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RMG Sector Secures Its Aid PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 16 September 2009

The woven and knitwear industries will receive support from the government's stimulus package, to combat global recession fallout, finance minister AMA Muhith said on Wednesday.

The support will be provided according to details to be worked out by a working committee this month, Muhith told reporters after attending the second meeting of the government's recession taskforce.

Muhith said, "We called it 'a great recession' when we announced the package back in April. But the global scenario has changed since and we hope that it will not affect our economy too seriously in the long-run."

Representatives of garment industries, armed with statistics, have nevertheless stated that the global crisis had badly harmed their exports, said Muhith. "So we have decided to assist them," he added.

"A decision was made to form a working committee within days to figure out the amount and manner of allocation. The committee will submit its report by October, and the aid will be provided in line with its recommendations."

Muhith said, "The government's stimulus package, to combat recession effects, has from the start been an evolving programme. The affected sectors of our economy will be provided financial and strategic aid under the stimulus."

Wednesday's meeting was held at the conference centre of the National Economic Council at Sher-e-Bangla Nagar six months after the first sitting of the taskforce.

The government formed the 27-member recession taskforce, which includes politicians, economists and business representatives, in March, with its first meeting on March 24.

In April, the government announced a proposed stimulus package of Tk 3,424 crore, based on recommendations made in the meeting.

However, the two major trade bodies of the garments industry, the BGMEA and BKMEA, were highly critical as the huge export-earning RMG sector was excluded altogether from the proposed package.

The two trade bodies later welcomed the revised Tk 5,000 crore package included in the FY 2009-10 budget, although they again expressed concern that the RMG sector still received no specific allocation.

On Sept 3, BGMEA president Salam Murshedi said the sector required its own financial package of Tk 3,000 crore by Sep 7 to salvage the industry and help clear worker wages and allowances ahead of Eid.

The ultimatum was widely criticised by government, workers, unions and even other business organisations. Muhith had rejected the demand, saying it was not right for the industry leaders to link the issue of financial support with worker dues ahead of Eid.

The BGMEA later issued an apology for their request, saying "mistakes in language" and "frustration deriving from the global recession" had prompted their appeal.

BGMEA president Salam Murshedi made an formal apology in Wednesday's meeting, several members of the taskforce told


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