LAHORE  -   Pakistan Readymade Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association, already working with several international organizations, including International Labour Organization (ILO) to protect the rights of garment workers, has shown its commitment for open discussions and cooperation with any organization to further enhance working conditions for the labour, besides improving trade opportunities for Pakistan.

PRGMEA chairman Mubashar Naseer Butt, while briefing the media here on Wednesday, said that his Association is the member of “International Apparel Federation – The Netherlands” (IAF), the world’s largest Apparel Forum.

He said that GSP Plus scheme was extended to Pakistan after the full compliance of 27 UN International Conventions on human and labour rights, governance, and environment; including 8 core Labour Standards of ILO. The scheme was extended after thorough investigation of the state of labour market governance with reference to the core ILO Conventions and related labour laws regime in Pakistan.

He said that Pakistan garment industry fully meets the terms stipulated by the core labour standards. He said that the provincial and federal governments along with PRGMEA have undertaken several necessary legislations to remove discrepancies with the ratified ILO Conventions.

He disagreed with the human rights watch report, which was supposed to include one member from Apparel industry’s representative body while conducting its survey. He made it clear that there is no violation of labour laws in Pakistan garment industry. As PRGMEA member companies are frequently audited by the international compliance bodies like WRAP, REACH, SEDEX, SA-8000, BCSI etc. “Even a single exporting unit of garment cannot start its working with the international buyers without full compliance,” he added.

PRGMEA chairman said that economy of Pakistan is a combination of formal and informal sector. Segregation of formal and informal has not been done in the report. So, report looks like adopting a stinger approach rather than realistic. Therefore, findings of this report are not significant to generalize the results for Pakistan textile and garment exporting sector.

“The results of this report looks biased as setting aside the opinion of PRGMEA, garments sector entrepreneurs, senior/middle factory management, government and labour department’s point of view have not been included.”

“We expect from such a well reputed organization to reconduct a survey based on export-oriented garment units across the country along with the PRGMEA compliance team. We will fully support and extend all sort of cooperation in this regard. Since the report has damaged not only the industry’s image but also Pakistan’s perspective and we want the ground realities should be cleared,” he said.

Mubashar Butt observed that textile and garments is considered the most important sector of Pakistan’s economy and the largest industry with a 46% share of total manufacturing. It accounts for 60% of exports, employment for 40% of the workforce and 8.5% share in GDP.

The value-added garments sector is the major taxpayer, largest employment generator in the whole textile chain and exporting up to $5.5 billion textile products.