Saturday, 23 October, 2021

Skilled workers of Cox’s Bazar hotels leave jobs in lockdown

Hotel-motel owners fear if they will be able to get back around 6000 skilled workers as they are reopening from August 19

  • Nasar Ahmed, our Cox’s Bazar Correspondent
  • 13 August, 2021 12:00 AM
  • Print news
Skilled workers of Cox’s Bazar hotels leave jobs in lockdown
World longest sandy beach Cox’s Bazar is ready to welcome tourism from August 19, 2021. sun photo

Around half of skilled workers at hotels, motels and rest houses in Cox’s Bazar have either switched their jobs or got unemployed during the prolonged lockdown.

The hotel owners fear if they will be able to get back those skilled workforces as the tourism centres are reopening from August 19.

“Around half of our skilled workers left the jobs for more reliable earning sources during this pandemic. They have to feed their families,” said Abul Kasem Sikder, General Secretary at Cox's Bazar Hotel, Motel, Guest House Owners Association.

“Now we fear that we may not be able to make them return to the jobs,” he said.

As per the government decision, the tourism centres of the country will reopen from August 19 after a long shut-down. “Around 32,000 people were employed at 700 hotels, motels, guest houses in the country’s tourism town Cox's Bazar,” according to the GS.  

“Of them, 12,000 employees are skilled. But the number has now reduced to half,” said Abul Kasem Sikder who owns the Hotel Diamond in the town.

He claimed that the hotels in the sea beach town had incurred a loss of around Tk 10 billion during the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Besides, many hotel owners said they were facing fund shortage to reopen their business.

However, Bangladesh Bank recently declared a new stimulus package worth Tk 10 billion for hotels, motels and theme parks affected by the pandemic.

The hotel and theme park owners with their trade licences will be able to get loans from the scheme in the form of working capital at a 4 percent interest rate.

Banks, however, will enjoy an 8 percent interest rate as the government will provide the remaining 4 percent as subsidy, according to a central bank notice.

The loans will have to be used to provide salaries of employees.

The repayment tenure is a maximum of one year, said the central bank.

Abul Kasem Sikder said the government might relax the terms and conditions of the proposed Tk 10 billion stimulus package for hotels and motels, which would help them recover from the losses. 

The fund will be treated as a refinance scheme as the central bank will provide 50 percent of every loan from the package.

Businesses of the sector which had earlier taken loans from other stimulus schemes of the Bangladesh Bank will not be allowed to avail loans under this new scheme.

Excluding the latest one, the government has so far declared 23 stimulus packages worth Tk 1284.40 billion.

Of the funds, the BB has set a target to disburse around Tk 970 billion from banking sources.