Friday, 8th December, 2023
Friday, 8th December, 2023

Bangladesh’s apparel sector leader wants Covid-19 support until June

BGMEA President Dr Rubana Huq said on Thursday the readymade garment (RMG) sector needs support until next June amid the pandemic.

The chief of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) said, “If the sector can survive up to June 2021, then it can go forward and will have no need for any reward.”

“To my mind we need a little bit of help up to that time for mitigating the Covid-19 impact of.”

The country’s clothing export will go forward further after June, she hoped.

She was speaking at the first session of a dialogue series – ‘Stimulus Package for Sustainable and Inclusive Recovery from Covid-19 Fallout in Bangladesh’ – held at Osmani Memorial Auditorium in the city.

The theme of the first session was ‘Job Retention, Restoration of Demand and Maintain the Supply Chain.’

The country’s sound macro fiscal position, maintained over the last 12 years, has helped to design and implement strategies for recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic, Senior Finance Secretary Abdur Rouf Talukder said while presenting a keynote paper at the session.

Mr Talukder noted that resilience of the export earring sectors coupled with higher inflow of remittance also helped to respond to the crisis that Bangladesh has been facing since March.

He also said the low level of debt-to-GDP ratio created scopes of more borrowing from domestic and international sources.

Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi was the chief guest of the dialogue series. Prime Minister’s Principal Secretary Dr Ahmad Kaikaus attended the programme as the special guest.

World Bank’s (WB) Country Director for Bangladesh and Bhutan Mercy Miyang Tembon, and Japanese Ambassador to Bangladesh Ito Naoki were the dialogue discussants.

Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS) Senior Fellow Dr Naznin Ahmed and SANEM Executive Director Dr Selim Raihan also spoke on the occasion.

The commerce minister, in his speech, said the government took timely measures to fight the pandemic crisis.

Production and supply chain were smooth and it helped to keep the prices of essentials stable. Besides, the government’s OMS also contributed to ensure a stable commodity market.

Tipu Munshi noted that stimulus package has been provided in the forms of low-cost loans to affected micro, small, medium and large industries and services, food security, social protection, special allowances and incentives.

“If we continue our business activities, our people can get money, and the wheel of overall economy of our country will remain in motion,” he added.

Ahmad Kaikaus said a number of time-befitting policy supports, provided under the dynamic leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, are helping the country to bounce back from Covid-19 crisis. The government rolled out various measures to boost the economy. “So, I think we can show a positive attitude towards our nation, towards our people and towards our entrepreneurs through mitigating the pandemic impact,” he opined.

Dr Naznin Ahmed said there is a need for increasing allocation for Palli Sanchay Bank and Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF).

“We need huge allocation for these and similar other institutions.”

The government has allocated Tk 50 billion to Palli Sanchay Bank under stimulus package, but only 50 per cent (of the fund) has been disbursed so far. Around 44,000 people were benefited by the money, she added.

Dr Selim Raihan said, “I would suggest that we must have an independent evaluation of the stimulus packages. We must address the challenges of SMEs in availing the stimulus packages.”

The government may consider another stimulus package in order to fight the impact of the Covid-19 second wave, he opined.

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