A move of the current board of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association to persuade the government to extend its tenure for the third time has angered the trade body’s general members who have long been waiting for elections to pick their leaders.
A section of the BGMEA members including its former presidents have already requested the commerce minister not to extend the tenure of the current board again saying that the general members of the trade body would not accept the process any more.
‘We have heard that the incumbent board of BGMEA is trying to extend its tenure further and they have started discussions with the government over the issue. We will not accept a third-time extension of the committee and, if necessary, we will announce agitation programme demanding elections,’ Md Zahangir Alam, managing director of Design & Source Ltd, told New Age on Sunday.
The current board under the leadership of its president, Md Siddiqur Rahman, assumed office on September 22, 2015 through a negotiation process for a two-year term.
The board of the trade body got its first extension (six months) from the commerce ministry on the grounds that BGMEA had to relocate its headquarters as the Supreme Court declared its building on Hatirjheel Lake illegal and ordered to demolish it within six months.
The illegally built headquarters of the trade body is yet to be demolished as the Supreme Court later extended time for the apparel sector trade body for its demolition.
After the six-month extended tenure the government had further extended the tenure of the BGMEA board for one more year and allowed the existing board to remain in office up to March 22, 2019.
Forum, a platform of the BGMEA members, alleged that the incumbent president of the trade body was trying to extend his tenure for the third time.
BGMEA members said as the tenure of the current committee would end on March 22 next year, the election schedule would have to be announced by December 22 this year as per the articles of association of the trade body.
‘If the schedule is not announced on time, the general members of BGMEA would besiege the headquarters of the trade body to ensure voting rights of its members,’ said Zahangir, who formed a third forum namely Shadhinata Parishad for participating in the BGMEA elections scheduled for March this year.
A team led by former BGMEA president Anwar-Ul-Alam Chowdhury Parvez on December 5 visited commerce minister Tofail Ahmed and requested him not to allow any further extension of the committee, he said.
Another member of BGMEA said that they had informed the commerce minister that as per the negotiation between the leaders of Sammilita Parishad and Forum the incumbent president assumed office in September, 2015.
As per the memorandum of understanding, Forum would assume BGMEA office when
the tenure of the current committee ends, he said.
A BGMEA leader said that he heard that a move for the tenure extension for the current committee of the trade body had been initiated but he did not support it.
BGMEA president Md Siddiqur Rahman refused to make any comment on the issue.
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