EU, Germany transfer funds for Covid-time social security

The European Union (EU) and Germany transferred EUR 80 million (around BDT 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.

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 channelled through the budget support programme on National Social Security Strategy reforms in Bangladesh.

The government in October established ‘Social Protection Programme for Unemployed and Distressed Workers in the Ready-Made Garment (RMG), Leather goods and Footwear Industries’.

The EU in a statement said this features as an ‘important response measure’. 

Head of EU delegation in Dhaka Ambassador Rensje Teerink said “The best preparation to respond to a crisis is to ensure that governance structures are functioning effectively, capable to adapt 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. 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.”

The German Ambassador, Peter Fahrenholtz added: “We are 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. We hope that the support will reach as many eligible workers as possible and we count on the joint efforts of the Government, the associations and the factories to achieve this.”

 On 22 December, 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 Tk3,000.

 According to the programme guidelines, eligible workers can receive up to 3 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 andFootwear Exporters' Association (BFLLFEA).

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