Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi has said that the ready-made garments (RMG) sector might be granted a second Covid-19 economic stimulus package – considering the present situation.
"A second stimulus package for the RMG sector can be considered if the export situation gets back to its previous condition," he said referring to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the country's export industry.
He was speaking at the virtual inauguration event of the "Go Human, Go Green" initiative arranged by the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) on Saturday.
The BGMEA initiative pledges to prioritise workers and their prosperity.
Tipu Munshi noted that for the benefit of the RMG sector, the government is always open-minded.
At the same time, he reiterated that paying back the first stimulus package is also necessary.
The minister underscored the need for considering an extension of the payback period for the funds already disbursed under the first stimulus package to help the apparel sector – an important component of the national economy – survive.
He acknowledged that his ministry has received the letter from BGMEA for a second stimulus package.
"It has been forwarded to the finance ministry with recommendations," he added.
Earlier this year, the government allocated a stimulus package of Tk10,500 crore for the export-oriented industries to fight the impact of the novel coronavirus on the country's economy.
The apex trade body of the country's ready-made garments sector has introduced the new initiative comprising seven pledges aimed at making the sector sustainable, human resource-oriented and environment-friendly.
Cabinet Secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam joined the virtual programme as the special guest.
Responding to another query on the stimulus package, the cabinet secretary said that the government organised several open dialogues with the participation of cross-sectoral representatives last week.
"We are now taking suggestions from business people and experts to safeguard the businesses through fiscal measures," he said.
He also underscored the need for adopting new technologies like robotics, automation and other components of the fourth industrial revolution or 4IR.
BGMEA President Rubana Huq said the association introduced the "Go Green, Go Human" initiative in tune with the government's efforts to achieve sustainable development goals (SDGs).
The initiative aims to enhance the living standards of workers by providing them scope to receive higher education, ensuring the well-being of their kids at the workplaces and support mental health.
She also said BGMEA's other pledges involve sustainability of the factories, promoting local fashion in the world, ensuring the health safety of the workers, and preparing the sector for adopting transformative technologies with skills and innovation.
Rubana Huq added that different local and international organisations are providing required technical, financial and strategic assistance to the BGMEA for implementing its initiatives.
The BGMEA Senior-Vice President Faisal Samad introduced the trade body's revamped official website at the programme.