Most of the 1,163 member factories the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association found closed during a recent survey are non-existent but they (readymade garment factories) still enjoy the membership of the BGMEA thanks to ballot politics.
According to a number of BGMEA members, the non-existent factories maintain their membership by paying annual subscription fees to the trade body. The members who take part in elections to the executive body of the association often pay the money for the owners of the closed and non-existent factories to increase their vote base, they said.
The BGMEA conducted the survey to find out the real status of its member factories.
According to a BGMEA official involved with the process, most of the 1,163 closed factories have no existence and they have no chance to come back to the business but some of the units closed their operations in recent years due to noncompliance and shortage of orders and they are trying to resume operations.
According to some BGMEA members, there are many factories which have no existence for last five to 10 years but they are still members of the trade body.
They said a good number of factories disappeared from the sector due to the impact of quota phase-out in the RMG sector in 2005 but most of the factories maintained membership of the trade body.
‘We conducted the survey to know the status of our member factories as the BGMEA is preparing a workers’ database for making effective the sectoral central fund to which exporters would contribute 0.03 per cent of their export value for the workers’ wellbeing,’ Mahmud Hassan Khan Babu told New Age on Saturday.
‘The factories which have no existence should not remain as members but we cannot cancel their membership as the memorandum of articles does not support such cancellation,’ he said.
Babu said the BGMEA would conduct one more survey on the closed factories to know which factories are interested in resuming business and which have no existence and do not want to start operation again.
The board of directors of the trade body would take decision on the membership of the factories which have no scope for returning to business, he said.
Some BGMEA members said the owners of some closed and non-existent factory owners have been keeping intact their BGMEA membership by depositing subscription fees to the trade body so that they can utilise their membership to their interests during elections.
New Age contacted the owners of 22 closed factories on random basis but 20 of them did not respond while two owners said that their units remained closed due to noncompliance and lack of orders.
According to the BGMEA leaders, the trade body would serve show-cause notices on the members who did not pay subscription fees for three consecutive years.
The BGMEA will take initiative so that no closed factory can be included in the voter list of the trade body in future, a BGMEA leader said.
According to the BGMEA survey, the total active member factories of the association is 2,490 of which 1,618 export products directly while the rest 872 are engaged in subcontracting and are
making clothes for the local market.
Source: New Age