka and outside, they are totally deprived of all kinds of help, they added.
Power and Participation Research Centre (PPRC) organised the ‘View Exchange and Building on Follow up Action Plan’ at the National Press Club auditorium in the city.
* Rana Plaza units exported products worth $28.4m:
Commerce Minister G M Quader Sunday said the apparel factories housed at collapsed Rana Plaza exported clothing items worth US$ 28.4 million in between January 2012 and May 2013.
The factories also had ready products worth $ 1.0 million, kept at Chittagong Port and different shipping firms for making shipments to 11 global retailers.
He made the disclosure in reply to a question of parliamentarian A K M Maidul Islam of Kurigram-3 during the post-budgetary session on the day.
“The government instructed the authorities concerned to take every possible measure for ensuring the shipments for wellbeing of the country’s export and trade,” he added.
Talking about the punishment, he said several committees formed by the government to investigate the massive industrial disaster have been working hard to detect clues that could help ensure justice.
* Honouring RMG workers:
The garment industry of Bangladesh employs nearly four million poor workers mostly women, who have helped the country become the world’s second largest exporter of apparels — proudly earning the right to claim “Tailor to the world.”
These incredible workers have greatly benefitted from these manufacturing jobs, which have helped millions pull themselves out of poverty to the lower rungs of the middle class. However, the factory collapse on April 24 in Savar killing 1,131 workers (injuring another 2,500) and the deadly factory fire in Tazreen demonstrate safety and working conditions for many workers remain precarious.
As a solution, the 2006 Nobel Peace laureate economist Prof Muhammad Yunus has suggested creating a Trust Fund that will be sustained by a small fee paid by the customer at the retail level. In return for the small fee, each piece of apparel from the participating factories will be “certified” as a “fair labour garment”.
The Western customer will enjoy the peace of mind that the apparel has been produced under fair labour conditions, where without exception workers receive a minimum wage that allows for a decent living, and the factories are 100 percent complaint of structural building codes and all labour laws.
Sir Fazle Abed, founding chair of BRAC, recently said the vision should be to ensure that the “made in Bangladesh” logo a symbol of pride, not one of shame.
13:35:10 local time INDIA
* Call for ban on all forms of child labour:
As the world celebrated International Day Against Child Labour on June 12, leading child rights organisations, including Child Rights and You (CRY) and Save the Children, reiterated that the persistence of child labour in India was primarily due to lack of political will.
The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has marked 2013 as the year to combat child domestic labour, a growing menace in India.
“The ban on child labour in homes and eateries has been there since 2010, but still thousands of children are working as domestic workers or in dhabas and even in factories in the national Capital,’’ said Save the Children CEO Thomas Chandy. “Unfortunately, there are no special laws to control these placement agencies. The good thing is that police takes action against the employers in case of a report, but the law needs to be strengthened in order for it to act as a deterrent against child labour,” Mr. Chandy added, asking the government to “pass the amended law banning all forms of child labour.”
* Fix minimum monthly wage at Rs. 10,000 for unorganised workers: CITU activists:
Activists of various trade unions under the banner of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) staged demonstration in front of the taluk office here on Friday demanding fixation of minimum monthly wage at Rs. 10,000 for workers in the unorganised sector.
Labourers engaged in building construction and midday meal project, ASHA, and anganwadi workers participated in the protest.
They raised slogans against the policy of privatisation in all fields, which according to them paves way for unbridled exploitation of the working class.
* Garment export in Gurgaon up by 8%:
After a long span of production decline and sluggish growth, the garment export sector here has rebounded to a more lucrative state. In the month of April, the sector grew by over 8% as compared to the previous year.
Industry analysts have attributed this rise to the new international business now being diverted towards India, from various other, once-popular, South Asian garment hubs.
“International business to the tune of $3 billion has been diverted to India, because the garment sector has emerged as the most factory complaint in the region,” said a representative of the Apparel Exports Promotion Council (AEPC.) The council has reported ‘unprecedented export orders in the current season,’ with brands such as JC Penny, Abercrombie & Fitch and ZARA among the new buyers.
The AEPC has been running a training programme for the garment sector nationwide named DISHA, under which factories are issued compliance certificates stating that the firm lives up to international codes of business conduct. read more.
* Polluting textile unit sealed:
Officials of the Andhra Pradesh Pollution Control Board on Sunday sealed a textile unit at Balanagarmandal in Mahbubnagar district following complaints from farmers that effluents from the factory were polluting agricultural fields in the vicinity.
According to APPCB officials, they closed down GTN textiles at Gundlapotlapally village after experts inspected the factory and nearby agricultural fields. They issued a notice to the company to take up pollution control measures after it was found that the factory was letting out polluted water and chemicals into nearby agricultural lands, resulting in drying up of standing crops.
* More farmers may shift from cotton to pulses:
Rain gods showing mercy this time with timely arrival of monsoon has helped farmers to kick start the kharif operations.
But cotton, which for many years has been the main cash crop of Vidarbha, may yield place to soyabean this time. Poor sales and demand for cotton seed in western Vidarbha’s Amravati division indicates that farmers could shift from cotton to pulses like tur, chana and even linseed besides soyabean.
“The shift from cotton could be more than the 10% that we anticipated initially,” said state cotton growers’ cooperative marketing federation chairman NP Hirani. “One of the reasons could be the failure of the government to announce the minimum support price (MSP). This has fuelled fears that it may not fetch much more than Rs 3,900 a quintal it got last year. If a farmer knows before hand the price, it helps him decide which crop to go for. Cotton growing has become costly and returns are poor,” said Hirani.
13:35:10 local time SRI LANKA
* Human Rights In New GSP + Rules Export Or Perish:
Human Rights (HR) are very much an issue in the EU’s new GSP+ duty free criteria, EDB’s Director General, Sujatha Weerakoon told this newspaper on Wednesday (June 12).
Sri Lanka lost this facility nearly three years ago due to the non investigation of alleged HR abuse in the closing stages of its war against the LTTE.
EU was Sri Lanka’s biggest export market last year.
Sri Lanka’s exports in recent times have been declining, with exports in the first quarter of the year declining by 8%, EDB’s Executive Director, Dr. Yousuf K. Maraikkar told a meeting on Wednesday.
Weerakoon further said that she believed that applications for the new GSP + duty free facility close in August. “It’s up to the government to decide whether we are going to apply for this facility, I’m unaware of its moves,” she further said.
* 20 Mega factories closed in Central Province – UNP:
UNP senior vice president and Kandy district MP Lakshman Kiriella says that 20 large factories have closed down and nearly 20,000 youth had lost their jobs in the Central province during the past three years.
Pointing out that the unemployment has skyrocketted in the Central province, MP Kiriella said that what the Govt should do now is not having Car races and air ports, but to start back these closed factories and give the people their jobs back.
MP Kiriella named some of these factories as Garment factories like the Hasalaka Morayaya Garment factory, 28 Ellalihini Garment factory, Ududumbara V, Grey lion Garment factory and many more.
13:05:10 local time PAKISTAN
* Punjab-based textile industry on the verge of destruction: APTMA:
All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) has cautioned the government the Punjab-based textile mills were on the verge of destruction, as electricity cut has increased to 12 hours a day on the one hand and gas supply has decreased to twice a week on the other.
As a result, the APTMA spokesman said the industry was unable to keep operations afloat and workforce of two work shifts was being laid off with 50 percent production cut is no more letting the industry to meet export commitments.
APTMA spokesman lamented electricity load shedding has reached to 10-12 hours a day load shedding at present, ie on June 14, 2013, which was just for four hours a day in 2012 and zero load shedding in 2 June 2011. Similarly he added the gas supply has also reduced to two days a week today, which was for five days a week both in 2012 and 2011.
He said the industry is unable to understand whether the government was serious in continuity of textile industry in Punjab to achieve economic growth, earn foreign exchange and ensure jobs of millions of workers in the province of Punjab.
The textile industry is mainstay of the economy, creating both forward and backward agricultural linkages and the cotton belt is likely to face the brunt in case the industry suffers.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
* Aptma surprised at persistent inequity:
The All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (Aptma) has expressed wonder at the continuation of the old discriminatory attitude towards the Punjab-based textile industry also by the new government.
“Textile mills based in Punjab are on the verge of destruction, as electricity cut has increased to 12 hours a day on the one hand and gas supply has decreased to twice a week on the other,” an APTMA spokesman said on Saturday.
Textile mills in the province faced 10 to 12 hours electricity loadshedding on June 14 which was just for four hours a day in 2012 and zero loadshedding in June 2011. Similarly, gas supply has also been reduced to two days a week on June 14, which was five days a week both in 2012 and 2011.
“As a result, the industry is unable to keep operations afloat and workforce of two work shifts is being laid off with 50 per cent production cut is no more letting the industry to meet export commitments.
* Rs 7.5 billion earmarked for textile policy initiatives:
The government has earmarked Rs 7.5 billion in the budget 2013-14 against the demand of Rs 30 billion for the implementation of textile policy.
The Ministry of Textile Industry had demanded the money for taking up various initiatives under the textile policy (2009-14). In the outgoing fiscal year (2012-13), the same amount – Rs 7.5 billion – was earmarked in the budget against the demand of Rs 30 billion.
However, because of financial crisis, the Ministry has so far received just Rs 3 billion. The Ministry had also demanded Rs 35 billion in the budget 2011-12, but the government released Rs 7.5 billion because of which initiatives announced in the textile policy could not be implemented.
* No relief provided to textile industry in budget: APTPMA:
Mian Ajmal Farooq, Chairman All Pakistan Textile Processing Mills Association (APTPMA), has said that no relief had been provided to the textile industry in the Budget 2013-14, therefore, it needs to be reviewed for some relief measures to the industry keeping in view present electricity and gas crisis the industry has been facing for last many years.
Commenting over the prevailing situation, he said that increase in general sales tax rate from 16 percent to 17 percent would demand more working capital induction by the industry which was already breathing hardly for its survival due to severe energy crisis.
Increase in GST meant increase in burden of end consumers ultimately. General masses, particularly industrial workers gradually becoming street vendors as most of workers have been laid off due to energy crisis since, plant facilities are being operated at far below normal production level, he added.
* Textile, leather industries flay budget 2013-14:
All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) and Pakistan Tanners Association have apprehended increase in industrial cost and high inflation due to various budgetary measures introduced for the fiscal year 2013-14.
“Under Federal Budget 2013-14 the government has increased Sales Tax from 16% to 17% to increase its Revenue Target. But higher percentage of Tax always gives birth to malpractices such as under-invoicing and other corrupt practices. As a result the government may lose both Sales Tax and Customs duty due to under-invoicing on imported items. On the other hand the general public will face more inflation and prices of all commodities will increase, observed PTA central chairman Agha Saiddain.
APTMA spokesman said that textile industry cannot sustain, as the federal budget for 2013-14 has added another 2 percent as Further Tax on supplies to unregistered persons, which would encourage re-introduction of fake registrations and flying invoices. The FBR had withdrawn the zero rating regime for textile industry after due deliberations and reduced the rate to 2 percent irrespective of supplies to registered or unregistered persons within the five zero rated sectors. The addition of 2 percent Further Tax would again create an arbitrage alluring tax officials and fake companies to register temporarily to do business of flying/fake invoices.
* Aptma lists concerns about budget:
The textile industry has apprehended an increase in the cost of doing business and high inflation due to various budgetary measures introduced for the fiscal year 2013-14.
“The textile industry cannot sustain and export inflation,” said an All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (Aptma) spokesman on Thursday.
The federal budget for 2013-14 has added another two per cent as tax on supplies to unregistered persons, which would encourage reintroduction of fake registrations and flying invoices, the spokesman said.read more.
* ‘Textile industry cannot sustain further inflation’:
The All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (Aptma) has apprehended an increase in the cost of doing business and high inflation due to various budgetary measures introduced in the budget 2013-14, and said the textile industry cannot sustain further inflation.
A spokesman for Aptma said that the federal budget 2013-14 has added another two percent as “Further Tax” on the supplies to unregistered persons, which will encourage reintroduction of fake registrations and flying invoices.
Earlier, the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has withdrawn zero-rated regime for the textile industry after due deliberations and reduced the rate to two percent irrespective of the supplies to registered or unregistered persons within the five zero-rated sectors, he said. The addition of two percent further tax will again create an arbitrage alluring tax officials and fake companies to register temporarily to do business of flying / fake invoices, he said.
* Federal budget is not exporter-friendly: PLGMEA:
Fawad Ijaz Khan Patron-in-Chief of Pakistan Leather Garments Manufacturers & Exporters Association (PLGMEA) and Mohammad Danish Khan Chairman PLGMEA stated in a Press Release that the Federal Budget 2013-14 provided no relief to the Exporters.
Fawad stated that exporters are already overburdened with increasing costs of inputs, reduction in export orders and severe crisis of electricity. The adverse law-and-order situation in Karachi is also affecting the export activity severely. Exporters are finding it hard to meet export commitments.
Fawad Ijaz Khan stated that increasing the GST Rate to 17% and charging further 2% from the unregistered suppliers will add to inflation and costs incurred by exporters are also expected to increase. The common man will also feel increase in prices of items. Exporters importing raw materials or machinery will now have to deposit the amount of Tax since post dated cheques are no longer acceptable. Exporters will face extra burden of maintaining the record of gate passes and transport receipts.
* PCGA demands revision of budget:
Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association (PCGA) expressed its strong reservations on the National budget 2013-14 and demanded for revision of Finance bill-2013-14 and the budget.
Mahesh Kumar Chairman of PCGA said that increase in power tariff, General Sales Tax by 17 percent and price of petroleum products would hit 75 percent population of the country directly.
He said that cost of production would increase and Pakistan would not be able to compete with its competitors in world market. He said that Pakistan is an agricultural state and its economy entirely depend upon the agricultural production but Government withdrew subsidy from the electricity bills as well as on farm implements and inputs which made the agriculture a deficit and unattractive sector.
* ERP software to multiply entire exports of textile goods:
A local textile unit has fully implemented world’s top-of-the-line enterprise software systems across the organisation.
The first ever implementation of world’s leading Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software applications at Al-Rahim Textile Industries will multiply the entire exports of textile goods from Pakistan, according to a press release on Saturday.
The international buyers now demand 100 percent technological support from the local exporters all through business-related activities and functions, said Faisal Saya CEO Al-Rahim Textile Industries.
read more. & read more. & read more.
13:05:10 local time UZBEKISTAN
* Minister of Health out in the cotton fields:
Agricultural work has acquired a cult status in the Uzbek health care system – even the Minister of Health, Anvar Alimov, has gone to visit the cotton fields.
Well-known human rights activist Elena Urlaeva learned of this when she called the Ministry of Health. She wanted to ask Minister Alimov how much longer medical workers would be forced to labor in cotton fields.
However, she was surprised to be told that “the Minister himself has gone to the cotton fields and will be back to Tashkent in three or four days.”
“I recorded the conversation. This cannot be a joke,” says Urlaeva.
Urlaeva has been monitoring the situation of state employees who have since April been forced to work weeding fields in which cotton is grown.
She is particularly concerned that cotton-related work has become almost the primary activity for medical workers in Uzbekistan.
Medical workers have repeatedly claimed that their frequent trips to the cotton fields, in addition to regular janitorial and beautification projects, interfere with their professional lives.