BANGLADESH: Tazreen fire seen weighing on economic growth
The recent garment factory fire in Bangladesh, coupled with persistent worker unrest in the apparel sector, could have negative implications for the country's overall economic growth, according to global credit ratings agency Moody's Investors Service.
The issues "highlight underlying tensions in the labour market, which could in turn have negative implications on foreign aid and investment flows, as well as on exports and economic growth," US-based Moody's said in a recent report.
The fire that swept through the nine-storey Tazreen Fashion on 24 November killed more than 110 garment workers, mostly women, and injured scores of others.
The credit ratings agency also said weak global growth is another risk for Bangladesh, given that ready-made garment exports account for 77% of its total exports, and 50% are to the European Union (EU).
Meanwhile, an official enquiry into the fire has recommended that the apparel unit's owner and nine others, including factory managers, should be held accountable for the garment worker deaths.
The probe said the fire was an act of sabotage, adding that the government should set up mobile courts in labour-intensive areas to monitor the work environment and ensure workers are paid on time.
It also suggested further enquiries are needed to determine exactly who was involved in the incident and to identify the source of the fire.
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