The business, trade, and investment are at risk in the country due to political violence, said Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) President Mahbubul Alam on Tuesday.
In this context, some business leaders stressed holding dialogues among political parties to maintain a stable business environment. Some of them also suggested that the FBCCI could play a role.
Additionally, several business leaders proposed that the FBCCI sit with the political parties to address the ongoing political impasse.
The business leaders came up with the advice at a closed door meeting at the FBCCI office in the city’s Gulshan area on Tuesday.
Several economists also took part in the meeting.
The meeting was convened to discuss about the ongoing situation in the country. FBCCI president Mahbubul Alam chaired the meeting.
Ongoing political violence, dollar crisis, inflation, import curb, bank loan, forex reserve and ensuring business environment and other related issues were discussed in the meeting, said a media release of the FBCCI.
Several businesspersons, who took part in the meeting, informed Prothom Alo that some of the businesspersons raised their concerns in the meeting and requested the FBCCI leaders to take initiative to get over the critical situation.
They also requested the FBCCI leaders to urge the parties to shun violence and not to take any programme that would affect the economy.
A former president of FBCCI told the meeting that the country’s apex trade body took an initiative of dialogue between the two major political parties of the country during the unrest in 2014-15. Such a measure could be taken once again.
Addressing the meeting, Mahbubul Alam said the ongoing political unrest is pushing the country’s economy to the brink. The situation is hampering the supply chain, affecting the production sector, prices, and the export and services sectors.
Urging political parties to avoid all types of violent activities, the FBCCI president said, “A very stable political and economic environment has prevailed in the country for the last few years, which is crucial for business, trade, and the economy.”
"However, due to the recent violent activities of political parties, the country’s business, trade, and investment are at risk. At the same time, there is a deliberate attempt to create chaos in the ready-made garment sector," he alleged.
He further stated that the Bangladesh Bank has to play an effective role in resolving the dollar crisis and controlling the inflation rate.
Mahbubul Alam also stressed ensuring an unhindered supply of fuel for continuous production at factories.
Upon contact after the meeting, Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) Research Director Khandaker Golam Moazzem told Prothom Alo, “The possibility of overcoming the economic crisis soon is low. That’s why I’ve advised them to control the demand for dollars. Besides, I asked to make the political situation normal by allowing the opposition parties to conduct their normal activities. This would benefit the economy.”
Ongoing unrest in the readymade garment industry was also discussed in the meeting. Speaking about this, BGMEA president Faruque Hassan said, “Outsiders are involved in the violence created over the wage issue in the apparel sector. No actual workers can set their factories on fire. An attempt is being made to intentionally create chaos in the garment industry.”
FBCCI’s former president Sheikh Fazle Fahim Sarker called upon the responsible persons of the government to refrain from making any controversial statements.
He suggested that the FBCCI could constitute a committee to facilitate coordination among the Bangladesh Bank, the commerce ministry, NBR, agriculture ministry, and other stakeholders to face the economic crisis.
He also urged the FBCCI to take initiative against the ongoing violent programmes.
Another former president of FBCCI, Md Jashim Uddin said the businesspersons need to be more aware in cases of importing goods. If necessary, they have to curb the import of unnecessary and luxurious items for the next six months to one year.
Former principal secretary to the Prime Minister and advisor of FBCCI M Abdul Karim, Chairman of Policy Exchange Bangladesh and Panel Advisor of FBCCI Masrur Reaz, senior vice president of the FBCCI Amin Helali, vice presidents Khairul Huda Chapal, Shomi Kaiser, DCCI President Barrister Sameer Sattar, MCCI President Md. Saiful Islam, Executive President of BKMEA Mohammad Hatem, Acting President of BTMA Fazlul Haque, Secretary General of Bangladesh Road Transport Owners Association Khandaker Enayetullah, President of Bangladesh Shop Owners Association Helal Uddin, Chittagong Stock Exchange (CSE) President Asif Ibrahim and Directors of FBCCI, among others, were present.