Accord seeks short-term funds for inspections
The Accord on Fire and Building Safety, the platform of mainly European-based retailers, has called on its 178 signatories to provide additional short-term funding to meet its target of inspecting 1,500 factories by September.
Subsequently, the retailers have been asked to contribute $16 million this year, up from $9.2 million last year.
“We are confident however, that a reduction in member's contributions in the latter years of the Accord five-year agreement will compensate for this additional short-term funding requirement,” said the organisation's board of directors in its first annual report.
Basically, the group still expects to spend up to $48 million on the project over five years but needs to frontload expenditure to complete inspections, instead of spending in equal amounts over five years.
The group had a surplus of $4.434 million for the year that ended on December 31, 2013, owing to the political instability at the tail-end of last year, which delayed the roll-out of the inspection programme.
The surplus funds have now been utilised in the inspection rounds that took off in full swing in February this year for completion by September.
Subsequently, the budget for the financial year ending on December 31, 2014 is projected to generate a deficit of $7.786 million owing to absorption of the full costs of the inspection programme.
But taking into account the surplus of $4.434 million carried forward from 2013, the deficit then would be $3.352 million.
Accord was signed on May 15, 2013 in the immediate aftermath of the Rana Plaza disaster last year with the aim to provide a safe working environment for the country's garment personnel.
Each signatory company contributes funding in proportion to the annual volume of its garment production in Bangladesh relative to those of the other signatory companies.
So far, more than 800 factories have been inspected for fire, electrical and structural safety, with 16 temporarily shut down. Seven of these though had reopened after new safety measures were put in place.