Garment makers have urged transportation service providers to refrain from announcing protests such as strikes that disrupt the country’s international trade to allow the economy to recover from pandemic-induced losses.
“It is unfortunate,” said Syed Nazrul Islam, acting president of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), at a view-exchange meeting yesterday.
Some organisations related to import and export-based logistic support like trucks, covered vans and prime movers very often enforce work abstentions, disrupting the trade, he told the event organised by the BGMEA Chattogram office on its premises.
Two organisations of owners and workers of these vehicles observed a 36-hour work abstention since September 21 over a 15-point demand, badly disrupting goods transportation and operations at the Chattogram port.
Meanwhile, the Bangladesh Truck-Covered Van, Tank Lorry, Prime Mover Owners and Workers’ Coordination Council called a 48-hour work abstention from September 27 over almost similar demands.
The global pandemic came down heavily on the garment sector while many factories faced closures, said the BGMEA leader.
Since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, at least 281 factories in Dhaka and 30 in Chattogram have had to shut down, he informed.
The sector has faced the disaster with prompt support from the government and us currently trying to recover by welcoming a new flow of orders with cheaper rates, he said.
Islam informed that Chattogram’s share of garment export had come down from 40 per cent in the mid-80s to 15 per cent at present.
Meanwhile, almost 400 of the region’s 697 registered factories are now closed, he said.
He said high land prices and a lack of decision-taking authority in banks in Chattogram discourages entrepreneurs from investing here.
Pointing out that the region housed no bank head office, Islam stressed on allowing Chattogram offices to take decisions, such as those of the export promotion bureau, investment board and joint stock company, to resolve industrial issues.
Entrepreneurs will not need to go to Dhaka, he added.
The BGMEA leaders at the meeting demanded allocating land at low price and infrastructure facilities at special economic zones in Mirsarai and others to set up exclusive garment villages.
BGMEA former first vice president Nasir Uddin Chowdhury urged introducing a one-stop service to reduce time taken for importing and exporting goods, aiming at reducing the sector’s lead time.
BGMEA former first vice presidents SM Abu Tayyab, MA Salam and Moinuddin Mintu also spoke.