Keep EPZs open during lockdown
The Bangladesh EPZ Investors' Association (BEPZIA) has requested the government to keep the export processing zones (EPZs) open during the nationwide lockdown to ensure smooth payment of salaries and allowances to workers.
Following a sudden surge in coronavirus infections, the government has decided to impose another complete lockdown from tomorrow.
The BEPZIA is now concerned that if the circular is published without a provision for the EPZs to remain open, the workers will rush to their village homes, which will spread Covid-19.
The factories located in the EPZs across Bangladesh need to pay salaries and festival bonuses to their workers for Eid-ul-Azha.
"But it will become impossible if we are forced to shut operations," said the association in a press release.
Factory operators have arranged all kinds of preventive measures to protect their employees from the virus ever since the first outbreak, it added.
M Nasir Uddin, chairman of the BEPZIA, said they have very urgent export commitments with international buyers, the sustaining of which is very important for the country's economic growth.
"Everybody knows that there is a big community working in all EPZs from different parts of the country. So, if factories close, the workers will go home and make the situation worse," he added.
Uddin requested the Bangladesh Export Processing Zones Authority to keep the EPZs open during the upcoming lockdown.
"We are also requesting the government to keep export-related offices open to ensure a smooth shipment."