Dhaka – Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday inaugurated the newly constructed office building for garment owners in Dhaka’s Uttara neighbourhood after a court ordered to demolish its old building constructed on a major city lake violating environmental law.
Inaugurating the new building called BGMEA complex, the prime minister said Bangladeshi factory owners need to focus more on product diversity and explore new markets to sustain the competitive global apparel market.
Bangladesh is the second largest clothing producer after China and most of the products are destined for Europe and United States. The garment industry adds the lion’s share of Bangladesh export earnings.
“We’ll have to sustain the garment industry as employments for a huge number of women have been created in the sector … its impact has reached up to the villages, improving the socioeconomic condition of the rural people,” Hasina said.
She inaugurated the new BGMEA Complex through videoconferencing from her official Ganabhaban residence in Dhaka.
Efforts will have to be made to bring new dimensions in design and colour of the products side by side exploring new markets, Hasina said referring to her government’s policy of economic diplomacy.
She said Bangladesh missions abroad have already been asked to find out new markets for Bangladeshi products.
“We’ve already held detailed discussions with officials of Bangladesh missions calling them in Dhaka and directed them to find out which products have high demand in which countries,” she said.
“After that discussion, we also put emphasis on producing and exporting those products and directed the entrepreneurs to establish such industries in the country,” she added.
Describing various welfare-oriented steps for the garment workers, Hasina said their minimum wages have been raised to Taka 8,000 from Taka 1,600 in 10 years.
Dormitories for the female workers have also been constructed, she added.
Hasina recalled that she allocated a piece of land in Kawranbazar during her 1996-teure for the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association saying that she requested the authorities concerned not to built any structure on the lake.
But the building was constructed on the canal of Hatirjheel when she was not in power after the 2001 election.
“When I laid the foundation of the building at that time, I requested the authorities concerned time and again not to construct the building by stopping the Hatirjheel Canal,” she said.
“It is unfortunate that we saw the building was constructed on the canal … even a bridge was built to connect the building – when we were not in power,” she added.
Hasina said the High Court later ordered to demolish the building that was constructed violating the laws regarding preservation of the water bodies.
The prime minister said her government has allotted a large plot to the BGMEA at Uttara in the greater interest of the RMG sector.
“We don’t want any obstruction be made in the trade and commerce … our garment industry has already earned name and fame across the world,” she said.