Rehman Sobhan, chairman of the Centre for Policy Dialogue, speaks at the launch of a civil society initiative to monitor commitments and implementation of promises made by local and international organisations following the Rana Plaza collapse, at the Cirdap auditorium in the capital yesterday. Photo: Star
Weak governance is the root of all troubles in the country's garment industry, a noted economist and politicians said yesterday.
The problems like the building construction flaws or unsafe working conditions represent the current social system, Prof Rehman Sobhan, chairman of the Centre for Policy Dialogue, said.
They spoke at the launch of a civil society initiative to monitor commitments and implementation of the promises made by the local and international organisations following the Rana Plaza collapse, at Cirdap auditorium in the city.
The CPD chairman said, this was also part of the global problem, as retailers would still continue to search for cheapest sources and the customers would prefer the lowest prices.
Sobhan said part of the problem lies with the dysfunctional regulatory regime. "How do we regulate when nobody could be held accountable?" he questioned.
He also blamed the current trends in politics for the misfortune in the garment sector.
Political parties must get rid of the politicians like the owners of Rana Plaza, he added.
Commerce Minister GM Quader admitted that a lack of good governance is a major problem for the country.
He said there are adequate laws but the problem lies in implementation.
The minister said the government would not allow any new factory if it is not fully compliant.
He said the government has expanded scope for forming unions in the amended labour law, which will give workers more authority in realising their rights.
Amir Khosru Mahmud Chowdhury, a former commerce minister, said the government agencies did not play their due role irrespective of the governments in power, either due to a lack of rules or a shortage of professionals.
"Regulatory oversight and bad governance is a serious problem -- irrespective of governments," the BNP leader said.
He said Bangladesh is now at a crossroad, as the garment industry, which started amid irregularities and regulatory oversights, is now entering a new era.
Anis Ud Dowla, a former president of Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the collapse of the Rana Plaza building was an issue of bad governance, not labour rights.
Jafar Hossain, BNP labour secretary, said the idea of trade unionism does not get priority in the current political structure.