Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN) – The apparel exporters sought a BDT 30 billion stimulus package on Thursday from the government to pay wages and bonuses for workers before the upcoming Eid festival.

The government should announce the stimulus package by September 7 this year to facilitate the sector, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers’ and Exporters’ Association (BGMEA) President Abdus Salam Murshedi told at a press conference in Dhaka.

The BGMEA chief also said over 40 percent of 1500 garment factories owners would not be able to pay bonus to their workers ahead of the Eid-ul-Fitr, the largest festival of the Muslims, following the declining orders from the overseas buyers due to the global meltdown.

Import of apparel items by the United States dropped by 6.97 percent during January -June period of this calendar year compared with the previous year, according to the exporters.

Currently, over three million workers are working in 4,800 garment factories across the South Asian country.

The Bangladesh government earlier announced a stimulus package of BDT 50 billion for the current fiscal (2009-10) to provide financial assistance to the sectors, affected by the global recession.

Bangladesh exported woven garment worth $5.918 billion against the $5.684 billion target while the knitwear items worth $6.429 billion were exported against the target for $6.583 billion in fiscal 2008-09, according to the state-run Export Promotion Bureau statistics.

BBN/SS/SI/AD-04September09-2:57 am (BST)