At a time when the garment industry of Bangladesh is recovering from the damages caused by the pandemic, a second wave of coronavirus has already started taking toll on the sector again. BGMEA President Dr. Rubana Huq urged for the government’s policy support to help the RMG industry to sustain in this critical situation.
Already some of European countries have gone into lockdown resulting in fall in demand for apparel, squeeze in prices has added to the woes, she said. The BGMEA President made the call while addressing a dialogue series on the government initiatives for recovery from the Covid-19 fallout in Bangladesh. The Finance Division und the Ministry of Finance organized the event in Dhaka on 26 November. Honorable Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi attended the program as chief guest while Principal Secretary to the Honorable Prime Minister Dr. Ahmad Kaikaus was present at special guest.
Praising the timely initiatives of the government for economic recovery from the shocks of Covid, Rubana Huq called for continue the policy support to safeguard the apparel industry from the adverse impacts of possible wave of coronavirus. “Quick response from the government with timely policy support including stimulus packages and time extension for non-classification of loan account helped the RMG industry in its struggle to turn around and survive amid by the Covid pandemic which has wreaked a havoc on the industry.”
“On behalf of the apparel industry, I would like to express our sincere thanks and gratitude towards Honorable Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina for providing stimulus package of 5 thousand crore taka loan for paying the salary of garment workers. While this support helped the industry to stay in business by paying salary to the workers, it also saved the livelihoods of 4.1 million garment workers,” the BGMEA President said. The apparel industry registered a negative growth of 18.12 percent in the 2019-20 fiscal year, which amounts to around USD 6 billion, she added.
She urged the government to consider stimulus packages for the sector to survive during the second wave. The RMG industry is still passing difficult time as factories are still struggling to turn around. She also called for creating a block account for 10 years and relocated the liabilities in that interest free block account while keeping the single exposure limit unaffected.
Dr. Huq also requested the government for five years to repay the loans disbursed by the government under a stimulus package to help the sector offset the economic fallout from the pandemic. She expressed her optimism about the apparel industry of Bangladesh despite various challenges. “Our share in the global apparel export market is 6.8 percent, meaning we have a scope to increase our share. While our production capacity is greater than that of Vietnam, apparel is not their prime export item. On the other hand, Cambodia has already lost GSP facility in the European Union,” she said. Dr. Rubana Huq said that the way Bangladesh has been moving forward under the prudent and visionary leadership of Honorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, immense potential lies ahead for Bangladesh if all unitedly could tackle the current critical challenges.