Govt submits GSP progress report
The commerce ministry yesterday submitted the progress report on the 16-point action plan for reinstatement of GSP status to Obama administration.
“Bangladesh made a good progress in the action plan. The US has already expressed satisfaction over the progress,” Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed said.
Although not all the 16 points on the action plan were fulfilled, the government is hopeful that it would go some way towards winning back the Generalised System of Preferences status.
One of the major conditions was to recruit additional 200 factory inspectors by April 15, but, so far, the labour and employment ministry has taken only 25 first-class inspectors through the Public Service Commission.
Another major condition was to amend the laws of the export processing zones (EPZs) to allow the workers of the special economic zones the right to demonstrate to realise their demands.
So far, a committee has been formed comprising the senior secretaries for amending the laws of the EPZs, according to the progress report.
It is yet to formulate the rules needed to implement the amended labour law in factories, nine months after the amendment was passed.
Among the conditions, the labour and employment ministry could inaugurate the database of garment factories on March 30 and withdraw cases against labour leaders Babul Akter and Kalpona Akter.
The government has also relaxed the trade union rules and registered 127 new trade unions in 2013 in the garment sector. The government also re-registered two NGOs -- Bangladesh Centre for Worker Solidarity and Social Activities for the Environment.
The US government suspended the GSP status on June 27 last year citing serious shortcomings in labour rights and workplace safety.
Only 0.54 percent of the country's total exports to the US could take up the benefits under the GSP scheme.