BB signs PAs with 12 banks, 2 FIs on Tk 10b TDF
The Bangladesh Bank has signed participation agreements (PAs) with 12 banks and two financial institutions (FIs) to operate its Technology Development Fund (TDF), a refinance scheme of Tk 10 billion (1,000 crore). Earlier, the fund was launched in line with Export Policy 2018-21 to enhance competitiveness and sustainability of the export-oriented industries.Bangladesh Bank Deputy Governor Abu Farah Md Nasser was present at the signing ceremony. The central bank’s Executive Director Nurun Nahar and General Manager of the Sustainable Finance (SDF) Department Khondkar Morshed Millat were also present at the event. The general manager of SFD and the chief executives of Agrani Bank, Bank Asia, Dhaka Bank, Modhumoti Bank, NCC Bank, One Bank, NRBC Bank, Standard Bank, Uttara Bank, Trust Bank, United Commercial Bank, Prime Bank, Lankabangla Finance and Lankan Alliance Finance signed the PAs on behalf of their organisations.
BGMEA polls today
More than 2,300 garment business entrepreneurs in Bangladesh will choose their leaders for the next two years today with an expectation that they will pull the pandemic-hit industry out of the coronavirus-induced crisis and secure higher prices from international buyers. The biennial election of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) will take place in Dhaka and Chattogram for 2021-23.Polling will start at 9:00am and will continue until 7:00pm without any break, according to a notice of the election board of the association. Some 1,852 voters will cast their votes in the Dhaka zone and 461 voters in the Chattogram zone. The voting in the Dhaka zone will be held at Radisson Blu Dhaka Water Garden. The voters of the Chattogram zone will exercise their voting rights at the regional office of the BGMEA in the port city.The BGMEA election is an important event as the industry is the single largest export earning sector and employs 4.2 million workers directly. Millions of people are involved in the industry indirectly. In fiscal 2018-19, Bangladesh exported garment items worth more than $34.13 billion. The earnings declined to $27.94 billion last fiscal year as sales collapsed in Western markets because of the fallouts of the pandemic. The sector’s contribution to the gross domestic product stands at 15 per cent.In 1983-84, the earnings from apparel exports were $31.57 million, accounting for 3.89 per cent of the total national shipment of $811 million. Now, the share of the garment sector in the national exports is about 85 per cent. Today, Bangladesh is the second-largest apparel exporter worldwide after China, with more than 6.8 per cent market share.
Bangladesh second in ethical auditing practices in supply chain
Bangladesh has come second on a list comparing ethical auditing practices of major countries undergoing industrialisation, that too during the 2020 pandemic period, according to a first quarter report by supply chain compliance solutions provider QIMA released last week. The Hong Kong-based entity cited good practices by local suppliers in the global supply chain for the country’s placement.The demand for inspections and audits in Southeast Asia rose 19 per cent year-on-year across the board in 2020. As a whole, this region recorded double-digit expansion in inspection and audit demand starting from July, buoyed by buyers looking for alternatives to China both in the short and long term, as well as by massive orders for personal protective equipment (PPE). Meanwhile, recovery was markedly slower in South Asia, including Bangladesh, and rose only by 2.6 per cent year-on-year, a fraction of the double-digit year-on-year growth recorded in 2019.The QIMA ethical audit data collected at reopened factories as well as in the course of remote audits paint an alarming picture for critical non-compliances. Some of the most pressing issues are in the area of working hours and wage compliance. For instance, in China, 14 per cent of factories audited were given a failing grade due to critical violations in the area of working hours and wages. Examples of violations include sanitation duties being imposed as unpaid overtime, as well as workers being pushed to work excessive hours to meet tight schedules for high-demand goods, such as PPE. Almost a year into the Covid-19 crisis, uncertainty and disruption continue dominating global trade. In 2021, global sourcing is liable to remain at the mercy of the pandemic, emphasising the importance of supply chain agility and efficiency for the continued survival of any business.