Maeen Md. Khairul Akter
The world is facing the deadliest calamity in the history of mankind in the name of corona virus. No country, no industry is out of its lethal impact. Though started from China, western countries are suffering the most. USA along with the EU countries namely Italy, Spain, France, UK and Germany are facing the hardest blow ever to their economy and social life. The corona virus has now found its way to the Asian countries as well and in Bangladesh lockdowns in many places including the megacity Dhaka indicating a very bad time ahead. No one knows how long this pandemic will continue, how many people will die and how much the economy of the World will be affected.
As long as the textile-apparel supply chain is concerned, both the buying and manufacturing parties are affected. Complete lockdown in the buying countries resulted in order cancellations, defers, and payment debts severely affecting the manufacturing countries like Bangladesh. Keeping apart the economic downfall, Bangladesh herself is now gradually moving towards complete lockdown barring the garments workers to continue work in the factories. As social distancing is the one and only take-able action against this virus, keeping the labor intensive garments industries open can lead to a massacre.
Although, we do not sure about the magnitude of the economic problem we are going to face but we are pretty sure about its direction. Perhaps, Bangladesh economy is going to experience the worst economic setback ahead as the economy is completely reliant on export earnings specially garments exports.
Now the big question is what can be done in this circumstances? No one in the world have any prior experience of handling such situation before. Everyone is trying from their position to render their helping hand. Government of Bangladesh has already declared a 5000 crore BDT budget to pay wages of export oriented industries to tackle the primary impact. A new package of 67,750 crore BDT to overcome the short term and long term impact of this pandemic has been also announced. According to the PM she is expecting the economy to bounce back if the interventions are implemented according to plan. Many buyers after following the footsteps of H&M has taken steps to continue the as usual procedure of accepting goods and clearing payments for the running orders. But to be honest, everything is relying on the invisible and seemingly innocuous virus and how long it will take to eradicate it from the world.
Sitting idle and only thinking about the ill impact will only add to the miseries. Now everyone has to be proactive, strategic and logical. There are things out of control; still there must be things that can be controlled. Factory owners must identify and fine-tune their strategies and actions to be taken to overcome this turmoil. We have complete faith on our entrepreneurs but they need a big hand from the government and the other stake-holders as well. Textile Focus will continue to work promoting and branding Bangladesh textile-apparel industry and providing the industry value added services when needed even amid this hostile environment. With everyone, we are also hoping to see better days and praying for the quick eradication of this deadly corona virus. Important thing is to survive to that point from where we can take actions. Till than stay at home, stay safe.