Factories could be opened up again, but safety protocols must come first


Given that we are able to contain the situation, re-opening the industry must be viable

With the RMG sector being the primary driving force behind our economic progress over the last decade and more, it is inevitable that many will want factories to open back up.

Economic considerations, however, should not drown out the concerns which caused the industry to close down in the first place.

In a scenario where the RMG sector does open up, we are all fully aware of the fact that it is the workers on the floor who will remain most vulnerable to the coronavirus and, in turn, will become carriers which allow the virus to spread even further throughout the nation.

This cannot be allowed to happen.

However, this does not mean that the economy must remain on hold forever, and that millions of people will remain without jobs, especially in a sector that contributes so extensively to the overall economic growth of this nation.

There are plans among stakeholders, including the government and the BGMEA and BKMEA, to open up the sector in May, but that might be a tad too soon.

With close to 4,000 confirmed cases and 120 dead, we cannot take any chances, and must realize that the safety of the workers must come first.

As such, given that we are able to contain the situation, re-opening the industry must be viable, but only if certain protocols are put in place to ensure safety for all the workers who will be venturing out into the world.

We cannot afford a similar fracas like the one we saw before with thousands of workers walking hundreds of miles to their respective workplace — we need a directive from the government which clearly defines the rules of the reopening, and takes steps to ensure that these rules are being implemented all across the country.

If we are not careful, the situation will only get worse, and the sector could end up with a much bigger problem on its hands.