Bring business back to track

NEWS reports said the country’s top business leaders have urged the government to ensure socio-political stability to the nation to get the business and economic activities back on the track. At their first meeting with the newly appointed Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed at a city hotel Tuesday they presented a really dismal picture of the domestic business sector and their manifold problems which severely disrupted export shipments. They reportedly told the Minister that the prolonged blockades and shutdowns of the opposition political parties have broken the backbone of the country’s trade and industry and the image loss that Bangladesh faced over the last few months due to political violence has left a negative message to the global community about the country’s business environment. Global buyers have slowly turned critical and especially a section of RMG buyers are looking at third country sources to avoid uncertainty in receiving timely shipments. Functionaries of almost all major chamber bodies and trade associations were present at the meeting. They said the year 2013 was a really unlucky year and wanted to see a lucky 2014 to bring back business confidence and prosperity to the nation.
As it was quite expected, the business leaders have laid emphasis on removing the country’s negative image in the global market. They have suggested the setting up of a taskforce and hiring the services of some international public relation firms to work on restoring the damaged image of the country to the international community. We believe that the government must be quick to take steps to remove the confidence gap so that the doubts which are perplexing the global buyers go away. But we believe that the most critical point— which the businessmen have apparently missed in the meeting— was the need of a prompt resolution of the political stalemate with the opposition — the point which is at the root of the crisis. They should have also laid emphasis on good governance, respect for human rights and a stop to extra-judicial killings. Mere emphasis on the need for establishing law and order to achieve political stability is not enough to bring back the desired stability after a farcical election. There is every fear that business may face a chaotic situation again without social peace. We believe that the business community— as the most powerful lobby in the society, could make these demands, including the demand for holding a fresh free, fair and credible election with the participation of all the parties as solution to bring permanent stability to the nation. Otherwise mere expectation of stability, we fear, may remain a far cry from reality.
Beyond this, we are in full agreement with the demands of the business community which are related to policy support and infrastructure development. The Dhaka-Chittagong four lane highway must be completed soon. Similarly, the government must give gas supply to new industries so that they may start production soon. The demand for low interest loans to businesses is also very important at a time when over one trillion crore taka is lying idle in banks due to the absence of productive lending out-let. We are against any violence which may disrupt business. But we equally believe the government must take conciliatory moves to end the crisis through dialogue.  

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