The question is if the govt can ensure strict compliance of the safety rules19 July 2021
Editorial Desk :
The country's businesses, particularly the apparel industry, fear cancellation of export orders during the peak season due to the government's decision to keep all factories closed for 14 days from July 23 to curb the coronavirus infections. The fresh imposition of the countrywide lockdown ignoring the recommendations of the businesses will bring disaster to the country's export sector, say RMG factory owners.
A news report published in this daily on Sunday said the president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) has urged the government to allow businesses, especially export-oriented ones, to keep their factories under operation during the lockdown to avoid big economic loss. "Now is the peak time for the RMG sector. There are lots of orders from
the USA and European countries. But if we fail to place shipment on time, buyers will be forced to cancel orders. It will be a self-destructive decision not to allow production during the lockdown for our economy," he said
It is to be noted that from July 23, all kinds of industries, including apparel factories, which remained out of the purview of previous lockdowns, are also to remain closed. The closure will continue till August 5 to contain the surge rate of Covid-19. The manufacturers say that they are now receiving a large number of orders for spring and summer clothing from the USA and Europe, and their factories' earnings have finally begun to reach the pre-pandemic levels. Their failure to make shipment in time will simply lead to the cancellation of orders. Besides, the workers will stay back with their families in villages if they get two weeks off and come in contact with many people, thus increasing the risk of infections.
The country's readymade garment sector contributes around 84 per cent to export earnings. So if the activities of this sector are stopped for two weeks, the economy may face severe damage. In the fiscal year 2020-21, RMG earned $31.45 billion - marking a 12.55 percent growth, according to data from the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB). Leaders of trade bodies of the garment and textiles sector have said Bangladesh's garment export would lose out $119.38 million per day if the factories were shut down for any reason.
We hope the plea of the RGM owners to keep the wheels of their factories running by maintaining all the safety rules will receive patient heating in the corridors of power that be, in the interest of the economy.
The government must have the capacity to ensure strict compliance of the safety measures.
Losing lives of poor workers to earn money is not acceptable. Bureaucratic hold is so strong on the government that what is politically possible is not known to us. But only lockdown and shut down is easy to announce. Massive vaccination must not be a lie.