According to FBCCI President Md Jashim Uddin, lockdown is not a solution to control the spread of the coronavirus, rather he argued that the countries that imposed lockdowns for long periods suffered economically.
At a press meet at Dhaka Reporters’ Unity (DRU) on January 12, he said: “We should raise public awareness about the Covid-19 and ensure all hygiene directives including wearing masks are followed.”
“Our exports grew last year as we kept businesses operational and we also achieved 5.47% growth amidst the pandemic, whereas other countries like our neighbour India saw negative growth,” he added.
He also said that Bangladesh is getting a lot of export orders now and the factories are fully operational.
“If a lockdown is given at this moment, businesses will incur huge amounts of losses. So, we urge to increase public awareness instead of imposing fresh lockdowns,” he added.
The FBCCI leader and prominent industrial entrepreneur also mentioned a number of new variants of the Coronavirus, and to this, he added: “The Covid-19 is becoming a part of our lives and we have to move forward by adapting with this.”
He also said that the lockdowns led to the current labour crisis in garment factories.
“We have the experiences of the last year, as garment factories were closed for 13 to 14 days, a number of workers went back to their native homes and many of them never came back,” he added.
This in turn has created a labour shortage in the country’s apparel sector.
“Now export orders are coming in from different countries of the world. If lockdown is given at this moment, there will be shortage of workers again which will further put the export-oriented manufacturing industries in crisis and they may lose the export orders,” he added.
“I support the vaccine restrictions the government has put on hotels and restaurants and its orders barring mass gatherings. We must focus on vaccines and health awareness,” he added.
He also said that if lockdowns are imposed again, there will be a demand for incentives and the government will not be able to bring all sectors under the incentive facilities.
Meanwhile, the manufacturers of the apparel sector-- the earner of highest export earnings, also think that the lockdown cannot be a solution as the turnaround of the country’s export sector will be hampered. .
They said that after the mass vaccination program, major export destinations have opened their stores and as a result Bangladesh received a huge number of orders.
In a different conversation with Dhaka Tribune, BGMEA President Faruque Hassan said that there was a lot of controversy regarding whether to keep the factories open or not, but it is now clear that the decision they made to balance life and livelihood was wise.
“The exports grew due to keeping the factories operational and although there was a surge of infection cases all over the country, it was almost zero in the apparel sector,” he added.
However, the government has put some restrictions on the movement of people for the fourth time as it became clear that the third wave of the Coronavirus has spread in the country.
According to a notification issued by the cabinet division on Monday, the public transports will have to carry half their capacity and going out of the house without a mask is forbidden.
This is the fourth time such restrictions have been imposed in the country and a total of 11 restrictions have been given.
This order will be effective from January 13.
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