The government has instructed the apparel sector trade-bodies - BGMEA and BKMEA - to stop providing the required services to some 219 'non-compliant' factories for exporting ready-made garment (RMG) products, officials said.
Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) and Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) in separate letters have been asked to stop issuing utilisation declaration (UD) certificates to those units.
The move of Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments (DIFE) came after those RMG factories, inspected under national initiative, failed to make required progress in remediation despite repeated reminders, they added.
Of the units, 134 are registered with BGMEA, and 74 are affiliated with BKMEA. Some 11 are members of both the trade-bodies, according to DIFE officials.
"We held a total of 32 meetings with the factories under national initiative to expedite their post-inspection flaw-fixing activities. We also issued warning letters to them," DIFE Inspector General Shamsuzzaman Bhuiyan said.
It seems that the RMG units are not willing to complete remediation, he noted.
"Despite various attempts, their progress is very negligible. If they don't make tangible progress, the government has to go for closure process," he told the FE.
When asked about the workers (of those factories), he said the units have left no other scope, as there are pressures from both home and abroad to complete their remediation work.
Some of the units made little progress in remediation without following the flaw-fixing works by the government selected firms, another DIFE official noted.
Under a joint move of the government and International Labour Organization (ILO), fire, electrical and structural integrity inspections were carried out in 1,549 RMG factories in 2015.
Of them, 531 units have been closed and 69 relocated, while 193 others have been listed with the western retailers' platforms - Accord and Alliance, according to DIFE.
DIFE is currently monitoring the remediation progress in only 745 units, officials said.
Its inspectors in April found out that some 230 units are very slow in making any remediation. But, the extended deadline for completing fixing of the post-inspection flaws will expire in December, said an official.
Of those factories, 97 units are located in their own buildings and 130 in rented buildings, he added.
On the other hand, Accord and Alliance have inspected some 2,200 garment factories, while more than 500 units completed all the initially identified safety-related remedial work.
A total of 314 units faced business termination with Accord and Alliance signatories due to their failure in fixing safety hazards, sources said.
The western retailers' platforms recorded more than 85 per cent progress after inspecting the factories, they added.
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