Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN)- Country’s top apparel leaders have urged the government to find out ways to save the garment sector and the economy from the negative impacts of strike.
“Businessmen have become hostages. They want to run their business uninterruptedly,” Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin, president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), told reporters after a meeting with Finance Minister AMA Muhith at his office in the capital Dhaka on Tuesday.
The BGMEA chief said the number of bank defaulters will increase by the day as the frequently called shutdowns are taking a heavy toll on the business.
Echoing the garment sector leaders, Muhith said Bangladesh’s economy does not afford shutdowns, which hurt businesses. “We have to find a way out of the strike, generally known as hartal.”
The minister encouraged businessmen to work together to find the way out. “We will be with the businessmen, if they can find out an alternative solution of bypassing the perils of hartal.”
Mr. Mohiuddin urged the finance minister for taking necessary steps to convince the commercial banks to settle inland bill purchase (IBP), generally known as accommodation bills, saying that the banks did not release the bills worth over BDT 15 billion, which they had accepted before the Hall-Mark loan scam came to light in 2012.
The Hallmark Group, a local business group and some other business entities allegedly swindled minimum BDT 35.47 billion US$449.50) from the state-run Sonali Bank Limited. The embezzlement, also involving 57 branches of 26 commercial banks, used the accommodation bill against back-to-back letters of credit (LCs) by ignoring banking rules and regulations, according to the central bankers.
The apparel sector leaders earlier sought intervention from the central bank of Bangladesh to settle all overdue accepted bills immediately for facilitating the highest export earnings sector.
Among others, AKM Salim Osman, president of Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA), and Jahangir Al Amin, president of Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMA), were attended the meeting.
BBN/SSR/AD-8:50 am (BST)