Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) has said they continue recommending closure of all factories as the general holiday has been extended until April 14.
"We continue recommending closure for factories," BGMEA President Dr Rubana Huq said in a message on Sunday night.
She said they are urging all BGMEA members to pay the March salaries for the workers as soon as possible. "For their assistance, we’ve also opened a cell at the BGMEA," she said.
Earlier on Saturday, BGMEA urged all owners to keep their factories closed until April 11 considering the overall situation.
Meanwhile, some 1108 factories reported 947.88 million pieces worth $3.02 billion export cancelled or held up affecting 2.19 million workers as of 6pm on Sunday, according to BGMEA.
PRAN-RFL Group, one of the business conglomerates of Bangladesh, has stood beside the helpless and poor people who were affected by the lockdown due to coronavirus outbreak. The group is providing food items to the poor people in many parts of the country including the capital.
The food items include rice, pulses, salt, biscuit and noodles. The items were distributed among several thousand families on Thursday and Saturday in various parts of Dhaka city and Gazipur, Narsingdi, Habiganj, Rajshahi, Natore, Dinajpur and Rangpur.
Local MP and administration helped in distributing the products, said a press release.
Kamruzzaman Kamal, Marketing Director at PRAN-RFL Group, said “As a business conglomerate, we are working in many ways in this transition period of the country as part of our corporate social responsibility. At this moment, many especially poor people are in distress as they are workless. We are distributing food stuff among them in various parts of the country.”
“The group is also providing different products to various social organisations to distribute those among helpless people. We hope the country will overcome from the crisis with the effort of all,” he added
Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) has urged the government to create a three-year Emergency Fund with 1 percent interest to support the financially stressed local Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and informal sector for paying salary to their workers.
MSMEs with turnover Tk 1 crore can get loan with 1 percent interest and 2 percent interest for MSMES over 1 crore turnover, said the DCCI on Friday.
Factories located in the BSCIC industrial parks across the country also need to be brought under this emergency fund for paying salary and labour wages, said the chamber body.
MSMEs should be allowed a one-year grace period for this loan, it said.
Since coronavirus affects local export business to the European Union (EU) and the USA and the global trading system, DCCI urged the government to negotiate with relevant counterparts to restore the GSP facility in the US market and gain GSP plus facility to the EU market in near future.
DCCI felt that consideration of these opportune recommendations will enable MSMEs to sustain in this difficult and overcome the crisis and revive steering the economic growth in the near future.
It also urged the government to create a fund for public health safety.
Business, investment and economic activities are adversely impacted due to widespread outbreak of coronavirus globally, said DCCI in a media release.
Bangladesh’s economy encompassing export-oriented industries and local market-orientated manufacturing, agro processing and service industries, micro, small and medium enterprises, including trading businesses, transport, hotel, restaurant, grocery and informal sector comprising floating high small traders, shops have already encountered a severe blow appearing from this outbreak, it said.
Bangladesh under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has undertaken timely and laudable measures to restrain the nerve-wracking consequences of this pandemic on businesses as well as public health, DCCI said.
It appreciated timely leadership of Prime Minister for pro-economic decisions during this precarious situation and creating a fund of Tk 5,000 crore for export oriented industries to support the salary and wages of their workforce.
This measure will surely leverage export-oriented industries as deferral, cancellation and drying-up of export orders put revenue stream of these industries at risk, DCCI said.
Though MSMEs of formal and informal sectors play important roles in driving the growth of the economy and creating employment opportunities, the financial strength of MSMEs becomes fragile, it said.
In order to reduce tax burden of MSMEs allowing cash flow in hand in some extent, DCCI proposed to defer submission of income tax of FY2019-20 for impacted MSMEs and entrepreneurs.
Impacted MSMEs are to be facilitated to pay the outstanding income tax splitting into three installments adjusting with tax returns applicable for subsequent three years without any penalty, it said.
Informal sector is the worst victim of the current onslaught of the coronavirus pandemic. Workers engaged in informal sector are most vulnerable to job loss.
Considering this, job loss victim should be brought under social safety net program of the Government.
Due to the outbreak, the delivery of containers from the sea ports and land ports has slowed. Importers have to pay port demurrage for delaying clearance goods, said DCCI.
Considering current standstill state and limited port operations, port demurrage and bank charges for MSMEs engaged in export oriented manufacturing activities, import businesses can be waived, it said.
Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) on Thursday said buyers have so far cancelled orders worth US$ 3 billion following the outbreak of coronavirus.
About 1,092 factories reported that 943.12 million pieces of RMG products worth US$ 3 billion have either been cancelled or held up until 5pm on Thursday, according to BGMEA sources.
This cancellation will affect approximately 2.16 million Bangladeshi workers, the sources said.
Earlier on March 23, BGMEA President Dr Rubana Huq said buyers so far cancelled orders worth US$ 1.48 billion.
On a video message she said “We’re facing a dire situation. All the buyers from different places, countries and continents are suspending the orders.”
She also said there are 12 lakh workers in those factories.
PRAN-RFL group, a local business corporation, has prepared an isolation unit at the Amjad Khan Chowdhury Memorial Hospital to provide treatment of coronavirus or COVID-19 infected patients in Natore.
Kamruzzaman Kamal, Marketing Director of PRAN-RFL group, said “We have already completed all the preparation of the isolation unit. The patient will get the treatment from the hospital free of cost.”
“We have already sent a letter to the Directorate General of Health Services for permission and hope we will get it by this week.”, he added.
Dr Rajib ul Islam, Coordinator of the hospital, said that a special medical team comprising of doctors are ready to give the treatment while Civil Surgeon of the district will supervise the isolation unit.
“Primarily, we have prepared 20-bed isolation unit. ICU facility will be available for the serious patient.”, he said.
“We have arranged all necessary medical equipment for treatment and personal safety of doctors and nurses. The isolation unit is established in a separate building to avoid hampering treatment of patients with other ailments.”, he added.