BTMA demands government support for local textile makers

Staff Correspondent | Published: 22:22, Apr 02,2020


The Bangladesh Textile Mills Association on Thursday urged the government to provide support for the country’s textile mills which are now sitting on a stockpile of fabrics and yarns worth Tk 3,500 crore due to the impact of coronavirus outbreak in the country.

The textile mills meet the domestic demand for clothes.

BTMA president Mohammad Ali Khokon in a letter to the finance ministry demanded a bailout package including withdrawal of value-added tax on yarns and fabrics from March 20 to June 30 to protect the country’s spinning, weaving and dyeing and finishing mills from the negative impact of coronavirus outbreak.

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

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

The trade body proposed providing tax-free facility in importing all type of dyes and chemicals for the textile dyeing and finishing industry up to June 30.

Mohammad Ali also demanded waiver of port demurrage and depot charges on imported raw materials up to June 30.

In his letter, the BTMA president said that the export-oriented textile mills would be benefited from the bailout package worth Tk 5,000 crore announced by the prime minister but more than 250 spinning mills and 500 weaving mills, which meet the demand for clothes for 17 crore people, had been suffering from an acute shortage of liquidity as the business activities remained halted in the country due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Without support from the government, the factories would not be able to pay wages to their workers as the general holidays has been extended to April 11 and the business activities would remain suspended during Bangla New Year Pahela Baishakh, he said.

The market size of Pahela Baishakh textile and clothing products is about Tk 1,500 crore, the trade body said.

According to the BTMA, livelihoods of more than 15 lakh people are dependent on the sector directly and indirectly.

Meanwhile, the Bangladesh Garments Accessories and Packaging Manufacturers and Exporters Association has demanded a share from the prime minister-declared fund of Tk 5,000 crore for the export-oriented sectors to fight against the fallout of coronavirus outbreak.

The financial crisis of readymade garment sector has equally affected the accessories and packaging sector and it would be quite impossible for the sector to pay the wages to the workers without financial assistance from the government, BGAPMEA president Md Abdul Kader Khan said in a press release issued on Thursday.

‘Accessories and packaging, like other export-oriented sectors, is one of the main export-oriented sectors and it is supporting the other export sectors to produce their finished products. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, we are equally financially affected,’ he said.

Kader hoped that the government would recognise the importance of this sector and would assist by sharing the declared fund or by allocating a separate fund for this sector.

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