Major improvements in garment workers' safety
We are delighted to note that members of the Sustainability Compact Partners that include the US, Canada, the European Union and International Labour Organisation have acknowledged that Bangladesh has made significant inroads in improving workplace safety of garment workers. This includes fire safety measures and structural improvements. This positive report is sure to be a refreshing reprieve from the negative global image the country has suffered after the devastating tragedies of the Rana Plaza building collapse and Tazreen Fashions fire that took well over a thousand lives. This endorsement, however also comes with the observation that more needs to be done to promote workers rights and trade union registration.
The fact that our garments industry has made such progress in taking remedial steps to improve working conditions shows that it has the ability to bring its factories to satisfactory safety standards. We welcome this spirit of cooperation between Bangladesh and its co-members of the Compact.
Now it is important to take this spirit of fraternity forward by ensuring that the other conditions expected of Bangladesh are followed through. It was mentioned at the second Sustainability Compact meeting that there were still some factories that were not taking the steps recommended by engineers to improve safety standards. The EU has announced a USD 200 million soft loan for factory remediation. The government should heed to the EU's advice to formulate a policy so that this fund can be used to that effect.
Now that we are back on track in terms of fulfilling most of the criteria proposed by the Compact we must move ahead with the other recommendations. This will help to realise our aspirations of meeting the target of $50 billion in RMG exports by the year 2021.