In March and April this year, BBS conducted the survey by random sampling on 15,546 wholesale and retail establishments. Data from the Economic Census 2013 and the Business Directory 2019 were also used in the survey. BBS published the provisional report on Tuesday.
Explaining the reasons behind the decrease of wholesalers and retailers, BBS officials said that many proprietors fail to adapt when prices suddenly rise. They are compelled to leave the business by losing capital. Moreover, they are hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. Last year, many wholesalers and retailers became bankrupt due to the pandemic.
While speaking to Prothom Alo, BBS deputy director Ajija Rahman, however, said the business establishments saw more employment and contribution to the GDP growth although the number of wholesale and retail establishments decreased in last 10 years.
According to BBS survey, currently there are 14,104,753 people engaged in wholesale and retail. Among them, 13,901,564 are males and 203,189 females.
Ten years ago, around 5.2 million (52 lakh) people engaged in the sectors. A comparison finds that employment in the sectors has increased three times in a decade.
In fiscal 2019-20, wholesale and retail establishments added Tk 3,295,204 million to GDP. Ten years ago, the sectors contributed Tk 385,307 million to the GDP.
Bangladesh Shop Owners Association president Helal Uddin told Prothom Alo, “This is true that so many wholesale and retail establishments have been shut in last 10 years. Many left businesses for losing capital amid rise and fall in commodity prices."
*This report appeared in online and print editions of Prothom Alo, has been rewritten in English by Sadiqur Rahman.