The government has allocated Tk 169.14 crore to pay a portion of the arrears of the state-owned jute mill workers ahead of the Eid-ul-Fitr.
The payment has to be completed through bank accounts of workers, according to letters issued by Ministry of Finance, and Ministry of Textile and Jute today.
A detailed statement, including the list of workers of each mill, has to be sent to the Finance Division within a week after the payment, according to the letter of the jute ministry.
The move comes following countrywide demonstrations by workers for around two months to press home their nine-point demand, including payment of their due wages, in some cases for up to 12 weeks.
The Finance Division allocated the money after the Bangladesh Jute Mill Corporation, in the face of widening losses and falling sales, sought Tk 337 crore to clear wages and salaries of employees of nearly 32,000 workers and officials of 25 state mills, including 22 jute mills, mills.
Officials said the finance ministry was initially unwilling to provide the fund to the Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation (BJMC) due to the mills’ consistent losses, resulting mainly from outdated technology, inefficiency and corruption.
Since 2009, the government gave the BJMC Tk 7,477 crore to bail it out of its financial troubles, according to finance ministry data.
In the latest allocation, the Finance Ministry said the money has been provided as operational loan to the BJMC from the head of unexpected expenditure in the fiscal year 2018-19.
The BJMC, the largest state agency, has to repay the loan, bearing 5 percent interest, in the next 20 years in two installments in a year. BJMC and Finance Division has to sign a loan agreement in this regard.