Sammilita Parishad has officially announced Faruque Hassan, Managing Director of Giant Group and former Senior Vice-President of the BGMEA, as its panel leader for the election 2021-22.
“Sammilita Parishad has nominated me as the panel leader and I will contest the election as per the decision,” Hassan said even as current BGMEA President Dr. Rubana Huq earlier, on her part said, “I will step down after end of my tenure….”
While latest reports suggest ABM Samsuddin, who is the Chairman of Hannan Group and a former Vice-President of the BGMEA will lead the forum in the next BGMEA election. “Forum has nominated me as the panel leader at a group meeting…,” maintained Samsuddin interacting with the media, while Jahangir Alam, Managing Director of Design and Sources, is said to be leading the Swadhinata Parishad.
The tenure of the existing board is set to expire by April this year even as reports have earlier been doing rounds that there was an attempt to continue the negotiation model for running the trade body, but a group consisting of a former President, Vice President, Directors as well as general members reportedly scrapped the plan with the view to bring accountability among the elected leaders while maintaining that electing leaders through voting would make them accountable and responsible towards the members to solve their problems. All eyes are now on who would be the next BGMEA President to lead the industry.
In a couple of months, the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), in all probability, would hold the elections for the next term.
The apex garment makers’ body in the country (the BGMEA) has formed a board to hold the election. With reference to the same, an election appellate has also been constituted, which is reportedly headed by Prof Syed Ferhat Anwar (Director of the Institute of Business Administration, University of Dhaka) while other members are Abul Kasem Khan (Chairperson at the Business Initiative Leading Development), and Habibullah N Karim (Vice-President at the Bangladesh Employers’ Federation) while the election appellate board is headed by Kamran T Rahman (President at Bangladesh Employers’ Federation), and the other members are Syed Nasim Manzur (former President of the Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry), and, Shafquat Haider (Chief Executive Officer of the Consortium for Business Development Services).
In the emergency meeting of BGMEA board held earlier virtually, which was chaired by the then First Vice-President Mohammad Abdus Salam, the board meeting reportedly proposed extending the term of the existing committee for at least three to six months to finish some incomplete tasks even as reports claimed the board wanted to extend its term by three to six months for making a biometric list of the members.
“I will step down after end of my tenure, no matter the panel of the former presidents extends the term of the current board or not,” reportedly stated Rubana nonetheless while referring to the panel of former presidents of BGMEA which was to hold a meeting to discuss the next election of the association along with six-month extension of the current committee.
Meanwhile, former presidents’ forum meeting was held in which it was reportedly decided that the BGMEA was going to hold its next election as per regular schedule. Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi reportedly presided over the meeting as president of BGMEA’s former presidents’ forum.
Among others former Presidents of BGMEA, Anisur Rahman Sinha, Mostafa Golam Quddus, Kutubuddin Ahmed, Quazi Moniruzzaman, Anwar-Ul-Alam Chowdhury (Parvez), Abdus Salam Murshedy, SM Fazlul Hoque, Md Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin, Siddiqur Rahman and Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) Mayor Md Atiqul Islam were also present at the meeting.
The former BGMEA President’s forum meeting was held following the emergency board meeting of BGMEA, which took place on 20 December 2020, which sought its opinion on tenure extension of the current committee.
After the meeting ended, former BGMEA president Abdus Salam Murshedy said, “The former president’s forum has decided that BGMEA will hold its next election as per regular procedure without any extension or consensus with any panel.”
The election board announced the election schedule (4 April, 2021) on 12 January, 2021 even as it maintained 25 February 2021 as the last date of nomination paper submission by candidates while 4 March, 2021 as the last date of candidature withdrawal.
Apparel entrepreneurs usually compete in BGMEA elections to get a position in the organisation’s 35-member governing body under two panels of BGMEA registered members – Forum and Sammilita Parishad.
It may be mentioned here that on 19 April 2019, the current board took the charge of the association — the BGMEA with around 4,500 members run by a 35-member board of Directors, including seven Vice-Presidents — for the 2019-2020 term even as according to the Commerce Ministry, a trade organisation has to hold an election at least 15 days before the expiry of the existing committee.
And as per the BGMEA’s constitution, the current committee has a legal obligation to form an election board at least 90 days before the election and the election board should complete an updated voter list at least 60 days before the election and then distribute nomination papers to the aspirant candidates.
“We welcome the new board to conduct the next election,” reportedly maintained BGMEA Vice-President Moshiul Azam Shajal speaking to the media earlier, adding that it was a step forward in the continuation of democratic practices by the apparel exporters.
Even though the apparel makers usually elect the leader of their sector’s apex trade body for two years under two panels of the registered members – Forum and Sammilita Parishad, since September 2015, the BGMEA has been selecting presidents on a consensus between members of the two platforms.
At the end of the tenure of Md Atiqul Islam, the current mayor of Dhaka North City Corporation, the consensus to choose a leader through negotiation was initiated. Under the so-called consensus, Parishad got five posts including that of the President, first Vice-President, Senior Vice-President, Second Vice-President and one Vice-President.
On the other hand, the Forum was given three Vice-President posts.
Subsequently, Md Siddiqur Rahman ran the association from September 2015 until April 2019. He served the association for three years and seven months, after getting extension three times from the Department of Trade Organisation (DTO) of the Commerce Ministry and at the end of Rahman’s tenure, the Forum platform was supposed to take the BGMEA’s helm, but the trade body had to hold an election to transit power to Forum after a group of exporters formed a new platform called the Swadhinata Parishad to contest through direct voting to reinstate their voting rights.
The Forum, led by Dr Rubana Huq, the current BGMEA President, won the election and took charge for the 2019-2020 term.
The election should be held through direct voting as it makes a leader more accountable towards its members. In elections, a contestant makes a commitment to winning and it brings responsibility, Shahidullah Azim, a former BGMEA Vice-President, told the media.
Meanwhile, Sammilita Parishad has officially announced Faruque Hassan, Managing Director of Giant Group and former Senior Vice-President of the BGMEA, as its panel leader for the election 2021-22.
Even reports are doing rounds that Dr. Rubana Huq might contest the next election as the panel leader of Forum, even though Rubana, on her part, declined to comment on this. However, as per latest available reports now, the Forum has reportedly nominated ABM Samsuddin, who is the Chairman of Hannan Group and a former Vice-President of the BGMEA to lead in the next BGMEA election.
So, as the all-important BGMEA election is getting closer with each passing day, all are now waiting with bated breath to see who is going to be next president to lead the apex garment makers’ body in Bangladesh.