The Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FBCCI) on Thursday sought the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council's support for recovery of the textile and garment industry in Commonwealth countries amid the Covid-19 crisis.
FBCCI Vice President Md Siddiqur Rahman made the remark during a virtual event titled "CWEIC Sector Webinar: Textiles and the Garment Industry" on Wednesday, read a press release.
The release also added that Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan are among the Commonwealth countries that suffered devastating impacts from the ongoing pandemic.
The webinar was moderated by Sir Hugo Swire, deputy chairman of CWEIC, and participated by Rubana Huq, president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), and a panel of government and business leaders.
Siddiqur Rahman, who served as a panelist in the webinar, added, "The FBCCI's proactive advocacy since February 2020 helped formulate a wise roadmap to recovery for the next three years in a broad gauge of socio-economic agenda, including fiscal and non-fiscal measures to support the supply chain, transport, logistics, production, export-import, improving liquidity and money supply, health and safety, etc.
"Additionally, philanthropic initiatives to aid frontliners and marginalized groups & goodwill gestures to multiple governments were taken. We pivoted very quickly to making 90 to 100 million face masks in a very short period. The FBCCI also formulated Covid-19 FBCCI Health Advisory Protocols for the commercial officers, industries, and other business sectors to reopen in the coronavirus situation including logistics, retail and agriculture."
Siddiqur Rahman also praised the government of Bangladesh's economic interventions such as expenditure for money circulation, increasing the banking liquidity, social safety net programme with food aid to 45 million people and cash Transfer to five million families.
He also lauded the honourable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's comprehensive financial stimulus package worth $12.1bn that extensively supported businesses, exports, agriculture and informal sector including the marginalised communities.
"The stimulus package was a part of the Government's quick and judicious response to the crisis," he added.
Regarding the disruption of the supply chain, the vice president of the apex trade body FBCCI said, "The disruption was global. We are all in this together. As we move forward it is important to work and collaborate together to recover from this unprecedented crisis and I would urge and request the council to be proactive on the matter"
Highlighting the need for collaboration among the Commonwealth nations utilising the CWEIC platform, Rubana Huq said, "The initial scenario for Bangladesh was apocalyptic as we were slammed with order cancelations amounting up to $526 million from the UK alone.
"Our situation was incomparable to anyone else as we had 4.1 million workers who were directly affected by the disruption. But with the prime minister's intervention through the stimulus package and the resilient community of Bangladesh has helped us recover faster."
She continued, "Hardly eight countries of the Commonwealth naturally sourced from Bangladesh. Of that, the major total sourcing does not even cross 10 billion and whereas Commonwealth Imports over 51 billion dollars' worth of only apparels from the rest of the world.
"We must acknowledge that all of us have to work together on collaborated competition in contrast to a knee-jerk reaction. We are already in discussion with multiple brands from the UK and we are hoping to see good results soon."