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11 January, 2017 10:27:58 PM
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Employment generation stalled

Sharif Ahmed
Employment generation stalled
The file photo shows employees busy at a RMG factory. INDEPENDENT PHOTO

The country’s readymade garments (RMG) sector has failed to create new employment as the number has been stuck at 4 million during the last three years while 735 RMG factories have shut down during 2010 to 2016. 

Newly formed think tank Centre for Development and Employment Research (CDER) has cited this information in their report titled Prospect of Utilisation of Youth Labour Force and Updates of RMG Employment, which was published recently. CDER jointly published the report along with Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS). 
The report also mentioned that in 2010, the number of industries was 5,063 in the country which dropped to 4,325 in 2016, as a consequence worker per enterprise has increased from 710 to 924. 
Executive Chairperson of CDER Rushidan Islam Rahman has described the reason behind this stagnation in RMG sector. She said that stagnation of employment in RMG has been associated with upgradation of technology, and usuage of modern machinery which in turn lead to higher capital intensity in the large enterprises. This has also resulted from small and medium firms’ inability to conform to compliance standards and their exit.        
The report also mentioned regarding the export growth and it has also been increased during the period of 2016 to 2010. 
Rushidan Islam Rahman described that the export-per-worker has increased substantially from Tk 2,718 in 2010 to Tk 7,023 in 2016, which depicts a large number of increase in it.   
Lead Economist World Bank Dhaka Dr Zahid Hussain said that there has been a paradoxical situation going on, a huge supply of open educated youth labour force did not match the required skills of the employees and on the other side skilled labours are being imported from abroad.       
Rushidan Islam Rahman has researched and cited another view regarding the stagnancy of the RMG employment and said: ‘‘Workers have commented that employment opportunity for unskilled workers in this sector is shrinking. There are fewer advertisements at factory gates, and new helpers are not joining their present factory and as a result they face more pressure of work which implies an intensification of effort’’.
According to experts observation gross domestic product GDP growth of 8 per cent per annum is needed in order to fully utilise surplus labour available in the country within 15 years.   
Rushidan Islam Rahman has mentioned some policies in her keynote paper for raising employment growth with export growth in RMG. 
Rising concentration of export among a smaller number of large enterprises create adverse effects on income inequality, risks, and pressures on policy directions.    

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Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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