The European Union will provide a fund worth 113 million euros to support Bangladesh’s readymade garment workers who will become jobless and lose income due to the impact of coronavirus pandemic.
According to the sector people, the EU in mid-April announced the mobilisation of a fund worth over 334 million euros for the fight against COVID-19 outbreak and its impact on Bangladesh.
Of the 334 million euros, 113 million euros ( 93 million euros in EU grant and 20 million euros in German grant) will help the government to provide cash assistance to workers in the export-oriented industries adversely affected by the economic fallout of the pandemic, the EU said in a recent statement.
RMG sector leaders said that considering the possible factory lay-off and income loss during the coronavirus outbreak, the EU decided to support approximately 10 lakh RMG workers initially for three months beginning from July.
If necessary, the workers would be paid up to December, they said.
The EU is still in discussion with the Economic Relations Division over the modalities of this fund utilisation, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association president Rubana Huq said on Tuesday.
‘We have been in discussion with the EU about the process and are happy to be a part of such a grand and kind gesture,’ she said.
Fazlee Shamim Ehsan, a director of the BKMEA, also confirmed that the EU would provide the fund to disburse the money among the RMG workers, who might lose jobs, for three months.
He also said that the support might be extended up to six months depending on the availability of fund and the number of workers.
Fazlee said that if any worker lost his or her job due to the factory lay-off and other reasons during the coronavirus outbreak, the worker would get Tk 3,000 per month as an additional support besides his/her lawful compensation.
He apprehended that many workers might lose their jobs in the RMG sector as the manufacturers would be forced to opt for layoffs or reducing capacity of their factories due to lack of work orders from the global buyers amid the pandemic.
Apparel sector leaders said that the support fund might cover 10 lakh workers and the worker databases prepared by the BGMEA and the BKMEA would be used in this regard.
The EU is working with the finance ministry of Bangladesh in this regard and the workers would get the amount through mobile financial services, they said.
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