Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) has recommended Ministry of Labour and Employment to close down 46 garment factories as they failed to pay the workers’ salary for March.
BGMEA on April 30 sent a letter to Begum Monnujan Sufian, State Minister for Labour and Employment, requesting her to allocate money for these factories from the Central Fund of the government that came into being in 2017 where every garment exporters have been contributing 0.03 percent of their export receipts to this fund. The fund created mainly for the welfare of garment workers.
In the letter BGMEA said, Except these 46 factories about 99 percent of their members have paid the salaries for March.
BGMEA asked the authorities of these factories to sit with the Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments now and settle their dues before closing their factories. But since these factories have not cleared March salaries, they would not be eligible to avail interest-free loan from the government’s stimulus package for the garment sector.
It is one of the major conditions that borrowing companies need to meet for obtaining loans from the stimulus package.
Workers who have been demonstrating in Ashulia, Savar, Gazipur and Narayanganj mostly belong to these 46 factories.
Anisul Awwal, Director General of the Central Fund, said the money from the central fund would be allocated only to the factories that were forced to be shut due to the coronavirus fallout.
“We do not allocate any financial assistance for any open factory,” he told a national daily recently.
Anisul said upon receiving the list of 46 factories, he held a meeting with various stakeholders at the ministry on 17 May.
The meeting, however, ended without any decision on releasing fund for the factories in question.
So far Tk 210 crore has been deposited in this fund of which some Tk 90 crore has been spent, he said.
The Central Fund authorities will hold another meeting this week to take a decision about the fund allocation to these 46 units, he said.