Rubana-led panel sweeps BGMEA polls

 Published in: The Financial Express on April 8, 2019
Rubana-led panel sweeps BGMEA polls

Photo: Star Mail

Sammilita Forum, led by Rubana Huq, has swept the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) election for the 2019-21 term.

The panel bagged all the 35 posts — 26 from Dhaka and nine from Chattogram — for directors in the election held on Saturday at the trade body’s headquarters in the city, according to available voting counts until filing the report at 9:00pm.

Zahangir Alam, convenor of the Swadhinata Parishad, led the rival panel in the election.

Rubana Huq, Managing Director of Mohammadi Group and also wife of late North Dhaka mayor Annisul Huq, will be the first woman president of BGMEA since its inception in early 1980.

The polls registered a 76.27 per cent turnout. A total of 1204 votes out of 1597 and 288 votes out of 358 were cast at the voting centres for Dhaka and Chattogram respectively, according to the BGMEA election board.

The voting began at the BGMEA headquarters in the city at 8:00am and continued until 4:00pm in the two centres.

Rubana Huq said members cast their votes in a joyous mood.

“We will work for branding both the industry and the country, ensure accountability and restore members’ confidence in the trade body,” she told the FE.

The panel will also work to create awareness among the entrepreneurs in negotiation with buyers about fair prices for locally-made apparel products, she added.

The panel’s other pledges included move to expand existing markets and explore new ones, measures to reduce high tax in potential countries and increase trade benefits and enhance workers’ productivity, creating worker-friendly environment, ensuring workplace safety irrespective of factory size and investment in technology, research and creating employment.

Zahangir Alam, convenor of Swadhinata Parishad panel, however, alleged, “Two of his agents could not come as they were threatened.”

“We wanted to make agents from two of our candidates, but the election commission did not allow it,” he noted.

Sammilita Parishad and Forum jointly formed the panel Sammilita Forum, though Sammilita Parishad and Forum traditionally compete for the BGMEA leadership.

Swadhinata Parishad, a new platform, was formed just last year.

The incumbent board under Siddiqur Rahman’s leadership took over for a two-year term on September 22, 2015 through negotiations between Sammilita Parishad and Forum. Sammilita Parishad holds 19 posts of directorship, including the presidency, and the Forum 16 posts.

Despite its two-year tenure, the existing board still remains in office for more than three years and a half as the government extended its tenure thrice. As per the negotiations, the Forum was supposed to take the BGMEA’s leadership for the next term.

A total of 44 candidates contested election for 26 posts as BGMEA’s election board announced on March 06 nine of the trade body’s directors in Chattogram elected unopposed.

Candidates from Sammilita Forum are Rubana Huq, SM Mannan Kochi, Faisal Samad, Mohammed Nasir, Asif Ibrahim, Munir Hossain, Arshad Jamal Dipu, MA Rahim, KM Rafiqul Islam,  Shahidul Haque Mukul, Mashiul Azam Sajal, Inamul Haq Khan (Bablu), Masud Kader (Mona), Iqbal Hamid Quraishi Adnan, Md Nasir Uddin, Md Kamal Uddin, Sazzadur Rahman Mirdha, Md Rezwan Selim, Md Munir Hossain,  AKM Badiul Alam, Miran Ali, Mohammad Abdul Momen, Mosharraf Hossain Dhali, Mohiuddin Rubel, Sharif Zahir and Nazrul Islam.

The uncontested elected directors from Chattogram are: AM Chowdhury Selim, Anjan Shekhar Das, AM Mahbub Chow, Mohammad Atique, Mohammed Abdus Salam, Mohammed Meraj-E-Mostafa, Enamul Aziz Chowdhury, Mohammed Musa and Khondaker Belayet Hossain.

The BGMEA is being run by a 35-member board of directors, including seven vice-presidents.

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