A demoralized FBCCI leadership at the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry is failing to speak for the business interest of trade and industry reportedly because of their high level involvement in the ruling party politics.
FBCCI president Kazi Akramuddin Ahmed who is also an Awami League presidium member appears that he is either not in a position to speak bluntly at this critical juncture or incapable to bring pressure on the ruling party to resolve the poll-time government crisis. Rather he is more sensitive to party politics over the overall interest of the business community.
The same situation is noticeable to almost all FBCCI executive committee members as they were led as party supporters to win the election in an environment dominated by the government to secure their victory to the apex body.
Meanwhile, the presence of the opposition backed members on the FBCCI board is invisible and almost nil and all indications suggest that the apex body has become a toothless forum as far as it demands a bold leadership to save business. It partly explains the ineffective role of FBCCI at this moment.
Meanwhile business suffered the worst last week from the three-day hartal called by BNP-led 18-party alliance in the capital and across the country. People died in the streets, shops were vandalized and transports vehicles burned on the roads. Trains services were set on fire. Business faced enormous losses. Garment factory owners said they had failed to transport export shipments to the port and bring back imported raw materials to factories to support unimpeded production. Covered vans running cargo goods were stranded on the highway risking theft and setting on fire.
The 18-party alliance has announced yet another week of agitation including three more days hartal from Nov 4 to 6 to be followed by siege and similar programmes across the country to press home their demand for caretaker government to hold a free and fair election. They are out to resist the government move to hold a unilateral election without the opposition.
When this is the situation, the FBCCI in a press conference throws focus on a different point. Instead of taking effective programmes to force the government and the opposition to agree to a common ground for an inclusive election, its leadership has rather voiced strong opposition to any third force take over; meaning its opposition to highly speculated army take over. This is what the ruling party’s political line of argument is. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is also blaming BNP politics using such words. Thus the FBCCI has failed to distance itself from the ruling party politics and therefore failed to make any positive contribution to resolve the crisis.
Sounding concerns over army takeover, he said “Businessmen were on the run during the tenure of the last third force. They were neglected then,” Kazi Akram Uddin Ahmed said at a press conference in the city last week. But they give a blank eye why the situation is developing.
At an emergency board meeting at its office on Tuesday they discussed the impact of prolonged shutdowns on economy, as the political crisis is deepening owing to the rigidness of political leaders.
Ahmed said, “If the leaders do not pay heed to our request of breaking the political deadlock through a dialogue, we will weigh more pressure on them. We are worried about our businesses,” he added. But the business community would not offer any formula for resolving the crisis, he maintained.
Reports said an FBCCI delegation had met Prime Minister Hasina on Wednesday night and they are trying to fix a similar meeting with BNP chairperson Begum Khaleda Zia to call for a solution to the problem. Most people believe it is an eye-wash to justify the existence of the apex body; in fact it is not in a position to speak the bold words or play an effective role to force the government to agree to hold a free and fair election and the opposition to stop the violent programmes.
Source: Weekly Holiday