Friday, 12th April, 2024
Friday, 12th April, 2024

Govt. trying to revive trade through stimulus packages: Tipu

Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi today
said that the government is trying to revive the country’s trade and
commerce, which was affected due to COVID-19 pandemic, through various
stimulus packages announced by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

In the medium-term, he suggested that Bangladesh should look for
new markets through product diversification.

The commerce minister said this while addressing a virtual dialogue
on “Recovery of the Apparels Sectors from the COVID-19 Crisis: Is a
Value Chain based Solution Possible?”.

The dialogue was organised by the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD)
in partnership with Southern Voice, said a CPD press release.

The commerce minister also called for a collective effort from the
brands, buyers, manufacturers and the government.

The speakers at the dialogue called for forging partnership and
collaboration between the governments of sourcing and supplying
countries, brands, suppliers and workers to ensure better recovery of
the apparel sector.

They said the global apparel value chain has experienced an
unprecedented disruption in view of the COVID-19 pandemic. Unlike the
earlier crisis, all kinds of activities across the value chain
collapsed due to this pandemic, which adversely affected the
up-and-down stream including apparel suppliers, workers, raw material
suppliers, brands, and consumers.

They observed that addressing medium-term challenges requires
innovative strategies and tools to tackle a prolonged period of demand
slump. Hence, a collaborative approach between the government, brands
and suppliers will be the key to ensure better recovery of the apparel
sector.

KM Abdus Salam, Secretary of the Ministry of Labour and Employment,
while speaking as special guest, said the government is taking various
social safety programmes like the workers’ welfare fund.

He stated that funds for such programmes are available, but a
complete list of labours needs to be provided before distribution.

Salam also opined that sudden retrenchment of labours could be
stopped through stronger employment policies.

Harry Verweij, Ambassador of the Netherlands, who joined the
virtual dialogue as special guest, highlighted how the Netherlands had
advised its brands not to cancel orders even during the second wave of
the pandemic.

CPD Chairman Prof Rehman Sobhan suggested for regional response for
assisting the supplier and the supply chain. He also proposed a
micro-insurance to ensure the security of the labours.

Such social insurance programmes would also require a collaborative
approach from the buyers, manufacturers and the government.

BGMEA President Dr Rubana Huq speaking as guest of honour said that
the apparel sector of Bangladesh could take an inward-looking
approach.

“Bangladesh can focus on local demand, as there is a lack of global
demand,” she added.

Dr Khondaker Golam Moazzem, Research Director, CPD while making the
keynote presentation stated that the study found that the lack of
initiatives of major market players has kept suppliers and the workers
in uncertainty to address the medium-term challenges.

Dr Moazzem also shared that major market players, including brands,
buyers and governments of sourcing countries, will have to undertake
responsible business practices (RBPs) for sustainable recovery.

To ensure the earliest recovery, framework of a value chain based
distributive approach was proposed in the presentation.

CPD’s Executive Director, Dr Fahmida Khatun, Syed Sultan Uddin
Ahmmed, Specialist on Worker Activities, International Labour
Organization (ILO), ACTRAV-South Asia, Amirul Hoque Amin; President,
National Garments Workers Federation (NGWF), Kalpona Akter, Executive
Director, Bangladesh Center for Workers Solidarity (BCWS), Ziaur
Rahman, Regional Country Manager of Bangladesh, Pakistan and Ethiopia
H&M, Professor Mustafizur Rahman, Distinguished Fellow, CPD, among
others, spoke at the dialogue.

High-level policy makers, political leaders, academics, development
practitioners, business leaders, civil society activists,
international development partners and journalists were present at the
dialogue.

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