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Strict lockdown in BD: Brands don’t foresee any threat to source

Although the govt. of Bangladesh imposed a lockdown to curb the contagious delta variant cases that have rattled India, but the readymade garment (RMG) and textile industry is exempt from the lockdown. Garment owners’ associations’ leaders have said that the RMG factories will remain open under special measures even if a strict lockdown is enforced.

Most notably the infection rate in the garment industry was too low as owners had taken a lot of safety measures as per the WHO, ILO and government’s guidelines.

Bangladesh-lockdown-Brands -threat-sourcing-garments
Figure 1: Several brands ensured that they are at ease sourcing from here and are not expecting any bottleneck due to the lockdown.

The textile and apparel sector leaders explained that anarchy could arise if the factories were closed at the moment. Besides, 90% of the RMG workers live within the vicinity of their factories. There is less movement of people in the industry.

Faruque Hassan, President, BGMEA said Textile Today, “People go to their hometowns on holidays during the lockdown, increasing contamination of Covid.” So, both Presidents persuaded the government to open the factory during the lockdown.

“We don’t foresee any difficulties due to this lockdown. Because our team is well equipped to work from home.”

Ziaur Rahman Regional Head of the Swedish fashion brand H&M for Bangladesh, Pakistan and Ethiopia

While Mohammad Ali Khokon, President of BTMA said, “Most of the workers live near the factory and within the short distance employees get transportation from the factory.” There is less movement of people in the industry.

Faruque Hassan suggested keeping workers in the discipline. Eventually, it will lessen the rate of infection.

Workers’ health safety

On top of it, to ensure workers’ health safety, Faruque Hassan said, “BGMEA has set up three PCR labs for testing RMG workers at two in Dhaka and one in Chittagong.”

From brands perspective, several brands ensured that they are at ease sourcing from here and are not expecting any bottleneck due to the lockdown.

Bangladesh-India-Sri-Lanka-apparel-export-drop-USA-2021
Figure 2: Bangladesh’s apparel export to the US has been more resilient than neighboring India and Sri Lanka, in the three months ended April 2021.

In a response to a question asked by Textile Today about the difficulties H&M facing due to strict lockdown imposed by the BD Govt, Ziaur Rahman Regional Head of the Swedish fashion brand H&M for Bangladesh, Pakistan and Ethiopia said, “With full respect and understand to the government decision, we believe this is required and needed. We will fully obey and follow these instructions. We think government successfully manage to balance the importance of livelihood vs life.”

“We don’t foresee any difficulties due to this lockdown. Because our team is well equipped to work from home,” Rahman added.

Recent data showed that shipments linked to H&M increased 13.5% in the three months ended May 31, 2021, compared with the same period of 2019.

Infection rate in the garment industry was too low as owners had taken a lot of safety measures as per the WHO, ILO and government’s guidelines.

Faruque Hassan, President, BGMEA

H&M is always the trusted partner of the Bangladesh garments sector and it has been proved it again during this COVID-19 pandemic. Every year H&M sources more than $3bn worth of garments from Bangladesh.

Besides, in recent years, Bangladesh’s credibility as a leading apparel sourcing destination is gaining traction.

According to a September analysis of U.S. International Trade Commission data by the Peterson Institute for International Economics, Bangladesh has been gaining market share as China has become less competitive in labor-intensive sectors including apparel.

Bangladeshi exporters of apparel to the US have been more resilient than nearby regions during the pandemic. Shipments in the three months ended April 30 are down by just 1.6%, compared with the same period of 2019, the firm said. Exporters from India and Sri Lanka, in contrast, dropped 10.1% and 6.4%, respectively.

mostafiz-uddin-Denim-Expert-factory-running-lockdown
Figure 3: Mostafiz Uddin, Owner & MD of Denim Expert Ltd. shared on LinkedIn that his factory is running production maintaining strict health and safety protocols.

Apparel leaders requested the cabinet secretary to permit the movement of cargo vans as well as the operation of factories to keep the economy afloat.

If anyone has any feedback or input regarding the published news, please contact: info@textiletoday.com.bd

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