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Garment lobby calls for understanding as lockdown halts production

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Garment workers leave from a factory in Phnom Penh. File Photo Hean Rangsey

Garment lobby calls for understanding as lockdown halts production

Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) on April 19 urged buyers and stakeholders not to penalise its members for failing to honour pre-agreed delivery commitments during the ongoing lockdown measures imposed by the government.

With the dramatic upsurge in number of new Covid-19 cases reported in connection to the February 20 community transmission, the government on April 14 announced a full lockdown in the capital and neighbouring Takmao town in Kandal province from April 15-28 to control the risk of spreading the novel coronavirus.

The lockdown order requires that all non-essential business be closed and demands that people remain at home except for essential purposes such as seeking medical help.

GMAC said in a statement: "The apparel, footwear and travel goods manufacturing sector is not considered [an] essential sector that needs to stay open during the lockdown and thus we have to remain closed.

"The lockdown is also causing disruptions to the logistics sector and we are unable to freely transport raw materials and/or finished goods.

“Some of our members who are not located within the lockdown areas are also affected as their staff reside in Phnom Penh and Takmao and thus are prevented from going to work.

“These factories are unable to operate normally. This may result in delay in production as well as failure to meet previously agreed delivery schedules.

“We would like to appeal for your understanding to facilitate and make arrangements to help accommodate this special situation.

“We all have to cooperate and obey the instructions of the Royal Government and join hands to combat the spread of Covid-19. We urge all of you not to punish our members for this situation that is beyond our control,” it added.

Exports of the garment, footwear and travel goods industries dropped more than 10 per cent last year over 2019 and could face significant direct losses from extended closures.

Outbound shipments in these sectors registered $10.6 billion in 2019 and $9.5 billion last year, according to the Ministry of Commerce’s annual report.

GMAC deputy secretary-general Kaing Monika told The Post that the government has been sorting out issues related to transport and logistics, but at a limited pace due to public health and safety concerns.

“Yes, they want [to help transport and logistics operators] but cannot compromise with public health safety and the importance of ensuring effective results from the lockdown. Short term pain for long term gain,” he said.

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