Please, find alternative

Hit by hartal, top business body urges opposition

The Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) yesterday urged the BNP-led alliance to withdraw the eight-hour hartal called for today and proposed holding dialogues to resolve political issues.

“Please find alternatives [to hartal] to carry out your political movement. Do not call hartal for any more days. It hurts us, our businesses and the economy as a whole,” said FBCCI President Kazi Akramuddin Ahmed.

Ahmed, who addressed a press conference for the first time after he had been elected president of the country’s apex trade body, said political differences were to be settled in parliament through debates and discussions, not by “going on strikes”.

The FBCCI was thinking of bringing the two major political parties under one roof for dialogues, Ahmed said.

Replying to queries, he said they wanted the next national elections to be held under a mechanism that was acceptable to all political parties.

“We do not want to say how the elections should be held. All we want is peace.”

Earlier in a written statement, Ahmed said socio-economic activities would be hampered most if the recent trend of political conflicts and violence continued.

“It will discourage foreign investments in the country and will also have a negative impact on economic growth and people’s income.”

Strikes would also hamper export-import activities in Chittagong and Mongla ports and transport of goods across the country, the FBCCI president said.

The law and order situation has deteriorated due to political violence during the recent hartals and roadblock, which, according to Ahmed, have blemished Bangladesh’s image outside the country.

Presenting some key economic statistics, he said Bangladesh earned $10,133 million through export in the July-November period of the current fiscal year, a 4.36 percent rise year-on-year.

Foreign direct investments during this period were of $450 million and remittance was $6.11 billion. Inflation in November was 6.55 percent while the foreign currency reserve stood at $11.84 billion in December, Ahmed said.

Not only that, the FBCCI chief said, investors from many countries, including China, Thailand, Turkey, Japan and Belarus were considering Bangladesh as an investment destination.

“Amid this situation, we urge all political parties not to announce programmes like hartal that hurt the country’s potential to achieve the targeted economic growth and become a mid-income country.”

Source: The Daily Star

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