Business leaders want immediate resolution of political stalemate

Staff Correspondent
A food trader of Badamtali wholesale market in Dhaka on Wednesday dumps rotten fruits in a dustbin after failing to supply them to different districts because of the blockade and strikes. — Sourav Loskar

A food trader of Badamtali wholesale market in Dhaka on Wednesday dumps rotten fruits in a dustbin after failing to supply them to different districts because of the blockade and strikes. — Sourav Loskar

Business leaders on Wednesday appealed to the ruling and the opposition alliances to immediately resolve the prevailing political standoff to save the economy, public life and property.
The leaders of the leading chambers and business associations made the fervent appeal from a human chain formed in front of the BGMEA head office at Karwan Bazaar.
Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association and Bangladesh Textile Mills Association jointly organised the human chain.
Leaders of trade bodies said the non-stop  blockade that began on January 6, called by the BNP led alliance pushed businesses to the verge of collapse.
They urged the government to take tougher action against anarchists and requested the BNP led alliance to shun the path of violent programmes.
‘If the government thinks the problem is political, it should be resolved politically. If not, the government will have to ensure business-friendly environment and provide security to industry,’ said BGMEA president Md Atiqul Islam.
He appealed political parties to take  peaceful programmes to restore the business friendly environment.
Due to the country’s image crisis readymade garment sector would  lose business as people are being killed every day in the name of political programme, Atiq said.
Frightened buyers expressed concern over the country’s volatile political situation, he said.
Export orders declined by 30 per cent, he said.
Atiq demanded enactment of a law stipulating summary trial to punish  anarchists.
Atiq said industries would get sick and  businessmen would fail to repay bank loans, pay insurance premiums and workers’ wages if the blockade continued.
He asked who would take the responsibility if garment business shifted from Bangladesh and unemployment was created in the country due to politics of confrontation.
BTMA president Tapan Chowdhury urged political parties not to sponsor political programmes that could destroy the country’s economy.
He demanded restoration of a stable situation to facilitate smooth business activities.
Acting BKMEA president A H Aslam Sunny demanded security of all the factories across the country.
He urged the government to suppress anarchist with a heavy hand.
Exporters Association of Bangladesh president Abdus Salam Murshedy urged both the government and the opposition alliance to find a political way out of the political impasse.
‘We want an end to the horrible situation,’ said Md Helal Uddin, vice president of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry.
He demanded a 20-year ban on blockades and hartals.
Representatives of Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry, American Chamber of Commerce in Bangladesh  took part in the human chain.
Later, a 10-member BGMEA delegation submitted separate memorandums to prime minister Sheikh Hasina and former prime minister and BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia.
The delegation appealed to Khaleda Zia to exempt all industries from political programmes like blockades and hartals.
The delegation urged prime minister Sheikh Hasina to provide security to industries and bring culprits to book.
On January 22, a DCCI survey showed that country’s 15 business sectors incurred losses worth around Tk 36,885.76 crore or 2.69 per cent of the gross domestic product in 16 days’ blockade.
According to it the manufacturing sector suffered losses worth Tk 1,600 crore, ceramic sector –Tk 320 crore, plastic sector –Tk 285.6 crore and the insurance sector — Tk 240 crore during the  blockade.
It said the readymade garment sector incurred a loss of Tk 11,120 crore, transport and communication sector incurred loss of Tk 4,800 crore, agriculture sector — Tk 4,609.6 crore, real state sector– Tk 4,000 crore, tourism sector–Tk 3,360 crore, and the sector comprising of wholesale market, shopping malls, show rooms and small shopkeepers incurred losses worth Tk 2,400 crore in 16 days.
DCCI urged the government and the BNP-led alliance to resolve the current political crisis through dialogue.
At a news conference on January 10,  apex trade chamber FBCCI urged the political parties to find a way out of the  political deadlock  through meaningful diaouloge.
According to an FBCCI ststement shutdowns causes a daily loss worth Tk 2,000 crore to the country’s businesses.

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