At least 90 per cent workers of the ready-made garments (RMG) sector will receive their wages through the digital payment system by the next 2021, as part of government's move to build a digital Bangladesh.
Out of about 4.1 million RMG workers, around 1.5 million are currently getting their wages through the digital payment system.
The information was revealed on Wednesday at the “Bangladesh Digital Wages Summit”, organised by the Access to Information (a2i) Programme of the ICT Division and supported by the Cabinet Division, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations-based Better Than Cash Alliance, at the Radisson Blue Water Garden Hotel in the city.
Industries Minister Nurul Majid Mahmud Humayun attended the opening panel discussion on “Scaling digital wages for employees and manufacturers” at the summit.
State Minister for ICT Division Zunaid Ahmed Palak, Deputy Governor of Bangladesh Bank Ahmed Jamal, President of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) Dr Rubana Huq, Resident Representative of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Sudipto Mukerjee, International Lebour Organisation (ILO) Country Director and UN Representative Tuomo Poutiainen and the Bangladesh Country Manager for Marks and Spencer Shwapna Bhowmick also took part in the discussion.
The opening panel discussion was moderated by the Policy Advisor of a2i Anir Chowdhury.
Managing Director of the United Nations-based Better Than Cash Alliance Dr Ruth Goodwin-Groen delivered the welcome speech.
In his speech, Humayun said digital payment system is an important channel through which the government is bringing the garment employees into the formal sector and allow them to access digital services and pay for it, while helping them transition.
He said the industries ministry will provide all sorts of support to the ready-made garments sector to leverage new technologies that will improve the lives of garment workers. “These efforts will, in turn, improve our country’s economic growth,” he added.
He said the country is moving forward to be a developed one under the prudent policy and dynamic leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
“Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is developing all sectors to achieve the targets of Vision-2021 and Vision-2041. We are very confidence that we will achieve the targets,” he added.
Zunaid Ahmed Palak said Bangladesh has specific targets of 2021 to become middle income country, 2024 for graduating from least developed countries (LDCs), 2030 for achieving the sustainable development goals (SDGs) and 2041 for developed country.
For achieving all of the goals, he said, Bangladesh will have to empower women as they are half of the total population. “Moreover, 80 per cent of our RMG workers are women. Without ensuring financial empowerment, we cannot ensure the women empowerment,” he added.
Palak said the government has a specific target to go cash-less society within 2021. By 2021, when the country is going to celebrate 50 years of independent, at least 90 percent of our garments workers will get their wages through the digitised system, he added.
The state minister informed that now the government is developing ‘interoperable digital human transaction platform’ and under the platform, all the financial service providers will get the opportunities to work together.
“We are dedicating our services to coordinate, support and test innovative solutions to digitise payroll in order to empower garment workers, particularly women,” he added.
Ahmed Jamal said the central bank is committed to drive down costs and improve access to digital financial services through building an enabling environment.
Dr Ruth Goodwin-Groen said, “We are committing to help bring together the key public and private sector stakeholders who can take wage digitisation in Bangladesh to the next level.”
Rubana Huq said, “Through digitising wages, we are pledging to further promote financial benefits, such as cashback, reward points and merchant discounts, to increase the value of wages.”
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