THE new commerce minister played host to some 200 top business leaders of the country recently to take stock, amongst other things, of losses counted by months of political unrest that rocked the country recently. The difference this time round is that the business community is seeking not just compensation for lost business, but catering for the necessity to fast-track several infrastructure projects to get business and commerce moving in the right direction. As stated by this paper before also, we need to look into ways to ensure that the economy is kept above petty politics. Hence, policy support must go beyond the introduction of a set of financial incentives to alleviate the current losses.
That 2013 dealt a severe blow to the economy is an established fact. The level of violence meted out in the name of the people was unheard of in our political arena. Men and material were lost. The country made headlines around the world and its image suffered seriously. Rebuilding that image has become a priority. Along with political stagnation came the stagnation in decision-making, particularly in terms of expanding the crucial Dhaka-Chittagong road link and getting power to industry. As pointed out by our business leaders, an energy-starved industry cannot produce, and whatever is produced cannot be delivered because our communication is poor. These are issues that have held back the country's potential for too long and the time has arrived for government to mitigate any spill-over that hurts the economy, whether it is political unrest or infrastructure woes.