Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) on Wednesday thanked Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for announcing stimulus package of Tk 5,000 crore for the export-oriented industry to overcome the impact of coronavirus.
"Thank you Prime Minister for your endless empathy for our workers and industry," said BGMEA President Rubana Huq in a message.
She said they spent sleepless nights worrying about the fate of the workers.
"Infinite gratitude to you (PM) for having given us this support at a critical time when orders stand cancelled and we face uncertainty," Huq said.
She also thanked the Prime Minister for paying attention to their request for a lifeline at the most challenging time ever in the history of RMG. "Thank you for listening. Thank you for helping out all including the needy and the most under privileged."
This money will be used for providing the salaries and wages of workers and employees only.
Some 936 factories reported 800.18 million pieces worth $2.58 billion export order cancellations or held up affecting 1.92 million workers, BGMEA said on Wednesday.
Bangladesh is the second largest exporter of readymade goods after China and the country earns the majority of its foreign currencies from this sector.
Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) has urged the government to bring together its global allies and partners in a coordinated endeavour in a bid to protect the people and economy from the adverse impact of coronavirus.
The DCCI, in a media statement, said it also feels the government may approach emergency financing facilities of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the World Bank as an alternative financing stream against low internal revenue trend.
Alongside, the chamber body on Tuesday said, the government may negotiate with international development partners seeking interest waiver of the debt payment for next one year.
The coronavirus outbreak has profound impact on global economy and human lives worldwide.
This outbreak has already triggered the fear of global recession affecting industrial production, global supply chain, aviation & hospitability industry, retail business, demand for products and services and jobs.
Meanwhile, UNCTAD estimated global growth would slow down maximum 1.5 percent in 2020 and ILO warned about 25 million jobs could be lost worldwide due to outbreak.
ADB predicted earlier that Bangladesh economy may contract by 1.1 of GDP with 894,930 job loss. Bangladesh has already experienced a disruption in the supply chain of RMG industry, leather and pharmaceutical industry, SME, tourism and aviation.
The geo-economic meltdown also affected the major export destinations of Bangladesh like European Union (EU), the USA, the UK and Canada, said the DCCI.
To tackle the outbreak, many EU countries and other parts of the world have enforced lockdown which results in shutdown of high-street retail businesses and trade network to the large extent, it said.
In the wake of this, DCCI said export of Bangladesh to these destinations have fallen.
This downward trend of cross-border trade is set to undermine both the local and export oriented industries of Bangladesh, it said.
Of the export basket of Bangladesh, large export sector RMG alone is going to incur US$2 billion export loss and pharmaceutical, leather and agro processing and other sectors may incur substantial amount of loss, according to DCCI.
Amidst this looming situation, private sector-the lifeline to the economy- needs to be supported for the economic interest of Bangladesh, it said.
In line with this, to keep economic effects minimum, DCCI put forwards some economic recovery-friendly recommendations in terms of policy measures and reforms.
It urged Bangladesh Bank to create an Emergency Fund with 1 percent interest using foreign exchange reserve to support the financially stressed businesses for paying salary of their workforce.
In addition, Bangladesh Bank can waive bank interest of affected export-oriented manufacturing sectors for the next one year, the chamber body said.
Alongside, DCCI said, other promising export sectors can be brought under the scope of EDF scheme. Bangladesh bank can also consider extension of repayment period for worst affected businesses.
For the liquidity in banking sector, Bangladesh Bank may relax the Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) threshold for next year, it suggested.
The DCCI said it also feels as a fiscal burden reduction move of the private sector, the government may waive all forms of AT and VAT for both import and local stages, including food and essentials items, health, hygiene instruments, medical kits and export-oriented manufacturing industry, for the next one year which will help businesses to turn-around to the some extent.
It said National Board of Revenue (NBR) may consider individual and corporate tax concession to support the victims.
The DCCI hailed all decisions of the government for the economy in the given time so far.
"However, DCCI affirms and supports any future measure of the government to control the spread the ripple effects of coronavirus on the economy," the media statement reads.
The DCCI said consideration of their recommendations will enable private and public sector to underpin local economic growth and overcome the global crisis.
Group Sdn Bhd (“edotco”), an integrated telecommunications infrastructure services provider, announced the appointment of Ricky Steyn as the new Country Managing Director of edotco Bangladesh.
Under the new leadership, edotco is set to reinforce its commitment and grow its presence in the nation through the provision of innovative next generation telecommunication solutions and continued service delivery excellence to its customers.
Leading an experienced team, this new appointment reaffirms edotco’s commitment to play a significant role in enabling the country ready for 5G.
“Bangladesh’s digital transformation journey is moving at a fast pace. With numerous services now digitalized, we are certain that we can play a key role in ensuring the right sharable infrastructure is in place to drive this growth further.” said Ricky.
“The right infrastructure in a growing economy like this is key in ensuring reliable and fast network services, and independent infrastructure companies like us are well positioned to facilitate and manage this development.”, he said.
Dettol, one of the renowned brands of antiseptic soap in the market, is conducting a hygiene campaign throughout the country to raise awareness among retailers about coronavirus or Covid- 19.
As part of the campaign, representatives of the brand are encouraging all of their retailers across the country to keep their hands clean and follow a healthy lifestyle, according to a press release.
Besides, all of the retailers were provided with free-of-cost Dettol antiseptic soaps to keep them out of the corona infection.
They have already reached over 1 lakh retailers across the country and are planning to continue the activism.
Marketing manager of Dettol Bangladesh Farnaz Karim said, “As a responsible brand, we should stand beside people at such an hour of crisis. From the very start of the situation, Dettol has been working so that panic can’t spread among people and everyone can follow proper ways to prevent corona.”
They are also conducting campaign on television channels and social media instructing the ways of remaining safe amid the pandemic, he said.
As part of that, the brand is helping their business partners in learning the proper way of hand hygiene, Farnaz said, adding that everyone should follow the instructions of World Health Organization and the Bangladesh government.
Banks will remain open during the holidays declared by the government from March 26 to April 4 to facilitate the financial transaction for their clients.
According to a top official of Bangladesh Bank, banks will keep their operation on from 10am to 1:30pm during the government-declared 10-day holiday against the backdrop of coronavirus outbreak in the country.
He, however, said transaction can be made from 10am to 12 noon.
Meanwhile, the central bank in a circular on March 22 asked all commercial banks to keep adequate cash in their branches to ensure services to their clients during any lockdown.
It advised the bank managements to take help from the local administration to keep their services on during the holiday periods.
The government on Monday declared holidays from March 26 to April 4, aiming to prevent the transmission of deadly coronavirus.
Cabinet secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam announced the decision from a meeting at the secretariat.
Besides, the members of Armed Forces will remain in the field from Tuesday to help the civil admiration so that people maintain social distancing and suspects maintain quarantine.
He said the government has announced general holidays for five days from March 26 to April 2 while April 3 and 4 are weekly holidays.
However, kitchen markets, hospitals and pharmacies will remain open as usual, the Cabinet secretary said.