The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) President Rubana Huq said 87 percent garment workers have been paid, and the rest mostly belong to small and medium factories that do not have big buyers behind them.
Speaking with the Business Standard on Thursday, Rubana Huq said, "Smaller factories, which do subcontract work and supply to both traditional and non-traditional markets, are facing a liquidity problem.
"Even the big suppliers are facing problems, as big buyers are also cancelling orders, paying late and asking for discounts."
Rubana Huq further said, "The BGMEA has already approached the banks for supporting those smaller factories, and those banks are also trying to cooperate. Some of the smaller factories, that are not even members of the BGMEA, are out on the streets holding demonstrations.
"So, it has become our issue anyway, which we have to look into," she said, adding, "Without the buyers' support, solving the issues of those smaller factories will be difficult."
"The BGMEA is tirelessly working with the financial institutions to come to the assistance of those small factories. The challenge here is not only in securing the banks' agreement to fund, but also about the entire country being under lockdown and all institutions operating on limited hours."
Rubana Huq then asked, "Without any public transportations running, and with a full-on lockdown underway, how this industry is expected to disburse salaries in a seamless manner?
"We will have glitches, but we will overcome them. This has been caused as a consequence of the global crisis."
She then continued, "It's not as if Bangladesh sees protests on the streets every month. So let's look at the primary reason and stay focused on the cooperation of buyers.
"The reason we have been appealing [to the international buyers] from the association since day one is because we sensed this disruption coming our way."