Dhaka, Mar 20 (UNB) – Expecting a meeting with BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia anytime soon to discuss ways to break the current political standoff, FBCCI president Kazi Akram Uddin Ahmed on Wednesday said they would not go for any programme in this regard unless the meeting is held.
“We’re emphasising dialogue right now. Hope, the ice will start melting slowly,” he told a crowded press conference at the Federation Bhaban.
The Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) arranged the press conference to share its thoughts and plans in the wake of stormy politics.
“At any level, we’re expecting a dialogue. We’ve written letters. We’re hoping to meet them anytime soon,” the FBCCI President said.
Responding to a question, Ahmed said the extent of loss of lives and property has reached such a level, a ban on hartal through enacting law has become essential.
“I’m old enough. I’ve seen so many hartals. But I didn’t see such destructive hartals in the past,” he added.
Advising the opposition to find alternatives to hartal, the FBCCI president suggested the opposition return to parliament and stage walkout five times a day to realise their demands.
“Please, don’t call hartal any more. A day’s of hartal counts around Tk 2,000 crore in losses,” Ahmed said.
FBCCI first vice President Monwara Hakim Ali, vice president M Helal Uddin, former FBCCI President AK Azad, former first vice president Abul Kashem Ahmed, Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) President M Sabur Khan, outgoing vice president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association M Siddiqur Rahman, first vice president of Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) M Hatem and FBCCI directors were also present.
Describing the violent incidents over the last few weeks during hartals, the FBCCI president said the business community wants to see all the issues be resolved through peaceful dialogue.
He also said they would sit with the member chambers and associations leaders soon and taken decision for the days to come.
Earlier, the FBCCI board held an emergency meeting at the FBCCI board room with FBCCI President in the chair.
The FBCCI directors urged the president to take steps for convincing political parties to shun the path of hartal.
The trade bodies, including the BGMEA and BKMEA, have long been demanding alternatives to hartal for the sake of economy. They said many people would simply turn jobless overnight if the existence of the country’s readymade garment sector is endangered for reasons like political instability.
Source: UNB Connect