President of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) Dr Rubana Huq urged the owners to consider closure of their factories as the nation is fighting to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
In a message, she said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina gave specific guidance to fight COVID-19 and asked to take cautionary steps for the safety and wellbeing of everyone.
“Following the Prime Minister, we should set an example as we are the largest industry of the country. We hope you will consider shutting down factories in due time,” she added.
The BGMEA President said factories which want to make personal protective equipment (PPE) can remain open and their workers can move. She said people already donated fabrics and even more ready to make for free.
Rubana said if anybody wants to keep factories open, they will have to ensure maximum safety and hygiene for their workers and take responsibility of their workers.
Bangladesh, the second largest exporter of readymade goods after China, earns majority of its foreign currencies from this sector which employs more than four million people, mostly women.
When coronavirus outbreak disrupted global supply chain and led to cancellation of orders and delay in shipment, the BGMEA turned to the government for help.
So far, 959 factories reported 826.42 million pieces worth $2.67 billion export have either been cancelled or held up affecting an estimated 1.95 million workers.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday announced a stimulus package of Tk 5,000 crore for the export-oriented industry to overcome the impact of COVID-19.