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29th-Mar-2014

Earning GSP has to be more than Liberation War history

By Editorial Desk

While the US government is pressing for quick compliance of fire and building safety at workplaces and allowing the garment workers the right to be part of trade unions as conditions for restoration of the GSP facility which it scrapped in June last year after the Rana Plaza collapse, the government is rather blaming 'certain domestic quarters' for campaigning to make the US government critical of the Awami League government as it is asking for fulfillment of conditions.
Like almost all other issues in Bangladesh, government's politics of blaming others is very much on display. Commerce Minister Mr. Tofail Ahmed made the point clear recently saying that Bangladesh had almost fulfilled all the major conditions for restoration of GSP and if the USA was not taking a political view point, he was sure the duty free GSP market access would be restored soon.  
His suggestion is that there must be some politics playing behind the curtain which is shaping the US administration's decision to take back the GSP facility and it may continue to withhold it. Finance Minister AMA Muhith also gave similar hints not favourable for showing that the government is keen to obtain support from the United States or the West.
The problem is the government is too keen for keeping itself in power and not to do what is best for free Bangladesh. The government's too much Indian-biased politics is making the Indian government also uncomfortable for not being practical.
As senior ruling party ministers are blaming hostile domestic political forces US Senator Robert Menendez said again that his country could not support the renewal or expansion of GSP as long as trade union organizers and workers in Bangladesh's garment factories face harassment, intimidation and violence from factory owners and managers.
As Bangladesh government is engaged in anti-American politics openly so it should be ready not to expect friendly response from America or the West. That is about overall policy matter.
 The US administration is asking the government to take advantage of the positive outlook of the US administration by ending the injustice and protecting workers' rights and their safety at workplaces. It is worth remembering that last year, at the first hearing of Congressional Committee on GSP Senator Menendez urged the United States Trade Representative to suspend GSP to Bangladesh because of the dire state of workers' rights and safety at workplaces. During the second hearing on workers' rights in Bangladesh, the same issue also prominently figured out when BGMEA assured that it would set up new departments to deal with workers' rights and such other sensitive matters.
Our government is not able to see how incompetent it has proved itself in establishing efficiency and honesty in every area of governance. Only the police power is over powering.
The ministers are too anxious telling us about the liberation war as if it was not people's war and the people needs to be told what role others played. The government has not been able to say anything other than claiming credit for the liberation war. Indian could help us with Indian military machinery during the liberation war, but India cannot help the government become efficient or remain popular.