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Bangladesh RMG sector is passing a critical period due to Covid-19 pandemic Azimul Hai , President, Future Design Apparel

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Azimul Hai , President, Future Design Apparel

Today, Bangladesh has become a Developed country by relying on the garment industry mostly. We will graduate in 2024 with three years monitoring till 2027. If this industry falls on its face, Bangladesh will fall behind. As a Bangladesh citizen, I love Bangladesh, I’ve to love the Bangladesh Readymade Garments Industry. Covid-19 took another form in 2021. Lockdown is going on in different countries of the world, including Bangladesh. Here the 3rd phase strict lockdown started from July 23 to August 5th immediately after Eid-ul-Adha on July 21!

At the time of closing Factories on July 19, there was a notice to reopen the factories on July 27 with hope that the Government will exempt Factories from the lockdown, but it’s still not exempt according to the ordinance served. Our factories were shut down for about 72 days last year but we somehow tackled the stimulus/Salary Loan assistance of the Government but our exports dropped down from US$42-32 bn.

We are at greater risk today than last year. Indeed, 2 weeks lockdown during July 1-14 this year, factories were exempt but the absence rate was too high due to public transportation not allowed and therefore, production and performance seriously hampered during high peak months.

We have working days till July 19 before the holiday commences on July 20. Good number of orders finished merchandise lying ready at factories which wasn’t possible to ship due to the forwarder providing a handover cutoff earlier than usual which usually happens always for holiday week vessels. Having many orders almost finished 1/2 working days to complete but really Sector will be harmed in the case, if we cannot move cargo to depot.

Reopening factories on July 27 and 1/2 working days is important for the greater interest of the sector and country. It would be great if the government feels the priority although Mr. Faruque Hassan, our President of BGMEA with his dynamic Board working hard to convey the message to ears of Government with assistance of past President(s) working at Government. If not succeed, new export targets of US$52bn would have dropped down again.

Factories may go into lockdown just after 2 working days after reopening! It will not spread Covid much as our 5 million direct workers are mostly safe and not contaminated yet have a good working environment in factories maintaining shift & social distance top of our prevention measures. Besides, they had no chances to go out unnecessarily during working days. Now they are across the country during holiday, not sleeping in the house but getting scope to meet people and relatives who maintain nothing, even those not wearing musk who believe that this disease is for rich citizens.

Government should be aware of the importance of musk compulsory before lockdown and with no musk should be punished heavily. Otherwise, lockdown will bring nothing in this densely populated small country of eighteen crore people!

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