Textile millers seek interest-free govt fund for 6 months’ worker wages

Staff Correspondent | Published: 22:21, Mar 24,2020


Even though the extent of damage is yet to be assessed, the Bangladesh Textile Mills Association has demanded a special fund from the government to pay the wages and festival allowances to the workers for six months to overcome the negative impact of coronavirus outbreak.

BTMA president Mohammad Ali Khokon in a letter to the prime minister’s principal secretary, Ahmad Kaikaus, on Sunday demanded a bailout package from the government to protect the country’s primary textile sector from the negative impact of coronavirus outbreak.

The trade body requested the government to develop a fund for the factory owners, which would be equivalent to the six months’ worker wages and festival allowances.

The trade body proposed that factory owners would get interest-free loans from the fund to pay the workers’ wages with 36 months repayment facility.

The BTMA also demanded interest weaver on term loans for six months and increasing the period of repayment to one year with a six-month moratorium facility.

The trade body proposed block account facility on utility bills for six months and interest-free payment facility of the amounts in next 12 months.

The association also demanded increasing cash incentive for the sector to 7 per cent from existing 4 per cent against freight on board price.

‘The BTMA can demand incentive from the government but the demand of the association for interest-free fund for workers’ wages is not logical,’ Bangladesh Trade Union Centre general secretary Wajed-ul Islam Khan told New Age on Tuesday.

‘How did the BTMA make such demand without any assessment of the damage?’ he questioned.

‘No one can say what will be the impact of coronavirus outbreak on the industry. We do not know whether the production in the factories will be suspended for long or for a short term,’ Wajed said.

The BTMA president in his letter said that country’s textile and spinning mills were losing orders from readymade garment exporters as global buyers had been cancelling export orders due to the coronavirus  outbreak in the world.

Cancelation or putting export orders on hold by the global buyers has disrupted supply chain and the countries’ textile mills are facing severe difficulties, Khokon said.

The BTMA president thought that even after getting necessary support from the government, the sector would need six to nine months to overcome the impact of the epidemic.

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