Garments producers recently voiced their call for the government to introduce another round of incentives to deal with the Covid-19’s deep repercussions. Rubana Huq, president of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), said at a virtual media briefing: “The government should either announce a fresh stimulus package for the sector or continue the supports given at the beginning of the Covid-19,” In three phases since April, the government has given the export-orienteered textile sector Tk 10,500 crored to finance the factories with a 2% service charge for their wages and allowances.
In addition, several other packages have been unveiled by the government. For example, the government has introduced a Tk 33,000-crore stimulus package for large industrial units and has made available another Tk 12,750 crore in the Export Development Fund. Huq also urged the government to stretch the repayment moratorium period on loans under the first stimulus plan to one year from the existing six months.
As the sector is going through a tough patch, the government should also increase the payback period to five years from one year, she added. For example, due to the second wave of coronavirus infections that have jolted the global economy, multinational retailers and brands have placed 30 percent fewer job orders for the December and March seasons. Foreign retailers and brands have not cancelled work orders this time, but requests referencing the second wave, which is known as an unofficial termination of orders, are delayed. Whatever the situation, the factories’ power will stay idle. In particular, she said, small and medium businesses will face hurdles.
Huq said the BGMEA also participated in the Call for Action programme launched by the International Labour Organisation to get back payments from international retailers and brands through discussions and consultations. Of the major retailers and brands with which the BGMEA held talks and discussions are C&A, Bestseller, H&M, M&S, VF, PVH, KIK, Primark, Tesco, Decathlon, Arcadia Group, Next, New Look, Asda/George, OVS, K-Mart and Target Australia, Camieu, La Halle, and Ny Gard.