MiB (Mapped in Bangladesh), a 5-year project to develop a digital database of RMG workers, has mapped and compiled the data of 3,630 export-oriented ready-made garment (RMG) factories in Bangladesh, as of January 2022.
Centre for Entrepreneurship Development (CED) of Brac University (BracU) conducted the survey using the "factory census" method all over Bangladesh, reads a press release.
Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) and Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) are the strategic partners of the project MiB, which is being implemented by Brac University.
The project is also supported by the Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments (DIFE) under the Ministry of Labour and Employment.
MiB aims to provide accurate, credible, and updated RMG factory information to all industry stakeholders in a manner that enables greater efficiency, productivity, accountability, and transparency.
With its robust data verification and validation protocol, the digital repository can be utilised to design significant interventions and formulate policies for the wellbeing of workers.
"While there is further research scope on MiB database, this data also can be used for policy formulation of the government and for the planning of different development activities related to the factories and workers inRMG sector," said Afshana Choudhury, CED-BracU joint director and MiB lead operation officer.
MiB has so far conducted multiple types of research using the factory database it obtained through digital mapping.
A recent publication of MiB researchers has demonstrated that the male to female workers ratio in Bangladesh RMG is 42:58 as per analyzed data of 2,565,761 workers in 3,212 export-oriented RMG factories.
One of its rapid surveys, on the basis of responses from 2,334 factories communicated over phone in June 2020 using contacts in the MiB database, revealed that the member RMG factories (factories that are members of BGMEA and/or BKMEA) were able to utilize 70.55% of their production capacity, compared to 59.83% by non-member RMG factories during the Pandemic period.
Professor Dr Rahim B, Talukdar, CED-BracU adviser and MiB team leader, said, "In our garment industry, there are other contributors who are not part of trade associations, i.e. BGMEA and BKMEA. These non-members are also contributing to the export sector and to the country's economy to a great extent."
A MiB rapid survey, particularly on the non-member RMG factories with a 555 sample size, found that 86,697 workers were being employed in the surveyed factories while a total of 58,000 workers were laid off (on average 226 workers per factory) due to the pandemic.