Talk, avoid strike: garment traders

Various bodies of the country’s export-oriented apparel business owners on Tuesday urged political parties to shun the ongoing confrontational politics, calling it ‘detrimental to life and property’. The also requested the political parties to refrain from enforcing harmful programmes like shutdown in the larger interest of the country’s economy and the readymade garment industry.
The leaders of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers’ and Exporters’ Association (BGMEA), Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers’ and Exporters’ Association (BKMEA) and the Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMA) gave the call from a joint press conference organised at the BGMEA building.
BGMEA President Atiqul Islam said, “Please give us relief by shunning the politics of confrontation, and hold dialogue as early as possible. Our back is against the wall. We can’t tolerate it any longer.”
He claimed that a day’s shutdown cost around Tk 2 billion in losses to the garment industry.
BKMEA President Selim Osman, BTMA President Jahangir Al-Amin, BGMEA Vice-President SA Mannan Kochi and BKMEA Vice-President Md Hatem were present at the press conference.
Atiqul Islam said, “Shutdown has now become a curse for the apparel sector. The foreign buyers are cancelling orders for delayed delivery. Besides, it has become difficult to secure fresh orders.”
“Timely shipment of export goods through airway is also costing more. As a result, the apparel business owners incurring loss,” he added.
The BGMEA chief also referred to the losses of its 32 member-factories due to the recent frequent shutdowns.
He said export orders worth US $2.6 million of 32 factories had so far been cancelled due to the frequent strikes. The buyers demanded about US $1.13 million in discounts as the exporters failed to make the shipments timely (due to shutdown) while the exporters had to count air freights worth US$ 3.05 million.
Islam apprehended that if the country’s ongoing political crisis continued, Bangladesh’s apparel business would step toward destruction like that of Sri Lanka.
“We’re for the country’s welfare. But it’s not possible to sustain the apparel business in view of the recent destructive activities resorted to by the political parties.”
“So, we request, ‘please join the parliament for talks for the sake of the country’s economy and its garment industry’,” he said.


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