Political unrest, coupled with shutdowns and blockades, has caused losses worth around Tk 100,000 crore to the economy, an economist said yesterday
“Although it is not possible to measure such economic losses exactly, we can assume the amount,” said Abul Barkat, president of Bangladesh Economic Association, the apex body of economists of the country.
In addition, if the losses from backward and forward linkages are included, the figure would increase further, he said.
He was addressing a discussion on "militancy and violent politics: its impact on different socio-economic sectors, including professionals and common people" at Cirdap auditorium in Dhaka. The discussion was organised by Krishi Sramik Odhikar Mancha, an alliance of agricultural workers, activists, policy advocates and policymakers.
Barkat said the blockades and strikes have severely affected the supply chain of goods. “It will continue in the future too,” he said.
He also urged the government to conduct audits into the financial institutions, non-government organisations, media houses, real estate companies and IT firms that are connected with Jamaat-e-Islami, to unearth any terrorist financing affiliation. “If any affiliation is found, the government should nationalise or confiscate these institutions or change their board of directors,” said Barkat, also chairman of state-run Janata Bank.
Two ministers at the discussion called upon BNP to cut ties with Jamaat-e-Islami as a precondition to constructive dialogue on political matters, including the next parliamentary polls. Other speakers at the discussion also urged the government to ban religion-based politics by enacting laws.
“What is it that you want – democracy, militancy or Taliban-style politics?” Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu asked BNP. “You have to choose one. Otherwise, there will be no scope for dialogue to resolve the issues,” he said.
Telecom Minister Rashed Khan Menon said an election or consensus is not enough for a permanent political solution; more issues are there. “They (BNP) have to clear their position on violence and militancy,” he said.
Khandker Ibrahim Khaled, a former deputy governor of Bangladesh Bank, proposed a 'social contract' among the political parties to put an end to violent politics and militancy.
“Those who will not sign the agreement will not be allowed to take part in politics in the country.”
Moderating the discussion, Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation Chairman Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad said only those who believe in the spirit of the Liberation War can participate in political dialogues.