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EPB asked to assess Savar tragedy impact on exports

  • Published at 05:46 am May 2nd, 2013
EPB asked to assess Savar tragedy impact on exports

The Export Promotion Bureau of Bangladesh has been asked to assess the possible losses of apparel exports to global markets in the backdrop of factory building collapse in Savar that left over 380 people killed.

Commerce ministry officials said the assessment is to prepare for future strategies.

Commerce secretary Mahbub Ahmed asked the EPB to prepare their assessment about the negative impact on global garment market because of the incident at Rana Plaza, which housed five garment factories, said a senior official.

He said that the assessment is also to set strategy on how a negative campaign specially by a labour organisation linked to the AFI-CIO, a umbrella group of American unions, could be handled.

EPB formed a four member committee on April 24 to investigation into the Savar incident. The investigation committee will also assess the impact on exports.

Bangladesh offers the world's lowest labour costs with a minimum wage of about $37 a month for a garment industry job.

Foreign missions and development partners want to know how they would handle the situation, commerce secretary Mahbub Ahmed told the Dhaka Tribune yesterday. “We will do everything to protect the possible impact,” he pointed out.

He said the government would also hold discussion with the stakeholders concerned to impose tax on non-compliant factories.  

BGMEA President Atiqul Islam said that if necessary, they would discuss about imposition of compliance tax on non-compliant garment factories which will have positive impact on exports.

A recent BGMEA estimate revealed that one-day shutdown (hartal) hampers production worth about Tk20m and export orders worth $2.6m have been cancelled due to shutdown while the amount of discount on the export was $1.13m due to the same reason.

The Savar tragedy might aggravate cancelling the orders, sources in the commerce ministry said. A total of 4500 garment factories are in operation across the country, contributing around 80% of the country’s annual export earnings of $24bn.