118 garment factories were closed during the Corona period
Export-oriented factories have come under tremendous pressure as global demand for products has declined since Corona’s launch. As a result, at least 118 ready-made garment factories have closed. This information has been given by the official sources of the Department of Inspection of Factories and Establishments (DIFE) under the Ministry of Labor. 44,000 workers of these factories have lost their jobs due to closure. According to the garment industry owners, most of the closed factories are small capital and subcontract factories. These factories have been shut down as the export orders have been suspended due to coronal pressure.
DIFE also said that 6,194 factories in other sectors besides garments had been shut down. However, according to BGMEA, an association of ready-made garment manufacturers, 300 of its member factories have closed. However, after the corona’s push, the export of readymade garments has started to return to a good position. Garment export orders have been on the rise since last June. Exports of garments last July, August and September have returned to almost normal.
According to DIFE, there are currently 3,858 garment factories in operation. Apart from this, there are 21,610 factories in other sectors. The information about the closure of the factory has come up in a special inspection across the country. When contacted, DIFE Joint Inspector General. Shamsul Alam Khan said the information was found during a recent inspection. This information is from the factory that was closed at the time of the coronation.
However, the DIFE did not know whether any new factories have been started or how many factories have been started at this time. Shamsul Alam Khan said many people do not want to give information.
According to DIFE, the highest number of garment factories closed in Dhaka was 41. Besides, 25 factories have been closed in Gazipur, 11 in Narayanganj, 24 in Chittagong, 13 in Mymensingh, 1 in Comilla, and 2 in Narsingdi.
The first corona patient was identified in the country last March. Earlier, the increase in corona incidence in China disrupted the import of raw materials from Bangladesh. However, as global corona continues to rise in March, Bangladesh’s main export destinations, the United States and Europe, are closed except for food and medicine, and other daily necessities. This situation continues for several months in a row. As a result, the entire supply chain is severely damaged.
The main export product of Bangladesh is readymade garments. 64% of the export income comes from this sector. After the launch of Corona, global demand for garments declined, and Bangladesh, like other exporting countries, had to suspend one purchase after another. According to BGMEA, their export orders of around 3.3 billion have been canceled or suspended. To handle the situation, the government has provided loan assistance of more than Tk 10,000 crore as an incentive for the sector in a few steps. However, as the situation has improved, many factories are working in full swing again.
Factories are also hiring new workers. On condition of anonymity, an entrepreneur in the garment sector said that the information from BGMEA was about the beginning of the closure of 300 factories. Most of the factories have been reopened when export orders started returning later. With the permanent closure of Corona, the number of factories that are members of BGMEA and BKMEA could be as high as 40.
When contacted, Fazle Shamim Ehsan, former vice-president of BKMEA, said the closed factory was operating on a sub-contract basis and had little capital. They do not export directly or even export to some of the new market countries. However, he claimed that the workers of these closed factories are not unemployed now. He said that when the purchase orders started coming back later, these factories’ workers got jobs in other factories. Only those workers who went to the village and never returned are no longer employed. We are looking for workers now.