Bangladesh brings industries under central fund.
By Mizan Rahman/Dhaka
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday said all manufacturing and exporting industries would be brought under the central fund of the Ministry of the Labour and Employment created to provide financial support to the families of the workers who die or receive grave injuries in their working places. "We have already given instructions to the Commerce Ministry to bring all garment exporters under the central fund of the Labour and Employment Ministry," Sheikh Hasina said. The prime minister was distributing cheques for compensation among crippled garment workers and family members of the deceased garment workers from a fund created by the readymade garment (RMG) sector at her office in Dhaka. The central fund under the Labour and Employment Ministry has been created with 0.03% of the export volume of the industries under Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) and Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) for welfare of the workers of the export oriented RMG sector. A garment worker or his/her heirs would get 3,00,000 taka from the fund in case of death or grave injuries during their work. In case of death outside the working place a worker would get 2,00,000 taka from the fund. The prime minister extended her thanks to the BGMEA and BKMEA for their steps for welfare of the garment workers saying "it's a good start".... it's one step forward towards welfare of working people. She urged the apex bodies of the garment and knitting sectors to complete the work on preparing a database of the workers to make the system of giving support from the fund easy. State Minister for Labour and Employment Mujibul Haq Chunnu and president of Bangladesh Readymade Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) Siddiqur Rahman spoke, among others, on the occasion. President of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) Mohiuddin Ahmed, PM's Principal Secretary Dr Kamal Abdul Naser and acting secretary of the Labour Ministry Afroza Khan were present. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina urged the workers to remain alert so that no one can disrupt the industries on which their bread and butter depends. Workers must remain careful so that no accident occurs in industries at the instigation of outsiders, she said. Pointing out the steps taken by her government for welfare of the working class people, the prime minister said the labour law has been amended for welfare of the workers. The prime minister said she hoped owners of garment industries would continue working for the welfare of workers and give them a share of their annual profits. She said the Directorate of Inspector has been strengthened aimed to ensure safety measures in factories. Sheikh Hasina said her government has taken a number of steps in the interest of the RMG sector following formation of the government for the third time in 2014. Minimum wage of the garment workers has been enhanced to 5,300 taka from 3,000 taka, she said. In the current fiscal, she said, advance tax for RGM industries has been reduced to 0.70% though a proposal for 1% was made in the budget. Income tax rate for green industries has been reduced to 10% from 20% and 12% from 20% for other industries. Import tax on raw materials of prefabricated building and fire extinguishing equipment was reduced to 5%. Sheikh Hasina said her government after coming to power in 1996 made trade, business and industrialisation its top priority. During the 1996-2001 period, she said the government had taken many pragmatic measures for development of export-oriented garment industries.
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