As the COVID-19 pandemic the second wave hit continuing in Bangladesh, the country’s apex textile and apparel trade bodies the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) and the Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMA), have pressed the government to give incentives to textile and apparel companies for paying wages and bonuses before the Eid festival to RMG workers.
BGMEA, BKMEA and BTMA wrote a joint letter to the Minister of Finance on April 24.
In the letter, BGMEA President Faruk Hasan, BKMEA President AKM Selim Osman MP and BTMA President Mohammad Ali Khokon demanded the government to provide loans on easy terms. The money is needed to aid RMG companies to pay salaries, bonuses and allowances for April, May and June 2021.
The apparel exporters are under pressure to pay wages as fashion buyers are unwilling to make payments in the wake of lockdowns imposed in various countries due to the 2nd wave of COVID-19. The Bangladeshi garment sector is in a financial crisis due to order cancellations and delayed payments, as per the letter.
“Bangladesh’s garment industry exports garments at a lower price than other countries to maintain export potential in the world market for which profit in this sector is very low. Garment owners are forced to take orders facing loss in most cases. And, employees in this sector are paid after receiving payment from the buyers and incentive for cash assistance,” the letter read.
“The exporters now are unable to apply for cash assistance due to non-repatriation of export value. Many buyers are also completing the payment at a discounted rate, making it harder for the institutions to solve the liquidity crisis,” it continued.
The Bangladesh government had last year offered a loan of Tk 10,500 crore to the garment industry to pay wages for April-July 2020.