BKMEA, Swisscontact partner to support RMG workers, factories

Staff Correspondent

27 April, 2021 12:00 AM printer

Swisscontact and Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) have signed an agreement for economic rehabilitation of Ready-Made Garments (RMG) workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sarathi-Progress through financial inclusion, a development project of Swisscontact Bangladesh and  funded  by  MetLife  Foundation, on Monday signed  the  agreement with BKMEA to support RMG workers  and  struggling  factories who  are  affected  due  to  the  attack  of COVID-19  pandemic.

Mohammad Hatem,1st Vice President, BKMEA and Syeda Ishrat Fatema, Team Leader, Sarathi  signed  the  agreement  on  behalf  of  their  respective  organizations.

Through this collaboration, 400 RMG workers will receive a portion of wage subsidy for retaining their current jobs.

Sarathi-Progress through Financial Inclusion, is working with commercial banks in Bangladesh to bring  RMG  workers  and residential  community  members  within  the  sphere  of  mainstream commercial banking and enable them to conduct transactions as account holders and clients.

Till date, Sarathi has engaged four commercial banks to digitize the wage payment system of 49 RMG factories; and through its interventions, 76,000 RMG workers are receiving their salaries in their respective bank accounts and have access to banking products and services.             

In addition to that, 17,000 RMG workers have received financial literacy training and 200,000 people were reached through mass awareness campaigns conducted by Sarathi.

Under this agreement, Sarathi project will collaborate with BKMEA to identify small and medium scale RMG  factories,  who  are  struggling  to  receive  production  orders  in  the  time  of  the  pandemic.

Hence, these struggling RMG factories will be forced to partially or entirely shut down operation in  the  coming  months,  if  they  do  not  receive  more  production  orders  from  the  international brands.

This will result into loss of jobs for the RMGworkers. In these circumstances, BKMEA will help Sarathi to identify the struggling RMG factories based on specific selection criteria and grant them partial wage subsidy to be able to retain their entire work force. Among others, Fazlee  Shamim  Ehsan,  Director,  BKMEA, Md.  Saifur  Rahman,  Head  of Communications, MetLife Bangladesh, Farzana  Sharmin,  Joint  Secretary  (Compliance  Cell), BKMEA, Rumana Akhter Tulee, First Vice President, Bank Asia Limited and Salma Akhter, Senior  Advisor-Partnerships  &  Advocacy from  Sarathi  were  also  present on the occasion.