Participants say at Digital Wages Summit
Digitalization in the wage payment system would empower readymade garment workers in improving their access to financial services, said participants in the Bangladesh Digital Wages Summit on Wednesday.
The digitalization could reduce up to 53% admin cost and increase productivity, they added during a panel discussion at a Dhaka city hotel.
Access to Information (a2i) Programme of the ICT Division, supported by the Cabinet Division, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the United Nations-based organization Better Than Cash Alliance jointly organized the summit.
The summit was supported by the Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) and Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA).
The summit started with a panel discussion under the banner “Scaling digital wages for employees and manufacturers”.
During the discussion, State Minister for ICT Zunaid Ahmed Palak said: “Empowering women is our priority for achieving digital Bangladesh. In our garments sector, 80% workers are women. For ensuring digital Bangladesh, establishing digital methods for wage payments for the workers in the garments sector is very important.”
He stressed the importance of digital literacy before introducing a digital wage payment system in the garment sector, while adding that awareness should be created among the workers and owners within the sector.
“We are dedicating our services to coordinate, support and test innovative solutions for digitalization of payroll in order to empower garment workers, particularly women,” said Palak, while hoping that 90% of the workers in the sector would come under digitalized wage payment system by 2021.
Industries Minister Nurul Majid Mahmud Humayun said: “We are committed to supporting the readymade garment sector with new technologies that will improve the lives of workers within the sector.”
“These efforts will, in turn, expedite further our country’s economic growth.”
Shwapna Bhowmick, country manager of Marks and Spencer in Bangladesh, said: “Along with all constituents of the garment industry, we will continue to contribute to the digital wages working group, and share the experiences of the leading suppliers who have already digitized wages.”
Managing Director of the United Nations-based Better Than Cash Alliance Ruth Goodwin-Groen said that the international organization was committed to help bring together the key public and private sector stakeholders who could take wage digitization in Bangladesh to the next level.
Moving to digital payment methods could reduce corruption, fraud and theft by ensuring traceability of the payment process, he added.
Deputy Governor at the Bangladesh Bank Ahmed Jamal, BGMEA President Rubana Haq, ILO Country Director in Bangladesh Tuomo Poutiainen, and the UNDP Resident Representative in Bangladesh Sudipto Mukerjee attended the program.
Anir Chowdhury, the policy advisor at the a2i, moderated the panel discussion.