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BGMEA plans reopening factories early next month in phases

  • Published at 01:53 pm April 21st, 2020
Photo: Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune

A good number of export-oriented apparel factories are now having export orders, reveals in a survey of the apex trade body

Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) is planning to reopen apparel factories early next month in phases with foolproof safety measures for their workers. 

A good number of export-oriented apparel factories are now having export orders, reveals in a survey of the apex trade body.

Readymade Garment (RMG) factories are now largely closed, except for a few making Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

To assess the actual state of affairs, the BGMEA has conducted a survey before deciding on production resumption, a BGMEA leader has told Dhaka Tribune.

“BGMEA's first priority is ensuring the workers’ safety before factory reopening decision based on the available work orders and overall Covid-19 pandemic situation in the country,” Faisal Samad Senior Vice President of BGMEA told Dhaka Tribune. 

He said they were in discussion about the options for the manufacturers on reopening factories by maintaining social distancing guidelines and ensuring adequate safety.

Through the survey, BGMEA wanted to know how many orders were lying pending, their production stages and last dates for shipments, said Faisal, also the managing director of Surma Garments Ltd.

“We found out that there were many pending orders awaiting shipments in different stages, most of them being at their finishing level,” said the business leader. 

“But I cannot say right away the exact reopening date before the April 25 deadline of the government ends.”

Another BGMEA leader said factories would be reopened early next month in phases complying with the government’s instructions on health issues to ensure workers’ safety.

“Two- thirds work orders were either canceled or held up by global brands and retailers. So the factories will be reopened in phases, maintaining social distancing guidelines,” BGMEA Vice President Arshad Jamal Dipu said.

By the first week of May, a limited number of factories might resume work, as majority factories had no work orders due to the global corinavirus pandemic, he added.

To ensure six feet distance between two workers, exporters were going to reduce the number of machine in a production line so that smaller number of workers could work on a particular floor of a factory, said Dipu, also Chairman of Tusuka Fashions Ltd. 

To ensure physical distancing, there would be a 30 minutes gap for workers entering for each line of a factory, he added.

At the entrance, thermal scanner would be set up and arrangements for spraying ensured.

Besides, the number of workers entitled for each toilet was reduced from 25 to 15 to ensure hygienic standards at the workplaces, said the business leader. 

According to the latest data of BGMEA, there are 2274 active member factories in the country, where about 24.72 lakh people are employed. 

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