A group of apparel businessmen are challenging the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association’s (BGMEA) current board of directors over the extension of their term.
Under the banner of Shadhinata Parishad, a newly formed panel, the traders on Saturday threatened to take legal action unless the executive board is dissolved to make way for a fresh election.
Some board member and former leaders are also in favour of holding election instead of extending the board’s tenure to create new and effective leadership.
Md Jahangir Alam, convener of the Swadhinata Parishad, told reporters at a press conference in the capital on Saturday: “RMG industry is the driver of Bangladesh economy.
BGMEA is organisation of the apparel owners. Now, it has turned into an ineffective and static organisation due to its operation with an unelected leadership.”
The extension of the current executive board is not legal because the time was extended by one year by the Department of Trade Organisation (DTO), a Commerce Ministry wing, after the declaration of the election schedule by the BGMEA, said Jahangir.
“If necessary we will go for legal action in the court so that the BGMEA becomes bound to hold election and the government cancels the extension,” he added.
In December last year, the BGMEA Election Board announced schedule for the biennial election of its 35 member board of directors. As per the schedule, the election was supposed to be held on March 7 this year.
On January 28, the government once again extended the tenure of the current board by one year.
“From trusted sources, we came to know that the government has extended the tenure considering the issues of BGMEA building demolition, setting up a wage board and the upcoming general elections,” said Jahangir.
“But I think these are not logical grounds if a new and dynamic leadership emerges through an election,” he added.
On the other hand, former BGMEA president Abdus Salam Murshedy told the Dhaka Tribune that the extension was a consensus among stakeholders including the former president and it was for the betterment of the sector.
“It would help us face challenges such as new wage, completion of Accord and Alliance inspection and general election,” he said.
Shadhinata Parishad members claimed they had served a letter to the Commerce Ministry demanding cancellation of the extension and change the government’s on BGMEA election.
Many industry leaders also want an election to make the organization more effective.
“It is bad practice to stay in leadership after the expiry of tenure. Its a great barrier in the way of creating new and dynamic leadership,” a BGMEA board member, who preferred not to be named, told the Dhaka tribune.
So the government should not entertain this type of leadership, he added.
“Any one can form a platform and has rights to compete in the election, but the question is whether they have the strength to reach the goal,” seeking anonymity, a former BGMEA leader told the Dhaka Tribune.
“However, I think the process of election should continue as it will enhance the strength of the organization,” he said.