Hit Hard By Hartal Think of economy

Businesses urge parties to refrain from hartal

Masjid Market in the capital's Baitul Mukarram sees a handful of buyers yesterday because of the dawn-to-dusk hartal enforced by the Jamaat-e-Islami. Other shops and malls in Dhaka had similar experiences. Photo: Anisur Rahman

Masjid Market in the capital’s Baitul Mukarram sees a handful of buyers yesterday because of the dawn-to-dusk hartal enforced by the Jamaat-e-Islami. Other shops and malls in Dhaka had similar experiences.

The business community yesterday urged the political parties and other organisations to refrain from calling hartals during the month of Ramadan in the interests of businesses ahead of Eid-ul-Fitr.
Businesses, especially the small and retail sellers, are crumbling under the weight of back-to-back strikes, as the pre-Eid season brings in most their sales, said FBCCI President Kazi Akram Uddin Ahmed.
He was addressing a press conference on “Hartal and Economy” at the office of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) in the capital.
The sales of businesses reliant on Eid seasons have already plunged due to political unrest, hartals and the attendant vandalism. “The retail businesses in the clothing industry suffer the most,” he observed.
Although the shopkeepers have opened their outlets during the strikes, the turnout of customers was very low. This shows that people are afraid to step out of home in times of general strikes.
The prices of vegetables such as green chillies have been a barometer of the adverse effects of the recent hartals, Akram said, although the government had already taken steps to rein in the prices of the item.
This is a time to revive the rural economy for higher sales of commodities. But the rural people will lose business opportunities if strikes continue, said the chief of the country’s apex trade body.
The businesses of basic commodities have taken the full brunt of strikes due to transport problems that disrupt their supplies.
Many private companies are worrying that they will have to pay staff salaries and bonuses together. They may not be able to pay those on time if there are more strikes, he noted.
“The import and export of goods is also being seriously hampered.”
Akram said he would step up efforts to hold dialogues between the government and the main opposition BNP after the Eid, since the previous attempts have failed due to a political party’s non-cooperation.
“From the FBCCI, we urged the government to make laws to put an end to hartals, but no governments have taken heed. The growing economy of Bangladesh cannot afford strikes.”
The Jamaat-e-Islami enforced four days of hartal this week, protesting against the verdicts on its leaders facing war crimes charges.

Source: The Daily Star

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