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DHAKA – Garment factory workers at selected textile mills in Bangladesh will soon be paid digitally, as part of an initiative being driven by Rubana Huq, the recently announced president of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA). Huq, who has shown an encouraging willingness to stand up for the rights of women since her election as leader of the BGMEA, said the move towards digital payment for workers is important as female workers do not always see their wages, as they are either extorted of the sum or their guardians, “which mostly happens to be their husbands or brothers, get hold of it.”

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Garment factory owners will introduce digital salary payments to ensure female workers get full ownership of their earnings and more transparency in payment, said Huq. The digitised payment will start on a pilot basis, said Huq, at a discussion entitled ‘creating the business case of MFS based wage digitisation in the garment sector’, organised by International Finance Corporation (IFC).
“I can say that all 35 members of the current BGMEA board of directors will start paying digitally from the Eid-ul-Azha. We will motivate the other factory owners to do the same as soon as possible,” she said.

Switching to digital payments is said to hold huge benefits for garment industry employers and employees alike.

Paying workers using mobile money, bank accounts and other forms of digital payment can save an average garment factory in Bangladesh approximately 750 hours of staff time per month and reduce monetary costs by up to 85 per cent within two years, according to research by the Better Than Cash Alliance, a United Nations-based partnership to accelerate the transition from cash to digital payments.

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