Businesses are losing over Tk 2,277 crore every day due to the ongoing blockade and shutdown, with garment sector receiving the hardest blow.
In the last 16 days' political unrest, the economy lost at least Tk 36,445 crore, Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) said, calculating the losses in all sectors, including apparel, agriculture, real estate and wholesale and retail markets.
The figure is equivalent to 2.69 percent of the GDP.
The chamber came up with the estimates after a survey on hartal and blockade's impact on the economy. The survey was done based on news reports and assessments by its own research wing and other business associations.
“The losses we are now incurring can never be recovered. How will you get back the lives lost and assets gutted?” said DCCI President Hossain Khaled, sharing the survey results at a press conference at its office yesterday.
Asked if business bodies would take any step to help resolve the political impasse, he said as a trade organisation it was their responsibility to stand for business, economy, the state and the people.
“The government and the political parties will have to choose which option they will pick…. But talks are the only solution to coming out of this crisis.”
He added they might sit with the major political parties, if they were allowed, to highlight how businesses were bleeding due to the unrest.
Khaled said no country in the world could achieve its desired goal by applying force. “So, our political parties must reach a consensus through dialogue.”
He also spoke against violent and destructive activities. “Any political movement should be peaceful and should not turn violent.
“The Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry is the apex trade body and we agree with the stance of the FBCCI, which has recently sought legal remedies to get rid of destructive political programmes like hartal and blockade.”
According to the survey, garment sector counts a loss of Tk 842.5 crore for a day's countrywide blockade or shutdown.
The daily loss is Tk 300 crore in transport sector, 288 crore in agriculture, 250 crore in real estate and Tk 210 crore in tourism. The wholesale and retail markets suffer losses of Tk 150 crore while the manufacturing sector Tk 100 crore.
Referring to the government's Vision-2021 of becoming a middle-income country and achieving 8 percent GDP growth, Khaled said to do so Bangladesh needed investment equivalent to 30 percent of the GDP, which was 26 percent at the moment.
“A business-friendly environment must be ensured to attain that goal.”
The DCCI president requested the political parties to keep the export-oriented industries out of the purview of shutdowns and blockades.
“We also urge the government to provide special security to the export-related transport,” he said.