The government is adamant in its decision to keep all industries and factories shut amid the strict COVID-19 lockdown that will activate from July 23 until August 5, right after Eid-ul-Azha.
Farhad Hossain, State Minister for Public Administration reaffirmed that during the closing parade of the 97th BGB recruit batch, held at the BGB headquarters, in Chuadanga-6.
Hossain said, “The government has already eased enforcement of the ongoing lockdown, keeping in mind a lot of business revolves around Eid-ul-Azha so that no losses were incurred.”
Asked whether the verdict to uphold the decision to keep factories closed was made considering the apparel factory owners’ recent appeal to the Prime Minister, Hossain said that it was just a confirmation of the original decision.
There he said that both public and private institutions, including garments and industries, are scheduled to be closed for two weeks during the strict lockdown after Eid-ul-Azha from July 23.
“We will face a severe crisis if factories are closed down during the lockdown. We want the factories to run as the production is still going on during this time,” said Faruque Hassan, President of BGMEA.
But apparel manufacturers are still hopeful of a turnaround from the decision.
Talking to the media, Shahidullah Azim, Vice-President of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), said that they are still waiting for a response to a recent letter sent to the Prime Minister.
In the letter, Apparel manufacturers pleaded with the Prime Minister to keep RMG factories out of the lockdown like before, amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We have already reasoned with the government that the factory closing time can be adjusted earlier. If not, we also want to reopen factories from August 1 instead of August 5,” he added.
Asked if there was any fluctuation in the rate of COVID-19 infection among the workers, he said the rate of the infection cases was very low.
“Workers maintain discipline here and they spend most of the time in the factory and the rest of the time indoors. So, the infection case is lower in the factories,” Azim added.
The government should reassess the decision to guard the lifeline of the country’s economy.