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H&M urges B'desh to guarantee loans to speed up upgrades

According to Roger Hubert, Chief Representative of Swedish retail giant H&M Group in Bangladesh, remediation or relocation of units will not take place in, if there is no guaranteed loan from the government. As of today, there is no such fund or guarantee provided to the commercial banks, so they can issue low-cost loans to small and medium factories under a covered risk, he added.

At the launch of ‘Remediation financing in Bangladesh's readymade garment sector’, he said 71 per cent of remediation work has been completed in more than 250 factories that H&M sources from. The International Labour Organisation (ILO) and International Finance Corporation (IFC) jointly launched the report, while retailers, garment makers, exporters and diplomats were present.

The rest 29 per cent of remediation work is in progress as the factory owners have opened letters of credit to import safety equipment, added Hubert. Owners of about 3,800 factories in the country are now remedying their units as per the recommendations made by the engineers of Accord, Alliance and government sponsored inspections, to strengthen workplace safety. So far, more than 60 per cent of the work is complete, according to data from the Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments (DIFE). The relocation of factories from Dhaka to nearby areas is not an easy task, but it is possible, said Hubert.