At its virtual program, Mapped in Bangladesh (MiP), a joint initiative by the BRAC University and the C&A Foundation announced that a lot of capacity of RMG factories, not affiliated with either BGMEA or BKMEA, remained unutilized in June amid the COVID-19 pandemic. One key reason for underutilization was the subcontracting done by these companies and lack of new orders.
Mapped in Bangladesh (MiP), which digitally maps export-oriented garment factories, conducted the survey to assess the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on non-member RMG factories in Bangladesh. MiP has so far mapped 2,873 factories in Dhaka, Gazipur and Narayanganj. Of these 2,873 units, it found that around 555 factories members of neither BGMEA nor BKMEA. Of these 555 units, around 448 factories that created employment for some 86,678 people responded.
The virtual program was chaired by 1Rahim B Talukdar, MiP team leader. It was moderated by Hasibuddin Hussai, Project Manager. Moazzem Golam Khondaker, Research Director, Center for Policy Dialogue (CPD); Sharif Zahir, Director, BGMEA and Kamrul Hasan, Deputy Inspector General, Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments (DIFE) among others, were present.
Atonu Rabbani, Associate Professor of Economics, Dhaka University made a keynote presentation - 'The Impacts of Corona Virus on non-member RMG factories in Bangladesh' - based on the survey findings.
Speakers at the webinar stressed non-members factories should be brought under one umbrella of either the existing associations or a new one to monitor and ensure their compliance, reduce risk factors, and help them sustain in the garment business.
Being non-members, those units are deprived of getting the government's stimulus packages, given in two phases for workers' wage payment, they added. Rabbani said though by May the production activities of these factories bounced back, their capacity utilization in June was reduced to a half. In future, continuous demand for services through availing new orders will be the key for their optimal capacity utilization and employment, he added.
Moazzem noted that BGMEA and BKMEA as well as DIFE maintain a distance from the non-member factories. But, there should be no difference among the export-oriented factories irrespective of their affiliation with associations.