The recruitment of additional 200 factory inspectors, a must for regaining trade benefits to the US market, is being delayed due to the lengthy process of the Public Service Commission (PSC).
As per rules, the ministry is not allowed to circumvent the PSC and recruit such a number of government officials.
So far, the labour and employment ministry has managed to recruit only 17 first-class officials and 42 second-class ones -- way behind the target of employing 63 first-class inspectors and 137 second-class ones by December 2013.
Syed Ahmed, inspector general for factories and establishments, said the process is being delayed for an amendment to the laws.
The PSC though is currently recruiting inspectors from the pending pass list of BCS examinees and has recently recruited 20 officials. They are yet to join the ministry, he added.
At present, there are 135 inspectors against the requirement for 575, according to Ahmed.
Meanwhile, the next meeting of the five diplomats and three secretaries to review the progresses made by the country against the action plan provided by the United States Trade Representative to win back the Generalised System of Preferences facility will be held on September 10 in Dhaka, said Hedayetullah Al Mamoon, senior secretary to the commerce ministry.
“We have taken action against almost all of the 16 points on that list,” he said, while citing the labour law amendment in July last year to allow trade unionism in garment factories and factory inspections by international agencies as examples.
The country also published the database of factories, another requirement to regain GSP, Mamoon said.
The cabinet last month approved the amendment of labour laws to allow trade unionism in factories at export processing zones as well.
“The garment industry is a growing one. It has some problems but we are correcting those so that we can be more compliant.”
Mamoon also said a delegation of the USTR, the chief trade negotiation body for the Obama administration, is due in November to review the progresses under the action plan first-hand. A USTR delegation last reviewed the progress on August 5.
The Obama administration suspended the GSP status for Bangladesh on June 27 last year citing serious shortage of labour rights and workplace safety. The US government though provided a 16-point action plan for the country to win back the trade privileges.