Shops and shopping malls will remain closed after 8.0pm from Monday to save electricity amid soaring global prices of energy, State Minister for Labour and Employment Monnujan Sufian said on Sunday.
While speaking with the media after a meeting with business leaders at her secretariat office, she also said the business community had assured her that they would comply with the prime minister's instructions in this regard.
Business leaders, however, requested the prime minister to allow activities for additional two hours in the first 10 days of this July ahead of Eid-ul-Azha, the minister mentioned, adding that her ministry would convey this request to the prime minister.
The Prime Minister's Office (PMO) on Saturday issued a notice ordering the closure of shops, markets, and shopping malls across the country after 8pm every day. It urged all the concerned departments including law enforcement agencies to enforce the decision using the relevant provision of the Bangladesh Labour Act 2006.
Responding to the queries from a journalist, Md Ehsan-E-Elahi, secretary to the labour and employment ministry, said postal offices, jetty, airports, transport service, terminals, and offices, shops selling vegetables, meat, fish, dairy products, bread, pastry, sweets and flowers, shops selling medicines, products needed for surgery, medical equipment, bandages, shops selling essentials for funerals, shops selling cigarettes, betel leaves, newspapers, petrol pumps and car servicing shops, barber shops, and salons, sanitation and healthcare institutions, water, electricity and gas suppliers, clubs, hotels, restaurants and movie theatres will remain out of the purview of this restriction.
He, however, said grocery shops have to shut by 8pm according to section 114 of the Bangladesh Labour Act.
According to section 114 of the Labour Act, every shop or trade or industrial establishment will be completely closed for at least one and a half days every week.
"The chief inspector will decide in which area such organisations will be completely closed for a day and a half. Provided that the chief inspector may, from time to time, refix such days for each area in the public interest."
The section also states that no shop shall on any day remain open after 8pm. But, if any customer who was being or was waiting in the shop to be served at such hour, they may be served during the period of thirty minutes immediately following such hour.
It also says that the government may, on consideration of special circumstances, alter, by notifications in the official gazette, the closing hours of shops in any area in any season on such conditions as may be imposed.
Mostofa Azad Chowdhury Babu, senior vice president of the Federation of the Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Helal Uddin, president of the Bangladesh Shop Owners' Association, and Nur Qutub Alam Mannan, president of Jatiya Sramik League, among others, represented the business community at Sunday's meeting with the labour minister.