Despite doing good business since July, apparel exporters have demanded financial support in the form of loans to pay workers' wages for August
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will decide whether the salary for August will be paid to readymade garment workers from the government's stimulus fund, said Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal.
He made the comment while speaking to the media after a virtual meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Government Purchase on Wednesday.
The minister added, "I have received the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association's (BGMEA) letter seeking another month's salary for RMG workers as incentive from the government.
"However, it is difficult for me to answer whether they will get the money."
He continued, "Incentives received by the RMG sector so far were provided by the prime minister of her own accord, even before the BGMEA sought any support. I will bring the matter of BGMEA seeking support for another month to the prime minister.
"She will make the final decision."
Despite doing good business since July, apparel exporters have demanded financial support from the government in the form of loans to pay workers' wages for August.
The RMG industry regained its position as the second largest exporter in the first month of the current fiscal year after losing that position to Vietnam in the last fiscal year.
According to a letter sent to the finance minister by the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), factory owners have sought additional funds to maintain competitiveness as the RMG industry has faced serious problems due to the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic.
Penned by the association's President Dr Rubana Huq, it was sent to the finance minister on August 20.
In the letter Rubana said that production in export-oriented apparel units was suspended during the general holidays and the lockdown announced amid the Covid-19 outbreak.
She mentioned that it might take exporters eight to nine months to receive payments of previous shipments.
For these reasons, the apparel sector is facing an acute financial crisis, and that is why exporters are asking for financial support from the government, Rubana wrote.
The government had announced a Tk5,000 crore stimulus package for export-oriented industries as loans with a two percent service charge to pay workers' wages amid the pandemic.
The fund was extended, twice, with an addition of Tk2,500 crore and Tk3,000 crore. The size of the fund is now Tk10,500 crore.