Ctg chamber walks the same path as FBCCI

The Daily Star  May 12, 2021

The port city’s trade body gets leaders in non-participatory election; Mahbubul elected president for record 5th time

Mahbubul Alam has been re-elected president of the Chittagong Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) in an election that saw all director hopefuls emerging victorious without any votes.

Earlier, the leaders of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) were chosen through non-participatory polls in continuation of a recent ominous trend that saw directors being picked through partial election or on the basis of consensus among the potential candidates, often backed by ruling parties.

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This may not bode well for the associations and the business community as office bearers elected without the direct votes of the members may fail to shield the interests of trade and commerce. Instead, they may serve the interests of the people who support them, said several businessmen.

Tarafder Md Ruhul Amin, a director of Saif Powertech Ltd, and Syed Mohammad Tanvir, a director of Pacific Jeans, became the senior vice-president and vice-president of the CCCI, respectively, for 2021-2023.

The three were elected unanimously in the first meeting of the newly elected directors at the chamber office at the World Trade Centre yesterday as there were no other contestants, said a press release.

Only 24 candidates had submitted nomination papers against an equal number of posts as of Sunday, the last day for submitting the nomination papers.

All of the candidates were backed by ruling Awami League lawmaker MA Latif, also a former president of the CCCI, said the businessmen, on condition of anonymity.

The election was scheduled for June 10. But the polls were not required as the number of candidates was not higher than the posts.

This was the fourth time that no voting was held in the election of the century-old trade body in the port city.

The last participatory election took place in 2013 when Mahbubul Alam-Nurun Newaj Parishad, backed by Latif, bagged 20 posts. Alam, chairman of M Alam Group, became president for the first time.

Rules were changed in 2017 to allow a person to contest in the election for more than three consecutive periods. The amendment paved the way for Alam to become the president for the record time.

Contacted, Latif said there was no need for another panel in the election since the previous rivalry among the businesspeople did not exist, and they all wanted to work together.

“The members unanimously decided to pick this single panel as the current panel represents the businessmen from various groups,” the lawmaker said.

Alam said the Chattogram chamber has set up a “centre of excellence” to develop skilled workforce.

“This will help us create skilled workforce and meet the requirement for such workers at Mirsarai Economic Zone. Then, we will not need to depend on foreign workers,” he said in his reaction after the election.

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