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Apparel factories to remain open amid lockdown, says BGMEA

  • Published at 09:51 pm April 3rd, 2021
RMG apparel industry
Apparel industry insiders fear that they will lose buyers if the factories remain closed Syed Zakir Hossain/Dhaka Tribune

Bourses to continue trading if banks remain open

The country's readymade garment (RMG) factories will remain open despite the government's announcement of a weeklong lockdown across the country for curbing the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic's second wave, said the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) yesterday.

Rubana Huq, the apparel trade body's president, told the media that the apparel factories will remain open in compliance with all government directives.

Social distancing will be enforced in the factories to prevent workers from being infected by Covid-19, she added.

Abdus Salam Murshedy, president of the Exporters Association of Bangladesh (EAB) and former president of the BGMEA, said workers are safer inside the factories than they are outside.

“That is why we will keep the factories open as before. However, we will be more careful than we were before about following the hygiene rules,” he added.

In this regard, Siddiqur Rahman, former president of BGMEA and vice-president of theFederation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI), said that even last year, the garments sector and the export sector were outside the purview of lockdowns. 

“We hope that this year too, the government will keep the garment sector free from a lockdown,” he added.

Products for which orders came three or four months ago need to be made, he said, mentioning that there was no disaster in the garment sector last time as the hygiene rules were followed. 

Also Read - Bangladesh goes into full lockdown for a week from Monday

“I hope there will be no problems this year either,” he added.

Bourses to stay open if banks do

Both the country's stock markets, Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE) and Chittagong Stock Exchange (CSE), will remain open if the banks are open as well, they said in separate statements yesterday.

“Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, if the banking activities remain open, share trading at the country’s premier market will continue for the sake of investors’ interest,” said a DSE statement on the day.

The DSE management also urged investors not to panic if trading was suspended at any point, it added.

Share trading at the Dhaka and Chittagong stock exchanges remained closed for 66 days last year due to the pandemic and subsequent countrywide shutdown.

The confusion about whether the bourses will remain open comes on the heels of the government declaration of a weeklong lockdown to curb the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, which recorded a sudden sharp rise in the last two weeks.

State Minister for Public Administration Farhad Hossain on the day confirmed the development but added: “All offices and courts will be closed during this lockdown but industries and factories will continue to operate following health guidelines and ensuring shifting duty."

In a media briefing at his residence, Obaidul Quader, the Road Transport and Bridges Minister and Awami League general secretary, made the announcement of the lockdown starting Monday.

He also urged the people to follow health guidelines religiously, to protect themselves and people around them from Covid-19.

State Minister for Public Administration Farhad Hossain told Dhaka Tribune that all offices and courts will be closed during this lockdown but industries and factories will continue to operate following health guidelines and ensuring shifting duty.

The country has so far recorded 624,594 cases and  9,155 deaths. While the mortality rate on Wednesday stood at 1.47%, the number of recoveries went up to 547,411.

Bangladesh on Friday also recorded the highest ever seven-day moving average of deaths – 46.43 – since the pandemic broke out in March last year.

Besides, Friday’s test positivity rate – 23.28% – was the highest recorded in the last seven months.

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