Bangladesh’s readymade garment sector experienced a massive shift in wages payment system as 82 per cent of workers who were paid received their wages through digital channels, according to a survey report.
The rate of digital payments increased almost three times in May from that of 28 per cent in April, found the survey conducted by the Bangladesh-based South Asian Network on Economic Modeling (SANEM), and a US-based NGO Microfinance Opportunities (MFO).
This represents a massive shift in payments from cash to digital channels within the space of one month, SANEM said in a press release issued on Friday.
The workers were paid through digital channels such as BKash, Rocket, Nagad, and bank transfer, it said.
Women and men reported being paid digitally at about similar rates of 82 per cent and 84 per cent respectively.
SANEM executive director Selim Raihan told New Age that the government’s instruction to apparel makers to provide wages through mobile financial services for availing stimulus packages played the main role behind the surge in digital payments.
According to the survey, as of May 16, some 67 per cent of the workers reported that they had been paid.
Of them, 64 per cent of women reported that they were paid and 74 per cent of men reported that they received wages.
The survey was conducted in May 15-16 on 1,384 workers in the RMG sector in Bangladesh by telephone.
The workers were employed in factories spread across the five main industrial areas of Bangladesh — Chittagong, Dhaka City, Gazipur, Narayanganj, and Savar.
According to the report, women were less likely to have withdrawn the cash from their accounts immediately after being paid as 84 per cent of them withdrew their salary from their accounts immediately in comparison to 93 per cent of men.
Despite the large number of workers being paid digitally, many for the first time, the process went smoothly for most of them, it found.
Some 95 per cent were able to cash out their payments at an ATM or an agent on their first try and 78 per cent waited in line to cash out for less than 10 minutes, it said.
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