Local fashion industry fears Tk2,000cr loss

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Typically, 25% of the yearly turnover comes from the sale of Pohela Boishakh, but this year the occasion was suspended  due to the outbreak of coronavirus

Local fashion and boutique houses are fearing loss of Tk2,000 crore as the government stopped public celebration of Pohela Boishakh, the Bangla New Year, to halt coronavirus outbreak.

Pohela Boishakh is the second largest festival for fashion industry in the country after the Eid-ul-Fitr as the sector people largely depend on the sale of these two festivals.

“Typically, 25% of the yearly turnover comes from the sale of Pohela Boishakh, but this year the occasion was suspended  due to the outbreak of coronavirus which will adversely affect the fashion industry,” Azharul Hoque Azad, former president of Fashion Entrepreneurs Association of Bangladesh (FEAB), told Dhaka Tribune.

People would not come out to buy dresses and celebrate the Pohela Boishakh, he said.

“As there will not be any sale in true sense, the sector is  likely to count loss of Tk2,000 crore,” he added.  

To halt the spread of coronavirus, the government on Tuesday postponed the celebration of Pohela Boishakh in public places and open spaces.

According to the FEAB, their 50% yearly sale come from the Eid-ul-Fitr shopping, while 25% from the Pohela Boishakh and the rest comes from the remainder of the year.

 “Since the program is suspended, we cannot earn money. From where will the entrepreneurs pay their workers’ wages and bear utility service charges?” Azad questioned.

He urged the government to provide a stimulus package for the sector so that they could pay wages for at least three months. He also called for deferred payments of utility services.

There are around 5,000 entrepreneurs in the sector, who employ over five lakh artisans.