Saturday, June 22, 2024

Businesses deeply worried about political deadlock

Call for consensus on polls-time govt
Business people have expressed their worries about the ongoing political impasse and urged all political parties to immediately reach a consensus on the polls-time government for the sake of the country’s trade and economy. They said the political strife had sparked off at a time when the country’s economy was facing a number of challenges, including revival of the GSP (Generalised System of Preferences) facility in the US market and poor flow of investment.
“If confrontational politics further deteriorates at such a crucial time, it would be a great blow to the economy,” president of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) Kazi Akram Uddin Ahmed told the FE.
“We want to see an end to the differences of opinion among major political parties over polls-time government so that businessmen can do business smoothly,” he said.
The president of the country’s apex trade body said many of the businessmen had put on hold their fresh investment due to the political turmoil.
According to the data of Board of Investment (BoI), local investment proposals registered with the BoI decreased by 40.50 per cent in the July-September period of the current fiscal year (FY) 2013-14 over that of the corresponding period of the previous fiscal.
Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) president Md Sabur Khan said the business people were worried about the country’s volatile political situation.
He, however, called upon the ruling and the opposition parties to resolve the ongoing political crisis through discussions without delay for the betterment of the country’s economy and the people.
“The businessmen have been passing their days in deep uncertainty over the ongoing political stalemate. Foreign business delegations are now reluctant to visit Bangladesh due mainly to the ongoing political turmoil,” he said.
Mr Khan suggested that the political parties concerned select the head of the ‘caretaker government’ neutrally that would help resolve the ongoing political standoff.
“If the political parties (both the ruling Awami League and the opposition BNP) could pick a neutral person as head of the caretaker government, then we believe, all the problems would be resolved,” he said.
Keeping the ongoing volatile politics and economic factors in view, the World Bank (WB) projected Bangladesh’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth downward at 5.7 per cent in the current fiscal 2013-14 against the government projection of 7.2 per cent for the fiscal.
About the recent political turmoil in Bangladesh, WB country director Johannes Zutt, on Wednesday said a free, fair and credible election was imperative for providing due impetus to the country’s economy.
President of Exporters Association of Bangladesh (EAB) Abdus Salam Murshedy said the country’s highest foreign currency earning apparel industry was facing challenges, especially in respect of factory compliance and GSP revival issues.
He said the government and the industry players have already taken some key measures to revive the GSP facility and ensure workplace safety at the apparel units.
“The initiatives to get back the GSP facility and the growth of the industries will be affected severely if the restive political situation continues,” said Mr Murshedy, also former president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA).
“The international buyers are also concerned at the political developments here. The buyers could suspend their trips to Bangladesh if the situation turns for the worse,” he said.
General Secretary of Real Estate and Housing Association of Bangladesh (REHAB) Md. Wahiduzzaman said the political uncertainty has already started affecting their business as people are showing less interest in making fresh investment in the real estate sector.
He said the current business scenario was not good as import of capital machinery as well as flow of both local and foreign investment declined sharply in recent times.
“It’s a matter of serious concern for the realtors. If we could overcome the trouble soon, it would be a great achievement for the country,” he added.

-With The Financial Express input

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