The Daily Star
Commerce minister Faruk Khan on Thursday told the Parliament that it would be difficult to sustain the country’s garment sector, which earns 78 per cent of the country’s total export revenue, without finding a solution to the problem of workers’ unrest.
Answering a question by Awami League lawmaker Shariar Alam of Rajshahi, he said the government had taken various initiatives to resolve the unrest and is trying to find out whether any labour organisation was instigating the violence by workers in Bangladesh’s garment sector.
The commerce minister, replying to another question by AL lawmaker Dhirendranath Devnath during the question-answer session with deputy speaker Shawkat Ali in the chair, said the government, in its new export policy, would increase trade with Myanmar to $30,000 from the existing $10,000.
Responding to a question by AL legislator Akhtaruzzaman Babu, Faruk informed the House that the trade gap between India and Bangladesh was Tk 17,000 crore for the 2008-09 fiscal year, and the Bangladesh government is moving to reduce it by increasing export items.
He also said that Bangladesh’s total exports had significantly increased by 11 per cent despite the global economic recession, and it earned Tk 1,01,000 crore of foreign exchange in the 2008-09 fiscal year.
Replying to a question by AL lawmaker Moshtaque Ahmed Ruhi, the commerce minister admitted that the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh had not been fully successful in supplying daily essentials to consumers in Ramadan, and assured the House that it would be strengthened in the future so that it can play a more effective role in the market.
He further admitted that price of some daily essentials, including edible oil, pulse, sugar and onions, had shot up due to cartels formed by dishonest businessmen, and the government would take tough action against them.
Food and disaster management minister Abdur Razzaque, answering a question by AL lawmaker Shafiqul Islam, said the government would go for exemplary punishment of those who were involved in looting relief materials, including CI sheets, during the Bangladesh Nationalist Party-Jamaat government’s regime if the MPs provide irrefutable evidence.
Answering a question by AL lawmaker Emaj Uddin Pramanik, Razzaque told the House that the government is procuring modern equipment to save the people from natural calamities and mitigate the effects.
He also said that equipment worth Tk 69.09 crore was being bought for the ‘Procurement of equipment for search and rescue operation after earthquake and other disasters’ project.
Razzaque told the House that four out of nine lots of equipment, worth Tk 9.39 crore, have already been procured from Japan, China and Thailand. More equipment, worth Tk 4.44 crore, will come next month from Italy, America, New Zealand, India and Germany, and letters of credit are being opened to import equipment worth Tk 17.79 crore from Japan, Indonesia and Thailand.