Bangladesh’s apparel and textile manufacturers on Sunday demanded that the government should allow them to keep their factories open following health guidelines during the complete lockdown.
Garments and textile sector leaders, holding a press conference at Sonargaon Hotel in Dhaka, said that if the government brought the apparel sector under lockdown, the export sector would lose its share on the global market as the factories of competing countries remained open amid the pandemic.
Road transport and bridge minister Obaidul Quader and state minister for public administration Farhad Hossain on Friday said that the government was considering a complete lockdown across the country from April 14 to contain the surge in the number of COVID-19 cases.
State minister for public administration Farhad Hossain said that all the factories would remain close during the week-long complete lockdown.
Apparel and textile related trade bodies on Sunday claimed that if the export oriented RMG factories remained close during the lockdown, huge number of workers would move to their villages and the virus would spread.
In the joint press conference the leaders of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association, Bangladesh Textile Mills Association and Exporters Association of Bangladesh expressed their fear that if the government brought the apparel sector under lockdown the competing countries would grab the market share and the livelihood of a huge number of workers would be under threat.
‘Since the outbreak of the virus in Bangladesh in March, 2020, the infection rate in the apparel sector was very nominal and exporters had been running their factories strictly maintaining health guidelines without any casualty,’ former BGMEA president Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin said.
BKMEA president AKM Salim Osman said that only awareness could save lives.
Acting BGMEA president Abdus Salam said that if the factories remained open, the safety of workers would be ensured by the authorities; but, if the factories remained close, workers would not follow health protocols.
BGMEA president elect Faruque Hassan said that if the factories remained close during lockdown, the factory owners would have to face trouble in paying workers’ wages and festival allowances.
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