The industry has synchronized itself, attempting to execute forward linkages as well as significant backward linkages.
Arshad Jamal (Dipu) obtained degrees from various worldclass universities. He started his business while he was a student in Dhaka University. He established Tusuka Fashion Ltd in 2000 and is the chairman of the Tusuka group. His success has allowed him to enter International Telecom and NovoTel Ltd. He has served as the Chairman and board member of the BGMEA and a director in research and policy matters and as a facilitator between the government and BGMEA.
I have witnessed the great transformation in our RMG sector. The industry has synchronized itself, attempting to execute forward linkages as well as significant backward linkages. Emerging entrepreneurs must undertake processes to acquire sufficient knowledge regarding the industry. The industry is dependent on a few factors, one of which is the availability of the workforce. Fortunately, we are more than sufficient in that area and we have received the necessary regulatory support unlike other third world countries.
As a facilitator, I have identified a few issues that are very important to us. These issues include the handling of workers, dealing with buyers and regulatory concerns. The Rana Plaza incident has ushered an era of increased awareness about workers’ safety in RMG factories. It initiated the need for a national tripartite committee of the government. We have seen a progressive change in the industry with the amendments of the labor laws and upward revision of minimum wage.
The safety of employees has become a major concern with the evacuation drills in practice and fire fighting equipments at hand. The implementation of evacuation and safety plans are being created with the building of any new structures as well as the ones that have been constructed. Manufacturers, buyers and the current government have realized the necessity to monitor and evaluate these programs continuously. Although there is a questionable debate about the scope and limitation of these alliances, the emergence of agencies and companies that overlook these factors have highlighted and accelerated the development of a safe working environment.
Direct investments from foreign clients are always in question given our limitations regarding infrastructure, political unrest and lack of skill, energy and security. As Bangladeshi entrepreneurs, we have to strive to reach greater heights of success, which will provide safe EPZs attracting the interest of foreign investors. The degree of improvement that has occurred and continues is predominantly conducted under the management of local entrepreneurs and should remain as such.
If we look at countries like Vietnam or Cambodia, the majority of investors in the RMG industry are from Korea and/or Taiwan. These investors do not share the same responsibilities to increase the growth of the country they are investing in. As Bangladeshis who are investing in their own country, we have a desire to increase the potential of our own national economy.
I believe that we can look up to Hong Kong as a model for structured management. They have a balance of managerial philosophy, working procedures and working culture. We need to emulate this process with the management structures and and monitoring procedures in order to attain higher productivity.
Finally I would like to address the necessity to ensure that workers are being compensated for their work in a fair manner. If workers are content, productivity will directly increase. The industrialists should always remember that their workers are human beings who require support and monetary benefit.