Following a long court battle, the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) will finally start shifting from its Hatirjheel premises to a new building complex at Uttara in Dhaka from April 11.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the complex through a video conference from Gono Bhaban in Dhaka yesterday.
“Officially we start using our new office at Sector 17 from April 11. However, practically we will start from April 15 as there are some holidays up to April 14,” said Siddiqur Rahman, president of the BGMEA.
So far, the first six floors have been constructed of the 15-storey building having two basements and situated on 110 kathas of land, Rahman said, adding that some of the new floors would now be used temporarily.
The association paid the government Tk 11 crore for the Uttara land, half the original price as determined by the state. The construction cost and the land price will reach a total of Tk 250 crore, he said.
“We have also sold out all the space of the new building at the rate of Tk 10,000 per square foot,” said Rahman.
The BGMEA started construction of the new site from October 2017 upon a court verdict for demolition of the current one in Hatirjheel.
The BGMEA has been in the Hatirjheel building for 13 years, said Rahman, adding that no compensation was paid to those who had bought space in the building as it was not constructed on a legal site. The price of the space sold stood at Tk 62.5 crore a decade ago, as the BGMEA sold per square foot at Tk 5,000 at that time, according to those who bought it.
Of the current building's area of 2.66 lakh square feet, the BGMEA owned 1.40 lakh square feet and sold, leased or rented out 1.25 lakh square feet to different individuals and companies.
Most of the offices of 40 companies housed in the Hatirjheel building have already moved to new places.
The Hatirjheel building, constructed on two bighas of land, contains amenities such as a restaurant, a gymnasium, a swimming pool, conference rooms and a two-storey basement for parking cars. The BGMEA estimates the building's total value to be over Tk 300 crore.
Following the inauguration, Hasina urged the garment manufacturers to look for new markets and go for product diversification.
“It will be my request that you find new markets and produce new garment items,” news agency UNB quoted Hasina as saying.
“Female workers are earning money and sending it back to their village homes, strengthening the rural economy,” she added.