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Govt requests global apparel buyers to raise prices

Staff Correspondent

Commerce minister Tofail Ahmed on Monday urged the global apparel buyers and retailers to raise the product prices in line with the recently enhanced wage for the garment workers with a view to sustainability of the sector.
‘The wage for garment workers has increased by 77 per cent. If the buyers do not raise the prices of apparel products, it will be difficult for the sector to survive,’ he told reporters after an exchange of views with the brands and retailers held in a city hotel.
The meeting on ‘Strengthening business environment in the RMG sector of Bangladesh’ was organised by the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association where representatives of 40 buyers including Walmart, H&M, GAP and JC Penny took part.
Commerce, labour and foreign secretaries Mahbub Ahmed, Mikail Shipar and Shahidul Haque were present along with the representatives from the EU Accord, the North American Alliance and the ILO.
‘Bangladesh is back in business,’ the minister told the buyers’ representatives assuring that there would be no such problems in future caused by continuous strikes and political turmoil.
The apparel makers earlier raised their concern over the inspection process, its remediation and the fund needed for remediation.
BGMEA president Atiqul Islam requested the Accord and Alliance to take realistic and pragmatic measures regarding the inspection of garment factories as many of garment units are located at shared and rented buildings.
‘I don’t know what would happen after the inspection but doubt whether the sector will survive if they inspect the factories in the way as they are planning,’ he said.
He also requested the buyers not to make public any report of inspection before remediation period and refrain from withdrawing orders from these factories.
Srinivas Reddy, country director of the International Labour Organisation, opined that the concerns of the apparel makers regarding the standard and inspection process should be taken into account as they were valid ones.
Reddy also called on speedy disbursement of the compensation for the victims of Rana Plaza accident.
The spirit of the Accord and Alliance initiatives is very positive as it is a long-term project aiming at developing the RMG sector with check and balance not for creating panic, said Roger Hubert, country director of H&M.
BGMEA vice-president Shahidullah Azim said, ‘The buyers are here to do business and they have assured us of raising the price rise issue to their headquarters.’




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