Bangladesh is moving closer to its target of paying 90% of its garment workers through the bKash digital wage system by 2021 after a further seven factories joined the scheme.

AJ Group, Purbani Group, Masihata Group, Sonia Group, Team Group, Aman Group and Al-Muslim Group are the latest garment factories to start paying their workers through bKash.

Launched in 2011, bKash is a joint venture of BRAC Bank, US-based Money In Motion, the International Finance Corporation, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Ant Financial. It operates as a payment service provider offering a broad range of digital financial services under the regulation of Bangladesh Bank.

According to local reports, the target is that 90% of the garment sector’s 4m workers will be paid under the digital system by 2021. As of November last year, 1.5m garment workers are thought to have been brought under this mode of payment.

The latest factories to join the scheme means 70,000 more workers will receive their salary into bKash accounts. An inauguration for the factories was held in the capital Dhaka last week.

Speakers at the event said that since the beginning of salary disbursement through bKash in 2015, the organisations using bKash have been able to distribute salaries more easily and at a lower cost than through the traditional method.

“The sophisticated technological services have made garment workers more capable and independent in using their money,” bKash said in a statement.

Training workshops are being organised for workers at each organisation to raise awareness of the methods of being paid through bKash, as well as how to use the account.