Mobile financial services (MFS) has minimised the garment workers' wage disbursement related difficulties and strengthened the digital ecosystem for low-income earners, RMG entrepreneurs said.
They made the remarks at an experience sharing programme on 'RMG Payroll Digitisation: Experience & Expectations', organised by bKash at a city hotel on Tuesday.
Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) of bKash Mizanur Rashid, Managing Director of Newage group Arif Ibrahim, Managing Director of Ananta Group Inamul Haq Khan, and Chairman of AJ Group Anwar Hossain Chowdhury shared their experience on payroll digitisation.
Inamul Haq Khan, who is also a director of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), said that the hassle of disbursing wages among garment workers through bKash has come down to almost zero. This digital payroll system has also contributed to women empowerment in the country.
"Workers even received their salaries sitting at home during the first month of the pandemic. That time they had no way to come physically to take their salary in cash, but they got their salary on time through MFS", he said.
The BGMEA leader said that since August last year, Ananta Group has been disbursing salaries to its 12,000 workers through the leading MFS company bKash.
AJ Group Chairman said that disbursing salaries among the workers through analogue way was one of the toughest parts of the company. Mobile financial services have eased the difficulties.
Extending credit to the bKash, Anwar Hossain Chowdhury said that it has brought a revolution in financial management for the apparel sector.
Arif Ibrahim thanked Bkash for the overall management and said that the digital approach has benefited both employers and workers in many ways.
At the beginning of the epidemic, the government distributed wage incentive loans among workers through mobile financial services. As a result, 11 lakh workers were brought under the digital payroll system in a short period of time. However, now the number came down to 7.5 lakhs.
bKash CCO Mizanur Rashid said Bangladesh still lags behind comparing the neighbouring countries in using mobile financial services.
Around 95% of workers in India, 85 % in Vietnam, 84 % in Indonesia and 78% of workers in China get their salary through the digital system while the percentage is only 40% in Bangladesh.
He also informed that around 11 lakh workers from 980 RMG factories have received a salary of around Tk 3,800 crore through their bKash accounts during the pandemic time.
Before the pandemic situation, around 4 lakh workers used to receive their salary through bKash account.