EU, Germany contribute to strengthen social security in Bangladesh with EUR 80mn

The European Union (EU) and Germany on Thursday transferred EUR 80 million (over Tk 800 crore) to the government of Bangladesh to strengthen key areas of its social security system and build resilience to Covid-19, with a particular focus on affected workers in export-oriented industries.

The establishment in October 2020 of the Government’s Social Protection Programme for Unemployed and Distressed Workers in the readymade garment (RMG), leathergoods and footwear Industries featured as an important response measure.

This is the first joint disbursement from the EUR 113 million grant made available by the EU and Germany as part of Team Europe’s response to fight Covid-19 and its consequences in Bangladesh.

Funds are channeled through the budget support programme on National Social Security Strategy reforms in Bangladesh.

EU Ambassador to Bangladesh Rensje Teerink said the best preparation to respond to a crisis is to ensure that governance structures are functioning effectively, capable of adapting to changes and have the ability to rapidly leverage finance.

“The government of Bangladesh reacted swiftly under its stimulus package to address Covid-19 by scaling up core safety net programmes and introducing new ones to provide relief to populations in need,” she said.

The Ambassador said the inclusion of affected workers in the RMG, leather and footwear sectors is an encouraging step to ensure adequate coverage across lifecycle. “The EU and its Member States are committed to support efforts to establish adequate and sustainable social security for workers, with the shared objectives to protect lives and livelihoods.”

German Ambassador to Bangladesh Peter Fahrenholtz said, “We’re pleased to join forces with the EU and support the Government of Bangladesh in mitigating the negative effects of the covid-19 pandemic on vulnerable workers in key export sectors like the RMG and leather sectors.”

He said they hoped that the support would reach as many eligible workers as possible and they count on the joint efforts of the government, the associations and the factories to achieve this.

On December 22, eligible workers under the Social Protection Programme for Unemployed and Distressed Workers in the RMG, Leathergoods and Footwear Industries managed by the Department of Labour, Ministry of Labour and Employment received a first monthly cash transfer of Tk 3,000.

According to the programme guidelines, eligible workers can receive up to three monthly payments.

They are identified in coordination with the employers’ associations, which include Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA), the Leathergoods and Footwear Manufacturers & Exporters Association of Bangladesh (LFMEAB) and the Bangladesh Finished Leather, Leathergoods and Footwear Exporters’ Association (BFLLFEA).

Transfers are processed through G2P, on the beneficiaries’ bank or mobile accounts.

Source: United News of Bangladesh