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PM for speedy implementation of action plan

Staff Correspondent

The prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, on Monday asked the authorities concerned to expedite the implementation of the action plan suggested by the US authority for reinstating the suspended Generalised System of Preference facility in the US market.
Presiding over the weekly cabinet meeting at the Cabinet Division, she also asked the labour ministry to take steps to recruit factory inspectors from the candidates who had already qualified the Bangladesh Civil Service written tests to avoid lengthy recruitment process in the public service, a senior minister told New Age.
According to the minister, Hasina said that there was no problem to appoint the BCS qualifiers to the non-cadre posts since the factory inspector was also a Class I post.
The government needs to recruit 200 more factory inspectors as stipulated in the action plan.
The commerce minister, Tofail Ahmed, told the meeting that Bangladesh had already met 11 of the 16 conditions attached by the US authority to reinstate the duty-free market access in the US under the GSP facility, the senior minister said.
The prime minister picked up the issue for discussion outside the meeting agenda as the suspended GSP facility for Bangladesh was supposed to be reviewed in May by the United States Trade Representative, the minister added. 
The preconditions for getting back the GSP facility include improving safety records in apparel factories, establishing labour rights including allowing the workers unions to call for strike and appointing adequate manpower to inspect fire safety and building construction of apparel factories.
The United States on June 28, 2013 suspended the GSP facility for Bangladeshi goods citing, amongst other things, lack of workplace safety and shortcomings in labour standards in the country’s apparel sector.
The suspension was prompted by a fire incident at Tazreen Fashions where 112 workers were burnt alive in November 2012 and the collapse of the Rana Plaza where at least 1,135 workers were killed and many more were injured in the deadliest factory disaster in April 2013.
Sheikh Hasina also asked the authorities to take steps to identify the victims more properly in future in case of any factory accidents and make sure that the affected families got compensations.
Bangladesh exported goods worth only $35 million in 2012 under the GSP scheme.

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