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Dhaka Tribune

BGMEA set for a competitive election

The election will be held on March 9 

Update : 06 Feb 2024, 11:59 PM

The air is heating up, as Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) prepares to elect a new board from two contesting panels, the Sammilito Parishad and the Forum. 

The election of the BGMEA board for 2024-26 will be held on March 9 of this year.

Recently, the election board of the BGMEA has released the primary list of candidates, which shows that 79 contestants from the two panels filed 81 nominations, where 58 for Dhaka zone and 21 for Chittagong zone.

The Sammilito Parishad filed 30 nominations for Dhaka zone and 9 for Chittagong zone against 26 and 9 posts respectively where the Forum has 28 candidates in Dhaka and 12 candidates in Chittagong against the total 35 posts.

Both panel leaders bought two nomination papers each. 

The last date of withdrawing nominations is Wednesday and the both panels will keep the same number of candidates and ask the rest to withdraw their nomination papers on the same day.

This year, Seha Designs BD Ltd Managing Director and Rime Apparels Chairman SM Mannan Kochi is the panel leader of the Sammilito Parishad. Kochi, who is also serving as general secretary of Dhaka Metropolitan North Awami League, is also the senior vice-president of the current board of the BGMEA. 

On the other hand, the panel leader of the Forum is Faisal Samad who is the director of the running board of the BGMEA and former vice-president of the apex trade body. Samad is the managing director of Savartex Group and Surma Garments Ltd. 

In the BGMEA election 2024, notable contestants from the Sammilito Parishad are Shahidullah Azim of Classic Group, Miran Ali of Bitopi Group, Arshad Jamal of Tusuka Fashions, Abdullah Hill Rakib of Team Group, Asif Ashraf of Urmi Garments, Shovon Islam of Sparrow Group, Shams Mahmood of Shasha Denims, Mohiuddin Rubel of Denim Expert Ltd and others.

Moreover, major faces from the Forum panel are Mohammad Abdus Salam of ATS Apparels, Asif Ibrahim of New Age Group, Inamul Haque Khan of Ananta Garments, Vidiya Amrit Khan of Desh Garments, Salim Rahman of KDS Group, Sheikh HM Mostafiz of Cute Dress Industries Ltd and others.

The election heated up at the very beginning after the board published the primary voter list of 2,563 manufacturers last month as the Forum panel leader appealed to the appeal board challenging the validity of 429 voters. 

He alleged that the National Board of Revenue (NBR) website showed that there was no updated income tax payment information of these voters. 

Then, the appeal board dropped some 67 voters and the total number now stands at 2,032 in the Dhaka zone and 464 in Chittagong zone.

Talking to Dhaka Tribune, Sammilito Parishad panel leader SM Mannan Kochi said: “If we win, we will work to adjust fair prices for the products.”

“We have hiked the minimum wage but are yet to get fair prices. Moreover, we will also work to diversify products and find new markets,” he added. 

Along with global challenges, there are some domestic challenges too. Recently, the government has cut export incentives and they will work to cut it gradually.

“We already discussed the issue with the finance ministry and they gave us hope that this will be addressed. However, we also asked for other benefits,” he added.

There are issues of gas, energy, harassment and corruption in the NBR, ports, and customs. We will work to eradicate it to increase ease of doing business.   

“If we win the election, I will work with everyone from both panels for the wellbeing of the sector,” he added. 

Forum panel leader Faisal Samad said that they will work to get the right price as the buyers take the same quality products from Bangladesh as its competitors.

“We will work on real-time data to get fair prices and will emphasize more on diplomatic activities,” he added, noting that they have to speak up rather than sending letters.

He also said they will work on a safe exit policy for the bankrupt entrepreneurs like the developed countries, form a separate chapter in BNBC and create their own brands. 

The current board led by President Faruque Hassan took power in the 2021 election where the Sammilito Parishad won 24 out of 35 directorships in Dhaka and Chittagong and Forum won 11.

Although the tenure of the current board was supposed to expire in April last year, it extended the term by one year in two phases.

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