Nirapon CEO Moushumi M Khan said security operations in Bangladesh will be conducted from the office in North America soon
Nirapon – an alliance of North American buyers for the security, supervision, inspection, and reform of ready-made garment factories – is leaving Bangladesh.
Moushumi M Khan, chief executive officer of Nirapon – the successor to the Accord and Alliance – confirmed the matter to The Business Standard on Sunday afternoon.
She said security operations in Bangladesh would be conducted from the office in North America soon. The newly-appointed chief safety officer there will manage Bangladesh's activities while a technical team in Bangladesh will perform the activities.
Another source in Nirapon said they had decided to conduct their activities from America on a consolidated basis.
Most of the staff members hired to run their Dhaka office have recently been sacked, confirmed several staff members of the alliance. They said all staff members but nine in the three departments of Nirapon have been sacked without any prior notice.
Additionally, the alliance is not carrying out any activities with 22 engineering firms and 10 training firms as per their agreements, officials of several contracted engineering firms and training firms have said.
A former Nirapon official, on condition of anonymity, told The Business Standard that 20 employees were sacked after Nirapon decided to conduct its operations from North America. During the Skype conference on May 29, they were asked to hand over all documents to Nirapon by May 31.
Shapon Kumar Malakar, Lead Engineer and Managing Partner of A-3 Engineers and Consultancy, which is contracted to work with Nirapon, told The Business Standard, "So far they have not said anything. However, none of the 22 contracted engineering firms has any business with Nirapon."
He also mentioned the alliance verbally said it would conduct its activities from North America.
A recent statement on Nirapon's website said the coalition was going to start anew and that is why some changes are being made, however, people concerned said the alliance was not able to manage its activities as per the plan.
Moreover, on October 22 last year, following a writ petition filed by Dragon Sweater Limited, the High Court imposed a six-month ban on Nirapon's activities. After Nirapon appealed against the order, the Appellate Division on December 2 upheld the order.
Barrister Imtiaz Moynul Islam, a lawyer for Dragon Sweater Limited, told The Business Standard that he would appeal to the High Court again to extend the ban on Nirapon's activities.
He said Nirapon may leave Bangladesh and go to North America for fear of further escalation of the ban on security activities.
People concerned also said Nirapon had some problems regarding various issues with the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association and the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association.
According to a statement posted on Nirapon's website on May 29, the new organisation will be based in North America. The Nirapon Board of Directors thanked the team for working tirelessly and dedicating years to building a safer garment industry in Bangladesh. The outgoing team was provided with severance packages.
It also reads Moushumi Khan, the CEO since Nirapon's inception, will be departing Nirapon and a new Chief Safety Officer (CSO) will be named at a later date, reflecting Nirapon's more technical nature. Khan led Nirapon with a steadfast commitment to worker safety in Bangladesh.
In a statement, Khan said, "As the inaugural CEO of Nirapon, it was my honour to help oversee a successful transition from the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety to the new organisation. I remain committed to worker safety in Bangladesh and look forward to supporting all those who share this noble goal."
In April 2019, Nirapon was formed to monitor the structural, fire and electrical safety of factory buildings according to the needs of American buyers and brands of ready-made garments.
Nirapon has decided to run most of the activities in Bangladesh through locally-appointed third parties.