Worker shortage in Ctg threatens apparel sector
The rapid growth of the garment sector has left the port city with a shortage of around one lakh workers, industry insiders said.
“Due to proximity to the Chittagong port, most of the buyers prefer to do business with garment factories based in Chittagong,” said MA Wahab, managing director of Day Group of Industries.
As a result, garment factories are sprouting all over the port city, causing a shortage of skilled workers.
“On most occasions, because of worker shortage we are unable to meet the deadlines, and are forced to give 5 percent discount as compensation.”
“It means we are incurring losses and paying workers late.”
A total of 780 factories are registered in Chittagong, employing more than 5.1 lakh workers, according to Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association.
The crisis will soon turn into a threat for the garment sector if alternatives are not thought of now, said Nasir Uddin Chowdhury, first vice-president of BGMEA.
“Political unrest, gas and electricity shortage and poor road infrastructure, too, are hampering production severely.”
Chowdhury, also a leading garment industrialist, suggested setting up training centres to create skilled workers and shifting the factories to rural areas where all facilities like gas and electricity are available, to address the issue.
Meanwhile, more than 200 industries are in operation in the two export processing zones located in Chittagong, where around 2.05 lakh workers are employed.
Md Ahsan Kabir, general manager of Karnaphuli EPZ, said there is a shortage of around 50,000 workers in the two EPZs.
“In future, when new industries will be set up, the problem will double and pose a big challenge.”
He blames the lack of proper accommodation and transport facilities for workers for the dearth workers, as it deters them from coming to the city to seek employment.