From Ataur Rahman
Dhaka, Oct 5 : Despite the collapse of Rana Plaza early this year, Bangladesh's RMG [ready made garment] export during 2012-13 fiscal reached 21.5 billion US dollar, exceeding the target of 20 billion US dollar, a briefing was told here today.BGMEA [Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association], the trade promoting body of RMG sector has fixed 23 billion US dollar as the export target for the current fiscal year.More than 11 hundred people were killed and about 1500 injured some seriously on April 24 when Rana Plaza, the multi-storied building at Savar outside the capital which housed five garment factories collapsed raising a hue and cry both at home and abroad that the prospect RMG export ..
Atiqul Islam, President of BGMEA while informing newsmen about the upcoming annual Bangladesh Apparel and Textile Exposition [BATEXPO] 2013 stated that even after the mishap with last year's export of $ 21.5 billion ,Bangladesh is ranked as the second largest clothing exporting country in the world. He however said after the tragic incident Bangladesh is in tremendous pressure to ensue safe and sustainable working condition in the industry. Mr. Islam said BGMEA which launched fire safety crash program has already covered 1000 factories out of 3200. " W are doing our best to meet the requirements of the buyers and also implement law of the land to ensure safety of the work place and security of the workers", he added.Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is scheduled to inaugurate the three-ay BATEXPO 2013 here on October 10 and the leader of the opposition and BNP chairperson Begum Khaleda Zia will be the chief guest at the closing ceremony on October 12 as per practice going for the two decade. This year's exposition is the 24th in the series and as a mark of respect to the dead this year there will be no cultural program at the expo, he added.Replying to a question , Mr. Islam said relatives of 777 ( out of 1133) dead have received compensation being given under the supervision of PMO [ Prime Minister's Office]. He said like many others, members of BMGEA also contributed to PM's fund to pay compensation to those affected by Rana Plaza collapse. BGMEA chief in a reply to another question said suspension of GSP facility by USA following Rana Plaza incident has little impact in financial term, but it caused huge image problem. If this ( suspension) continues, it might have negative impact in European market who are Bangladesh's major buyer, opined Mr. Islam.He said compared to last year, export in July this year grew by 26 percent, while in August it grew but by only 5.6 percent.BGMEA chief thanked JICA[ Japan International Cooperation Agency] for extending Taka 1000 crore ( about 125 million US dollar) loan at a very concessional rate to help develop safety facility in garment factories.. He said American and European retailers through Alliance and Accord are also coming to assist this sector to overcome current deficiencies. Rana Plaza made us realize ' change is inevitable' in this sector if we want to survive and sustain, he added.Bangladesh's total export earnings last year was 26 billion US dollars and the earnings from RMG alone was 21.5 billion US dollar, which is over eighty percent of entire export earnings. This sector directly employs about 4 million people , most of whom are women.