Talking about the financial crisis before Eid, the ready-made garment and textile traders are again seeking loans to pay salaries and bonuses to the workers. They have asked for a loan to pay their salaries, allowances and bonuses in April, May and June on the same terms as last time.
Faruk Hasan, president of BGMEA, BKMEA, AKM Selim Osman, president of BKMEA and Mohammad Ali Khokon, president of BTMA, a textile owners’ association, wrote to Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal on Sunday. Copies of the letter have also been sent to the Chief Secretary of the Prime Minister’s Office, Senior Secretary of the Finance Department and the Governor of Bangladesh Bank.
The letter claims that many countries around the world are still in lockdown due to the second wave of corona. As a result, buyers who promised to pay are now failing. In such a situation, there is a lot of pressure on the owners to pay salaries and allowances and bonuses to the workers of the factories before Eid. Due to the financial crisis, it has become difficult to provide money for the payment of wages and bonuses to the workers. In such a situation, in order to support the export-oriented garment industry, it is necessary to give loans on easy terms as before to pay salaries, allowances and bonuses to the workers for the months of April, May and June.
Confirming the matter, BKMEA vice-president Mohammad Hatem told Prothom Alo, “Due to the second wave of corona, many buyers are not paying for the export of garments on time.” They are asking for 60 to 180 days. In addition, many buyers have to pay a discount. Again, extra money is required to pay salary-allowance and Eid bonus before Eid. Most factory owners do not have enough money. That is why we have asked for a loan from the government. ‘
Due to Corona, one purchase order after another was canceled and suspension orders came in March. When the owners of the garment industry panicked, the government announced an incentive package of Tk 5,000 crore to pay export-oriented workers three months’ wages in April, May and June. The service charge against this loan was 2 percent. Later, the owners of the garment industry demanded a loan for another month’s wages. The government also agreed. Then the size of the fund increased to Tk 9,017 crore. However, for the fourth month, the owners of the loan will have to pay interest of 4 and a half percent. The government will provide the remaining 4 and a half percent subsidy.
Speaking of the financial crisis, traders in the readymade garments and textile sector again want three-month salary-allowance and bonus loans for the workers.
Although the package was announced for the workers and employees of export-oriented industries, most of the 1,600 factory owners have taken loans from the fund. The grace period of this loan was six months. The next 18 months were to repay the loan. However, late last year, two garment owners’ organizations, BGMEA and BKMEA, demanded an extension of the grace period for incentive loans. The government also accepted it.
In the last week of February, the finance ministry directed the governor of Bangladesh Bank to give an additional six months from March 1 to repay the loans taken from the incentive fund. As a result, the owners will have to pay the loan installments from next September.