The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) has cautioned that the industry could fail unless the state decides to expand a program to lend money to apparel manufacturers to pay salaries due to the pandemic. They want the government to increase the salary stimulus package program by six months and to delay the redemption date by a year.
Rubana Huq, President of BGMEA, has written an open letter and said that the proposed repayments to the Bangladesh Bank, owned by a government, would be brought out by several textile factories from the industry by the end of this month – as decided. The sector would fail without the wage stabilization package moratorium being prolonged by six months or the tenure of the loan being extended by at least one year (currently 24 months).
Huq says that the export of clothing from Bangladesh borrowed approximately 105 million Bangladeshi taka from the payroll stimulus package in April, May, June and July of last year to pay the salaries of employees. Though factory owners have promised to pay back the money in 18 installments, the data published by the Export Promotion Bureau at the end of this month reveal that the industry has yet to face difficulties. To support members, survive the economic effects of COVID-19, the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) also called for minimum wages to be frozen for two years. The unions said, however, that textile workers still had to face abject poverty.