The panel of former presidents of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) is planning to hold a meeting to discuss the next election of the association along with six-month extension of the current committee.
The meeting is likely to be held on Wednesday (23 December) at a hotel in the capital, said sources at the apex trade body of appeal exporters.
An emergency meeting of BGMEA board was held virtually on Sunday last. Its president Rubana Huq left the meeting after few minutes. Then First Vice President Mohammad Abdus Salam chaired the meeting.
Meanwhile, the board meeting proposed extending the term of the existing committee for at least three to six months to finish some incomplete tasks.
Meeting source also said the board wanted to extend its term by three to six months for making a biometric list of the members.
"I will step down after end of my tenure, no matter the panel of the formers presidents extends the term of the current board or not," the BGMEA President Rubana Huq said.
In the meantime, a source who was in Sunday's meeting said six directors from Rubana's panel had disagreed over such extension plan.
BGMEA Senior Vice-President Faisal Samad told The Business Standard it was an internal matter of the board.
He said he would not make any comment before getting the meeting minutes.
However, four members of the board who are from Sammilita Parishad opposed the proposal and gave a note of dissent.
Apparel entrepreneurs usually compete to elect their leadership for two years under the banners of Sammilita Parishad and Forum, two panels of BGMEA's registered members.
A Sammilita Parishad leader, who was at Sunday's meeting, said the current board was formed by a joint panel named Sammilita Forum based on consensus, but the extension proposal was suddenly put forward without their consent.
He also claimed that there was no reason for delaying the election on grounds of Covid-19.
In October, nine former BGMEA presidents, who are from Sammilita Parishad, held a meeting where they agreed to hold the next election on time.
The BGMEA has 13 former presidents. Of them, only three are from the Forum but one of them has already passed away.
"During the October meeting, all former presidents of Sammilita Parishad agreed that there would be no extension and no negotiation over the next election," said Shahidullah Azim, a former vice-president of BGMEA from Sammilita Parishad.
"During Sunday's meeting, the extension proposal was the only agenda. We said the election would be held as per the schedule like any other election. For example, five by-polls were held during the pandemic and a city corporation election is going to be held," said Mohammed Nasir, a BGMEA director of the current board.
"Despite our objection, the board approved the agenda and decided to send it to the ex-presidents' panel for their opinion. This is ridiculous," he added.
According to sources, six people of the forum that the president belongs, do not want the extension like this.
In April last year, Rubana was elected the president from Forum to lead the association for the 2019-2021 term.
The next election is scheduled to be held at the end of March or in early April next year.
The BGMEA, which has around 4,500 members, is being run by a 35-member board of directors, including seven vice-presidents.