Even as the readymade garment exporters were busy figuring out the business loss that the COVID-19 outbreak has caused the apparel manufacturing sector of the country, the Government floated a Taka 50 billion Coronavirus bailout fund to help export-oriented industries pay the workers’ wages.
However, the garment makers feel, this is not enough to help the sector as it would just suffice to pay a month’s salary.
“Taka 5,000 crore will meet only one month’s salaries of workers and employees at all export-oriented sectors, including those in the apparel business,” stated President of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) Dr. Rubana Huq speaking to the media.
According to media reports, as part of the Government’s bailout package, the country’s central bank, the Bangladesh Bank would release this amount to the commercial banks which in turn will disburse loans to the garment makers after receiving estimates from the concerned manufacturers as to the amount they would need to pay salary to the workers.
Payable within the next 2 years with a grace period of 6 months, the garment makers, who avail of this facility, would reportedly have to pay interest of 2 per cent on the loan taken.
The BGMEA President nevertheless underlined that if the situation (owing to COVID-19 outbreak) does not improve in the country as well as globally, the garment makers would have to seek package equivalent to the salary of 2 months.
“Besides, we are in constant discussion with our buyers for payment against their import orders and apparel items already produced here,” Dr. Rubana further underlined.