Close on the heels of the announcement by Bangladesh Government of a 10-day shutdown as a public holiday declaration, effective from 26 March to 4 April to battle the spread of the Coronavirus, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) has recommended all its members to close their units in line with the Government’s announcement.
The BGMEA also added that if any unit wishes to continue operations, it will have to follow the highest hygiene and safety measures.
The facilities making personal protective gear (PPE) or in the process to start manufacturing of the same can remain open.
After approval of BGMEA board of directors, Dr. Rubana Huq, President of the official apparel exporters’ body issued a letter and mentioned, “As the biggest industry of the country, we should set instance following the Prime Minister’s directions. In these circumstances, I hope that you would consider the closure of your factories”.
Miran Ali, MD, Bitopi Group and Director, BGMEA, categorically stated that BGMEA has not asked for compulsory closure; the final decision depends on individual owner
Talking to Apparel Resources Arshad Jamal, Chairman, Tusuka Group and also a Director of the BGMEA said, “It’s an anonymous decision from the board. The first consideration was a health risk, then, of course, the cancellation and hold of orders (initially) U$ 2.8 billion affecting 2.4million workers. Although the Government declared to pay the workers (without work), BGMEA has given advisory to factories to declare closure under Section 16 of the labour law (half salary plus full rent).”
He further added, “It is uncertain how long the factories need to be closed, which depends on the spread of the disease.”
“As it is a request, the actual reaction will understandable in a day or two. We should not take responsibility of spreading the virus. The stimulus package will be helpful if it is finally disbursed,” says Mahmud Hasan Khan, MD, Rising Group.