RMG and its future
RMG brings in almost $30 billion for our economy, contributing more than 50 percent of our GDP while it employs 5 million workers directly and considering the supply chain, more than 10 million people are involved in this trade overall. After the Rana Plaza tragedy, many apparel factories went for a complete makeover of practices regarding workers safety and improving the work environment. Before the Rana Plaza tragedy, the number of factories were more, after the incident many factories had to shut down as they couldn't afford the cost for safety upgrades nor did they get any grants. This created huge unemployment and losses while the fittest factories survived.
After 5 years, the scenario has changed a lot as of the 10 best RMG factories in the world, seven are located in Bangladesh. However, discrepancies are widening as foreign buyers or brands pay very low price but are selling for almost 10 times higher prices in their retail stores and are earning huge profits. On the other hand, government brands are demanding workers' pay rise but where will this rise come from? Also, the cost of production of gas, electricity, yarn, cotton is spiraling fast. The industry is facing stiff competition from other Southeast Asian countries. Before it's too late, regulations and policies should be industry-friendly so that this flourishing sector does not perish.
Myanmar Army behind the crimes
Amnesty International, a New York-based human rights watchdog, recently published a fact-finding report on the atrocities in Rakhine state in Myanmar which revealed that top army personnel were responsible for crimes against humanity of the Rohingya community who then fled to Bangladesh.
The European Union has already imposed sanctions on seven top army officials of Myanmar who were deployed in Rakhine state during the crackdown against the Rohingya community. Meanwhile, the Myanmar government has already sacked a major general and the army commander in Rakhine state and another Lieutenant General has resigned from his job. The Myanmar army denied has allegations of widespread crimes several times but both the sackings and resignations indirectly proved who was behind the crimes.
The crimes have been called“genocide”, for this, Amnesty International strongly recommended Myanmar to be referred for justice at the International Criminal Court (ICC) immediately. The Rohingya community also demanded justice when the UN Secretary General and World Bank President recently visited the camps in Cox's Bazar.
Md Zillur Rahaman