LOSS FROM 70-DAY AGITATION EXCEEDS HALF OF NATIONAL BUDGET: KAZI AKRAM
Staff Correspondent, bdnews24.com
FBCCI Chief Kazi Akram Uddin Ahmed has claimed losses caused by the BNP-led 20-Party alliance’s agitation over the last 70 days has exceeded half of Bangladesh’s annual budget.
The budget for this fiscal is Tk 2.5 trillion and, according to Akram’s claim made on Monday, the losses stand at more than Tk 1.25 trillion.
The apex trade body’s claim echoes that that of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who told parliament last month that Tk 1.2 trillion had been lost due to the agitation marked by vandalism, arson and firebombing of vehicles and property.
BNP Chief Khaleda Zia called for an indefinite transport blockade from Jan 5, demanding the government’s resignation paving way for an interim poll under a non-partisan administration.
The government, in turn, snubbed the 20-Party alliance demand, terming it illogical and unconstitutional.
From February, the agitation was stepped up with shutdowns on every weekday.
Over a hundred have died from the violent political standoff and thousands of vehicles have been burnt, taking toll on communications in the country.
Despite government assurances that the situation would soon become calm, businessmen are worried about the unrest’s long-lasting effect.
“The losses cannot be valued in terms of money. But on a broad spectrum, the losses in the last 70 days amount to more than half of the national budget,” Akram said.
“The transport sector, small entrepreneurs, farmers and labourers have been hit the most.”
The trade body chief blasted the politics of violence being practiced. “I cannot see politics in this. This movement is to destroy the economy.”
Shamsul Alamin, president, REHAB, the body of real estate business stakeholders was also taking part in the discussion, said their sector would collapse if the political stalemate did not end soon.
“The tourism sector was first affected, and we have made several appeals,” said Bangladesh Tourism Development Association chief Jamiul Ahmed, adding they now had nowhere to go.
CNG Owners Association chief Masud Khan said, “We are about to die and are passing our days in constant anxiety. We need political stability to survive. We urge the government to restore stability anyhow.”
Chairman of the Bangladesh Tariff Association, Mojibur Rahman, said, “We want freedom. We hope the government will do what is needed, be it democratic practice or dialogues. We want safety.”
“It’s not that dialogue is the only way to solve it, many countries have progressed through strict control. We want security and steady development whether it is through dialogues or strict controls.”
MARCH 16, 2015