UD facility

51 errant factories face music

Monira Munni | Published: June 28, 2019 10:06:47 | Updated: June 28, 2019 12:45:04

AP file photo used only for representation

The apparel trade group has temporarily suspended issuing utilisation declaration (UD) certificates to 51 non-compliant factories, people familiar with the development said.

The action comes nearly nine months after the government's directive in this connection.

The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) took the decision on Tuesday after a meeting with some of the factories whose post- inspection remediation progress remains poor.

In September last year, the state-run Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments (DIFE) had requested the two garment trade groups representing the woven and knitwear sectors to stop providing the facility to more than 200 factories.

The Department's directive came after it found the progress of remediation in these units to be unsatisfactory. The units were inspected under the national initiative.

"We have temporarily suspended issuing UD to some 51 factories for the next six months," Dr Rubana Huq, president of the BGMEA, told the FE on Tuesday.

The association has been forced to take decision as the factories failed to comply with the deadline of the national intuitive.

Of the units listed with the DIFE, some 142 are registered with the BGMEA and 74 with the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA). Eleven are members of both trade bodies.

Ms Huq, however, said that 82 out of the DIFE-listed units are members of the BGMEA.

Out of the 82, some 20 were closed, 10 were not non-existent while the remaining 52 are running their business.

The BGMEA chief said out of those units many do not have the financial means while they did not get any support to carry out the required remedial work.

In November last year, the BGMEA told the Department that it would not be appropriate to stop issuing the UD before January 2019 as there were some export orders in the factories.

In a letter to DIFE, the association said that it had meeting with the factory owners where they sought more time to make the required remediation work.

"The BGMEA feels that it will be appropriate for taking decision on discontinuing UD through further discussion with the factories in January 2019," said the trade body letter.

Immediately after the Rana Plaza building collapse in April 2013, three initiatives were launched in the readymade garment industry to improve workplace safety.

A total of 3,780 garment factories underwent safety audits under three initiatives-the European retailers' platform Accord, North American buyers' platform Alliance and the government and ILO-supported national initiative.

The rate of remediation progress in factories listed with Accord and Alliance has been recorded at over 90 per cent.

In contrast, the progress under the national initiative is relatively poor, industry people said.


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