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.