DHAKA (Reuters) - Bangladesh will sell cheaper rice to millions of garment workers because the country’s prime export industry has been hit by the global economic downturn, a government minister said on Wednesday.
The decision followed a request by the country’s textile industry -- which employs 2.5 million, mostly women, workers -- for a bailout as competition in global markets increases.
“The government will sell rice at 18 taka ($0.26) a kilogram against the current retail price of 24 taka to the workers from May 1,” Labour and Employment Minister Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain told reporters.
The minimum monthly wage of a textile worker is less than $25, about half the average earnings of a farm worker.
The sector, which earned around $11 billion in exports in the year to June 2008, is the second-biggest employer after agriculture.
About half of Bangladesh’s more than 140 million people live on less than $1 a day, officials said.
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.