With the results of a bi-yearly election now official, Faruque Hassan will be taking the helm of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA). Hassan, who is also managing director of apparel company Giant Group, will hold the post for a two year-stint that will run through 2023.
“My main agenda is to ensure financial support and backup from both the government and Bangladesh Bank to tackle the ongoing second and third wave [of Covid-19], which is already hitting us badly,” Hassan said after winning the election.
The new BGMEA board will come into effect April 20.
He takes the position from Rubana Huq, the first woman president of BGMEA, who has held the post the past two years, negotiating the industry through Covid-19 and other related issues.
Bangladesh is the second-largest exporter of garments in the world after China, and the industry employs more than 4.1 million people. Over the past two decades, exports from the country have shown a combined annual growth rate of 14.8 percent, reaching $34.2 billion in 2018-19 (July 2018-June 2019), comprising more than over 84 percent of the country’s total exports. In 2019-20, however, due to the Covid-related market slowdown, exports declined to approximately $28 billion.
The garment industry continues to be on uneven ground as coronavirus-related cancellations in orders continue.
Even as the announcement takes place, the Bangladesh government announced a one-week lockdown on Monday, as Covid-19 cases in the country have suddenly escalated.
Over the years, BGMEA has played a major role as global brands have worked in Bangladesh to increase factory safety after the collapse of the eight story Rana Plaza in 2013. Since then, factory inspections and improvement of fire and building safety issues codes have helped the industry grow substantially safer.