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Bangla RMG sector shifts to digital wage payments: survey

May '20
Pic: Shutterstock
Pic: Shutterstock
Bangladesh has witnessed a tremendously high shift to digital wage payment in the readymade garments (RMG) sector in recent times, according to a survey by the South Asian Network on Economic Modeling (SANEM) in the country and Microfinance Opportunities (MFO), a US-based non-governmental organisation (NGO). It was conducted on May 15 and 16.

As of May 16, 67 per cent of workers reported they had been paid. There were some differences in the experiences of men and women workers during the May payment cycle. Sixty four per cent of women reported being paid against 74 per cent among men.

Eighty two per cent of the workers, who were paid, reported that they were paid through some sort of digital channel like bKash, Rocket, Nagad or bank transsafer. In comparison, in April, 28 per cent of garment workers were paid digitally.

This represents a massive shift of payment in cash to digital within a month, the survey found. Both women and men reported being paid digitally at about the same rate—82 per cent and 84 per cent respectively, according to Bangla media reports.

Despite the large number of workers being paid digitally, many for the first time, the process went smoothly for most of them: 95 per cent were able to cash out their payment at an ATM or agent on their first try and 78 per cent waited in line to cash out for less than 10 minutes.

The researchers surveyed 1,384 workers in the sector by telephone. The workers and the researchers had previously participated in the Garment Worker Diaries study, which collected data from 1,300 workers throughout 2019 and until the end of January 2020.

Fibre2Fashion News Desk (DS)

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