Apparel manufacturers write to PM, asking to keep their factories open during the lockdown after Eid
Apparel manufacturers on Thursday sent a letter to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, pleading with her to keep apparel factories out of the lockdown purview like before, amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
BGMEA President Faruque Hassan, BKMEA President AKM Selim Osman, BTMA President Mohammad Ali Khokan, BTTLMEA President Shahadat Hossain Sohel and BGAPMEA Abdul Kader Khan signed the letter.
All sorts of industries and factories must remain closed amid the strict lockdown, which will begin just after Eid-ul-Azha, from July 23 until August 5.
In the letter, the apparel makers wrote that if factories remained closed for such a long time, they would incur huge losses and work order cancellations may occur, just before Christmas, a major season for global buyers.
“You know about our industry very well. We believe that your timely decision will result in a proper guideline for the export sector of the country. We will accept whatever you decide for us,” the manufacturers urged the prime minister.
They also expressed grave concerns about the possibility of buyers shifting their work orders to competitor countries, like Vietnam, if Bangladesh's factories remained shut for a long time.
Many entrepreneurs would be bankrupted due to the shutdown decision, they feared.
The textile and RMG contributes 84.17%of the total export income of the country. In the first 14 days of the current financial year, the export income of this sector is $167 million.
That means that an average of $1.19 million worth of goods are exported each day. The export income of the sector has increased by 28.25% in June this year as compared to June last year, said the letter.
Meanwhile, BGMEA leaders held a meeting with Cabinet Secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam at the Secretariate on Thursday.
BGMEA President Faruque Hassan told the media after the meeting that they demanded to keep the industrial factories open during the strict lockdown.
He said the secretary assured them that a meeting would be held next Saturday on the proposal and the decision would be announced accordingly.
BGMEA president Faruque Hassan, former presidents Abdus Salam Murshedy, Siddiqur Rahman, Mohammad Hatem, vice-president of BKMEA and Mohammad Ali Khokon, president of BTMA, were present at the meeting with the cabinet secretary.
Manufacturers say they are receiving a large number of orders for spring and summer clothing from the US and Europe, and factories’ earnings have finally begun to reach pre-pandemic levels.
If the factories are closed for two weeks, they will not be able to supply the products in accordance with the lead time as per the purchase order. Then foreign buyers will cancel the purchase orders or take advantage of the discounts, said apparel manufacturers.
They also said that the garment workers will run to the village with their families if they get two weeks off and come in contact with many people, thus increasing the risk of infections.
Meanwhile, BGMEA officials held a meeting where it was decided that they would have to pay the salaries of July soon after reopening the factories. That is why the export sector of the country can be saved from possible catastrophe if the factories are opened soon after Eid holidays.